Barry Nugent Talks Forgotten Warriors

This weekend at the Thought Bubble Comic Festival is the launch of Forgotten Warriors the sequel to the action adventure novel Fallen Heroes. It will also see the launch of the 70 page prequel comic ‘The Chimera Factor’ written by Richmond Clements, with art by PL Woods and letters by Paul Mclaren.

 

Unseen Shadows fan Brett Harris threw some questions at author Barry Nugent about these latest two entries to the Unseen Shadows universe.

Brett Harris (BH): Barry, thanks for agreeing to the interview, I am looking forward to reading your answers !

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The novel Forgotten Warriors is the sequel to the great page-turner Fallen Heroes. What can we expect from this second novel in the series ?

Barry Nugent (BN): Thanks man glad you enjoyed it! As for Forgotten Warriors readers can expect a shed load of action,scares,cliff hangers, twists and suspense just like Fallen Heroes. However this will be a darker tale then the first novel and our heroes and heroines are very much on the back foot. To nick the marketing phrase that most people seem to use for second books or films…this is very much the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy. The baddies basically got their asses handed to them in Fallen Heroes and they are none too pleased about it.

BH: Without spoiling any plot points, can you talk about who the “Forgotten Warriors” of the title might be ?

BN: It is almost impossible to say anything about the Forgotten Warriors without spoiling the plot. What I will say is that title works on multiple levels, which will become clear as you read the book. My initial idea behind the title grew out of my desicion to focus on those characters from Fallen Heroes who would have been considered the secondary/sidekick characters. In this book the spotlight falls on Steph, Vincent, Kathryn, Nathan and Eve. Any readers who remember Eve without referring back to Fallen Heroes get extra kudos points. For me it was about moving those characters out of the shadows and letting them stand on their own two feet. As much as we might love Batman or Indiana Jones..wouldn’t be cool to how Robin or Marion Ravenwood cope when they are forced into the driving seat? I would also put Jason Chen into this category. I know he was the central character in the first book but I think this time around Jason is far more capable and able to drive story forwards rather than we saw in his first outing.

BH: A theme of the first novel seemed to be overcoming the negative events of the past to escape allow a better present. Based on the solicitations it seems like the theme of this second novel will be how to move forward now the past has been dealt with and the future lies ahead. How will you be exploring that theme ?

BN: Dealing with the demons and mistakes of our past was very much at the heart of Fallen Heroes. One of the main themes in Forgotten Warriors, aside from saving the world again of course, is that of loss. During the course of this book both my father and my oldest brother died suddenly. It is difficult to not suffer that kind of loss and not have it effect you as person but also as a writer. This books is set three years after the Events of Fallen Heroes and time has not been kind to the survivors of that story. I wanted to show that there is a cost to what happened, one that they are all still paying three years on. This wasn’t a case of saving the world then getting on with their lives. All of the characters, even the villians, are dealing with loss whether it is loss of mentor, a friend, their dreams of conquest, of a better future they all have something to contend with. In this novel they each have to deal with those losses and thrive own survivor guilt and find a way forward.

The other theme I wanted to touch was that of legacy. The idea of picking up the mantle when you don’t want it because you’ve been left no choice and how you deal with that. Forgotten Warriors some of the characters deal with things a lot better than others. Of course as well as all that events on the world stage within the novel have gotten much bigger along with the stakes.

BH: Along with the novel being released soon we have the debut at Thought Bubble of the graphic novel The Chimera Factor. How does this story interact with those of the novels ?

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BN: The Chimera Factor is set a year before Forgotten Warriors kicks off. Although the graphic novel is standalone it also does serve as a prequel to Forgotten Warriors. Many of the characters and events in the graphic novel will play a much bigger role in Forgotten Warriors. The real fun of doing something like this is even the creative team working on The Chimera Factor have very little idea how the story will plug into Forgotten Warriors. Again though I should make it clear that those new to the world of the books should be able to just pick up The Chimera Factor and enjoy it on its own merits.

What is also great about this story is that it also guest stars Victoria Sullivan, a character who made her debut not in Fallen Heroes but in the Empire of Blood audio drama.

BH: I noticed that the kick-arse Steph Connisbee is featured on the cover of both. What is it that makes her such an important character ?

BN: I think Steph is just a fantastic character to write because no matter what you put her through (and she gets put through a lot in this book) she has this vein of iron running through her. In the first book even though it’s really Ben’s journey we’re following Steph serves as his bodyguard, sounding board and consicence. She was very much the Chewbacca of their criminal partnership if that makes sense. The great thing about this book has been throwing that idea out of the window and placing the lion share of the plot on her shoulders and letting her run with it. I think she does a pretty good job of it. I also see this book as the third part of the unofficial Steph Connisbee story. In the first comic we did with her Operation Solomon we saw Steph’s last mission for the Navy, one which led to her court martial. In The Chimera Factor we see a much more seasoned Steph, made even harder by her experiences in Fallen Heroes. Now she is heading up a covert unit tasked with bringing down the Book of Cademus. In Forgotten Warriors elements of both the previous stories come to a head in a massive way.

BH: Speaking of important characters, Napoleon Stone is just plain awesome ! What are the influences you had in mind when creating him ?

BN: Napoleon Stone (no not Nick Fury…which is usually a conversation I have to have when people see the book cover) I came up with when I was about 15/16. Even though there are elements of the characters I grew up loving he was the very first character where I felt I was not just ripping off someone else’s character and changing their name. Now originally I had actually used Napoleon as secondary character in some stories I was writing as a teenage called ‘Prime Syndicate’ not some of my best work but I still absolutely love those strories. Napoleon was the only character to survive that story and when I started to work on the plot for Fallen Heroes I knew I needed an adventurer type character but not someone who people would just think Indiana Jones knock off. So I reworked Napoleon’s back story so it still had the mystical/pulp elements you would find in an Indian Jones story but it is looked at in a very different way. Napoleon does what he does to save lives first and foremost. The relics he comes into contact with aren’t for study or a prize to be placed in a museum. They are there to be used against his enemies supernatural or otherwise or to be destroyed because the are just too dangerous for human hands.

In terms of influences there were a shed load; Indiana jones, most of the main characters from any John Carpenter film, the books of David Gemmell and Deep Space Nine. One the ideas a lot of these influences gave me was that is was ok to have heroes who weren’t likeable but sill got the job gone. In Fallen Heroes Ben Ashodi is someone you would want to have a beer with but if you’re marching through hell you want Napoleon Stone backing you up.

BH: Follow up question: Will we be seeing any of his earlier adventures ? Will you ever reveal just how he lost an eye ?

BN: Well we did the Fragments of Fate comic which was an earlier Napoleon Stone adventure and the Napoleon Stone and the Army of Set choose your own adventure is set before the events of Fallen Heroes. Although if you want to get into some of the stories which molded a younger Napoleon into the Demon stalker we meet in Fallen Heroes then there are a couple of comic titles on the way which should hit the spot. The first up is Eye of Stone. This story I think is interesting as it was pitched to me by writer Cy Dethan as ‘A story in which we get to see how Napoleon Stone’s enemies view him’ the story is fantastic. The other story which is another comic is called Ashfall is written by Dan Thompson (Band of Butchers, Moon) with art by Paul Williams. This is very much an early stone adventure as it deals with his relationship to his mentor Nathan Ash. As anyone who has read Fallen Heroes knows these two have a complicated history.

BH: Finally, what else can us fans of the Unseen Shadows universe look forward to ?

BN: Well not much I can say at the moment other than there are a few more comics in the pipeline. We are still working on the pilot script for the TV show but we are nearly there with it. After that the plan will be to start pitching. Corey and Yomi have done fantastic work on the script and it’s been a great learning experience working with them. The choose your own adventure gamebook – Napoleon Stone and the Army of Set is almost complete but I don’t think we’ll be releasing that until the new year. Of course Forgotten Warriors is the second in a trilogy so I will be starting work on book 3 soon. I can say that anyone coming to book launch at Thought Bubble this weekend will be treated to the reveal of the Book 3 title and an early work in progress at the cover.

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Pre-Order the Chimera Factor Today and get a Free Digital Comic

THE CHIMERA FACTOR WILL BE UNLEASHED

AT THOUGHT BUBBLE 2017

When it comes to saving the world sometimes your worst enemy is your best ally.

The Chimera Factor from writer Richmond Clements, artist PL Woods and letterer Paul Mclaren is the fourteenth title from the Unseen Shadows Universe. The graphic novel will launch at the Thought Bubble Comic Festival 2017

This globe spanning adventure features characters taken from the pages of bestselling Urban Fantasy novel Fallen Heroes and its upcoming sequel Forgotten Warriors.

Three organisations vying for control.
Two women with nothing to lose.
One relic of immeasurable power.
Winner takes all.

When a crashed World War II plane is discovered in the Antarctic a United Nations covert unit, led by Major Stephanie Connisbee, is sent to investigate.

Unbeknownst to Steph another team, headed up by ruthless adventuress, Victoria Sullivan has also been dispatched to the crash site.

Beneath the snow and ice Steph and Victoria discover a relic of mass destruction that should have stayed buried.

Now the two mismatched warriors must work together to stop a shadowy organisation from using the relic to plunge the world into chaos.

There’s just one problem; Steph and Victoria want each other dead and the relic for themselves.

Saving the world has never been messier.

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Pre-order your copy of The Chimera Factor to collect at  the Thought Bubble Comic Festival for £9.99
Pre-order your copy of The Chimera Factor for £9.99 for UK Delivery (P &P £2.50)

To pre-order your copy of The Chimera Factor for £9.99 for International Delivery send an email to barry@unseenshadows.com to let us know where you are in the world so we can work out the P &P


Did someone say a free comic?

As a special deal for all you lovely pre-order folks anyone who pre-orders a copy of The Chimera Factor will receive a digital copy of Operation Solomon comic.

On a Tour of Duty in the Persian Gulf, Lieutenant Steph Connisbee is signed on as the pilot on a top secret mission- Operation: Solomon. During this assignment she will uncover secrets and danger and step into the world of Unseen Shadows before she even knows it…

The Chimera Factor Preview

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The Adventure Continues! Pre-Order Forgotten Warriors

 Pre-Order Forgotten Warriors Today!

I can honestly say that I was beginning to doubt this day would ever come but it has. I am opening up the pre-order doors for Forgotten Warriors, the sequel to Fallen Heroes.

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I will be launching the book and signing at the Thought Bubble comic festival on 23rd September where I will be launching it along with the prequel graphic novel The Chimera Factor.

Coming soon – The Chimera Factor

 

So check out the fantastic cover for the novel by Junbobkim, read the blurb and then pre-order for your signed copy to either pick up at Thought Bubble or sent through the post.

Release Date: 23rd September 2017

Hold your breath.
Stand your ground.
The worst is yet to come.

Three years ago, on the eve of their greatest triumph, the Book of Cademus suffered their greatest defeat.

Today the leaders of this apocalyptic cult are hunted across the globe as their followers lose faith in their gods.

Reduced to striking out from the shadows in petty acts of vengeance, the cult hatches one last desperate gambit to regain all they have lost.

The Icarus Foundation, ignorant of the danger, has become locked in a political power struggle. The United Nations believes Icarus are too dangerous to be left unchecked and take drastic measures to bring them under control.

With Icarus’ focus turned elsewhere the burden falls on those scarred survivors to stand against the Book of Cademus once more. If they can…

Pre-order your signed copy of Forgotten Warriors to collect at Thought Bubble for £8.99

 

Pre-order your copy of Forgotten Warriors for £8.99 for UK Delivery (P &P £2.50)

 

 

To pre-order your copy of Tales of the Fallen for £8.99 for International Delivery (email me at barry@unseenshadows.com to let me know where you are in the world so I can work out the P &P

The 4 am Creative Battle Starts Here

Why the hell would anyone get up at 4am?

The loud purring from Steve (named after Steve Rogers of course) the Cat is normally the first thing I hear. I fumble for my mobile on the bedside table, hoping I’ve remembered to dim the light so I don’t wake my wife (a fate worse than death) and check the time. I would fist punch air in happiness if I wasn’t so knackered so instead I drift back to a blessed half sleep.

“You’re not good enough.”

My eyes snap open and before I check my phone again I know it’s either 4am, on the dot, or a little after. I know because I hear the voice, my very own personal alarm clock.

“You’re not good enough and you never will be.”

The voices continues to berate me while I throw on the clothes I left by the stairs last night, in preparation for this morning. I head downstairs to the kitchen and as I make a cuppa the voice gives me a few choice words of inspiration.

“Go back to bed Barry. This is a waste of time mate you’re just not that good. Your mind’s blank mate, you’ve got nothing. I should know I’m the one in here putting up with your delusions of grandeur.”

I settle down in front of the laptop. A mug of tea is clasped in one hand, like a warm liquid barrier against my inner critic. I hit the power button on the laptop and launch my word processor of choice.

“Why are you doing his mate? You could be asleep or playing on the Xbox or something.”

My hands hover over the keyboard. I take a deep breath and I start to type. The voice is still screaming obscenities at me but they lessen with each word I type until it is more white noise than the deafening cacophony of negativity it has been.

So this how my day starts (well some days Steve the cat leaves me alone) and has done for the past three decades. The days when I don’t hear that voice I worry that it’s lurking at the back of my mind plotting a massive attack, which it is. It will then hit me with the deadliest weapon in its critical arsenal – writer’s fear. Now I don’t really believe in writer’s block anymore but I am a paid up member of writer’s fear. This condition hits when my inner critic has been so scathing, so relentless, that for a time (and sometimes, for me, it can last years) I see the world through its eyes. Every time I force myself to sit down at the keyboard to look at my work all I see is a jumbled mess of nonsense.

“You were right. What the hell was I thinking?”

Not content with savouring the victory the voice conjures up other voices, ones from my past to batter me into submission. The English teacher who wrote in my school report ‘Barry has an overactive imagination which he needs to learn to control’ (she put in something like this year). The art teacher who told me ‘drawing comic characters is not what we do here Mr Nugent so stop doing it… here we do fine art (I lost that war)’. The computer studies teacher who told me ‘You’ll never amount to anything in life Nugent’ and to round it off that well known writer who told me ‘Self publishing is for vanity writers and writers who just aren’t good enough.’

This cheery pick me up normally ends with me pouring my cuppa down the sink and heading back to bed or numbing myself with some early morning TV or gaming.

All of those comments haunt me every time I sit at the keyboard and stare at a blank screen at 4 am.  No writer works in insolation. Those, early morning, whispered voices join forces with my own inner critic, like some Marvel villain team up, telling me I’m not good enough. The 4 am battle I call it and I believe it’s something every creative person, at every level fights (yes even the JK Rowling’s of this world). It is the one constant, the one thing that makes us all equal as creative people.

When I’m asked why it’s taken me seven years to write a novel it’s mainly down to that creative battle and the truth that I don’t always win.

Unfortunately the only strategy I have for winning the battle is just showing up. Even when I am caught in the hurricane of writer’s fear on an instinctual level I know it is a phase that will pass. So everyday I continue to get up at the crack of dawn and drag myself, word by word, to the eye of my inner critical storm.

Why the hell would it take you seven years to write a novel?

I like to think that every creative person fights this battle on a daily basis. The methods the enemy uses on my fellow creatives may differ but its goal is the same. It wants to stop us writing, acting, painting, lettering, colouring, sculpting and dreaming of new worlds and new adventures. It wants to stop us doing that one thing we love to do more than anything else.

Knowing that there are people out there fighting and winning that battle (#amwriting I’m looking at you) always helps me to stand up to myself and type that next word, complete that next sentence and finish that page. I know if I keep doing it that one day I’ll look up and I’ll have written a book.

After watching Creed (great film by the way) I have now adopted one of Rocky’s training mantras taught to the young Creed and giving it a little creative make over.

One word at a time. one page at a time. one book at a time.

Yep I know chapter would have made more sense than book but book quite frankly works better when you’re using it in time with typing…try it. It also works very well with a punch bag.

So in conclusion, to all our inner enemies, I’ll say this.

“We see you. We know there’ll be times you’ll win a battle or three but never the war. As long as we keep showing up you lose. As long as we keep writing, keep dreaming you lose. So we’ll see you bright and early tomorrow at 4am. You bring the negativity and we’ll bring very sharp pencils.”

And yes I did start writing this post at 4am today…well ok it was 4:20 but Steve wanted Tuna.

“This is it. The darkest day. The blackest hour. Chin up, shoulders back. Let’s see what we’re made of, you and I.”
The Doctor

Forgotten Warriors is finished and gets a new official synopsis

So earlier this week I received the final draft of Forgotten Warriors from the editor. The novel is now complete.

It is very hard unless you write to understand what it is like to finish a novel. The sheer emotional weight that hits you is something I don’t think you ever prepare for. As I sit here a blubbering mess trying to type this I have over seven years of emotional weight and memories of working on this novel settling on my shoulders. The times when I felt like a failure. The times when all I saw was a blank screen for hours on end, laughing at me. The times when I thought this was the best work I had ever done. The times when I lost my brother, my father and felt like I would never write again. Always in those times, both good and bad, I would hear my mum whispering to me to keep going, to just do one more word Titch, one more page.

To say writing is a rollercoaster of highs and lows may sound cliche but it is as good a metaphor as any.

Some writers would have you believe that writing is a solitary profession, it is not..at least not for me. The amount love and support and ‘kicks up the ass’ from friends and family can not and will never be underestimated.

So thank you all for your love and support, some more than others (you know how you are).

And lastly… Mum…still here, still trying to save the world.

The plan is to launch the novel at the Thought Bubble Exhibition together with The  Chimera Factor graphic novel. The comic is stand alone, in many ways, but it also acts as a prequel to Forgotten Warriors.

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Look out for a post of how to pre-order your copy soon. It will be doing a limited edition special edition copy in the first instance..more details on that soon.

In the meantime if you’re a fan of Fallen Heroes…thank you for your support and sticking with me all these years..not much longer now. If you want to pick up Forgotten Warriors and want to read Fallen Heroes first you can still pick up a copy from Amazon.

Here’s the new story blurb to give you an idea what’s coming.

Hold your breath.

Stand your ground.

The worst is yet to come.

Three years ago, on the eve of their greatest triumph, the Book of Cademus instead suffered their greatest defeat.

Today the leaders of this apocalyptic cult are hunted across the globe as their followers lose faith in their gods.

Reduced to striking out from the shadows in petty acts of vengeance, the cult hatches one last desperate gambit to regain all they have lost.

The Icarus Foundation, ignorant of the danger, has become locked in a political power struggle. The United Nations believes Icarus are too dangerous to be left unchecked and take drastic measures to bring them under control.

With Icarus’ focus turned elsewhere the burden falls on those scarred survivors to stand against the Book of Cademus once more. If they can…