Danie Ware Talks “Ecko Rising”

“Ecko Rising” is a marvelous novel.  I wanted that to be the first sentence of my review in case that’s all you read.  Now I’ve got that out-of-the-way let’s talk.  If you’re a bit of a purist when it comes to ‘genre’ – this novel may take some getting used to.

“Ecko Rising” is a unique mixture of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  It is a marvelous ride through a well-built fantasy world.  The book is clever, and manages to have a little bit of everything without being over-the-top.

Ecko is a pessimistic, sharp-witted, blunt assassin.  He’s involved in a very complicated take-down – and perhaps a little over-confident – when things go  wrong.  When Ecko regains consciousness he finds himself in a small Inn that, somehow, manages to just from dimension to dimension.

The cast of characters is fairly large but so well-written that you will feel that you know them well.  Ware writes the hell out of this story.  She weaves multiple intricate plot lines together like a master.  It’s hard to believe this if her first novel.

I got to send a few questions to Ms. Ware this week.

IMP: “Ecko Rising” is such a unique read. It defies the more traditional boundaries of the genres. Where did the idea for the fantasy/ sci-fi combination come from?

DANIE WARE: I honestly didn’t think about it – when I started writing, I’d got no idea that it’d ‘never been done before’, I wasn’t writing for publication and just wanted to play with the character and the concept. As kids, we did this stuff all the time – we crashed random creative things together just to see what would survive, where the sparks would fly. Parallels have been drawn between Ecko and Donaldson’s ‘Covenant’ series, and the British TV show ‘Life On Mars’, but the idea is really owed to friends and artistic excess.

IMP: It’s difficult to like the character, Ecko, at first. But he’s intriguing. Where did the make up of his character come from? Inspiration?

DANIE WARE: Ecko came from a single moment in a movie – a flash of lunatic inspiration if ever there was one. If you’ve ever seen ‘Repossessed’, it’s the moment where Linda Blair comes up off the bed, her face all twisted, and rasps, ‘What crawled up your butt an’ died?’

Ecko, originally called Oxy, was born in that moment – and he took on a life of his own. He’s abrasive, he’s sarcastic, he doesn’t do what he’s told… but it seems think there’s a bit of Ecko in all of us, that part of us that wants to rage ‘feck you I won’t do what you tell me’. He appeals to that bit of us that’s still the teenage rebel, no matter how old or sensible we think we’ve become.

IMP: The voice of the novel is very unique. I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything quite like it. What or who are your creative influences?

DANIE WARE: In my teens, I was a fantasy fiend – read as much of it as I could get my hands on. In my twenties, I discovered Gibson and Stephenson; in my thirties, Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis. The truth is, though, that I owe Ecko and both of his worlds to my friends – to all of the mad creative projects that we shared, to the realities we built and the messes that we made of them. I hope I’ve done them justice!

IMP: The story-lines for the characters are like threads in a carpet that have woven together to create a complete picture. How challenging is it to create a story that works this way?

DANIE WARE: That’s a very good analogy, thank you! From the initial concept, I wanted to move away from just Ecko’s point of view for two reasons. Firstly because he’s very full-on – he’s an in-your-face character, both to read and to write, and that can get quite exhausting. Secondly, because I wanted to make the fantasy world 3D, if you like, I wanted to give its occupying characters minds of their own so that they don’t just come across like pixels in a game – I wanted to make them real. That was the ambiguity of the ‘game/reality’ question remains – you never know whether everything is in Ecko’s head or not.

IMP: Why do you write?

DANIE WARE: Because I have to! During my twenties, I wrote endlessly, ideas and characters and stories, an endless novel that now lurks in a box in a friend’s attic. In my thirties, I stopped writing – I had a mortgage and a baby and a job. I ran out of steam and inspiration and creativity… and it made me very unhappy. Starting again was a rush of fear and elation and freedom that showed me how much I’d really missed it.

I think all artists, whatever their format or medium – create out of love. And they – we – should never stop!

IMP: What do you read when you’re not writing?

DANIE WARE: I’m a single parent with a full-time job – these days, most of my reading is done on audiobook. I’ve just finished (rather belatedly!) the first of Mike Carey’s ‘Felix Castor’ books, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and before that I read GRRM’s ‘Fevre Dream’ which was absolutely astonishing. I’m currently listening to Jeff Noon’s ‘Vurt’, which is turning out to be absolutely mesmeric.

I still read a lot of fantasy and SF, interspersed with ancients military fiction and more modern, urban horror – I wish I had the time to read more!

IMP: Are there plans for a sequel to “Ecko Rising”?

DANIE WARE: The sequel, Ecko Burning, is out in the UK in October and should be in the US by next year!

“Ecko Rising” is available now!

TITAN books:  

Ecko: Rising is a unique genre-bending fantasy–sci-fi epic following a savage, gleefully cynical anti-hero. After awakening in a dimension-jumping inn to find himself immersed in his own sardonic fantasy world, Ecko strives to conquer his deepest fears and save the world from extinction.