Industry Interviews #5: Lance Vangundy, fantasy author

Here at The Noble Artist I’ve worked with loads of incredible creatives. It’s about time I had a chin wag with them to find out how they got where they are and why they do what they do. Lance is a independent, self-published author who I have worked with for years now! He’s amazing, and has been world-building his fantasy setting for the Rune Fire Cycle so it’s now full and brimming with vivid detail. Without further ado, this is:

Lance is a full time emergency room doctor in central Iowa and a long time fanatic of fantasy media and art. He is the author of the Rune Fire Cycle, a five book epic fantasy series with book four currently in production.

What was the moment, or inspiration that led you to pursue a career as an author?

I’ve consumed fantasy media in all its forms over my life time starting with playing old school Dungeons and Dragons, books, movies and even MMORPG.

I got to a point where I found more reward in creating the story instead of consuming it. The escapism in creating a world and its characters exceeds anything have I ever consumed.

Can you share a an interesting or funny story from your writing journey that taught you a valuable lesson?

I tried at first to be a planner and stick to outlines but discovered I’m much more at peace when I allow myself the grace of discovery writing. In book two, The Runes of the Prime, I introduce a saucy character who swears like a sailor but has a soft inside, named Savnah Derrigand. She was included as a random adventurer in a party delving some dangerous underground caverns but after just a few chapters, she took on a life of her own and has become a strong character in the book series. I still laugh when I hear her throw a temper tantrum and admit I take a certain perverse joy in creating some of her unique curses.

Strong female warrior, Powerful fantasy woman character art by the noble artist. In black and white.
Savnah, a character piece I drew for Lance’s Runes of the Prime novel

Quick Fire Questions

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as you’ve developed your writing career?

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

What are your top three tips for aspiring authors?

Consume everything in your genre to see what you like. Always use professionals (editors, artists, publishers when you can). Write what you love first, then it’s fun and you can share the enthusiasm for your work with others (marketing is more about sharing something you love and not “buy my book”).

What’s your favourite setting of all time?

I’m a sucker for epic fantasy kingdoms in the mountains, before guns and industrialization, steeped in the miasma of ancient magic and prophecy.

The first cover I worked on for Lance

What should aspiring authors think about when writing dialogue?

Dialogue can’t sound contrived. While its helpful to reveal world and plot information in dialogue, the phrasing has to be genuine to the individual character.

I think it’s really helpful to have beta readers and of course editors here because authors often get lost inside their heads. You understand the picture you are creating, so it makes sense, but an outsider will often point out the errors in character consistency.

What are your dos and don’ts for an action or combat scene?

I appreciate realism and consistency. So if a character incurs an injury, unless there is a divine miraculous healing, then the injury should plague them and alter their capabilities. I don’t shy away from gore but it’s not the central theme to my action. I always read action scenes over and over and out loud because it’s very easy to become lost in the “movie inside your head” but then fail to capture that on paper. Some action scene become too bogged down in the specific mechanics of “an overhead sword swipe here, a parry there, then she rolled and slashed…”

Some of that is helpful, but most of the time, trying to create the movie of a complex and long sword fight is difficult on paper. Most fights are honestly blunt, fast, brutal and gritty so I try to favor that in my writing. Humans are fragile creations. Pro football players leave the game for a minor head injury or even a twisted ankle. A single slash across the belly puts most of us out of the fight so… shouldn’t that apply to our characters?

How do you lace your story with lore, geography or history without it feeling like a boring lesson?

A common trope is to place the reader inside the POV of a pupil, young character, novice or traveler (someone new to the area like the reader is). This character asks questions about past and future events. Or a voyeur could listen in/eavesdrop on a conversation. There are a thousand ways a newbie can learn about these world events: formal schools, religious ceremonies, arguments around the dinner table, conversations with a drunk in a tavern, reading an old diary or ledger. The best stories mix all of these into a character’s discovery and dialogue/conversation so that the world lore is sprinkled in as opposed to an information dump.

Rise of the Abrogators book cover. A novel by Lance Vangundy. Artwork by the noble artist. Fantasy art with goblin like creatures drumming in the deep of a cavern.
Book three and the most recent cover I worked on for Lance

What would you recommend an aspiring or established author to do in terms of self-promotion to help them build awareness of their work?

If someone has the golden ticket to this question, please let me know! My best advice, “do you” and have fun. If tiktok and silly videos are your thing, go for it. If you prefer a third person “behind the camera” thing of a blog or bookstagram, do that. There are so many avenues. But don’t expect overnight discovery, think of long hadal. Build friends, fans and readership over time. Probably the best advice I heard was from Joanna Penn of (wonderful resource) and she said something akin to this:

First know that you don’t have to be present on all social media platforms (who has the time). Second, get over your angst and realize that you created something that you love, so you are simply, genuinely sharing your passion for something that you love. This advice has really helped me overcome any feeling that I am trying to simply sell someone to “buy my books.”

What are you working on right now, and what can we get our hands on already? 

Book 4 of the Rune Fire Cycle is in production with an anticipated rollout fall 2024. Readers can catch media insights, art inspirations and connect with me at a number of places. A good launch point is

You can find Lance at:

Thanks so much for talking to me Lance! I hope to speak to you again soon. Good luck with book four in the Rune Fire Cycle.

If you’d like to take part in Industry interviews…

I’m always looking to chat to like minds in the creative industry. I get a buzz out of seeing people pursue and achieve awesome things in books, games and art.

I plan to provide interesting and educational blog posts using:

  • Author interviews
  • Game designer interviews
  • Artist interviews, fantasy authors, science fiction authors, horror authors, historical authors
  • Other creative interviews

If you have a colourful career in the creative industries, drop me a line at

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