Winter says on his website that he “grew up reading fantasy, loving fantasy, and believing that it’s our stories that make us who we are.” After the birth of his son, he realized that most epic fantasy didn’t feature characters who looked like him, so he grabbed onto a longtime dream and started writing those kinds of books himself.
The Rage of Dragons began life as a self-published book available through Kindle Direct Publishing, but soon a senior editor from the publishing company Orbit contacted Winter, and he signed a four-book deal with them to publish the series.
Hand-to-hand combat, dragons, women gifted with magic, and a young man bent on revenge fuel The Rage of Dragons. The Amazon Books editors picked The Rage of Dragons as one of the best science fiction and fantasy books of July. It also has one of the best covers we’ve seen in a long while.
Here, Evan Winter tells us about the books he read that changed his life and set his feet on a path that led to write this astonishing epic fantasy.
I’m really excited to be talking with you about books and reading because I think how we read has changed in the last while. Not long ago, I’d only read books in hardcover or paperback, and I remember exactly when that stopped being true. In 2010, I was going on vacation and didn’t want to weigh down my bag with books. So I downloaded the Kindle app and got my very first eBook. I mention this because it was one of three books that took me down the path which changed my life. —Evan Winter
Blindsight by Peter Watts
It was 2010, I was on vacation, and this was the first eBook I ever read. Blindsight is a first-contact, hard sci-fi with meta-humans, vampires, and truly alien aliens. This multi award-nominated and award-winning novel is a complete mind job wrapped around a captivating narrative. It’s propulsive and endlessly imaginative, and it taught me that the format the story comes in doesn’t matter nearly as much as the story itself.
Wool by Hugh Howey
This was another first. Wool is a post-apocalyptic mystery/thriller about the end of the earth and, as the first self-published book I ever read, it pulled me in with enough force to give me whiplash. I’ll always remember Wool. It taught me that the journey a book takes to become published doesn’t change the reader’s experience and, realizing that, I began believing that the stories I wanted to tell just might be worth telling.
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
Senlin Ascends began life as a self-published novel that gradually garnered enough reader acclaim to get picked up by one of the world’s best science fiction and fantasy publishers. It’s the story of a mild-mannered school teacher who loses his wife in a city-sized and impossible tower. It’s a wonderful genre fantasy and, without doubt, it’s also literary. Seeing it be both taught me that great writing comes from great writers, and great writers can come from anywhere.
Those are my three books. I read them all on Kindle, each one changed the way I think about reading, and they all played a part in getting me to do a little writing of my own. —Evan Winter
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