Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest

Well, the day is finally here, Action Force.  Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest is out in stores now, and if you haven’t bought it yet, I suggest you give it serious consideration.  If you buy only one book this year where a minotaur fights a gang of weekend biker orcs in an amusement park, this is definitely the one I recommend.

I’ve already posted a few bits and pieces about the story on the site in the past few weeks, and if I haven’t sold you yet, I don’t know what else to tell you.  But you don’t get ahead in this biz by not learning to promote yourself, and seeing as how this is my tenth novel, I’d really really love it if it sold like gangbusters and finally bumped me up from low mid-list to maybe high mid-list.

Granted, if you’re reading this the odds are good you are already a member of the A. Lee Martinez Action Force in good standing, and your support continues to mean a heck of a lot to this humble novelologist.  But maybe you’re on the fence, and I certainly can’t blame you.  In this day and age, there is so much media vying for our attention, it can be hard to work up the motivation to try something different.  But it’s worth doing, if only for the chance to experience something fresh and unexpected.

Like all of my previous novels Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest is a standalone novel with no relation to anything I’ve written before.  It shares certain commonalities.  Like Divine Misfortune, it’s a world nearly identical to our own with a fantasy element placed up front and center.  Like Monster, it’s about regular people (more or less) forced to deal with cosmic forces.  And like The Automatic Detective, there’s some monster punching and close calls.  But it is still a book with its own fantastic sensibilities and an attempt to explore some fictional tropes I haven’t touched upon before.

In this case, Epic Road Quest is meant to be my own take on the ubiquitous Hero’s Journey idea.  If I can be honest, I’ve never been terribly enamored of the concept that there is a meta story formula that should be adhered to.  It’s not that I don’t think there’s some merit to the Hero’s Journey.  It’s just I hate the idea that things must follow a preconstructed track and that, in the end, all we’re looking for is certain satisfying beats.  Honestly, my only real dilemma with the Hero’s Journey idea is how many great writers I’ve seen it ruin, how it has taken many interesting and challenging ideas and hammered them into a one-size-fits-all formula.  I don’t think that was the intention, but too often, it seems the result.

I wouldn’t call Epic Road Quest a subversion of the classic Hero’s Journey.  The more I write, the more I read, the less fond I am of the idea of subversion and deconstruction.  When done properly, it can be a great way to tell a story in a new way.  When done poorly, it only comes across as missing the point and winking at the audience.  I much prefer sincerity to subversion.  This is why I often get annoyed at being called “funny”.  It almost always comes with the implication that I don’t care about my stories or my characters.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I love Helen and Troy.  I think they’re terrific characters, and I loved all the time I spent with them.  I think you will too.

At the very least, Helen fights a cyclops and punches a dragon.  If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what else to say.

Keelah Se’lai

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. John
    Posted July 16, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    The USPS delivered my copy while I was at work today. I am hoping to get into it tonight!


  2. Amber
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Last night I just happened to do a search to see if there were any new A. Lee Martinez books, I found Helen and Troy, and I’ve just finished reading it. Your books are so consistently good that I don’t bother to find out what they are about, I just buy them knowing they will be great.

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted July 21, 2013 at 2:04 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Amber. The highest compliment I can get is to have someone trust me so much that they’re willing to take that leap into the unknown. It makes my day every time.

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