Audiobook Spotlight & Excerpt: The Guild Core + Author Interview

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Author: T.J. Reynolds

Narrator: Steve Campbell

Length: 16 hours 5 minutes

Publisher: Thomas Reynolds

Released: Oct. 6, 2020

Genre: LitRPG

 

Wake a dungeon. Form a guild. Fight to restore the world.

Kai was the least likely young man to ascend. Raised on his uncle’s potato farm, he began his career as an adventurer with empty pockets and little skill. But a foolish attempt to prove his bravery leads Kai to unlock hidden power within himself and acquire a most unlikely ally.

Rhona is a battle-scarred soldier who’s as likely to toss a quip as she is to throw a punch. After setting aside a promising career in the army to pursue the Path of the Bleeding Tiger, she sets out to stop a war and seek atonement for a bloody past.

When Bancroft the Earth Core awakens, he can’t wait to clean up his dungeon and begin building things anew. A recovered item from his past reminds him that more is at stake, however, putting an end to such pleasantries.

Join The Guild Core, a small band of friends determined to restore the world to an age of dragons, heroes, and honor.

The Guild Core is a novel by TJ Reynolds, fantasy LitRPG author of Eternal Online books one to three. The Guild Core was inspired by the Divine Dungeon series, The Wheel of Time, and classic films like The Labyrinth and The Neverending Story.

This story takes place in an epic fantasy world governed by gaming mechanics. It contains light to moderate litRPG, gamelit, cultivation, and dungeon core elements. Features realistic violence, three MC POVs, and more than a few quaint jokes. Language and adult content is appropriate for teen listeners.

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I spent a few years in the Army infantry, and one year in Mosul, Iraq. I was a machine gunner. And though I’ve never wielded a battleaxe or a Scottish claymore, my 240B is the best modern day equivalent.

I have three kids. They are small and sticky, but I somehow love them. Their power is greater than mine, yet I too am great to have born witness to their rising.

I’m a Taurus – year of the Rat – I love keys and boxes, stones and the rivers that hold them – I’m not a flat earther – Science Rules – so does love – and if you’ve read this far my friend, so do you…

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Narrator Bio

Steve is a lifelong storyteller that grew up on stage. Once a character actor/singer, he’s now a full-time award winning narrator. While no stranger to a wide variety of genres, he’s best known for his work in LitRPG, Fantasy, and YA.

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Q&A with Author T.J. Reynolds
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • I spoke with Steve about working on another book actually. It wasn’t the right timing or fit, but then I fell in love with his voice. I’d been writing The Guild Core for weeks at that point, and knew the kind of narrator that would nail it. Steve has an “every man” kind of voice that is warm, sweet, and kind sounding. He can also do dark and gravelly. My book had all of those components, so we planned the audiobook six months in advance!
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • A big hell yes to this one. Audiobooks are my jam. I love them! I am a frustratingly slow reader, and since I spend most of my days playing with prose in the written form, my only method of escape is audiobooks. So when I write a book, I ALWAYS consider if and how it might succeed in audio format.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • Steve is cool enough to host many of his recordings on his Discord chat. He streams a live video/audio of the narration, and a bunch of nerds like me can hang out and chat. He asked about various things, and I gave him some preferences on the types of accents I wanted, but Steve is an artist. He needed freedom to nail the book, and I had no problem doing so. In that regard, we are similar.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • This is such a typical question, yet it never gets old. Yes. Everything I write is filled with the essence of real life experience. I was an infantryman for a few years, and spent some time over in Mosul, Iraq. My perspective as an author will always be tinted by my time at war. I write violence seriously. It happens often, and usually without sufficient cause, ect. But it is also necessary when defending the weak, fighting tyranny, ect. This second brand of violence is obviously my favorite.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • HAHA! Do I though? I have been getting better at balance. Walks, yard word, gardening, and time with family helps a ton. I also love to switch things up when world building. Last night, I used pastels to color out a topography map for a new series I’m working on. Then I drew a pencil map of the same region and jotted down a bunch of landmarks. My final step will be to head back onto my laptop and build a digital map on Wonderdraft where I can combine my two previous drafts. Map making, world building, pointless research… these all keep the magic alive.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • It all depends on how you are as a reader. I often assign voices to my characters, so in a way, even when reading, I am listening. But Steve is a natural and had a ton of fun with voices. I particularly like how he manages banter. So much sass, attitude and sarcasm captured so perfectly!
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • Of course I would! Despite the lack of hygiene and elevated chance of injury, infection, or death, I’d choose a time where an axe or a sword meant more than a rifle. Being a knight in the medieval era sounds so appealing to my silly brain even though I’m sure it was hell at times. Still, could you say no to entering a tourney? Sieging a castle? I couldn’t…
    • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • This one makes me sad. It helps to remind everyone that stories BEGAN as an oral tradition. Our brains are wired to interpret stories with our auditory senses. I am not alone in hearing the words out loud inside my head when I read. So Audiobooks are a more “natural” method of consuming stories, though I feel both are valid. They are different mediums, and both should be respected. Besides, there are many readers who have disabilities that NEED audiobooks to stay connected. Wouldn’t want to insult them, would ya???? 😉
  • What are your favorite movies?
    • The Guild Core was my best attempt at creating an epic fantasy experience for people who like progression fantasy, gamelit, litrpg, and cultivation novels. It is a mix of many subgenres, and I feel I did a solid job at that.
    • Movies were and are a big part of my life though. I’m very visual in my head while I write. And during this project, I tried to channel some of my favorite worlds. The Neverending Story had such a big impact on me when I was young. Other movies like Willow, The Labyrinth, and The Dark Crystal formed much of how I perceive high fantasy settings. Yes, I was an 80s child, haha, and yes, all of those movies will change your life!
  • What’s next for you?
    • I’m almost halfway done with The Guild Core book 2: Core Sworn. The second book picks up even more momentum and the struggle the Main Characters go through develops into something of global consequence.
    • This series will be 5 books long, each at a juicy 130-150k in length (14-16 hours audio), so it should guarantee a delightful binge experience.
    • When I’m done, I have a hundred other plans. I like to keep some of my plans closer to heart, but I am stoked to say I’ll be writing a more classic cultivation story with a particularly unique twist I haven’t seen done before. So, if you’re reading this (not a chance), I’m coming for you Will Wight!

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