Having just completed my own weird western series, Merkabah Rider with Once Upon A Time in the Weird West, I decided to invite some of my author buds to come on Delirium Tremens and talk about their own series. Greg Mitchell was on here a while back talking about his Coming Evil Trilogy.
This time out I’ve got Tim Marqutiz, author of The Blood War Trilogy and the Demon Squad series, which is now up to book five, Beyond The Veil, and follows the perils of Frank Triggaltheron Trigg, the Devil’s favorite nephew…
TM: When I started the first Demon Squad book, I would never have pictured I’d be sitting here today with five books in the series published and two more in the planning stage. I’m not really sure what I expected, to be honest. Who would have thought a rude, oversexed screw up without a clue would survive the first book let alone five? I sure didn’t, and I wrote the damn things. Seeing the series take off is both humbling and frightening, but like the main character, Frank, I’ve come a long way since the first book in how I view the world.
In terms of writing, the series started off very raw. Armageddon Bound was a clash of styles and ideas all thrown into a blender and pureed. Some worked, some didn’t. There were some very movie/television-oriented aspects (Frank breaking the fourth wall and talking to the reader directly) that I feel added to the charm of the character, such as it was, but have long since vanished from the series. It was fun and interesting, but it simply wasn’t good writing.
There was also the rampant sexual commentary that pervaded the first book. While I felt, most certainly at the time, that it was completely within the bounds of the character I was creating, I’ve since learned to tone that down. He’s no less a dog but it doesn’t come across as obsessive anymore, or at least that’s what I was looking for. In Armageddon Bound, I can see how people, women especially, might consider Frank to be misogynistic to a degree. That definitely wasn’t what I was going for when I envisioned him. He’s simply used to interacting with women who are almost exactly like him in personality, all from a world where such boundaries are far less concrete. He was raised in Hell, you know? Political correctness is a human construction.
For me, I think that misunderstanding was as issue of translation. I hadn’t quite zeroed in on how to approach his overt sexuality without coming across as offensive. Starting with Resurrection, which was written immediately after Armageddon Bound, I think the change become more evident, me growing alongside the character. Frank is no less sexualized these days, but it’s focused, honed, and dialed in more on the whole of his character rather than as the apparent majority of it. He isn’t just a sex-obsessed guy who gets into fights, but he’s a guy who gets into fights who happens to like boobs. Subtle, I know.
And like the character of Frank, the series has grown and evolved over the stretch of five novels. While originally steeped almost solely in Christian mythos, I’ve built the foundation and gone beyond that. The books still contain plenty of angels and demons and names that are easily identifiable from their source texts, but I’ve since moved away from the constraints of such historical/mythological boundaries. Alongside the classic urban fantasy creatures of werewolves, vampires, and ghosts, I’ve added in aliens and empowered humans and all manner of supernatural beings, and I’ll continue to pervert the character/creature landscape with strange and wonderful entities you might not see anywhere else.
That was definitely the idea from the start. I wanted a world that was unique (or as unique as possible) where a reader is never certain what they might run across. The core of the character and the series will always be there, and anchor of stylistic preference and consistency, but as the series has already shown, it’s not bound by genre classifications. There is a definite influence of Jim Butcher’s style in the series, but that too has become less of a driving force for me and more a solid piece of the support mechanisms that hold the world together. The world has moved on from its narrow beginnings, and I hope it will continue to do so.
In the end, I believe I’ve dragged the Demon Squad series out of the muck of its early incarnations focused it into one of the more entertaining urban fantasy series out there, combining originality and attitude with the solid foundation of the genre beneath it.
And hey, while Frank might still be a turd, he’s a shiny turd now.
More about Tim can be found at his blog –
You can pick up Demon Squad as well as his other books here –