Yannis Karatsioris, author of The Book of the Forsaken, answers questions about his novel's concepts and characters. Visit his website.
One of the most interesting aspects of The Book of the Forsaken is the fact that the narrator is a character manipulating the other characters. Why did you choose to write in this style? What can you tell us about this mischievous, mysterious storyteller?
He’s the embodiment of an archetype of the world we live in. So, as an archetype his attributes—deep understanding and active intelligence—will have an impact on the big picture and as a personality he expresses the same attributes but on a smaller scale, this way manifesting harmless wit.
The idea about a character-narrator came after I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, where this great author chose to talk about old gods surviving in our world. I like to think I took the idea a step further, by making one of the “old ones” the centrepiece of the story, thus making the story a modern version of this archetype, answering the question “How would that archetype manifest in our world? What would its interests be?”
Among the characters in The Book of the Forsaken, do you have a favorite? What can you tell us about Cassidy, Daniel, and Igor?
In Daniel, Igor, and Cassidy, I convey human destiny as seen against the narrator’s power coming from being what he is. I add a third parameter at the end of The Book of the Forsaken, that of Mr. Crow, and, for the readers who know who John Dee was, this character will complete the scale of power. At the end of book 2 of the series (current title Melchizedek’s Finest) Daniel, Igor, and Cassidy will know more about themselves and appear changed because they know their destiny, they then have one.
I’d like to say I love my characters equally, but truth be told I had more fun playing with Robert Cassidy. He has an attitude and, in my every day life, it feels funny when someone is serious about being a bully. I tried to think how someone ends up like that, because when you answer the whys everyone is likeable.
My main concern in The Book of the Forsaken is that I’m not offering a female character to the audience. Do you think a female character would make the story more interesting? I’m not sure I like this train of thought, i.e. “what should I be offering to the audience,” so, I guess what I’d like to know is whether my trio is too much testosterone in print…
I don’t think so. There are plenty of stories out there in which women only play fleeting roles as romantic interests. Unless there’s a compelling reason to add a female lead, I say let your guys have their testosterone-ridden adventure. Do you think there are any characteristics that set you, a Greek writer, apart from American and British writers?
No. Do you think The Book of the Forsaken would have a different impact on an American audience than on a British one?
American audiences may be less familiar with a lot of the European cities mentioned, but otherwise I don’t think it’d make a difference. Why did you choose to write a contemporary fantasy? What is it about the genre that intrigues you?
My first fantasy novel was an epic fantasy, set in a secondary world. I’m not set on urban fantasy or any other kind of fantasy. I’ll definitely experiment. I think what makes me choose a genre is the story and the setting I believe it aesthetically fitting into.
Are there any themes or hidden meanings in The Book of the Forsaken that you want readers to know about?
The world as described by one of the characters in the chapter “A Wallachian Lineage” is the occult way of seeing the beings of the “other side”. It is the “occult truth” about vampires, shapeshifters etc. More on that will be given throughout the series. Also, the “spell” the Bringers of Death use is a reminder of the power of the butterfly effect.
Out of curiosity, what does the “Born Blind” sign in your profile picture mean?
The “born blind” sign stands as a reminder that we're all born “blind” regarding the knowledge of ourselves, as “seeing” is “knowing” in esoteric terms. It refers to the procedure we go through our lives that is self-knowledge, the more conscious the one the deeper the other.
Where do you go for inspiration when you get writer’s block?
I think “writer’s block” is an invented term for something that doesn’t exist if one doesn’t want it to exist. Authoring entered the mass production era and this meant stress to “produce” and a writer’s stress in heavy loads must have a writer’s block for balance to appear again. I avoid stress when ”creating”.
The Book of the Forsaken is the first of “The Game” series. What can you tell us about the sequels? How many will there be?
There are three planned in detail so far. There is an idea that will expand the series to six books in total, but I’m going to dig into it further after I’m done with the first three.
The second one of the series, Melchizedek’s Finest, is being put together as you read this. It is staged in the wandering Circus—Melchizedek’s Finest—run by members of the Forsaken races. It is where the narrator decides to lay low as his plans are unfolding. I will be focusing on the way the Forsaken of the circus survive in a world that has forgotten them, while the outer pressure from the Orders and Guilds of Magi who are looking for the Book of the Forsaken, as well as from the two Bringers of Death, is heightened to the point of everyone’s destruction.