Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Prison of Hope Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Prison of Hope
Author: Steve McHugh
Series: Hellequin Chronicles #4
Pages: N/A
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Hidden Realms Publishing
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Long ago, Olympian gods imprisoned the demon Pandora in a human—Hope—creating a creature whose only purpose was chaos and death. Remorseful, the gods locked Pandora away in Tartarus, ruled by Hades.

Now, centuries later, Pandora escapes. Nate Garrett, a 1,600-year-old sorcerer, is sent to recapture her and discovers her plan to disrupt the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, killing thousands in a misplaced quest for vengeance.

Fast forward to modern-day Berlin, where Nate has agreed to act as guardian on a school trip to Germany to visit Hades at the entrance to Tartarus. When Titan King Cronus becomes the second ever to escape Tartarus, Nate is forced to track him down and bring him back, to avert a civil war between those who would use his escape to gain power.

~Guest Post!~
Back in 1986 there was a film called Highlander. For those of you who haven’t seen it, just take my word for the awesomeness that was contained within that 90 mins. Now, when it first came out I was nowhere near old enough to watch it, so I probably didn’t see it until I was 10ish in 1989.
But apart from having Queen do the soundtrack and having a Frenchman play a Scotsman and a Scotsman play a Spaniard, the thing that stuck with me the most were the flashbacks. The main character, Connor Macleod (of the Clan Macleod) was a 500 year old Scottish warrior and the story followed his battle against an evil nemesis in 1980s New York. But throughout the story there were flashbacks to previous parts of his life, from the Highlands of Scotland to Nazi Germany.
I found it incredibly interesting that we got to see parts of his life throughout the ages. And then when the Highlander TV show started in ’92 (with Duncan Macleod) they kept the idea of each episode having flashbacks to the main character’s 500+ years of life.

So, when it came to write my own books, I knew I was going to use the idea. The main character, Nathan Garrett, is a 1600-year-old sorcerer, so that gave me a huge scope to add the flashback portions of his life into the book.

I wanted the flashbacks to have a relevance to the storyline of the current time, be that introducing characters or situations that were still in the modern portion of the book. The hard part was figuring out what setting to use. Less than a quarter of the book would be set in the flashback sequences, but they still had to make sense and tie in with the modern story.

For Crimes Against Magic (the first book in the Hellequin Chronicles) it took me a while to work out the exact date that I wanted to use. I had the idea of setting it during the hundred years war in the 15th century, but didn’t really know more than that. Over a few weeks I managed to narrow it down to the battle of Agincourt in 1415, but I didn’t want to use the battle itself as some would have noticed if there was a sorcerer flinging fire about the place. So after some research (and reading the wonderful Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell), I settled on the 1414 destruction of the city of Soissons. From there the flashback came pretty easily, as did having it sync up with the current story.

My second book, Born of Hatred was a little easier. I wanted to write it in the late 19th century in America. I researched the country, getting closer and closer to the state that worked and eventually settling on Montana. At the time, Montana wasn’t part of the United States, so that gave me a few plot ideas and then managed to set the whole flashback in stone.

Book 3, With Silent Screams was the book that has given me the most trouble with the flashbacks. I originally had it down as being 1970s Wisconsin and even wrote it in that way, but over time it changed to 1970s Maine for various story reasons that just made sense.
My newest book, Prison of Hope has flashbacks set in 1936 Germany. That gave me the easiest time of things, because it was a massive time in our collective histories and there’s a lot written about it, but the hardest time for the same reasons.

I usually know what the flashback story will be before I go searching for a time period; albeit a loose idea that isn’t cemented in place until I have the exact date. Then the research on that date and place starts. Sometimes that means I have to change the date or place slightly, but at some point it clicks and then it usually works out pretty well.

I have several more books plotted out in the same series, and have already got ideas for the flashback parts for each one. Sometimes I think I’m just making my life harder for myself, but then I realise that I really do love writing the flashback parts and all the research that goes into making them engaging. Besides when you have a 1600 year old character to write, you might as well make use of his huge life to do things you could never do with a human character.
~Try an Excerpt!~
The power collected by the runes would have returned to me until I’d regained my strength. Breaking the runes had changed that. On the plus side, it meant getting my missing energy back much more quickly; on the minus side, it turned the car park into a damn bomb.

The remaining magic exploded outward like a nuclear shockwave. Windscreens and headlights shattered, tires blew from the pressure, and the lights and windows at the front of the restaurant rained down glass over the ground. The blast picked me up like I was made of paper and threw me aside. I felt a crunch as I collided, back first, with something hard. Pain rocked through me, and then, just as quickly as the magical energy had rushed outward, it stopped and all rushed back into me as if it were attached on an elastic band.

The final thing I remembered before passing out was that I cried out in pain.
~Meet Steve!~ 
Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full-length novel that was publishable, the results of which was the action-packed Urban Fantasy, Crimes Against Magic.

Steve McHugh lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.
Steve McHugh will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. I like the excerpt today! Thank you!

  2. Interesting Guest Post. I was never a big fan of the Highlander movies.

    1. Only the first one was any good. The TV show was great fun though.

  3. I am looking to reading this book. It sounds great. Thank you for hosting.

  4. Am glad that your writing "improved" to the "one boy and his frog" stage, LOL!

    1. That's probably best for everyone concerned. :)

  5. I really liked your comments. The excerpt was great.

    1. Thanks very much, glad you enjoyed it

  6. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

    1. Nikola Tesla. The man was a genius, I think he'd be interesting to have a chat to.

  7. Interesting guest post. Highlander is a pretty awesome movie!

    1. I love the first film. And the TV show is great. The other movies I ignore though.

  8. I enjoyed the author comments, I liked the highlander movie, & series, too. thanks for the chance :)