I’ve had the pleasure of knowing John for several months and I can report he’s a nice guy, an unabashed gentleman, and an excellent writer. Here’s a bit of his bio ~~~~
I grew up in the ‘classic’ D&D period and devoured every book I could get my hands on. A few of my favorite fictional characters are the same as everyone else’s, but I always wanted to put my own twist on the genre with a different sort of attention to detail, pace, and the story’s development of characters. I wanted to craft a snarky, inventive, thinks-outside-the-box sorcerer who gets tossed in the deep end of the figurative pool and subsequently drawn far, far into a metaphysical rabbit hole of deific manipulations. My sincere thanks and appreciation to all who’ve come before me, making this project possible. I hope you enjoy the Makennan Novantumus series as much as I’ve loved crafting it, and special acknowledgement given to Black Widow of Shaarthuus.
Now, read on to discover my interview with this fascinating author.
Thanks for succumbing to my interview process, John. First off, tell us about your newest release – story line, genre, and a character or two that the reader should be on the lookout for.
Thanks for this fantastic opportunity, Mr. Tucker! My current release is entitled Makennan Novantumus, Book I: A Sorcerer’s Onus by Conjurey Bound, a novel of high fantasy. Mak contests with a power-hungry dark elf of Everdeep as well as the crazed queen, Allodia Bladesinger, and a deific Lich Lord born of chaos corrupted by evil. With far more than just his soul at stake, the protagonist travels beyond magic and sanity to where his deep passion with either save the world of Ea’dred or destroy it as he is changed in ways beyond his imagining. It’s a sprawling canvas! The Cadences of Oracle, a prophecy more than five thousand years old. Six City-Kingdoms will burn to the sorrow of a goddess’ gifts. A quintet of restraints bind Vishanti, Lady of all Magic, with blood, crown and sword as the dogs of war charge forth. But not if Makennan has anything to say about it!
The major antagonist is Arrinae Ot’Lythiust, a dark elven Drow of the lands of Everdeep. She’s both eternal adversary and ally to Mak himself, raised within a Matriarchal society of sweet-tongued sociopaths before coming to the surface world with entirely her own agenda of acquiring her very own City-Kingdom. I think readers will love to hate Arrinae by the end of Book I, simply because she’s so very endearing even as she slips the knife between your ribs again and again. She and Makennan also have a love/hate relationship going on that they’re both aware of and take advantage of, though it’s a coin toss as to which of them is going to come out ahead since I’ve striven to keep the reader guessing as to Arrinae’s ultimate motives.
What’s next on your to-do-list as far as your writing career?
I have the rough material written in entirety for Book II of the series, so next on my priority list is to revise and edit that down to a far more polished format. Though I just gave it a perusal a moment ago as I write this, and I do believe I have more than enough to take the story into the finish of Book III. If readers thought I put Makennan through the wringer in the first of the series, buckle up, Ladies and Gents, the sorcerer endures even more horrific events in books to come! “Beyond magic and sanity” was just the warm up. Makennan’s spirit will be shattered. He’ll be reunited with an old paramour, dead for more than a century. Ea’dred’s pantheon will go to war with an unknown force that’s cracked the Sphere of Realities. And the sorcerer brings in allies from beyond his own world to combat Malum Ooseth who seeks to unmake every Sphere of Existence of his fellow deities! As to the release of the next in the Novantumus series, that depends upon my promoter, Celestial Waters Publishing. I can say for certain, however, that if you enjoyed Book I then you’re going to love what’s next!
Roger Water’s (of Pink Floyd) came out with a solo song in the late 1980’s called The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking (Great Song – Check it Out!!). Name one pro and con of writing and explain yourself?
The advantage and joy of writing, for me, is the aspect of literary creation. Twenty-six little letters of our alphabet can fashion entire worlds, characters that inspire a myriad of emotions within the reader, or paint such a vivid image within the mind that you’re drawn into said portrait and don’t come out until you realize it’s 2am. That is an absolute joy for me, experiencing it as a reader and crafting it as a writer! The greatest pro to writing is that I can now (hopefully) bring that to an audience as that joy was given to me by those who have come before.
My view as to the greatest difficulty is the letting go of that final project, of calling it finished at the last. I think every writer becomes so very attached to their creative work of whatever genre that it’s hard for us to be completely satisfied. I’ve learned to release the worry over minutia of detail and embrace the entirety of the work itself. Some trees within a respective forest are crooked, others straight, some are bare and others lush. But the individual trees themselves are not what makes up the beauty of the forest as a whole. That was a challenging lesson to learn and accept, personally.
Readers love to hear about Heroes and Villains. Who’s the most outstanding character you have, and the biggest stinker?
Serna Waynebridge, princess of the City-Kingdom of Myndrit. Of the supporting characters she has the most depth, I think. Not just as one of the royal family within that realm but as a person, a patriot, and a woman possessing an unrequited love for Makennan himself. Not due to the fact of Mak being a low-born, rather his vast devotion to his goddess, Vishanti. The two of them reach an understanding and acceptance of one another’s feelings even as they realize this love simply cannot be. Serna is my favorite of the supportive cast because she’s simply the most, well, human. And no pun is intended within a world of dwarves, elves, gnomes and such, lol!
The biggest stinker within Book I is hands-down Tourm Basto, dwarven sergeant-at-arms of Loomdrake Thrakenscale. This rot gut, double-dealing little stoneplug has a relatively large part in the beginnings of ‘A Sorcerer’s Onus…’ as one of Makennan’s fellow conspirators. The consequences of a specific betrayal on his part are the very definition of just deserves. I had the most fun writing this particular character! Once I’d set the basic foundation of his role, the rest essentially took on a life of its own.
Hollywood comes calling with a big check for your book —- but they want to tweak the story line and change/eliminate a couple of characters. Do you immediately accept the money, or take a chance and refuse their filthy lucre in the hopes they’ll change their minds?
I would not accept a Hollywood check in return for their hacking of the story line. No. Each chapter builds upon the whole and removing a block…big or small…would leave a gap not easily filled. The characters I’ve established have a role to play, though perhaps not entirely within context of this first of my series. The half-elven Zala al’Thor, for example, has a major part within Books I, II and III. To remove her would entail a very large re-write. Sure, there’s a few characters here and there that could be eliminated, having put them in for mood, flavor or setting. But I would say perhaps 98% of the personas have good reason for being there and are deliberately interwoven into the ongoing tapestry of Ea’dred.
Every writer has a mentor. Who is yours and how did they help you?
Easily answered, this one. Robyn Eggers, a friend of many years. Her advice to me from more than three decades ago was, “Be the hero of your own story.” She didn’t intend that in regards to writing a novel but rather the living of life. Never quit, never stop, never cease until the doing is done. That is the core of Makennan himself. He finds a way. He makes it happen whatever the task he pursues, and he does it with class and style.
Would you rather do without the internet, spell check, or Amazon? Pick One and tell us why.
Given these choices, I say Amazon. There are other venues for distribution but I use the internet a great deal, almost exclusively, for background research. Spell check as well, because no matter how many times we all go over our work we always, always, always miss something. Amazon is an amazing and outstanding resource to promote and sell our craft, but without internet and spell check I would have nothing more than an impressive pile of dross. I absolutely adore the online thesaurus! While any of us can pick up a good ol’ fashion dictionary, nothing beats the convenience of a twenty second search as opposed to twenty minutes. That tends to put in a crimp in the creative flow when we’re all in the zone and the story is pouring out of us and onto the page.
Time for a SHOUT OUT to your favorite Author!!!! Who’s your fave and which one of their books is a must have? (After yours, of course.)
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, co-authors of the Dragonlance Saga. The second of these trilogies, the compiled Time of the Twins, Test of the Twins and War of the Twins is my own must have! I first read Dragonlance when I was fifteen or sixteen years old, I believe, and that series ignited my adoration of the fantasy genre. When I have the time I read genres pretty much across the board. This series, however, particularly the Twins trilogy, is my all time favorite. It portrays the dynamics between Caramon and Raistlin Majere and how their relationship has vast impact upon their entire world of Krynn. Well and far beyond the so-called hack ‘n slash type tales of adventure…which have their own place and merit…this trilogy showed me how the characters’ inner selves can and do influence the story on a grand scale. In a way, the Twins Trilogy has had great impact upon my life and for the positive. For that I’m grateful to Weis and Hickman both, well established authors with very successful and wide-ranging novels of excellence.
What do you consider the worst part of being an author?
Those two dreaded words, edit and revision. When I started writing the Novantumus series, I thought the research aspect was the most time consuming. Absolutely necessary, without doubt, and needful for consistency with richness of detail. Afterwards? Oh, my! The tweaking and fine tuning, pace and flow, and making certain the figurative palomino horse remains a palomino horse throughout. The worst but at the same time the best. One word or phrase can entirely change the feel of that respective paragraph or chapter, hence my love of Thesaurus. During the revision as well, balancing pronoun usage against the naming of respective characters. Tricky bit, that, at least at first and only speaking for myself. But as this is my first novel, the first time I’ve written professionally, I’ve learned a very great deal of my own style and I’m very happy with the end result.
That’s it for this week’s Interview. Read on to see John’s first book offering~~~
SYNOPSIS —– Catastrophes do not simply occur overnight. For Makennan Novantumus it begins in the City-Kingdom of Loomdrake Thrakenscale where he takes Court post for the insanely hedonistic Queen Bladesinger. The sorcerer knew exactly what he was doing, not what he was in for! Makennan has deduced an ancient prophecy foretells the Queen is catalyst to a war that could not only engulf all the continent of Wynthal but the world of Ea’dred itself. Within the convoluted plans of the gods themselves, however, things are not as they seem. Ever. Malum Ooseth, deific Lich Lord of Corruption and Bane to Order, seeks to usurp the balance of power among the Pantheon. Makennan’s petty machinations mean nothing to plans that have been in motion since the Age of Creation itself. The sorcerer finds himself deeper and deeper in the metaphysical rabbit hole as he is reshaped in ways he could never have imagined!
His co-conspirator is Arrinae Ot’Lythiust, a Dark Elf of the Everdeep. Makennan’s greatest ally, betrayer, foe, and respected enemy. Even as he rises from the ashes of horrors that would cripple a lesser being, so does Arrinae advance in power and the methods of her goddess, the Mother of Drow. These two mortals become embroiled in divine conflict that will literally reshape the world as the Goddess of Magic is both defiled and untethered from her domains of Conjurey.
What can a single man of low birth, a sorcerer, do when facing such odds? Cling to that which he loves most, of course. Vishanti, his Goddess of Magic. And ‘ware those who would stand in the way of this man! Cross him at your peril, for even gods learn to fear a mortal when one threatens that which he loves. His passion could, very literally, destroy the world or save it…along with Ea’dred’s entire sphere of existence and all the Planes within.
Makennan’s eternal adversary and ally, Arrinae Ot’Lythiust. The mad Queen Alodia Bladesinger. A deific Lich Lord born of chaos corrupted by evil. With far more than his soul at stake, he has but one choice. Outsmart everything and everyone standing between him and his goddess, and do it with class and style. Oh, and kick a certain Lich Lord where his dragon sleeps.
Magical Entertainment February 10, 2015
By Marc Secchia Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Gods and mortals. Nefarious deeds, treachery most foul and numberless creative ways to die. A sprawling canvas. Magic sizzling on every page. These are the raw elements of fantasy at its most epic, delivered here in a humourous, page-turning package that had me chuckling my way through. I like to rate stories on entertainment value, and this was 5 stars all the way.
Makennan Novantumus is a sorcerer of integrity, bound in service to his goddess but forced to partner with characters ranging from shady to lethal, from faithful to turncoat, in a world where little is as it seems and treachery is just a teleport – or a meddling god or demon – away. I was a little dubious about a book with such a mouthful for a title, but I have to say, the delivery blew me away. The author plays with magic as much as with words, and has no qualms about subjecting his characters to situations and fates ranging from brutal to hilarious.
That’s not to say the story is perfect. Sometimes it felt as though the storytelling became mired in its own cleverness, and the editing was not as sound as it could have been. However for sheer pizzazz and clever plot twists all the way through, it kept my attention and my stomach is sore from laughing. Top class entertainment, and highly recommended. Five Stars.
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