Independent Author Spotlight: Tiger Hebert

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

Hello, Dave, thanks for having me! My name is Tiger Hebert and I write dark, epic fantasy that dares to hope! I am actually working on a brand new trilogy titled Demon Hunters right now. The rough draft of the entire trilogy is nearly finished. The first book, Faith and Furry  should be releasing in the next month or so, with each book releasing roughly a month later.

The Demon Hunters trilogy is a story set in a new world, where the mortal realm is sandwiched between the realms Heaven and Hell. Certain conditions can allow rifts to open, allowing angels and demons to enter the mortal realm. 

Vacinne LeDroux is a Rift Warden, a champion of the Light, a defender of the mortal realm. It's something she'd dreamed about her whole life. After five years of rigorous study and training at the Kothari Temple, she is sent on her first solo mission. She is tasked with finding the whereabouts of a missing Warden and his company.

The Warden's trail leads her to a small village. Upon arrival she discovers that the entire town has been massacred. When Vacinne finds herself face to face with a massive demon , she tries to summon all her courage, but she is no match for him. Realizing she is in way over her head, she seeks out a sell-sword. 

The Black Blade is no ordinary bounty hunter. He's a Rift Hunter, one skilled enough to track down rifts and the demons they let loose. With time running out, he's Vacinne's only hope at accomplishing her mission—but he doesn't come cheap.  

Let’s face it, there are tons of fantasy books out there, and more are released every day. Why should someone take a look at yours?

I love fantasy, and part of the appeal is that there is indeed such a wide variety to choose from. I personally strive to tell stories that take readers through some dark places, but always offer some means of hope. That hope can come in many different forms, but it being there, somewhere is important to me.

What are the most prominent influences on your writing? How do you incorporate those influences without being derivative?

The most obvious influences on my writing are Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and though my style is quite different, keen readers usually pick up on it. More contemporary influences that may be more subtle are Brandon Sanderson, Steven Erikson, and Patrick Rothfuss among others, as well as things like World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Dungeons & Dragons.

I think that for me, although people can see those influences in my work, it's not because my work or style is a copy of those. For example in my first series, one of the main characters is an orc warrior named Theros. He's big and powerful, but he's intelligent, and honorable. He goes against the common depiction of an orc, and some of the initial story arcs are very much built upon that framework. A few other things that I've done that really allow my work to stand on its own is that my stories often move at a much faster, more action-packed pace. I love story and dialogue and history, but I don't want to go too long without action! I think that the magic system that exists in my works is also rather unique and was designed specifically for that, while serving the story.

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Many authors say marketing is one of their biggest challenges. What tactics have you found to be most effective for getting your name out there?

I think that early on, a lot of what I read about being an author focused heavily on the need to run your business, build your brand/platform, do social media, etc. Basically, all the advice was focused on the marketing component. What I found is that I was spending more time doing that stuff than I was writing. I have finally come back to the old saying that the best way to promote one book, is to release another. In my limited experience, I've found that to be true. Every time I release a new book, there is a new spike in sales and page reads of all books (new and old). I was never one of those super fast writers who pumped out a lot of books. Initially I just didn't think that it would be possible for me—nor would I be able to still write high quality work if I wrote fast. I found out that both of those beliefs were wrong. What I lacked was consistent focus and effort. 

Now I strive to meet much more aggressive daily/monthly writing goals, while managing multiple projects simultaneously. I'm still learning, but it is proving to already be a more efficient use of time and energy than most of the things I spent time doing on the marketing side of things. Marketing is still important, but it can't be more important than the writing itself.

How much do your audience’s expectations factor in to what you write? Does this ever cause you to hold back from experimenting?

This is a really great question! Yes and no. I understand that my audience does have certain expectations. For example, a sizable segment of my readers are Christians or even just people that prefer a "clean read"—but I don't just write fantasy for Christians. So, while I write for readers of all different backgrounds and tastes, I do try to be mindful of how I handle certain situations. In a similar regard, I don't write YA fantasy, but some of my biggest fans are teens. What I've found is that it doesn't necessarily stop me from experimenting or tackling certain issues, it's just that sometimes I need to use a little more finesse or creativity to get the point across without being overly vulgar or obscene. One thing I learned from Patrick Rothfuss is that it's incredible how much you can convey to a reader, without ever actually saying it. 

Name one newer and one older book you have read and enjoyed recently. (“Newer” meaning from the past year or so, and “older” meaning written before 1980.)

Before 1980? Ooh, that's a tough one. I guess I would have to default to the Lord of the Rings. One of the earliest fantasy series I read was the Dragonlance Chronicles, but that debuted in 1984. I am a fan of R.A. Salvatore's Dark Elf Trilogy too, but that debuted in 1990.

On the newer book front I'd have to say either Child of the Daystar by Bryce O'Connor or Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley Beaulieu. I really enjoyed both.

Any final words?

Dave, thanks again for having me!

To the many readers out there: if you enjoy dark epic fantasy that dares to hope, check out my first book, Dragon's Fire. It's got orcs, dwarves, elves, minotaurs, and so much more—and it is just the beginning of a massive, epic adventure.