Today I’m back with a tour stop for the book They Met in a Tavern by Elijah Menchaca. This tour is hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I have an author interview for you today and it was so much fun reading the author’s answers. If you want to find out more about this book and the author, keep on reading!
They Met in a Tavern by Elijah Menchaca
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: August 10, 2021
The band is getting back together—and they really wish they weren’t.
The Starbreakers were your classic teenage heroes. Using their combined powers and skills, they were the most successful group of glintchasers in Corsar. But that all changed the day the city of Relgen died. The group went their separate ways, placing the blame on each other.
Brass carried on as a solo act. Snow found work as a notorious assassin. Church became a town’s spiritual leader. Angel was the owner of a bar and inn. And after overcoming his own guilt, Phoenix started a new life as a family man.
Years after their falling out, a new threat looms when bounty hunters attack the former heroes. Phoenix tries to reunite the Starbreakers before everything they have left is taken from them. But a lot can change in seven years. And if mending old wounds was easy, they would have done it a long time ago.
What was your first introduction to Dungeons and Dragons? Did you love it from the start?
I was really into video games and superheroes as a kid, so D&D was always in my periphery as this “other nerd stuff” that was there but I’d never gotten into. I kept seeing, like, characters on TV shows playing it and thinking “Oh, that looks fun.” But I didn’t know anyone who played, and my parents had grown up right in the middle of the Satanic Panic surrounding D&D, so they had very strong feelings about me not playing it.
But finally, I want to say it was 2013, I was at San Diego Comic Con, my dad was at a different event, so I was on my own, and one of the events they had going on in a hotel ballroom up the street from the convention center was literally an introduction to Dungeons and Dragons, and I thought “Well, this might be my only chance.”
So I dropped by, and I got to play with a group of other first timers going through the first chapter of what I later learned was the Starter Set, and I had an absolute blast. I got dropped by a bunch of wolves in the second fight, but I had a blast, and I was hooked. Within two years I’d roped all of my Xbox friends into playing it with me, and it proceeded to consume the next several years of our lives.
In what way did your experience with Dungeons and Dragons influence the way you wrote They Met in a Tavern?
Oh, it’s got its fingerprints all over that book. I think the most blatant is Angel. She’s literally a character I wanted to play but never got the chance to.
But beyond that, the idea of the adventuring party, which I think is the backbone of D&D as a concept and which is what I love most about the game, was arguably the biggest inspiration for the whole book. I wanted to tell a story of an adventuring party that had outgrown itself, and I wanted to explore the kind of quiet tragedy that could come out of having this incredibly tight circle of people who had all these amazing experiences and then lost all of that. They lost that life of adventure and money and glory and they lost the bond they had with each other.
And I originally thought of telling that story as a D&D campaign. I was going to have my friends make high level characters and let them come up with a backstory of how they knew each other and the memories they had… and then at some point I realized I actually had very specific ideas of what I wanted all of this to look like and how I wanted it to go, so I did the thing they tell every DM who railroads: “If you want absolute control of the story, don’t play D&D, write a book.”
Even beyond that though, I wanted the Starbreakers to feel very archetypal to give them that feeling that you’d known these characters their whole lives even though we’re really just meeting them for this book, so D&D was a major influence in how I fleshed out the characters. I wanted to make sure they had the classic party balance with a tank, a thief, a healer, a mage, and a face.Although I did play around with the party composition a bit. Phoenix fills the role of the smart guy who knows about magic, but he’s not a wizard, he’s an artificer. Brass acts a lot like a bard, but in terms of what he can do, he’s actually a Dexterity build fighter.
Describe They Met in a Tavern in five words or less.
Fantasy bitterness versus fantasy nostalgia.
What is your favorite quote from They Met in a Tavern?
A lot of people I know are very partial to “I hope your kid’s first word is c*nt!” Which, to be fair, is probably the most memorable line in the book, but I’ve got a different one.
It’s a line from Church, which I find myself very satisfied with every time I read it. A character tries to tell him that it’s his choice whether or not he takes a certain course of action, and Church responds, “No choice. It’s the right thing to do.”
And I love that line specifically because of how thoroughly it encapsulates Church as a character. He is someone for whom the right thing to do is not optional. It’s almost not even voluntary. He just has to do what he thinks is right, all the time.
I tried to give every one of the major characters lines like this, where they sort of just give their thesis statement as a character in a line, but I think Church’s is probably the most successful and succinct. Every time I feel a little bit lost when writing him, I go back to that line and it instantly grounds who he is for me.
If you were a character in your book, what kind of character would you be?
If we’re talking about just transplanting me as myself into the world, 100% I’m just some student or research assistant at the Academy or the Infinite Library, which actually means I’m probably not in this book. I might have met Phoenix before he went off to become an adventurer and thought he was crazy.
I absolutely wouldn’t have it in me to be an adventurer. There’s a chapter in the book that talks about what kind of a person it takes to be one, and what you have to be willing to risk and put up with, and that’s not me. I’m very much satisfied with where I am. I don’t need that stress in my life.
What’s next for you? Any projects you can tell us readers about?
Biggest thing I’ve got cooking right now is the sequel, which is going to be titled They Split the Party. I’m about a third of the way through the first draft of that, so spitballing it’s either a late 2022 or early 2023 release.
If Tavern is the story about the Starbreakers’ relationships with themselves and each other, Party is about their relationship with their world and the people around them. I’m trying to really expand the world with this one, and delve deeper into some of the characters who didn’t get as much spotlight in the first one. I’m really excited for that.
And for the character playlists. I did a set of them for the Starbreakers as part of the build up to Tavern, which was immense fun, so I’m going to be doing a new set for characters who didn’t get one last time that sort of deserve more attention this go around.
Outside that, I’ve got a YouTube channel in its infancy. Right now, I’m kind of trying to foster a sort of Unraveled, but for D&D, series, and that’s been a ton of fun so far and I’m excited to find more noodly and niche topics to zoom in on in this game I’ve loved so much. But I also want to do other stuff with it eventually. We’ll see.
If the interview has you curious about the book and what other bloggers thought, click here for the full tour schedule. You can find different kinds of posts by other amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers.
Giveaway (US Only)
One winner will receive a finished copy of They Met in a Tavern. This giveaway ends on August 16th. Click here to see how to enter the giveaway.
About the Author
Elijah Menchaca was born and raised in Bakersfield, California and has been writing and telling stories since he was five. After seeing his first short stories on his grade school classroom’s bookshelf, he knew he was destined for greatness. To chase that greatness (and a girl), he attended the University of Louisville where he minored in Creative Writing, discovered a love for Dungeons and Dragons, and got engaged.
Now, based in Ohio, when he isn’t exploring the world he’s created with more stories, he’s making new memories around the virtual table with his old friends, pondering the worlds of fantasy and superheroes on his YouTube channel, and playing the role of devoted partner to a woman far too good for him.
So that’s my stop for this tour! I really thought the author’s answers were interesting. Definitely a book to read soon. Are you interested in Dungeons and Dragons? Have you ever played? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.