Author Chat + Giveaway: Magic, Humanity, & Friendship // An Interview with Connor Drexler + Win a Signed Paperback of Mad God Walking!


Today’s post is one that I have been looking forward to because I have two awesome things for you all!

I recently got to read an ecopy of Mad God Walking thanks to City Owl Press, and I loved the unique protagonist and all the interesting magic, so I’m very excited to have author Connor Drexler on the blog today. He was kind enough to answer my questions about the book (as well as some other random things) and offer a signed paperback for a giveaway, so hopefully you’ll enjoy learning about this urban fantasy world of his as much as I did, and then be sure to keep scrolling to the end of the post for your chance to win!

About the Book

Author Chat + Giveaway: Interview with Connor Drexler + Win a Signed Paperback of Mad God Walking! | reading, books, giveaways, fantasy, urban fantasy

Deep in the Sideways beyond human imagination lies the Night Hotel where madness reigns. Madness Damon longs to forget.

A stranger on earth and a refugee from a twisted Sideways world, Damon slowly builds a life in Brooklyn with his only friends, Thom and Sarah. Learning how to live as a human does not come easy to the being from the Sideways. Memories of the Night Hotel where he grew up, and his guardians—Aunt and Uncle, still haunt him. Despite his bitter childhood, Damon is determined to forget and become worthy of Sarah’s love and Thom’s friendship.

When his new life is threatened by an Inquisition of human wizards convinced Damon is the same Mad God once responsible for the Dark Ages, he is forced to use the sorcery of the Sideways to protect it and his friends. But each time he uses the addictive magic of his home, he loses a little more of his hard won humanity. Can he save them all before he turns into the Mad God the Inquisition believes him to be?

More Info:
Goodreads | Amazon | Publisher

Interview Time!

Hi, Connor! Welcome, and thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me. The first thing I wanted to ask you about is Damon, the protagonist in Mad God Walking. He’s not human, and though he does a good job of blending in, he still thinks and acts very not-human sometimes. He doesn’t completely understand emotions or the way humans live. How did you get into the mindset of a character like that?

Damon’s evolution was kinda funny, the original core concept was “What if people had fun with magic, then too much fun and then had to stop.” He was originally, kinda bro-y and I had planned most of the book for him to be in recovery in an AA sort of way.

Then I wrote my first “Night Hotel” chapter and really thought a lot about the nature of humanity through a non-human perspective.

After I had more of a sense of Damon, I had to do a bit of research to understand him. I read a lot of old Irish Fairy tales, about the Fey’s seemingly indifference to morality. I also read some articles about how people diagnosed as sociopaths try to live and adapt.

There were a few different types of magic users in the book, including wizards, technomancers, and Sideways beings. Can you explain the differences between their magic?

Wizards and technomancers bend the rules of reality/physics with their spells and codes, there is a limit. You can create a fireball, but in order to do so you need to provide enough fuel/energy/oxygen. When someone utters a spell to keep champagne cool, they are bending physics to leach out some of the heat energy out of the item.

Wizarding operates using a verbal/grammatical system developed in ancient Babylon. Words and will blend to mess with the physical nature of our universe. They have also been violently suppressing all other forms of magic since the fall of Babel.

The Wizarding world requires their members to have gone through a University and gained acceptance to a guild. Unlicensed wizards are hunted down.

Technomancy came up during the industrial revolution, they were able to keep it hidden long enough to build a strong enough beach head to convince with various wizarding guilds to leave them alone. There have been cold war style flair ups, the Wizards still consider themselves the world police of magic.

Technomancy operates though math and artifice. This limits their ability to create on the fly, but what spells and effects they do cause tend to have a lot more structure and permanency. Technomancers also rather a less centralized approach, they wait till someone discovers it on their own.

Sorcery, the art of the Sideways is an intrusive force. It pulls power from outside our world and therefore does not have as many limitations. Because it is an outside force, its existence corrupts our own reality.

I guess to sum it all up (TL/DR)

Wizardry is a classic pianist, beautifully rendering a Beethoven sonata.

Technomancy is an electronic musician that has been pushing boundaries, but when it comes to the show just pushes a button.

And Sorcery is a slightly drunk Metal guitarist starting raging solo.

The Night Hotel where Damon grew up was such a unique place, what with its moving walls and living shadows, just to name a few things. Was there any specific inspiration behind that?

I like the idea of a malleable reality and I have a life long obsession with gilded age hotels. The old Palmer House hotel was my inspiration for the Night Hotel.

My favorite thing about Mad God Walking was Damon and Thom’s friendship. Did you know from the start that that would be such an important factor in the book and the characters’ lives?

It took a while to really develop and understand their friendship, I knew having something to anchor Damon was important. First draft I remember a beta reader asking why they were even friends, so I really thought about some of my own close friendships. When I did, memories of loyalty and tolerance for strange personalities kept coming up.

What is your favorite scene or line in the book, and why?

I like it in London when Thom hit’s Damon in the junk. For me it helped solidify Thom as his own character. As a 32 year old, nut shots are still funny.

On a more serious side, the first time Damon fails Vera in the Night Hotel. Everything about their relationship is heart breaking to me.

Now for Some Fun… The Lightning Round!

Favorite movie(s)?

Ghostbusters, Spirited Away, and Fargo.

Favorite place to read?

On a train.

Favorite food/drink?

Champagne, I sell wine for a living and it just goes with everything!

Food wise, impossible to say but right now I really want some Taiwanese beef noodle soup.

Favorite time of day?

Dusk, there is always a subtle energy as the night begins.

Favorite paranormal creature?

Irish Sidhe and Chinese Demons. In post Christian mythology we like to label things and good and evil, I have always been fascinated by the mythologies built around creatures that check “None of the above.”

Final Thoughts

Is there anything else you want to say to your current and potential readers?

Hi!!!!! Thanks for reading my strange little book. I’m drafting the next one right now.

I’m looking forward to it, and thanks again, Connor, for taking the time to do this interview!

About the Author

Author Chat: Interview with Connor Drexler
Connor Drexler is a graduate of the University of Iowa, a fine wine salesman, avid adventurer and a fiction writer by way of Brooklyn. When not running around the subways carrying a bag full of wine he can be found table top gaming, singing late night karaoke and on one occasion calling up cthulhuist curses on his computer for not writing his novel for him. Connor is currently working on the sequel to his debut novel Mad God Walking and generally believes people should drink more Champagne.

Connect with Connor Drexler Online:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Win a signed paperback of the new urban fantasy book Mad God Walking by Connor Drexler! #giveaway

One (1) winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Mad God Walking by Connor Drexler.
To enter, please fill out the form below.
Must be 18+ and have a US address to enter.

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Talk to me!

Do you have any more questions for Connor?
Are you an urban fantasy fan?
Which part of Mad God Walking sounds most interesting to you?


Your Thoughts


17 thoughts on “Author Chat + Giveaway: Magic, Humanity, & Friendship // An Interview with Connor Drexler + Win a Signed Paperback of Mad God Walking!

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  1. Greg

    Nice interview! I like the sound of this book a lot. Two things that stood out for me was the Irish folklore inspiration- the fey mindset- and also the idea that wizardry dates back to Babylon and they suppress those who don’t “play right”. Cool ideas. Nice that there’s different branches of magic too, wit h their own strengths and limitations.

    I like the bit about mrthologies that are more than just black and white. Looks like a lot of potential for future stories w/ these characters.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I think you might like this book, you should enter the giveaway 🙂 The magic is definitely unique and interesting in this book! And I like that too, things are always more fun when they’re not black-and-white!

  2. Lola

    It sounds so interesting how the author managed to have the character be non-human, I like it when an author pulls that off. It just adds a layer of realism to the book when they get that part right. I think that’s the part of this book that sounds most interesting to me. I like the urban fantasy genre, although not sure if this would be a book for me. The differences between the different types of magic still sound a bit confusing to me, but it probably makes more sense when you read the book and see it in action. It was a fun interview to read!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I loved the non-human aspect. And you’re right, it does add a layer of realism because it makes sense that a character who is non-human and who grew up in another realm wouldn’t understand all our human ways. I was confused by the different magics at first when I started reading, but they did make more sense as the story went on, so maybe seeing them in action does help. Thanks!

  3. Lampshade Reader

    Great interview! Sounds like a really interesting read. As a whole I’m always interested in the relationships that characters have and the one between Thom and Damon sounds appealing. ~Aleen

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I’ve got to say, if I wasn’t convinced I wanted to read this book after your review then the author has fully convinced me. I love learning the background of books and how they developed and this was really interesting. Especially the character research. A character who was inspired by sociopaths learning to function in the real world? That sounds awesome. And love the lightning round, who doesn’t love learning a bit about an author. I am liking his favourite films (I love Spirited Away). Now if only I could enter. Have fun with your giveaway.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Awesome 🙂 And all the stuff he said is super interesting, right? It turned out to be the perfect book to do an interview for lol. I’m sorry you couldn’t enter, you know how it is with international shipping :-/ But I’ll be looking forward to you thoughts if you do get to read it!

  5. Bookworm Brandee

    Wow! My appreciation for fantasy writers just grew! I don’t think I’m smart enough to create a world like Drexler has…so it’s a good thing he is! 😉 You know I was interested in Mad God Walking after reading your review, Kristen. Now I’m even more so. Learning about the research that went into creating this world and Damon is fascinating. And I like learning things about authors – even their favorite time of day! 😉 Thanks for sharing the interview and giveaway.
    (the rafflecopter isn’t working for me. I checked that I’m logged in but it still tells me “Aww shucks…” 🙁 )

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s all so interesting, right? I do remember that you were interested, glad this made you even more 🙂 But oh no! The rafflecopter seems to be working when I look at it, I have no idea why it’s not working for you :-/ I’ve never seen any giveaway say aww shucks. I’ll send you a link to the rafflecopter page on Twitter and you can see if that makes a difference.

  6. Connor

    Hi Kristen,
    Thanks again for the great interview.
    Hi everyone else, this is my first give away and it’s been fun experience reading your comments (something that I don’t think I’ve ever said)


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