In a calendar year, most authors would celebrate their book being released and consider it one of the most pivotal years of their career. Author Josh Vogt has two. The first, Enter the Janitor, was released by Wordfire Press on May 3, and is available now. His second release is a tie-in to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, entitled Forge of Ashes. That release will be readily available June 9, but can be pre-ordered now. In addition, Vogt will be at Denver Comic-Con all weekend, check out his schedule here. I had a digital chat with Vogt, here ensues our discussion.
You’re in a peculiar situation; you have two books coming out this year. How much of that was a concerted effort?
Well, I’ve always had multiple projects being shopped around, and I’ll take as many at once as anyone wants to give. For this, it was partly happy circumstance. I got my contract for Forge of Ashes in January 2014 and it hadn’t been written yet because, as a work-for-hire contract, they had to approve my pitch and outline. Enter the Janitor had already been written and would be picked later in the summer.
Yes, though I did get a lovely box of author copies for Forge of Ashes near then as well. So I got to revel in that a bit.
What was the feeling with the release?
Overwhelming. Exciting! It’s somewhat strange to have worked for this for years and now it’s actually happening. Rare to be able to say it’s literally a dream come true. I hope to never lose the excitement of a new book release.
For the unfamiliar, what is Enter the Janitor about?
It’s about a janitor (and his new germaphobic apprentice) who works for a supernatural sanitation company. Basically, some janitors, maids, plumbers, and other sanitation workers actually have magical powers that lets them be behind-the-scenes heroes, fighting against Scum and other mystical muck.
This is the first in a series, called “The Cleaners.” Does this have a longer narrative embedded or will future installments be more one-offs with some connective tissue?
I try to plot books so they’re entertaining in-and-of themselves. For now, it will be more episodic and I want readers to be able to pick up sequels and quickly grok to what’s happening. At the same time, there will be some underlying elements that will eventually take center stage more long-term.
How long do you envision The Cleaners series to go?
When I sold it, I had it plotted out for an initial 10 books. The first two are contracted, and fingers crossed the rest will be picked up as it goes!
Very different. It’s a tie-in novel to Paizo’s tabletop roleplaying game, so I already had their whole universe built to work within. However, it also took a lot more upfront development to make sure the story fit within established canon, game mechanics, and certain legal issues. But once I got through that, the actual drafting went quite quickly.
How was it writing for a world, like the Pathfinder, with such history with other novels, serial web fiction, and role-playing games?
It’s been amazing. I’ve been able to write a number of short serial pieces (and have a longer one in the works), and I love working with the editors on the Paizo team. They’ve been extremely helpful in providing feedback, offering solutions to balancing the game elements within the story, and more. I also love that there’s a strong community already built around this setting, with people just as passionate about the storytelling as they are in creating their own characters.
What elements are culled from the Pathfinder world in Forge of Ashes?
It’s actually the first dwarf-centric book they’ve done in the line. I got to explore parts of a large dwarven kingdom called Five Kings Mountains, as well as the deadly Darklands lying beneath their realm. It was fun to get into a dwarven mindset, working with some traditional aspects while also adding new perspective to their culture and personalities.
And getting to bring in a few rather classic nasties–like the duergar (think “evil dwarves”)–was incredibly satisfying.
Can those unfamiliar with the Pathfinder world start with your book?
Absolutely! I think most fantasy readers will know what to expect in a sword & sorcery adventure and will be familiar with the Tolkien-esque dwarven image it’s grounded on. It’s a standalone tale as well, so no need to read other Pathfinder Tales to start there—though I’ve read most and enjoyed them quite a bit. Highly recommended.
Should we expect further works from you with the Pathfinder Tales?
For sure. The main piece in motion is a novella-length story (called a Pathfinder Journal) that will be released in six parts over the next year or so. I’m actually working in collaboration with another author who is writing six portions of her own in a self-contained adventure. Then I follow up with a connected story, potentially using some of her characters in another tale that rounds out a larger story.
If people want to connect with you, where can they find you?
My website, JRVogt.com, is usually the easiest way. There’s a contact form, plus links to all my social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, and my tiny little YouTube channel. I’m also attending quite a few conventions this year, including Denver ComicCon, Dallas ComicCon, DragonCon, and Worldcon, so plenty of chances to connect at all those!