Hello everyone! Today I’m excited to introduce you to the first book in J.D.L. Rosell’s latest epic fantasy series, The Last Ranger! I really fell in love with Josiah’s writing after reading The Throne of Ice and Ash (you can read my full review here). I’m really excited to share all the details about the book as well as the Kickstarter that is currently running where you can score a lot of really cool rewards and discounts on Josiah’s (immense) back catalogue. We’re in the final days of the Kickstarter and really close to unlocking another really awesome stretch goal, so be sure to check out all the details about the Kickstarter and pledge your support before the campaign ends on Mon, July 25 2022 1:59 AM EDT.
In addition to all of the goodies mentioned above, I also had the chance sit down (virtually) with Josiah and talk about reading, writing, and The Last Ranger. So, be sure to take a look at our Q&A below!
Betrayed. Hunted. Left for dead. But not even death itself can keep the last ranger from vengeance.
Leiyn “Firebrand” is no stranger to a fight. A brash ranger of the Titan Wilds, she takes up her bow to ward against the colossal spirit creatures known as titans, ever a threat to the colonies she has sworn to protect.
But no amount of skill can guard against treachery.
When tragedy strikes the rangers’ lodge, Leiyn vows to avenge the fallen. But if she is to succeed, she must embrace a power within her she has long denied.
Power to move mountains and rivers.
Power over life and death.
She did not choose this path, but Leiyn knows her duty. For if she fails, the legacy of the rangers dies with her — and all the Titan Wilds will fall into shadow.
The Last Ranger is an epic fantasy tale full of friendship, magic, resilience, vengeance, and wonder. If you enjoy archery, fantasy rangers, and small party adventures, or love books like David Gemmell’s Legend or John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice, then start a new journey with the first book in the Ranger of the Titan Wilds series.
Thank you so much for joining us for this short Q&A! Before we get going, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Thanks for having me! I’m Josiah, aka JDL Rosell, and I’m a full-time independent author. To date, I’ve published just over a dozen novels across five different series now, so you can tell I’ve got a bit of an issue focusing!
I’ve been married for just over a year now, and we have two fur babies as well, Zelda and Abenthy. Presently, we live in Colorado, as we love being near the mountains.
My extracurriculars mostly revolve around being outside, as I get a bit stir-crazy being stuck inside all the time. Those include hiking and nature photography, but also recently archery, which I picked up for the writing of The Last Ranger.
I’ve also had a lifelong love for video games. Some of my recent favorites are the Horizon series, The Last of Us, Skyrim, Witcher, and Breath of the Wild.
I want to start things off by asking: what is a great book that you’ve read recently and why should we give it a go?
I’ve actually read two great ones in a row, both by fellow indies! The first is Voice of War by Zack Argyle. It’s really imaginative, with interesting magic, solid characters, and really good pacing. A great one for Sanderson fans to pick up in particular.
The second is Og-Grim-Dog by Jamie Edmundson. It’s on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, playing on classic fantasy tropes in an incredibly amusing and fun way. Also nice is that it was novella length, which seemed to fit the story perfectly, giving a nice sense of satisfaction and keeping the plot very tight. I often laughed out loud while reading it!
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of reading/writing? Do you care to elaborate?
As mentioned above, archery and hiking are my primary outdoor activities at the moment, and reading and playing video games are my indoor ones.
While I initially picked up archery to be able to accurately write it for The Last Ranger, I’ve actually really enjoyed it, and am continuing it thus far. I’ve got a long way to go before I’m any good, though!
Hiking I’ve done since I was a kid, when my parents used to cart us from Kansas to Colorado each summer. I’ve also sometimes done landscape photography as part of it, but the main point is to get outside and enjoy nature.
Reading is a given, but video games have also been a huge part of my life ever since childhood. I don’t really know what I’d do with myself if I wasn’t able to indulge in either of them!
Is this your first book? If so, what lessons have you learned from writing it? If not, what lessons did you learn from writing earlier books that you brought into this one?
This is far from my first book! But I have been thinking of it as a sort of culmination of my other works.
In The Last Ranger, I’ve tried to bring the best of what I’ve done in my other series into this one. In different ones, I think I’ve done the world building better, or the characters, or the plot itself. The hope is that all three are married together nicely in this story!
Do you usually write to background noise, music, etc. or do you prefer silence?
Usually, I prefer silence, but that definitely varies by the day. On days when I’m having more trouble concentrating, I play environmental noises, usually dictated by the environment of the scene I’m writing. So if it’s set in winter, I might play a video of a blizzard; or if it’s a really intense scene, I might play a thunderstorm.
What is one thing that you love about the current state of SFF and what is one thing that you wish you saw more of?
One trend I love is that SFF is becoming beautifully diverse. When I say diverse, I mean in pretty much every way — be it race, gender or sexual identity, age, neurodivergence, or really any other spectrum. That diversity only benefits the stories being told, both in scope and novelty.
What I wish I could see more of is books that strike the particular balance I love reading: captivating characters, excellent pacing in the plot, and a certain lyricism in the prose. It’s difficult to get all three, but when I do, I remember what sucked me into reading and writing in the first place!
Who are your favorite current writers and who are your greatest influences?
Each in their own way, my current favorite writers are probably Robin Hobb, N.K. Jemisin, and Joe Abercrombie. They all have very different styles, but each are masters in what they do best. If I could pull in the magic that they instill in their novels, I’d be a happy man!
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
I think you can’t help but write yourself into your stories, but it’s always a matter of degrees.
You might think that, on its face, I don’t share much in common with Leiyn. But there are definitely elements of myself in her, though often much amplified!
For example, I love wilderness, I’m fairly driven, and I generally have a desire to spread truth and justice, in the limited manner I’m able to. I put all of these quality into Leiyn and turned them up to 11, cause I’m certainly not as much but badass as her!
Describe your book in 3 adjectives.
Thrilling. Wondrous. Cathartic.
What do you think is the overarching theme?
There are several main themes to The Last Ranger, so I’ll try to keep it succinct!
The first is justice vs vengeance. It’s a theme I’ve played with before, particularly in the first book of The Runewar Saga (another series of mine), but I wanted to put a different spin on it in this book. To me, there are interesting nuances on how pursuing justice might slip into vengeance, and the psychological toll that pursuit takes on the character.
Another theme I touch on is belonging and attaining a sense of belonging. Found family is one trope that deals with this, and I certainly lean into it. Also, with the Titan Wilds being such an important place in the book, I focus a lot on what place means to someone, and how it feels to find a home in a place.
Lastly, Leiyn has to deal with a lot of personal growth, especially accepting oneself with all of your flaws as well as your strengths. It’s a bit of a redemption arc, which is a story type I’m usually a sucker for.
Were there any specific challenges with writing The Last Ranger? Or, did you find anything to be easier?
I had some challenges nailing down Leiyn’s character in particular. I always knew who she was, but at points, I struggled to convey that in the writing. Thanks to some tough-love guidance from my wife, I figured out how to round out her character with aspects other than what dealt with the immediate quest.
The specific problem I had was that Leiyn is biased against one of the native peoples of the Titan Wilds. This is due to specific events and misunderstandings in her past, but racism is never a likable attribute. And though her journey deals with overcoming her biases, I had to convince readers to come along on that journey with her from the get-go.
How I went about doing that was adding in a few chapters to the beginning showing who she is around the people she loves. You get to see her being a protector and a friend before some of the uglier sides of her come out, which I believe helps make her more sympathetic overall.
There’s also a temptation with books that are driven by an urgent task to overlook some of the ancillary parts of a character’s personality. I did this at first with Leiyn, or at least failed to convey those parts of her in the initial drafts.
So I added in a particular hobby of hers that might be unexpected: that she’s an amateur naturalist, and is constantly itching to sketch down the different flora and fauna she encounters. Curiosity and intelligence, I think, are attractive qualities for a person, so I think it helps to further increase reader sympathy.
What can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you?
If the Kickstarter for The Last Ranger goes well, I plan to release the entire series on it! With the second book getting close to finished, that would happen sooner rather than later.
I’m also finishing up a second series this year, my most popular one to date, Legend of Tal. It’s bittersweet to come to the end, but I’m also very much looking forward to seeing what readers think!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! I always enjoy this little peek behind the curtain. Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
Thanks again for having me! For any readers who haven’t read my works before, The Last Ranger is a great place to start, in my opinion. I *think* it’s my best book to date, but we always think that, don’t we? If it brings you a bit of entertainment and enjoyment, I’ll be content!
Here’s the basic run-down of all of the basic tier that you’ll be able to back at if you decide to help support the Kickstarter campaign for The Last Ranger:
Ebook: $5 at launch ($8 later)
Signed paperback + ebook: $20 at launch ($24 later) + shipping
Signed hardcover + ebook: $30 at launch ($34 later) + shipping
Big bundle (hardcover, paperback, and ebook): $47 at launch ($52 later) + shipping
All tiers include the following bonuses, most exclusive to this Kickstarter:
- Name in the book acknowledgments
- The short story, Ranger’s Justice, in ebook
- The flashbacks novella, The Ranger’s Path, in ebook
- Digital wallpaper of the cover art
- Sneak peak of Book 2 of Ranger of the Titan Wilds
- Ranger of the Titan Wilds signed bookmark (for print rewards)
There will also be reward tiers that bundle in signed books from my three other epic fantasy series into a heavily discounted package:
Big Bundle + Backlist Bundle in paperback: $200 + shipping ($65 savings)
Big Bundle + Backlist Bundle in hardcover: $300 + shipping ($61 savings)
You’ll even be able to name a minor character if you go all in on the top tiers!
About the Author
J.D.L. Rosell is the author of the Legend of Tal series, the Ranger of the Titan Wilds series, The Runewar Saga, The Famine Cycle series, and the Godslayer Rising trilogy. He has earned an MA in creative writing and has previously worked as a ghostwriter.
Always drawn to the outdoors, he ventures out into nature whenever he can to indulge in his hobbies of hiking and photography. Most of the time, he can be found curled up with a good book at home with his wife and two cats, Zelda and Abenthy.