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Regular listeners will already be familiar with the fabulous RJ Barker who joined us live at Nine Worlds to discuss realistic characters. This week, Charlotte interviews RJ about writing female characters, his favourite genres, and writing characters with disabilities.
RJ’s stellar debut, Age of Assassins, combines elements of traditional fantasy with murder mystery and historical fiction. Despite making a promise to himself before he sat down to write the book, Age of Assassins features both a coming of age narrative, a teenage protagonist and a romance sub-plot. Unlike many of the fantasy novels lining bookshelves these days, RJ writes wonderfully diverse characters, from complex female characters to protagonists with disabilities.
‘I love creatures with massive antlers.’
Texts mentioned in this episode include:
- The Chronicles of Morgaine by C. J. Cherryh
- Ironside (TV series)
- Slow Horses by Mick Herron
- The Last Day of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
- The Bastard Wonderland by Lee Harrison
- Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
RJ Barker lives in Leeds with his wife, son and a collection of questionable taxidermy, odd art, scary music and more books than they have room for. He grew up reading whatever he could get his hands on, and has always been ‘that one with the book in his pocket.’ Having played in a rock band before deciding he was a rubbish musician RJ returned to his first love, fiction, to find he is rather better at that. As well as his debut epic fantasy novel, Age of Assassins, RJ has written short stories and historical scripts which have been performed across the country.
He has the sort of flowing locks any cavalier would be proud of.His debut Age of Assassins, from Orbit books, is now available in all major book stores, online and on Amazon.
Age Of Assassins and its author, the wonderful RJ Barker. When I read a book, I like to look for the little bit of the author left behind. The best books, or so I believe, are the ones that the author puts themselves into. AoA is one of those books. Whilst I won’t labour the point, because RJ said it himself (‘He is not his disability; it is only a part of him. He does not let it stop or define him), I would just like to say that RJ Barker might just be one of my new favourite human beings – he IS different, in that he is eccentric, witty, fun, and full of life. Reading AoA, you can pick up on the hurt, but as I said above, it goes hand in hand with heart and hope.