ALLEN, Texas – D. Hale Rambo combines personality and fantasy to create a carefully crafted, character-centric story about finding your true happiness. Tools of a Thief: A Series of Decisions on Kairas (May 25, 2021, Fiercewood Press) takes readers on an unforgettable adventure with characters they’ll love from the first page.
How do you stop being a thief? Zizy assumed quitting her job, stealing from her boss, and flitting magically across the continent was one way to give it a go. Getting in and out of sticky situations is typically Zizy’s specialty. A little spellwork here, a pinch of deception there, and she’s home free. Quick-fingered, fast-talking, and charming the gnome knows traveling across a shattered continent won’t be easy. Still, she has the skills to keep herself from getting killed.
Too bad she was followed on her one-way trip. Pressed into a mission she can’t say no to, Zizy feels desperate, out of place, and as lonely as before. But when she meets a charming book hoarder with bold curiosity, Zizy can’t help but want to bring her along on this one last job. She’ll just hide her past, her present, and complicating info about herself. What could go wrong?
Either she finishes the job and protects those she loves, or it all falls apart. Is this journey the final key to unlock a new path or just another sticky situation she has to run from? She’ll use every tool she’s got to get what she wants.
“Tools of a Thief: A Series of Decisions on Kairas”
D. Hale Rambo | May 25, 2021 | Fiercewood Press
Paperback | 978-1-7361281-0-7 | $9.99
Ebook | 978-1-7361281-1-4 | $2.99
D. HALE RAMBO: D. Hale Rambo is an avid reader, Pathfinder/Dungeons & Dragons player, bubble bath connoisseur, and author. She has been writing and creating other worlds since she was old enough to mark them on her bedroom wall. As a dungeon master and in life, D. Hale Rambo believes in the fun of morale bonuses, inspiration, and always using cover. Get updates on the series, say hello, or debate with her about the versatility of gnomes at www.dhalerambo.com.
In an interview, D. Hale Rambo can discuss:
- Developing an idea based around an origin story for her characters
- Writing a lesbian protagonist
- Creating a character-centric fantasy
- Writing during a pandemic
- The influence of fantasy books and role playing games on her, personally and professionally
An Interview with D. Hale Rambo
1. How did you come up with the idea for Tools of a Thief?
I started with the deities first. Beginning with them was not the easiest thing to have started with, but I love a good creation myth. Their personalities and desires shaped the world, the inhabitants, and conflicts. I drew on my inspiration from classic fantasy and Greek and Egyptian mythology.
I knew I wanted to do two things. I wanted to hang out at the beginning of this world with these deities as their powers grew and I wanted to hang out after everything went horribly wrong for them. I outlined the first part, built the world, and set it aside to use as a campaign setting (for Dungeons and Dragons). Then I sketched what the world looked like after a massive upheaval. I asked myself who would be the most entertaining person to explore the “Oh shit” timeline of the world with. Anyone who asks that question and doesn’t pick a thief is really missing out.
Zizy and Laysa came to be because I wanted to explore the world and see what had happened to it after the “Oh shit” cataclysmic part. A gnome who has more wits than sense and really just wanted a break. A Brix (earthy creatures with a natural knack for agriculture) who just wanted to learn everything she could about the wonders of the world. They’re just both parts of me fleshed out as characters.
I wanted to explore what it was like to start something new mid-way through your life. When you’re on a path already, good or bad, and you really want to be doing something else. It mirrored where I was several years ago. I was over my perfectly lovely job in my perfectly fine life that was, in my mind, exactly where I should’ve been. And I hated it all. But I’ve always believed you can do anything, start anything new at any age. I have had some really great mentors in my life who have stoked that fire of thinking.
2. How did you incorporate Zizy and Laysa’s budding relationship with the adventure elements of their journey?
I wanted to make sure the story I was telling wasn’t just a fun adventure travel story but also a story of new beginnings through and through. An origin story of these characters’ adventure together is also one of a romantic relationship that could become the brickwork to utter joy and happiness.
Anytime Zizy had a doubt about herself or felt like running away, Laysa is there to support her or give her a reason to try. Laysa absolutely believes in Zizy and is clearly smitten with her, and it sort of breaks Zizy’s walls down how open she is about it. And Zizy has a lot of walls up. You would too if you hadn’t been able to really trust anyone for years and years.
I kept Laysa open and loving and curious. If Zizy backs away, Laysa asks her questions and gives her room to answer in a safe space. They start to trust and depend on each other and it sorta changes the whole nature of what Zizy has to do to change her life. And those changes become a rockslide that tweaks how each adventure moves on until you get to an ending that in no way could’ve happened without Zizy loving Laysa. Wanting to be worthy of Laysa’s love. There’s no will they, won’t they here.
3. How did your personal experience as a dungeon master influence your novella?
Poorly. Haha, it’s nice to have characters who will take the bait you leave out because you’re literally writing them to. Ultimately though it kinda ends up the same way. They do stuff you didn’t think of at all, and it takes you in a new direction. Having played games like this for years with various people has helped me broaden my horizons, stretch my imagination, and try to think of new twists on things people expect.
ToaT is a pretty light-hearted novella. It’s not about killing things or gaining XP. I leave all that to the campaign setting for the pre-cataclysm portion of the world.
— The setting is open to Patreon subscribers
4. As an avid reader yourself, what types of books do you tend to read?
Currently, it’s fantasy that satirizes like Orcanomics or character-focused works like Silver in the Wood. I love AU spec fic, sci-fi comedy, and of course, romance novels outside of fantasy. If I need something to read but just want a comfort book, I’ll re-read Jane Austen’s books for the 450th time. Now that I’m older Persuasion is my go-to.
5. What’s next for Zizy and Co.?
The second book in the series, Components of a Caster, leaves right off where ToaT ends but from Laysa’s POV. She’s been searching for her own sort of power for a while now, and she may have finally found a way in. I’m looking forward to exploring what it means to feel valuable and needed. Also, to showcase what it takes to do spellwork in the complex world that is Kairas.
6. Why is creating diverse characters important to you?
Creating characters who look like me or share my worldview is important because I grew up reading and watching characters who looked nothing like me. They had grand adventures while people like me were background characters. It took a few dozen years to even contemplate that I could change that by starring women or POC in the adventures that I always wanted to be on. So it’s literally a post-it on my monitor as a reminder that I can include all different types of people! And now I have these stories to share with people like my little sister, and she knows she’s in there and I’m in there and that really matters.
A former award-winning journalist with national exposure, Marissa now oversees the day-to-day operation of the Books Forward author branding and book marketing firm, along with our indie publishing support sister company Books Fluent.
Born and bred in Louisiana, currently living in New Orleans, she has lived and developed a strong base for our company and authors in Chicago and Nashville. Her journalism work has appeared in USA Today, National Geographic and other major publications. She is now interviewed by media on best practices for book marketing.