When I saw this gorgeous book, I just had to share it with you all. Look at that cover? So I jumped at the chance to invite C.W. Briar to share a bit about his novel.
Hope you enjoy what he has to share!
Joyful and blessed are Voice-bearers, for the Heavens have set them apart.
As Whisperers gifted with the Voice, Betka and her people are enslaved. Only they can control the dangerous spirits that haunt the waters, but they are forced to serve under cruel taskmasters. Betka has little hope of freedom from her service or her own bitterness.
They toil for the goodness of others.
A powerful water spirit terrorizes the castle where Betka’s sister is serving. Betka is assigned to the crew sailing to face the foe, and she fears for the only family she has left.
Rage is found nowhere in them.
In the beleaguered, flooded castle, a new threat awaits—a magic more powerful and horrifying than anything they have ever seen. Loyalties will be tested, and enemies will become desperate allies.
Betka is their only hope of escape—if she can subdue the wrath that endangers them all.
She who wields the waters for revenge drowns herself tenfold.
Welcome C.W. Briar!
Tell us about the book
My favorite stories are those in which the light is reduced to a flickering candle in the dark. I want the night to encroach on that flame, not because I’m rooting for the darkness but because I want to be awed by how that flame endures.
It’s why I’m drawn to dark fantasy. I love a story world that fills me with awe, and I love it even more the heroes take on evil in its most fearsome, intimidating forms. Add in a generous portion of suspense and I’m sold.
Whispers From The Depths comes from that mold. Betka is a Whisperer, with incredible power to control water, but the world is set against her. Her home and family have been ripped away, and she’s caught between oppressors and a monstrosity that would live to kill them all. She’s a candle flame in the dark, fighting to outlast the night.
In the story world, there’s no shortage of people that despise Betka and her kind, but the face of that hatred is Rorlen. He’s a military captain with a grudge against Whisperers. Betka is essentially helpless against him because any use of Whisperer magic to hurt others harms the caster as well. Both of them come face-to-face with Ylvalas, a spirit with a long and bloody history. Normally Betka would be able to fight off a water spirit, but the encounter proves to be more complex and dangerous than they’re prepared for.
Can you share more about the story world?
There are Whisperers, and there are water spirits. The latter roam the rivers, seas, and lakes. They are can manifest as storms and floods, destroying property and taking lives. They’re a constant concern for anyone near bodies of the water.
The Whisperers are the answer to that threat. They are people able to manipulate water and push back against spirits by using their Voice. It’s a battle of wills. Due to social upheaval and events in the past, the Whisperers are now subjugated instead of revered, but they have not been wiped out because they’re too useful.
It’s important to note that the book is an intimate tale. It’s claustrophobic in its scope compared to grand fantasy series from authors like Brandon Sanderson and George R. R. Martin. That’s because its main inspiration was Beowulf, which features a hero grappling (quite literally) with monsters on their own turf.
That focused scope drove some storytelling decisions. The water spirits and Whisperer powers are on full display in the book. I’ve been asked if there’s more to be discovered: more kinds of magic, more kinds of creatures, more kingdoms to encounter. The answer is yes … and no. ‘Whispers’ tells the story of an important event in a world I’ve been creating for years. There’s a whole lot more to the world’s mythos and history than what’s revealed, but the narrative is limited to Betka’s point-of-view for now.
That factored into the decision to not include a map. I ADORE maps. I always choose window seats on planes so I can see who how the world is laid out. I was SO tempted to include a map in this book, but I decided it was not the right time. The narrative has not wandered far enough yet, and the focus is inward rather than what’s “out there.” For now, ‘Whispers’ is a standalone tale, but if the world gets revisited in the future, I will absolutely reveal more about the spirits and magic.
And there will be a map!
Readers should not feel cheated, however. ‘Whispers’ was planned as a standalone from the start, and it’s a full experience even if it never gets a sequel.
So is a sequel planned or not?
I have everything in place to write sequels, and I have a desire to, but I also have other projects I want to write. Readers have a say in what comes later. If ‘Whispers’ gets a strong response from fans, I’ll want to revisit this world sooner rather than later.
What were your inspirations for the book?
I already mentioned Beowulf and the fact that this is a world I’ve been developing for a while. ‘Whispers’ began as a short story for an anthology called Submerged. I tried to write a short story, but my critique partners told me it was begging to be a novella or novel. They were right.
I wanted to write a scary story about a submerged castle, but instead pushing the castle into the sea, I brought the sea to the castle.
The story’s themes about love and breaking cycles of hate was there from the beginning as well. I generally agree with the idea that love conquers hate, but how? How does love conquer when hate becomes violent, when those who are toughest to love are also a threat to your life? The ooey-gooey, feel good love of pop songs is certainly not going to cut it in those situations.
I wanted to explore the kind of love that gets its hands dirty.
What else are you working on?
A lot. Before there was Whispers From The Depths, I wrote a book called Wrath and Ruin. It features a story called Ghoul, which is a Gothic horror-comedy-mystery. I’ve had so many requests to do more with the characters from that story. That project is already underway.
I’ve got another book in the works, one that’s a genre departure from my other work, but I’m not ready to reveal more about that yet.
I’ve also got multiple short stories that will be appearing in anthologies this year.
If you want to get a feel for the tone of Whispers From The Depths, check out the song ‘Blood Red Roses’ by C21 FX. It’s perfect. Better yet, listen to the song after you finish the book.
I’d be thrilled if people followed me online so they can get news about future projects. They can go to my website, and while there, they can sing up for my email list. (I might also be running a sweepstakes for free water park tickets – wink-wink).
I’m on social media. I post occasionally on Twitter and Instagram. I have two options on Facebook. One is my Author page, which is focused on authorly things like book releases and signings. My regular Facebook page has that same info plus regular postings of me being a dork.
C.W. Briar writes fantasy that’s dark but hopeful, filled with wonder and humor along with the suspense and creepiness. His favorite stories are the ones that make him both smile and perch on the edge of his seat. By day, he works as a systems engineer, testing or even riding on trains, airplanes, and helicopters. At night, when not writing, he prepares fancy dinners and shows off his awesome corgis. He’s a graduate of Binghamton University and lives in Upstate NY with his wife, three kids, and secret stashes of chocolate.
Sign up for newsletter exclusives through his website: http://www.cwbriar.com
Social Media Links: