This month I caught up with debut urban fantasy author C.N. Rowan to chat about his books, France and his love of history.
I know you from an author group we’re both part of, but for anyone who doesn’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself
I’d love to, but then I’d have to kill you. IN MY BOOK. By making you a character in my book. Then killing you horribly. [GC: backs away slowly]
I’m a lovely, sociable person other than that, though. Please stop backing away.
Due to having somehow won the favour of Lady Luck, though only she knows how (and secretly I suspect it might be just because she’s planning to sweep my legs out from under me when at the best moment for a maximum comedy prat-fall) I now live in the south-west of France, by Toulouse, but I’m originally from Leicester in England. As well as writing books – I’m currently working on the eighth in my series, with the first release on the 8th May – I’ve also been a hiphop emcee for over 25 years, and released a new album in 2021, as well as a sound engineer. I’ve worked with platinum artists, and I’m currently awaiting news about a gold disc for recording and mastering a French hiphop track for friends of mine in Paris.
A man of many talents…
Any rumours of certifiable insanity have certainly been exaggerated, and the ensuing fire in the records office makes it all impossible to prove, anyhow.
So now we know a bit about you, tell me about your book. The first one launched last week, right?
It’s a darkly funny supernatural suspense series following a trio of immortal heretics around the Toulouse area. It incorporates real French history and historical characters, as well as a rich vein of mythology not previously tapped in Urban Fantasy (at least as far as I know!). It’s been described as if Terry Pratchett wrote the Dresden Files, and I’ll take that comparison every day of the week, thanks very much.
That’s an amazing comparison! And why did you choose that setting – other than it being where you live?
The Occitan (area surrounding Toulouse) is steeped in history and the story of the Cathars (as we now call them – they called themselves the Good Christians at the time), their intriguing beliefs, and the Church’s strong-armed response to them – launching the only crusade against other Christians ever – was fascinating. Their beliefs included duality (two gods, one good, one evil – guess which one they believed created the world?), vegetarianism, equality between men and women… and reincarnation. And that started me thinking. What if a Cathar reincarnated, but into the nearest dead body? And what if he’d been doing that for 800 years, since the Albigensian Crusade? What if, back then, he’d been a Cathar Perfect – their equivalent of a priest – but now he was a wise-cracking magical powerhouse? And what effect would it have on your attitude towards risk and death if every time you popped your clogs, you popped back up like a bad penny?
That’s how Paul Bonhomme, the imPerfect Cathar was born.
I’m only a couple of chapters in and already hooked! Which authors have inspired your writing?
Crikey. So many. Classics wise, I’d go for Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Iain M. Banks, Ursula Le Guin, Neil Gaiman and Seanan McGuire. On the independent circuit (which is all I really read these days!), I’d have to say Heather G Harris, Lauretta Hignett, Bob McGough, Amy Hopkins, but there are so many others!
Great choices and a lot of my favourites in there! So, where can people find you to hang out?
My most active presence is on Facebook at both my author page – www.facebook.com/cnrowan – and my reader group C.N. Rowan’s imPerfect Gang – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1519645541877666/ . I’m also on Instagram at www.instagram.com/cnrowanauthor .
My books are all going to be in Kindle Unlimited, so I’d love to get a follow on my Author Page at https://www.amazon.com/author/cnrowan . I’m also on Goodreads, where I regularly post reviews as well as stuff about my books at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/23093361.C_N_Rowan . You can also keep up to date with me at my website www.cnrowan.com and I’d always love to hear from you by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Finally, I’ve got a free novella ‘An imPerfect Trap’ which gives you a taste of my mad world, involving our reluctant hero, a psychotic French Fae and an inescapable locked room puzzle. You can grab it, and join my mailing list, by going here – https://BookHip.com/KWPDZFC . There’s even a free audio book version. Just drop me an email if you’d prefer to get a copy of that!