Today, we have with us Ashe Armstrong, author of Grimluk, Demon Hunter series.
Hello Ashe, welcome to the Inn! First of all, how are you and how have you been?
Doin’ alright. Think I’m finally getting over the last of this lingering cold.
Let’s kick off with a bang. You write books about a big ol’ demon-hunting orc. For those you might not be familiar with those, can you tell us a little bit about Grimluk and how he came to be?
Grimluk was originally going to be a swashbuckling orc with a claymore. An idea I still may use but I was discussing the idea with a friend one night and I just went, “Hey, so, what if I make him a gunslinger?” My friend’s response was “Fuck yes!” and then ideas just started pouring out.
It’s been around three and a half years since your debut novel, A Demon in the Desert, was released. Could you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author so far? Any favourite moments along the way?
I suppose the most important part of the journey was the friends I made along the way. That’s only partially a joke. But uh, figuring out freelance editors was a thing was pretty helpful. When I ran the crowdfunding campaign for Demon Haunted, I ended up having to use Indiegogo’s flex fund option and came up with only half of my goal. Thankfully, Mr. Tim Marquitz decided to help me out by not actually charging me. He said someone gave him a break when he was first starting out so he wanted to pay it forward. Not only did he do a great job but he gave me some great advice during the process and it really helped me solidify my skills more.
Beyond that, there was the Kickstarter for The Demons Within. During the last twelve hours, I was sitting at half my funding and with the help from some friends, I managed to whip everything up into a last minute victory. That felt AMAZING. If any of you are reading this, I love you all, you’re the best.
And then there’s every time I get new artwork is probably my favorite moment. And getting the cover for The Demons Within was so damn exciting. I’m still blown away by Bob Kehl’s work on that cover. There was also my proofreader for Demons Within threatening me with bodily harm if I hurt her favorite character and her totally loving Grimluk. Feels good, man.
When reading about Grimluk, it’s clear that there’s a deeper, softer side that doesn’t really show at first glance. How is that depth, and that need to protect those around him, important to you as his creator?
I’ve always been a bleeding heart. Superman and Spider-Man are my two favorite heroes and “with great power comes great responsibility” is as true today as it was in the 60s. People need protecting sometimes. Financially, physically, emotionally, doesn’t matter. We gotta take care of each other. If I had incredible strength and endurance, you better believe I’d be out helping folks. I always dreamed about it. So with Grimluk, I just plug that in. And three years later, heroes with big hearts seem even more important.
In terms of the future, what do you have planned from a writing perspective? Is the goal to keep building the Grimluk series, or branch off into something new?
My current goal is to get books 4 and 5 done for Grimluk and then do something new. I have a lot of other project ideas but there’s a few that are sitting on the top of the pile. One is a standalone space opera where the ship will be the star because I am a total slut for good spaceships. The other two are urban fantasies, probably new series, one about a young woman who ends up being pulled into the supernatural world and heavy metal plays a huge role. The other about a vampire (anti)hero of sorts. Once I get one or two new books out, I’ll return to Grimluk. I have SO MUCH Grimluk material, it’s kind of ridiculous.
Anyone who has followed you for a while knows that you’re very into all things orc. How did this fascination start? Are there any orc-related facts that you feel the people HAVE to know?
It started with Skyrim. A friend on tumblr was posting screencaps of her orc character and I had always played nords in Oblivion and when I started Skyrim it was the same. So I thought, huh, maybe I’ll try an orc. And something clicked. Some of it was the very shallow fact that one of the orc hairstyles in Skyrim is my hairstyle. The rest was…it felt satisfying. And then I read the lore and suddenly I was hooked. It doesn’t hurt that I, too, am a very large person who appears scary and surprised people with who I am at various points in my life.
And a fact everyone should know: despite Tolkien being the “creator” of modern fantasy, he was never happy with his decisions on orcs and kept fidgeting with them up until his death.
You’re dropped into a fantasy world, and it immediately starts trying to kill you. Luckily, you can pick any three fictional characters to act as your companions. Who do you pick, and why?
I am inclined to say Grimluk immediately. Because he is my good son whom I would trust with my life. Then maybe Ged from Earthsea and Wonder Woman.
Thanks for visiting the Inn and chatting with us, Ashe! Anything you’d like to say to our readers to close off?
If “beautiful pulp trash” sounds like a thing you might like, you should give me a read. Or if you just wanna talk heavy metal, give me a shout on Twitter. And if you like D&D and cooking to go with stories and Grimluk stuff, you might consider becoming one of my patrons on Patreon. Regardless of your decision, remember the meaning of life: Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!
About Ashe Armstrong
Ashe Armstrong grew up watching and reading about adventures and having horrible nightmares. That last part may not seem relevant, but it is. He liked monsters and cryptids and the paranormal and scary things in general, but he also liked them while hiding under the covers. As the author of the Grimluk series, Ashe spends his days in Tulsa, OK, writing about orcs who hunt demons.
You can find Ashe Armstrong’s Grimluk books at the following locations: