Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Interview with Fantasy Author Brendan Carroll
Today I'm pleased to have an interview with Brendan Carroll whose novel The Red Cross of Gold is part of the "Tax Day Free Fantasy" promotion on April 17! Welcome, Brendan.
When did you start writing? What did you first write?
It seemes I have been writing forever, but I probably took up writing in the sixth grade when I was around eleven or twelve. My friends and I thought it would be a goodidea to have a class newspaper, so we wrote up articles for a ‘newspaper’, printed them out in tiny letters and then cut them out with scissors. We pasted them on another piece of paper as akind of messy jigsaw. Of course, we didn’t get far because we had no way of printing more than the original copy, so we just passed it around. I rememberit was a lot of work putting it together, but I did learn how to print very small, which helped me when I got into high school. I made the best cheat sheets money could buy. This sort of enterprise brought in a little spending money and by the time I printed out the sheets for my‘customers’, I never had to cheat on a single test. In fact, I made very high scores. Kids! What will they do next?
Aside from my foray into petty crime, I wrote my first novel whenI was about 32 years old and laid up from work with a medical condition. Iwrote a fan fiction Sci-Fi novel based on the original Star Trek television series. It was really very good (or soI’m told) at the time and for a first effort, but of course, the market for Star Trek novels was closed to outsiders. I had no idea how the publishing industry worked back then or else I may never have put pen to paper again. Fortunately, ignorance is truly bliss and I kept writing in spite of the almost zero probability of ever being published. I am also told that this is the mark of a true writer. One who cannot help but write.
Tell us about the fantasy world(s) youmake up. What are they like?
I have made up a few fantasy worlds in mynovels over the years. It is easier to borrow from mythology, I believe than try to make up an entire world with new names for old ideas, places and characters. If I want to write about dragons, for example, there are plenty of historical references to dragons and what they might look like or how they might behave. I don’t really have to make up a new world for dragons when the world we live in is already a fantastical place full of marvels and miracles. So I tend to call an oak an oak and a faery a faery. No need to put the reader through a lot of trouble trying to learn impossible to pronounce names for ‘common’fictions. I do like using names that mean something to the reader without the reader having to add new words to his/hervocabulary. Most of the proper names formy characters (both human and otherwise) are taken from history, mythology,astrology and actual reference books about the meanings and origins of names
As for my fantasy worlds, I use theunderworld from faery lore and expand upon known or accepted ideas with my ownversions as seen from my own perspective. I think a lot of people can relate to the underworld as a dark andforeboding place, but in my estimation, that would be the Abyss, or Hell, orHades, depending on your personal bent. The underworld I write about is equivalent to what the Pagans might call‘Summerland’ or the realm of the Fae. The alchemists might call it the Ether.
How do you work out a magic system foryour world? Do you prefer a lot of magic? Light magic? And why?
In the early books of the Assassin Chronicles series, I use a lot of imagery and description of Pagancircle-working. Simple magick using crystals, candles, swords and stones. That sort of thing. I also use the Solomonic Magick found in theKeys of Solomon, hence Solomon’s Wisdom. King Solomon apparently knew a great deal of magick. Hey, it’s in the Bible… or used to be. I also use stuff from the Necronomicon of HP Lovecraft fame and Eastern Magick, Djinnis, Genies (whatever you want to callthem). Most of the main characters workwith either simple Pagan rituals or Angelic Magick. Sometimes I change it up a bit so thatreaders don’t actual get themselves into trouble using magickal incantationswithout the proper training. I don’tconsider myself a magickal expert, but tis better to err on the side of caution I always say.
I try to keep the magick believable, if you can believe that, pardon any puns intended or unintended. I like to think that my readers might actually raise an eyebrow and maybe look in the closet o runder the bed from time to time. I like to make people think or question what they believe or see or hear.
What is the hardest thing about making up a fantasy world? Why?
I have never found anything hard aboutmaking up fantasies because it is much harder to stick to the facts and figuresof the mainstream realm of thought as to what is normal and what is not, what is real and what is unreal. Who can saythat my fantasy is not the Real World and everything else is simply imaginationor fiction? This question has been askedby much greater minds than mine.
Tell us about your most recent maincharacter. Would we want to share a meal with them? Why?
Oh, yes, my most recent main character outside of Mark Ramsay, the Right Honorable Chevalier du Morte of the Assassin Chronicles, is a sort of partnership of characters in the form of Clint Evansand Marshall Dillon. The former is based on a friend of mine from my former occupation and the latter is a fictional fellow, loosely based on a close personal friend. Clint is a semi-successful writer who is just trying to live a simple,but comfortable life in a small town. Marshall Dillon (named after his father’s favorite TV personality) is a misplaced Lakota-Sioux, and friend of Clint Evans, who happens to be the local constable. They are both rather colorful characters with good senses of humor and personable constitutions. I think anyone might enjoy sharing a meal with either or both of them.
What about the villain of your most recent novel. How didyou make them up? Would we be scared to meet them in a dark alley?
In the same novel (The Hounds of Oblivion), the villain or villains are inhuman and inhumane for the most part. You would definitely not want to meet up withone of them anywhere, dark or light. AsI said before, I didn’t really simply make them up from scratch, but ratherborrowed them from mythology. Of course,I had to make up their personalities and their purpose and their methods. The book is actually leaning more towardhorror than fiction, so I had to think of some horrible things for them todo. In order to do that, I drew on booksI’ve read, movies I’ve seen and my own vivid imagination.
What is your next project?
My next projects or my current works in progress are thesecond book in the Apprentice Diaries:.Le Nome de Plume and the 26thbook in the Assassin Chronicles series called All That is Fallen.
Brendan Carroll's The Hounds of Oblivion, The Red Cross of Gold I and The Knights of Christ are available on Amazon and also on Smashwords.
Be sure and watch for The Red Cross of Gold I and a dozen other great fantasy freebies on April 17 in the coming Tax Day Free Fantasy!