Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

Eli Monpress Giveaway: Rachel Aaron on Inspirations & Influences

β€œInspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free rein so they can go wild and write about anything they want: their new book, series or career as a whole.

We’re thrilled to have Rachel Aaron over as our guest of the day, here to talk about her wonderful Eli Monpress fantasy series. To celebrate the release of the omnibus edition of her books, plus the fourth and newest book in the series, The Spirit War, we are honored to have Rachel talk Inspirations and Influences.

Give it up for Rachel, folks!

When I first sat down to write The Spirit Thief, I had a simple idea for the series: Lupin III with magic. I was 22, a huge anime nerd, and I’d just failed to sell a huge epic fantasy. I really wanted to do something fun and new, and the idea of writing a gentleman thief and conman running rampant through a fantasy world sounded like a kicking good time. And it totally was. The Spirit Thief and the series it grew into The Legend of Eli Monpress, has been an absolute joy to write, and now that the final two books are coming out (the fourth, The Spirit War on June 5 and the fifth, Spirit’s End, in November) I can finally take a step back and look at how I got here.

From Paul Newman in The Sting to the roughly twelve thousand times I’ve watched Ocean’s Eleven, I’ve always loved caper stories starring charming conmen. Eli Monpress, my own charming thief, came out of some kind of weird amalgam of those movies plus the Disney Robin Hood, the aforementioned Lupin III, and the original ArsΓ¨ne Lupin stories which I read in translation in college. Throw all of this in a pot and you get the primordial ooze that Eli emerged from, but even though his influences are definitively varied and strong, he’s been his own thing since the moment he came onto the page.

But though this has always been Eli’s story, he is far from the only main character. No great thief can truly shine without a law officer on his tail, and in my series, that’s Miranda Lyonette. Miranda was created to be Eli’s foil, and she’s his opposite in every way, rather than charming and glib she’s earnest and moral, he’s lazy, she’s hard working to a fault, etc. But though I initially created Miranda just so there would be someone who could give Eli a run for his money, the cop to his robber, I wanted her to be a strong, powerful, professional female character in her own right. Someone who never apologized for being good at her job or for doing what had to be done. I drew a lot of inspiration from woman in the real world for her, especially women in politics.

As for the world of the series, I wanted it to feel warm and familiar, like a homecoming. I grew up reading Fantasy in the late 80s and early 90s, and I created my setting to harken back to those created by Elizabeth Moon, David Eddings, and Robert Jordan. That said, I wanted the pacing of the story to be very modern and quick, and I looked to urban fantasy authors like Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs as well as modern movies to nail the quick pace. What I got in the end is a story that feels warm and comfy and whole heartedly Fantasy but reads fast and light, even when the story itself got darker in the later books.

One of the greatest things about being a modern writer is that you have so much amazing material to steal from. My books filch things from anime and manga, video games, urban fantasy, classic fantasy, and Russian folklore. It was actually hard to write this post because I had so many inspirations for the Eli books. Of course, it’s only fitting that a book about a thief steal from everywhere, though, like Eli, I only take the best.

Thank you to Thea and Ana for smuggling me in! And if you’re interested in any of the Eli books, I have sample chapters up on my website,

Rachel Aaron is the author of The Spirit Thief, a fantasy adventure about a charming gentleman thief who also happens to be a wizard, his swordsman, their monster, and the poor woman who has to try and catch him. The first three books are available together in The Legend of Eli Monpress omnibus, out now, and the fourth book, The Spirit War, comes out June 5!

The Giveaway:

We have a copy of The Legend of Eli Monpress (books 1-3 in an omnibus) as well as The Spirit War up for grabs! The contest is open to addresses in the US and will run until Sunday June 17 at 12:01pm. In order to enter, leave a comment using the form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • David H.
    June 6, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I just read The Spirit War last week–I loved it so much. Holy crap the ending.

  • Rachel
    June 6, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Don’t pick me! I don’t live in the US. But I so wish I did just for a chance to read these πŸ™‚

  • Nikki
    June 6, 2012 at 5:12 am

    It would be lovely to spend some leisurely summertime hours reading about a gentleman thief. 8)

  • Suz Glo
    June 6, 2012 at 6:18 am

    This sounds like a great story! I love discovering a series already in progress so I have lots of books available to me. No cliffhangers with months to wait for resolutions!

  • Joan
    June 6, 2012 at 6:40 am

    I love the Deeds of Paks, but I was always a fan of strong female characters and lovable thieves just add a bit of fun to any story.

  • Ashley Cline
    June 6, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I found the Spirit Thief by chance during the massive closing sale at Borders, and I fell in love at first sight. As soon as I saw the line on the cover “What he gets away with is criminal” I knew I needed to read this series.
    So, I did. And I have loved every second of it. I just finished the Spirit War, and really would like it to be November now so that I can read the final book.

  • Sandyg265
    June 6, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I have the Spirit Theif on my TBR pile.

  • Yeti
    June 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

    So, I went to the link with the sample chapter for the omnibus…damn you with your tempting of me, loved the sample! I now own it on the Kindle…damn you Kindle for making purchasing books so easy πŸ˜€

  • Jade
    June 6, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I just finished Spirit War. The ending is not a cliff hanger but it does make you pine for the next book. I was so happy to revisit all the characters again: Josef, Eli, Nico, Miranda. Highly recommended summer reading.

  • Alina
    June 6, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I love books

  • hapax
    June 6, 2012 at 11:37 am

    There is nothing I love more than a good caper novel — how have I not heard of these before?

  • Lisa
    June 6, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Sounds like perfect summer vacation reading! Count me in!

  • Andrea
    June 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Somehow, Eli Monpress never made it to my TBR list – I don’t know how that happened, it sounds like everything I love! Guess I’ll just have to remedy that!

  • Sheila
    June 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I love all the inspirations, and I’m intrigued by Miranda (since lawful good characters are often difficult to write).

  • Serena
    June 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I was confused as to how to enter the give away. The form says the giveway hasn’t started yet (it says soon under the start time in the left upper corner). Or was I supposed to leave a comment? Either way, count me in for the give away!

  • casvelyn
    June 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    I just added Spirit Thief to my list of books to read yesterday!

  • Tirzah Duncan
    June 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Ah, as the author of a charming thief MC and his foil of a strong female character (though mine is a naive and stubborn 9 YO, hardly a cop), I have sure as heck loved The Legend of Eli Monpress!

    …I would doubly love the chance to get my hands on a copy of The Spirit War, by the by. (Cough cough, hint hint, pick me, pick me.)

  • Julia
    June 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    I just recently discovered this series. Eli Monpress sounds like a fun character to read about.

  • Melissa (My words and pages)
    June 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Sounds like some great inspiration! πŸ˜€ Thank you for sharing, and the wonderful giveaway.

  • Kevin
    June 7, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Ever since I heard about this book I wanted to try it. Sadly, my local library never got the memo…

  • Van Pham
    June 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Lisa Shearin’s series character Phelan πŸ™‚

  • Bookish News and Publishing Tidbits 8 June 2012 | Read in a Single Sitting - Book reviews and new books
    June 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    […] Rachel Aaron on influences and inspirations:Β ”One of the greatest things about being a modern writer is that you have so much amazing material to steal from. My books filch things from anime and manga, video games, urban fantasy, classic fantasy, and Russian folklore. It was actually hard to write this post because I had so many inspirations for the Eli books.” […]

  • Jillian
    June 8, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I’m really excited to read this series. Who could say no to a witty gentleman thief?

  • Elizabeth
    June 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I have read the books, and would love a chance to own one. Eli is such a fun character!

  • Atsiko Ureni
    June 9, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Read all the books so far. Can’t wait to finish the series.

  • Anonymous
    September 14, 2012 at 3:03 am

    i love theys books

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