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  • Writer's pictureJames Molloy Writer

Centre Stage - Pawns of The Prophet

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

Hi there, and welcome back to the blog.

This week I must again begin by apologising for being absent for the last number of weeks. The past few weeks have been crazy, and if you would like to hear more about that, I would encourage you to sign up for my monthly newsletter, for more stories and behind the scenes news and information.

With that said, on with the article.

Welcome to this edition of Centre Stage. This month I was lucky enough to have a chat with Ronald A. Geobey, who talks to me today about his latest release, Pawns of The Prophet, which is the second in a seven-part series – following the release of the first book in the series Gods of Kiranis. Pawns of The Prophet will be released on June 26th 2022, and is available to pre-order now.

Check out the interview below, and I’ll leave a link at the end to purchase the book and series if you like it.

Q1. Tell us about yourself and your upcoming book.

I was born in Dublin and seem to be moving further north in Ireland all the time. I’m married with two girls and my four-legged dog-shaped son, Monty, and I currently work full-time as Project Manager for an English language education website. I started writing when I was 16, and very quickly I knew I wouldn’t be happy until at least 1 or 2 people were reading my work ;)

My backup plan involved getting a degree and then a PhD, in which I immersed myself in the history and religions of the ancient world. So, while Dr. Ronald A. Geobey has a related historical fiction novel planned, this version of me is sticking with Sci-Fi and Fantasy, the sources of my passion for storytelling. Nonetheless, my education in classical and biblical history permeates everything I write.

Pawns of the Prophet is the second instalment of my 7-part Science Fantasy story, Kiranis. Kiranis is the culmination of almost three decades of writing, the combination and merging of a Fantasy trilogy and a SF trilogy, along with other smaller works I dabbled with along the way. ‘Pawns’ opens 100 years after the events of Gods of Kiranis, in which members of the Church of the New Elect were taken to Kiranis following the Cage event and the subsequent biotech attack.

In ‘Pawns’ not only is the protective Shield built by the mysterious Illeri nearing completion; so too is there a transit system – the MEC system – that breaks down ships (and their crews) and blasts them to a destination station across the stars. Neither of these technological marvels is what it appears.

Abigale Saran captains the Argo, a veritable warhorse of a ship with a strange and unique engine; and the Argo is privately owned by military contractor Samuel Vawter. When Abigale’s daughter is taken across the galaxy, she sets out to find her, becoming embroiled in Vawter’s own scheming against the government and the extremely dangerous Kwaios. Meanwhile, Arrien Echad is out at alien worlds searching for the descendants of the people taken from Earth a century ago; and mercenary Kallon Raesa is tasked with discovering more about the Illeri before they get to Earth. There’s a hell of a lot going on, so strap in and enjoy the ride!

Q2. How long on average did it take you to write this book?

‘Birth of The Empire’ (the original title for Pawns of the Prophet) only took six months initially, but that was back in the late 90s-early 2000s. It’s gone through many changes since then, and in between working and raising kids, the current version probably took the guts of two years to bring to fruition, with I’d guess about 40-50% of the original story remaining.

Q3. What surprised you the most about writing your book?

I think what frustrated me the most might be a better way to start answering this one. When I started the re-write in 2018, I found it very difficult to make such a complex plot coherent, and the nuances of conversation, exposition and detail that either held things together or risked blowing it all apart were often difficult to identify. But it always turned out that a solution was in place, as if I’d left these ‘eureka’ devices in the text to help me draw things back into line. So, if I was to say what surprised me, perhaps it would be how my mind works when it comes to plotting. It really is chaotic in there, but it seems to always find a way. I just wish it would keep me in the loop...

Q4. Was the main character inspired by a real person?

The MC in the series is the Prophet Naveen, who began life way back as a magician who would bring down all other magicians on the planet Kiranis. His purpose and person has evolved considerably since then. His appearance was initially inspired by a picture I knew firstly as a disconnected piece of art, which turned out to be the cover of a wonderful book by C. S. Friedman. Naveen’s name was originally Lekrain, but I remember liking the name of the actor Naveen Andrews when I saw him in Lost. Combine that with the Hebrew word ‘Navi’ – meaning ‘prophet’ – and you can see how it all came together.

In Pawns of The Prophet, the main character is Samuel Vawter, who seems in hindsight to be a combination of many charming-but-deadly anti-heroes. I can’t recall who or what inspired him in the earliest drafts of the story, but I think the likes of Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne (yes, I know they’re the good guys), Elon Musk (is he a good guy?) and other such charismatic rich and powerful ‘heroes of the people’ types are operating behind the scenes of Samuel Vawter. His emotional side – against which he has built his outward defences – is more heavily inspired by my own, however, particularly regarding his ‘death anxiety’ and other internal conflicts.

Q5. Which character in your upcoming book do you relate to the most?

There are elements of me in a few characters, and one quite heart-breaking scene featuring Kallon Raesa is based on a real experience of mine – the despair of my wife after a miscarriage. However, it’s the dark psyche of Samuel Vawter with which I’m most in line, as he dwells on thoughts of dying, filling his mind with an inner conflict of despair and ambition. He struggles to enjoy the beauty and temporary nature of life, seeing it as pointless when death is inevitable; but he balances that with his determination to make something of his life. In the end, there is the sense that his ambition and drive are merely distractions from thoughts of dying, as he works so hard to keep the thoughts at bay. Much the same with me, as I need to keep busy to stop my mind wandering in directions that do me no favours whatsoever.

Q6. How do you select the names of your characters?

Of those in ‘Pawns’ that are purposeful, Abigale and Hannah are my daughters, so I wanted to write something for them that would see a loving relationship between them, with Abigale – the eldest – set to burn the galaxy to find Hannah (who is her daughter in the book). Samuel means ‘he who hears god’ in Hebrew, and Sam Vawter deals directly with Naveen in his grand scheme in this book. Tzedek means ‘righteous(ness)/justice’ in Hebrew, and its used ironically here for a character who single-mindedly follows the path he’s on, with no concern for who suffers along the way. I’ve continued with the ancient language/world theme that I used for Gods of Kiranis, in which Cassandra knew something bad was happening but – in a twist of the Greek myth – chose not to tell anyone; in which Pontifex Harrogate (‘Pontifex’ being the official title for the RC Pope and originally referring to bridges) was the Foreign Relations guy or the ‘bridge-builder’ (!); in which Cana was a variation on Canaan, the land in which the ‘oldest’ Bible stories are set; in which there was a Presbyter, an old Christian term for an elder or senior; in which Leviathan (the biblical serpent symbolising chaos or the enemy in general) is a creator god on Kiranis...the list goes on.

Q7. How would you describe your ideal reader for this book?

I like to think that anyone who loves Star Trek, Star Wars, Dune, or Battlestar Galactica will enjoy it, finding some of the settings and ‘furniture’ familiar. I rewatched the SF series Fringe recently and was surprised in retrospect by how much it had clearly inspired me – there are tech and ‘fringe science’ theories that I must have absorbed along the way. This book, though, makes a clear shift towards Science Fantasy, the merging of the genres much more explicit, so readers of David Gemmell, David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, and Eric Van Lustbader (esp. the Pearl Saga) will find some comfort in my work. In fact, there are scenes specifically inspired by (perhaps in homage to) some of my favourite Gemmell works.

I expect that genre ‘purists’ or conservatives will have a thing or two to say about the series, but I would urge patience and an open mind. What I have planned should please readers of epic Space Opera as well as epic/heroic Fantasy. And yes, I have it all planned, right down to the closing scene of Book 7.

Q8. What can readers expect from your book when they purchase it?

An engaging and comfortable read married to big scale spectacle and intrigue, where familiar and often colloquial dialogue moves you through a rapidly expanding literary universe. I’ve never liked the attempts of some authors to (for some reason) ‘archaise’ language spoken by people in the future. I don’t understand that practice. As a father, I’m painfully aware that we can barely anticipate what words or phrases will be in vogue next week, never mind centuries from now. So instead, I like to keep a contemporary feel to the language, making it easier to connect with the characters.

My narrative and exposition are often filled with irony and allusion, so I think it’s engaging enough that readers will enjoy even the parts that ever-so-cautiously invert the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule – not that I like rules when it comes to writing.

Overall, the books of Kiranis are complex – there’s no question about that – but through wordplay and inner-textual allusion, I aim to keep the reader on track. My characters don’t lecture the reader (this isn’t CSI: Miami!), but they ask pertinent questions when I anticipate difficulty in understanding.

Q9. What inspired you to write this book?

It’s hard to say at this point, as I’m so far removed from its origins. What inspired me to re-write it and resume Kiranis after many years of academic study and research is that I consider it my magnum opus. I won’t be happy until I’ve completed the story.

Q10. What did you learn when writing the book?

That there is nothing more enjoyable than immersing oneself in one’s own literary world. Coming back to ‘Pawns’ after almost 20 years was like coming home. I learned that rather than seeing the people and the world around me as distractions from writing, that I should use my interactions and my life experiences to bring my characters to life. I hadn’t done that as much with Gods of Kiranis, despite fleshing out the characters therein, and I can feel the difference as I read back on the two. For this reason – that there’s more of me in ‘Pawns’ – this book means much more to me than its predecessor.

Q11. Who are your writing friends that inspire you and how do you keep each other motivated?

Not looking for sympathy here, but this doesn’t really happen for me. There’s no one I’m close to with whom I can discuss my writing. My family and most of my close friends just aren’t into it and haven’t read these new editions.

Q12. What is your writing Kryptonite?

A bad mood, distraction, stress. It can take me up to half an hour to get into ‘the zone’, with the right music on and being left alone. That’s not an easy space to achieve these days, but often it’s my own fault. I’m very busy and a hectic mind can often lead to procrastination.

Q13. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Paying too much attention to the advice of others. I see comments in writing groups all the time about how you shouldn’t do this, or you shouldn’t do that. This is art, and all art is subjective. First and foremost, write what you would love to read (keeping in mind that your tastes aren’t as unique as you think). Enjoy it, but don’t be complacent and never be arrogant and think that you know it all. Becoming a better writer than you were yesterday or last month or last year requires the same determination that a weight-lifter employs. It’s like developing muscles and it requires going over and over your work again and again, or writing new stories – even in the literary universe in which you want to continue your work – that will flesh out characters, places, and events.

Another thing I’ve seen is writers saying that they don’t need to read to figure out how to write. This is ridiculous, and more often than not you can quickly see the error of their ways. Like I said, don’t be arrogant or complacent.

Finally, what is your favourite word and why?

Resilience. In this game, you need it. I’ve had people say horrible things about my writing; I’ve had people dismissing it as a hobby; I’ve had reviews that completely missed the point. But you have to keep moving forward. If it gets you down, write about it. If you get angry, write about it. If you get writers’ block...write about it. Writing isn’t something a writer does – it’s who they are. As Pop said in Luke Cage...Forward. Always.


Pawns of The Prophet is available for pre-order now and will be released on June 26th 2022. I will include a link to check out the book or series below if you are interested in picking up a copy for yourself.

Readers of this blog can purchase the Kiranis bundleboth books in the series – for 25 per cent off using the discount code “JMOLLOY25” at checkout, thanks to the generosity of Ronald A. Geobey and publisher Temple Dark Books.

That’s it for this week. I just want to say a huge thank you for taking the time to read this article, with special thanks to Ronald for a fantastic interview. I hope you all liked it, and I would recommend picking up a copy of Pawns of The Prophet if you are interested.

Pre-order Pawns of The Prophet -

Until next time.

Warmest regards,


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