Feel free to share a little about yourself in your own words.
-Well, I’m textbook boring.
I’m a forty-two-year-old guy with a wife and two kids, a dog, some fish, and a rescue lizard named Julie.
I work full time as a firefighter/EMT in my hometown in northern Massachusetts.
I write fantasy, steampunk, and horror, and read a little bit of everything.
I started writing books after I graduated from UMass Lowell and started self-publishing in 2006. ‘Monster City’ was my first novel, though published under a different name.
How did you get into writing?
-Like so many, Dungeons & Dragons was my gateway drug.
I was about eight-years-old or so when I got my first D&D set for Christmas. It was all downhill from there.
I fell in love with world-building and populating those worlds with heroes and monsters and that just translated naturally to writing books.
Creating a D&D world/campaign is essentially the same as writing a book, it’s just you don’t have a bunch of idiot adventurers running amok and ruining everything you’ve put your heart and soul in to build. The good thing is you can kill them. The adventurers, not your friends.
What can you tell us about your daily routines that help you focus and your creative habits? So, for example how do you come up with some of your ideas and inspiration for your book?
-I’m pretty simple. I just try to write every day for as long as I can, which is usually a couple of hours. And on those days that I can’t cobble together a couple of hours, I try to take a look at what I’m working on and edit at least one sentence. That way, I stay engaged with my work and maintain that feeling of forward momentum.
As for inspiration, I try to carry around a small notepad in case anyone says anything awesome. I’ve sniped more than a few great one-liners from my friends and coworkers. And I always tell the person that I’m going to steal their awesomeness and use it for my own insidious purposes.
Another exercise I do is to just sit and think about my major characters. I try to put myself in their shoes and figure out what their most likely move would be. Does it make sense for her/him? Are there other factors that might influence them? Mental state? Injuries? Drunkenness? In short, does the character’s action make sense? Or am I forcing something purely for plot purposes and disregarding what should happen?
Is this book very personal for you? If so, how?
-I think all of my books are personal for me, merely by the fact that I’ve sunk so much time into creating them.
It’s tough to not get too attached to your own writing, which becomes a serious problem come editing time.
You see, everything I write is sacred. Initially. And I can’t be objective about a sacred object, so how can I possibly edit it?
More importantly, what do I do to get past this?
What works for me is I have to take a step back from my manuscript and just leave it for a while. Let the stink of sacredness wear off. One month is good. Three is better. If I wait three months, when I edit, that sacredness has worn off. I’ve developed some modicum of objectivity and it seems like I’m editing someone else’s work, so I’m much freer with the red pen.
Lords of Asylum
How did you come up with the book title?
-Jeeze. I labored over the title for a few years. Literally. I wanted something epic sounding and cool, but also foreboding and mysterious.
I had originally entitled my manuscript ‘Old Black Lankashyre’ because I liked the sound of it. The problem was, I knew I wasn’t going to have it set in that real medieval city. So I spent a long while coming up with another city name. I changed it at least twice but liked the name Asylum and its dual meaning with regards to the story: Asylum being both a place of refuge and solace as well as a horrible medieval city stricken by plague, civil war, and arcane murder.
Adding ‘Lords’ to it made sense story-wise and I think gives it a strong fantasy feel.
Plot and Synopsis
Can you describe what the book plot and give a detailed synopsis of the book, of course without any spoilers.
‘Lords of Asylum’ follows the ragged exploits of a fallen knight, Sir Luther Slythe Krait, caught up in a spider web of murder and political intrigue in the city of Asylum.
Sir Luther must solve a series of murders and hunt down the killer in order to restore some modicum of control to his own life if not the world around him.
Is there any movie, book, or television series that you can somewhat liken your story to? So for example, some books you can say are like Game of Thrones or Star Wars, what mainstream and popular movie do you think your book somewhat “feels” like? Did you want this to be the case?
-I always compare ‘Lords of Asylum’ to a medieval version of ‘The Maltese Falcon.’
Sir Luther is a character cut from the same cloth as Sam Spade. Neither is a particularly good guy. Nor are they evil. Both walk the grey area in between.
But each has a concrete moral code that drives them to action.
Story-wise, both have rough-knuckled toughs and femme fatales and murder and lust and betrayal and lies and all of that good healthy stuff.
Themes or Messages
What themes and deeper meanings or messages can we expect to find in this book if any? Is there any deep meanings or philosophical questions being explored in the book?
-Man, I wish there were some deeper meaning/themes to LOA and maybe there is, but I didn’t intentionally insert any when writing it.
I suppose the one theme I’d cite after the fact would be sticking by your crew.
Think Malcolm Reynolds from ‘Firefly.’ Here’s a guy who’s suffered a great loss of faith and desires only freedom from the establishment. He goes around doing whatever he can to survive, whether it’s legal or not. And if people sometimes have to die…
He’s not a monster, though; he has limits to what wrongs he’ll commit, what pain he’ll inflict, and who he’ll inflict them upon, but one thing undeniable about Malcolm Reynolds is that he takes care of his crew. No matter what. When the chips are down and his crew’s in peril, out come the teeth, and you’d better watch out.
Sir Luther Slythe Krait is very much like Malcolm Reynolds in that way.
There’s a vacuum in his moral center with regards to the outer world, but with regards to his inner world, the handful of people around him whom he cares about, there is nothing he won’t do or sacrifice to see them safe.
Off the wall question, but would some of the issues being explored in the book relate to us here in the real world?
-I wish it were an off the wall question.
Three issues explicit if not explored in LOA are sexism, racism and exploitation of the poor by the rich.
All three are self-explanatory, and we see them every day.
What can you tell us about the setting that we will be seeing in this book?
-‘Lords of Asylum’ is set in a small fantasy kingdom that resides within the boundaries of the real world.
The time is the 14th-15th century in Europe, during the Hundred Years War which was the prime time for knighthood, war, and the Black Death.
So expect to see some things you’d rather not see, but expect also to see acts of heroism and bravery and often where you least expect them.
What cultures or societies can we expect to see and can you tell us about how you came up with creating these societies? Was it difficult to get deep into how the societies function?
-I’ve always had a great interest in knights and their culture.
I’ve read a bunch of books about knights themselves and the society that grew and supported them.
It took a whole community to outfit one single knight with the horses, feed for the horses, squires, armor, weapons, and everything else needed to go to war.
So expect to see a lot of European culture. I don’t delve into the history and bore with facts and info dumps(I hope), but there’s enough there for those who care about it.
Tell us about the history of the land or world or worlds that we will be exploring through out the book?
LOA is set in our world, but our world pretty much at its worst.
There have been bad times throughout history, and I won’t debate which was the worst, but Europe during the time of the Black Death has got to be near the top. War, famine, pestilence and death, it had all the horseman running ragged.
Estimates of total population loss due to plague are usually between a quarter and a third.
Imagine having one in every three people you know die horribly. Imagine your whole family dying overnight. And you have to go to work the next day because if you don’t you’ll starve.
What can you tell us about some of the main characters and villains in this book?
Lady Narcissa Volkendorf is a femme fatale gripping onto a cliff’s edge by her fingertips.
She’s suffered almost every major loss possible. Her title and birthrights have been stripped, and she’s the prisoner of her most-hated enemy. Her husband has been killed in battle. And, worst, her children have both been murdered.
What Lady Narcissa has gone through would break most people, but not her. She’s suffered and fallen but she’s intent on healing and climbing back up the rungs of power. And she’ll do whatever she can, suffer whatever indignities she must, and use whomever available to accomplish her goal.
-Facebook Page: Facebook Author page: http://bit.ly/1nZem3j
-Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/2noAXKj
How to buy
-Lords of Asylum on Amazon http://amzn.to/242AqeO
-Lords of Asylum on Audible: https://adbl.co/2DjIqlY
Please nominate another author you really like and has not yet reached mainstream and a small paragraph about why you believe this author is someone to really look into.
-I nominate Patrick LeClerc, author of ‘Out of Nowhere’ and ‘Broken Crossroads.’
Patrick LeClerc is a great author of fantasy and science fiction. I’m nominating him because his writing style is so witty and funny and clean. He makes reading his works an effortless joy, except for the times it makes me jealous. Which is always.
He’s also a friend and all-around good guy.