Author Interview- M.K. Lobb, Author of Seven Faceless Saints
Updated: Feb 15
It feels so great to start the year with a chilling and incredible fantasy murder mystery! Seven Faceless Saints is a new release that should be on every fantasy fan who loves a good murder mystery twist's TBR.
Through TBR Beyond Tours, I had the amazing opportunity to read this book and also chat with the author. Read on below to find out what M.K. Lobb had to say about her inspiration for world-building, how she efficiently crafts complex characters and her motivations as a writer.
ALSO, don't forget to check out other cool posts in this Tour! TOUR SCHEDULE.
Table of Contents
Publishing date- 13 February 2023
Publisher- Hachette Book Group
Age range- 13+
Genre- Young Adult Fantasy, Murder Mystery
Content Warnings- various types of violence (shooting, poisoning, beheading), graphic descriptions of blood/bodies, death of parents/ friends/ siblings, a parent depicted with memory loss/confusion, PTSD and flashbacks, descriptions of war, prejudice, religious intolerance, hallucinations, paranoia, alcoholism, and mentions of self-harm.
Rep- bi main character.
In the city of Ombrazia, saints and their disciples rule with terrifying and unjust power, playing favorites while the unfavored struggle to survive.
After her father’s murder at the hands of the Ombrazian military, Rossana Lacertosa is willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the corrupt system—tapping into her powers as a disciple of Patience, joining the rebellion, and facing the boy who broke her heart. As the youngest captain in the history of Palazzo security, Damian Venturi is expected to be ruthless and strong, and to serve the saints with unquestioning devotion. But three years spent fighting in a never-ending war have left him with deeper scars than he wants to admit… and a fear of confronting the girl he left behind.
Now a murderer stalks Ombrazia’s citizens. As the body count climbs, the Palazzo is all too happy to look the other way—that is, until a disciple becomes the newest victim. With every lead turning into a dead end, Damian and Roz must team up to find the killer, even if it means digging up buried emotions. As they dive into the underbelly of Ombrazia, the pair will discover something more sinister—and far less holy. With darkness closing in and time running out, will they be able to save the city from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything in its path?
Discover what’s lurking in the shadows in this dark fantasy debut with a murder-mystery twist, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kerri Maniscalco.
1) Aamna- You've created Roz and Damian as such complex characters, both with their own internal conflicts. And there is the common thread of both their father figures influencing them in one way or the other? Could you tell us how you went about developing them?
M.K. Lobb- I always say that “Roz is my rage, Damian my regret.” When writing Roz, I thought of the person I was as a teen—someone furious at the world in every way, who’s developed a deep distrust of the belief system she’s surrounded by. At the same time, though, I wanted to channel Roz’s rage into something meaningful. There’s also the added layer of her becoming a disciple and feeling like her very existence is a betrayal of her father’s memory. Since she can’t do anything to change what she is, I knew she needed an external focus. In this case, it’s her desperate desire to change the world around her, almost as penance for what she can’t control about herself.
When it comes to Damian, you’ll notice from the very onset of the story that although he’s deeply entrenched in the political and belief systems, he’s not actually that committed. I really wanted to show that his inner conflict lies in wanting to believe the things he’s been taught, but all the while some part of him is inexplicably pushing back. It’s almost a power struggle between those two sides of himself as the plot progresses.
2) The world-building is fascinating, and one of my favorite parts of the story. What was your favorite part as a writer working on this story?
M.K. Lobb- I said in another interview that my favorite part was writing the atmospheric descriptions of the setting, and that’s definitely true! But outside of the world-building, I really loved writing the flashbacks of Roz and Damian’s relationship when they were children. I think it helps the reader understand the characters, how they’ve changed, and what they’ve lost. As the writer, it’s fun to try rebuilding this featured relationship and seeing how it changes from what it once was.
3) Aamna- Can you talk about your inspiration for the magic system and if we will get to know some new things about it in further books? (I'm really excited!)
M.K. Lobb- The whole idea for the magic system actually came from real-life history. Hundreds of years ago, the city of Florence, Italy, was essentially run by guilds that each had a different specialization and contributed to the economy. The seven major guilds had the most influence, and they inspired me to create my city run by seven magical guilds. I assigned them each a specific saint, then expanded from there! There’s definitely more to learn in the next book, especially when it comes to the lore, but I won’t spoil anything!
4) Aamna- There is also some incredible social commentary about class and privilege that the story talks about. Did that come as a natural part of the world to you? And is it inspired by any particular historical or modern scenario?
M.K. Lobb- I went to university for political science, so I think those elements crop up naturally in every fantasy world I create. I find it hard to imagine a place where socioeconomic status, political institutions, and religious prejudices don’t come into play somehow. Then you have to consider how the history of your made-up city informs the condition of things at present… It’s a lot to contend with! I wouldn’t say I was inspired by a specific scenario, but I’m definitely very aware of how certain systems result in certain issues and injustices.
5) Aamna- What are your biggest motivations as a writer?
M.K. Lobb- Writing is how I work through things. I feel like I’m not very good at explaining myself verbally, and it’s so much easier to write it down. I don’t know if that’s a motivation so much as an inherent need to create. Now that I’ve moved into actually being published, though, I’m definitely motivated by the prospect of my books finding the right people. I know they won’t be for everyone, but knowing there are readers out there who might find my work when they need it is so huge.
About the Author
M. K. Lobb is a fantasy writer with a love of all things dark— be it literature, humor, or general aesthetic. She grew up in small-town Ontario and studied political science at both the University of Western Ontario and the University of Ottawa.
She now lives by the lake with her partner and their cats. When not reading or writing, she can be found at the gym or contemplating the harsh realities of existence.
Her debut novel SEVEN FACELESS SAINTS will be published on February 7, 2023, by Little, Brown (Hachette). The sequel, DISCIPLES OF CHAOS, will follow in early 2024. M. K. is represented by Claire Friedman at InkWell Management.