Indie-WednesdayAlong my reading journey, I’ve made a conscious decision to include self-published, indie, and small press works in my reading schedule.  But it is difficult to know where to start: So many new authors and books to examine to find the perfect fit for my tastes.  And to help others with this same problem, I’ve decided to turn my Indie Wednesday feature into a day where writers can introduce themselves and their work to everyone.

With this in mind, I’m turning over the blog to Ty Arthur, author of Light Dawning.




After hearing the genre of my upcoming novel, someone recently asked me to define what exactly was meant by the term “grimdark.” Ten different authors could approach the sub-genre and come up with ten radically different interpretations, and each might be in a completely different style or universe: fantasy, sci-fi, modern day noir, or something else entirely.

For me, grimdark is taking the uncaring nature of reality and injecting it into fantasy. Frodo doesn’t always make it to Mount Doom with the ring. Sometimes he gets cancer instead. Giant eagles aren’t always there to save the day – sometimes people die trying to do what’s right, and there’s no resurrection afterward. Suffering is sure to abound, and there aren’t any easy answers in grimdark. Sometimes those who seem the most vicious or immoral might be working in the world’s best interest. Grimdark subverts the escapism of fantasy, and makes it less clear from the beginning that the heroes will inevitably overcome the villain.

In Light Dawning, I wanted to focus on both aspects: the grim and the dark. Revolving around four people trying to survive an incredibly brutal occupation by an invading army, the outlook for all involved is bleak, and I worked hard to create a sense of claustrophobia. The walls are closing in, and hope of escape or victory is long gone. All that’s left is to decide how you are going to conduct yourself with those few days you have remaining.

On the other half of the equation, I went with multiple interpretations of “dark,” some literal and some less so. Not only is one of the characters quite literally possessed by an incomprehensible entity of pure darkness – hailing from some void where light never existed at all and sane human thought has no place – but the entire cast is often “in the dark” so to speak about why the world is in the state its in, cut off from all outside news during three years of occupation.

Like most of my stories, Light Dawning starts with a kernel of truth, taking a real world experience and then translating that into a fictional setting with a horror twist. In this case, my wife and I went through two devastating losses in a row that left me in a despair so deep that I frequently thought of death as a preferable alternative. As a kind of catharsis, I needed to write a story bleak enough to match reality, and so “grimdark” was the only route to go. Much like with real life, the characters in this book are often cut off at the knees without warning by events they had no way of knowing were coming.

In many ways, Light Dawning is less about a cosmic struggle between light and dark, or even the corresponding ground war between two clashing nations, but more about how the different characters respond to an uncaring world that makes no sense. Do you embrace the state of things and descend into barbarism? Do you keep up the struggle for freedom or maybe just give into despair? If you choose to go on, why bother to do so in a world gone mad?

As my first novel set in a specifically fantasy setting, I knew I had to put my own stamp on things to distinguish this universe from any of the others that have been tread before. Elves and dwarves were out straight away, as were chosen one farm boys on a quest to save the world (or even having a world worth saving for that matter).

One of my favorite parts of constructing this setting and building these characters was taking everything about classic high fantasy and turning it upside down: there’s upstanding holy men who actively work towards watching a city burn, reluctant murderers who only kill because its necessary for the greater good, zealots devoted to a savior who isn’t even there, and a common criminal who could save the city but isn’t willing to pay the price required. The light of a new day may be about to dawn… but its my goal to ensure the readers don’t forget that the night is never far away.

From the dark twist on fantasy to the cosmic horror elements and the brief, futile rays of hope as characters lean on one another while dealing with awful experiences outside their control, its my hope Light Dawning will resonate with readers on multiple levels and I’ll get the opportunity to explore more corners of this new universe in the future.


LIGHT DAWNINGOnce known as the City on the Hill and revered far and wide for its independence and boundless opportunity, Cestia has become home only to the damned. Surviving under the brutal occupation of a southern empire for three long years, the oppressed populace has lost hope of liberation, turning instead towards an increasingly desperate rebellion willing to commit any atrocity for a chance at freedom.

As total war approaches, four lost souls trapped behind Cestia’s walls are on a collision course with fate, destined to either save the city or see it utterly destroyed while calling on forces beyond mankind’s comprehension. For good or ill, the light of a new day is about to dawn.

Buy Links:

Amazon Digital Copy

Amazon Paperback


Ty Arthur


Ty ArthurAuthor Info:  Ty Arthur gets to meld his passions with his work while freelancing for the likes of Metal Underground and GameSkinny. His debut sci-fi / horror novella “Empty” was released in early 2016, with many more dark tales still to come. Arthur writes to exorcise his demons and lives in the cold, dark north with his amazing wife Megan and infant son Gannicus Picard.

This entry was posted in Author Spotlights, Fantasy, Grimdark, Guest Post, Indie Wednesday and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Bookstooge says:

    “For me, grimdark is taking the uncaring nature of reality and injecting it into fantasy.”
    That is a great summation of it. Thankyou for putting it into words…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Why Grimdark? – Dark Fiction from Ty Arthur

  3. I like the approach of this novel that does not require nasty magic or dangerous creatures to create a sense of doom, since the occupation by a ruthless invader can be just as terrible. The premise is very intriguing, thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: New interview up at The Scary Reviews – Dark Fiction from Ty Arthur

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s