Guest Blog: Jon Sprunk

I've been hearing some good things about this debut, so I thought it would be a good idea to invite Jon Sprunk and give him the opportunity to introduce himself and tell us a bit more about Shadow's Son. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples.

Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. But in this fight for his life, Caim only trusts his knives and his instincts, but they won't be enough when his quest for justice leads him from Othir's hazardous back alleys to its shining corridors of power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow's Son...


Hello, Hotlist. I’m Jon Sprunk, debut author of Shadow’s Son (Pyr Books). I want to thank Pat for inviting me to guest blog on this wonderful site.

A little bit about me. I’ve lived in central Pennsylvania for most of my life. It was in high school that I really started to develop an affinity for writing—not an expertise, you understand, but a desire to pursue it. I started college as a chemistry major, but ended up with a B.A. in English. By that time, I was most of the way through my first novel, the book I like to call That–Which-Shall-Never–See-the-Light-of-Day.

After that first novel accumulated about forty thousand rejections, I buckled down and got a real job at a juvenile detention center, a place where truth is very often stranger than fiction. Fourteen years later, I’m still there. I’m married (sorry, ladies) and we have a young son who keeps us pretty busy. Between my family and the job, I squeeze in time for writing.

When people ask me what Shadow’s Son is about, I usually tell them something like “it’s the story an assassin living in the corrupt capital of a failing empire. When a job goes bad, he becomes embroiled in a plot that threatens to unravel both his country and his soul.”

That sounds well and good, but the book is really about loss and what can happen if you never properly recover from it. The protagonist, Caim, is a broken hero. He probably would have lived out his (short) life without much regret except that the events of the novel force him to grapple with issues about his past and how it shaped him into the man he has become.

I wrote the first incarnation of Shadow’s Son about five years ago. I ended up with a novella about a professional assassin who enjoyed his trade, but little else of substance. So I shelved the idea. Then, one day I got an inspiration for a character who could manipulate shadows. The combination of those ideas became this book.

I finished the book about a year and a half ago. It was the fourth novel I’d written. When I contacted Lou Anders at Pyr Books and asked if he wanted to see a sample, I honestly didn’t expect anything to come from it. I must have read the acceptance email about six or eight times before it sunk in. Then I called my wife at work. She just about cried on the phone.

For those of you who imagine that your responsibility in the book-making process ends when the contract is signed, let me dissuade you. First, there are the pre-acceptance edits, which are the changes the editor wants you to make before the manuscript is considered formally accepted. This is a big milestone because even with a contract you can still be rejected if you and your editor cannot come to an agreement about how the final draft will look. (And I use the word ‘final’ in its loosest terms.) Fortunately for me, Lou Anders at Pyr Books is a phenomenal person to work with, and his edits were relatively painless.

After that, there are the copyedits—a line by line, word by word, analysis of your book where every mistake is highlighted. You are expected to make the corrections, or give a damned good reason why something shouldn’t be changed. I was also very lucky here in having a premier copyeditor in Deanna Hoak. She found things that blew my mind.

Then, finally, you receive the galley of the book, which gives you an idea of the final format. Since by now the publisher is lining up things for printing, you need to go through the galley quickly for mistakes and last-minute changes. Naturally, I had a few things I wanted to alter, but that’s my personality. If I went over the book again today, after having read it about fifty times, I’m sure I would still find places to improve. I suppose that’s a good thing, wanting to continually make things better. Or maybe it’s OCD.

And while all these things are going, I’ve been working on the sequel (Shadow’s Lure) night and day for the past year. Writing against a deadline is an interesting (read: terrifying) experience, but I’m glad for the challenge. I’ve been exceedingly fortunate. I have a great publisher, a superb agent, and a family that loves me.

I hope you enjoy Shadow’s Son. If you feel the need, you can contact me on twitter (jsprunk70) or by email via my website ( I’d love to hear your thoughts about the book, or just life in general. Thanks again to Patrick for sharing his space.


Jon Sprunk

You can read an excerpt from Shadow's Son on by clicking on this link. I'll have an exclusive extract for you guys in the near future. . .

5 commentaires:

Jack Tripper said...

My interest has been piqued. After recently having finished Hobb's Farseer trilogy, I was like, "Well, no more assassin stories for me for a while!" But now I'm sold on this.

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Todd Newton said...

Hey Jon, good to see you're getting some publicity. Can't wait to read your debut!

Scott Marlowe said...

Definitely intrigued. I went looking for the Kindle edition at the time of this post, but it wasn't available. I clicked on the "I want this on Kindle" link; someone must have been listening, cause it's there now. Bought and downloaded and about to start reading.

Jon Sprunk said...

Thank you, good people. I'm still having problems believing that my book is out and on the shelves. Maybe that's because I'm up to my eyeballs in the sequel and don't come up for air very often.