Meet D.P. Prior, Author of Legends of the Nameless Dwarf Series
DPP: I was born in Eastbourne in the South East of England. I’ve worked as an actor, musician, mental health nurse, and personal trainer. In 1999 I served a five month postulancy with an order of friars in Australia. Since 2009 I’ve been an editor of fiction, and I’ve been a fulltime author since 2012. I grew up reading Sword and Sorcery and Heroic Fantasy, but these days I rarely read fiction, unless I’m editing it.
I live with my wife, two children, and four cats on five acres of snake-infested swampland in Florida. When I’m not writing, I’m training with globe dumbbells, campaigning against the fire ants, or watching MMA (purely for research, of course).
DPP: I wrote a short story called The Ant-Man of Malfen about seven years ago. It was published in Pulp Empire, and soon afterward, readers began to contact me asking for more stories about the main character, the Nameless Dwarf. I capitulated and wrote what became The Nameless Dwarf: The Complete Chronicles. This book was a runaway success. Since 2012, it has consistently outsold all my other books put together, and it enabled me to work fulltime as a writer.
However, in spite of the title, The Complete Chronicles wasn’t a complete story arc: it focuses on one period of the Nameless Dwarf’s life, after some particularly tragic events, which he is now trying to atone for.
Readers started contacting me, saying how much they would love to read about all the events that led to Nameless being stripped of his name, and then they wanted to see what happened beyond The Complete Chronicles. I resisted for far too long, as I couldn’t face delving into the Nameless Dwarf’s past: it was just a little too dark in places.
But in early 2015 when I was signed by an agent, we discussed which books to focus on and came to the conclusion the Nameless Dwarf was my most compelling character. That was when I bit the bullet and set about writing his origins (Carnifex), and then taking the story up to The Complete Chronicles and beyond.
BBB: Tell us about your main character.
DPP: Carnifex Thane is a soldier in the dwarven city of Arx Gravis, which lies at the foot of a ravine. He’s the son of a common miner. His mother, Yyalla Thane, died giving birth to him – she was given the choice of saving her baby or herself by the surgeons, and her decision was typical of Yyalla, the former Marshal of the Ravine Guard, and a self-effacing hero.
Carnifex is frustrated by the humdrum life in the ravine. For a thousand years, the dwarves have been afraid to act in the world above, because of one cataclysmic mistake in their distant past.
But the fate of the dwarves coalesces around Carnifex, who has always been told by his father he is the future hope of the race. Others have heard a different prophecy, though, one in which Carnifex is destined to commit such atrocities that he will bear the worst shame a dwarf can suffer.
Besides the inexorable workings of fate, Carnifex has more mundane concerns, such as the inkling that his feelings for his lifelong friend Cordana Kilderkin might be deeper than he suspected, and yet he may have left it too long to make his intentions known.
Carnifex is a complex character who suffers from crippling bouts of depression in between patches of elation. He has a passion for heavy lifting and even heavier drinking, and he’s a ferocious warrior, a trait he inherited from his mother. There are those who believe that Yyalla Thane’s veins flowed with the blood of the Dwarf Lords.
BBB: How did you come up with the idea for your book cover?
DPP: The book cover is the artist’s interpretation of the opening scene of Carnifex, which foreshadows the tragic events toward the end. Mike Nash painted the image, and has interpreted the themes of the story brilliantly, even down to the shattered glass of the window, which serves as a metaphor for Carnifex’s interior journey. I first worked with Mike Nash back in 2009 when he produced the artwork for the cover of my first novel, The Resurrection of Deacon Shader. He’s also the artist for Sword of the Archon. Over the years, Mike has become one of the most sought after fantasy artists, and I’m very fortunate to have had him work on Carnifex and the fourth book in the series, Return of the Dwarf Lords. At the outset, I sent Mike some idea of the themes I wanted to get across, along with the opening chapter. The rest was all him. He has a genius for creating an extremely focused image that contains, in ways I could never have foreseen, all the key elements I hoped to convey.
BBB: What are you currently working on?
DPP: I’m working on a fantasy novel called Snaith and Moonshine (Sorcerers of the Weyd Book 1). It’s very much rooted in the relationship between the two principals, Herrick Snaith and Tey Moonshine, childhood sweethearts who are both horribly maimed in an accident. Following this, they are of no use to their clan, but of inestimable worth to the local sorcerer, who couldn’t be happier things have turned out the way they did. I aim to finish this by the summer, when my agent will pitch it to publishers.