Thursday, August 30, 2012


Tom Wallace, author of the crime thriller Gnosis, answers questions about his writing process and inspirations. Visit his website or Like him on Facebook.

“Write what you know,” the old saying goes. How much of Gnosis is based on your own experiences? What do you have in common with Detective Jack Dantzler?

I have nothing in common with Dantzler, except for a love of tennis and a bent toward philosophical musings. Dantzler, like Cain in Heirs of Cain, is what I wish I was—intelligent, talented, tough, handsome. “Write what you know” is fine; however, I would rather write what I want to be.

Are any of the characters based on people you know?

No. Every character is born in the depths of my imagination.

Dantzler and the man whose innocence he’s trying to prove, Reverend Eli Whitehouse, both spend a lot of time contemplating God. Why did you choose to incorporate this religious element into your book?

I had been reading Harold Bloom’s great book Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine, and aspects of the book sort of seeped into the story. That can happen; I was reading a lot of Camus when I was writing What Matters Blood, and some of his stuff ended up in the book. The title, Gnosis, comes from the terms gnostic or gnosticism, which, in some ways, incorporates several of my own beliefs. Portraying Eli Whitehouse as a hard-core Christian fell naturally into the story.  Most Christians, especially American Christians, are actually gnostics, even though they are unaware of it, or would ever admit to it.

The plot of Gnosis includes a lot of twists and turns. Are you the type of writer who maps out your story beforehand, or do you make things up as you go along? What’s your process like?

Normally, I don’t plot things out too far in advance. I like to let the story take me where it wants me to go. However, I do spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to begin each chapter. I never begin a chapter until I have the starting point clear in my mind.

What kind of research did you do in order to write Gnosis?

No research, other than reading Bloom’s book.

Other than Dantzler, who was featured in two previous novels, what element of Gnosis first came to mind?

For me, Gnosis was less about a detective trying to solve a 29-year-old double murder, and more about redemption, particularly the redemption of Eli and his tormented son, Tommy. One of my favorite moments in the book comes in the final chapter, when Eli and Tommy are reunited after not having seen each other in 29 years.  I think that’s a really powerful moment.

Why did you choose to write crime thrillers? What it is about the genre that intrigues you?

I tried to write a “serious” novel on several occasions, only to quickly realize that I’m not Norman Mailer, Philip Roth or Cormac McCarthy. I don’t have their talent, and never will have it. Mysteries and crime thrillers came more naturally, so that’s why I went in that direction. It was either that, or never give myself a chance of being published.

You spent many years as a sportswriter before penning fiction. What compelled you to start writing novels?

I have written more than 1,000 poems and five sports-related books, so going up the ladder to writing a novel seemed like a logical progression. I finished my first novel in 1989, my second in 1992. I didn’t have one published until 2006, so if nothing else, I can say I have something of a bulldog’s tenacity.  Either that, or I’m simply too stubborn to throw in the towel.  

Are you working on anything new? Will you continue writing about Detective Jack Dantzler?

My next novel, The List, will be published in February. It will feature Dantzler, along with Cain, the legendary assassin in Heirs of Cain. Essentially, this will be more Cain’s book than Dantzler’s. The one after that is tentatively titled The Fire of Heaven, and it is another Dantzler book. I’m about 30,000 words into it at this point. 

Gnosis is available at: Amazon US (Kindle e-book), Amazon US (paperback), Amazon UK (Kindle e-book), Amazon UK (paperback),  Barnes & Noble (paperback), Powell's Books (paperback)

Monday, August 27, 2012


Gwen Perkins, author of the swords-and-sorcery fantasy The Universal Mirror, discusses her novel's characters, magic system, and inspirations. Visit her website, Friend her on Facebook, or Follow her on Twitter.

The Universal Mirror takes place on the island of Cercia, where magic is strictly bound by laws called the Heresies. What inspired you to set up your world in this way?

One of the things that I've always found inspiring as a writer is limitations.  I've never been someone who is very good at thinking up plots with perfect characters.  If someone can accomplish what they need easily and with little resistance from the outside world, I'm afraid that I just don't find that incredibly believable, perhaps because that doesn't reflect my own experience.

The Heresies came about for a number of reasons.  The world of Cercia is a place in which structured religion as we understand it has been gone for some time.  One of the themes that I wanted to examine in this series, however, was the question of what laws do men live by when they have no gods?  In this case, the Cercians replaced formalized religion with a set of laws and prohibitions around magic with the idea of keeping public order. (There are more sinister reasons for why they did this but I'd prefer not to spoil anyone for further twists in the series.)  Each "Heresy" basically relates to something that the government doesn't wish the people to do, particularly those who have access to controlling great amounts of physical power.

A key question in the novel becomes why the government makes one of these laws in such a way that no magician is allowed to heal.  It makes no sense to the protagonists that their moral code outlaws what, to them, is one of the most moral actions a man can take.

Both the arrogant young nobleman Quentin and his best friend, the good-hearted merchant Asahel, could be considered the protagonist. Why did you choose to focus on two main characters instead of one?

I like to do two main characters per novel because it allows me to change the focus and to cover more ground.  Each character brings something very different to the table and it's interesting to me how readers have reacted to both.
Also, I'll be the first to admit that both Asahel and Quentin are flawed in their own ways which was a deliberate choice on my part.  Not all readers enjoy reading flawed characters and I hope that by varying a bit, I've managed to provide a more balanced story for them to enjoy.  My point-of-view characters do change throughout the series.  While you see Quentin and Asahel as the main characters in The Universal Mirror, my next book The Jealousy Glass (coming out December 1) focuses on Asahel and Felix.

Do you have a favorite character, or a character you particularly sympathize with?
I have to admit that I love them all in different ways, though Quentin irritated me quite a lot in the writing of the first book.  I'm fond of Asahel in large part because of how I see him changing and growing throughout the series (a bit spoilery, perhaps, but true).

A character that I was surprised to discover I enjoyed as much as I did was Felix.  Felix was actually introduced into the book because my youngest daughter asked me to name a character Felix.  I did so to humor her and then got really interested in his story.  I had a number of readers comment on him as well, so many that it actually got him promoted to main character status in the second book.  (I have to admit, I'm one of those authors who listens to their readers.  I may not always be able to make them happy but in a case like this, it was a pleasure to try.  Hopefully, I've succeeded.) 

Which part of The Universal Mirror did you most enjoy writing and why?

It's always a little easier for me to remember the hard parts but there were definitely characters and moments that I enjoyed.  There are a few little references and injokes that I slipped in here and there (one reader finally caught one to Sweeney Todd the other day and I was so happy)—I love to put those things in since it gives people who know something about me or about history something to uncover.

It's hard for me to share my favorite scenes without spoiling the entire book but I really loved writing the end of the story.  By that point, the character relationships were defined enough that I was able to keep building on them.  For the same reason, I enjoyed the sequel—familiar characters allowed me to delve more deeply into the story at hand.

One of the things that jumped out to me about your writing is how it carries an old-fashioned, almost archaic tone, reminiscent of older fantasies and even epic poems. Why did you choose to write in this style?

I don't know that it was entirely intentional so much as a carryover from my day job.  I work as a museum curator and spend a lot of time reading letters and documents from the past.  When you spend most of your days thinking in that voice, it slips into just about everything you write.  For this story, it felt appropriate enough to keep.

I also cut my teeth as a child on the old sword and sorcery tales so you're right in noting that influence.  I loved those short, simple books that people like Fritz Leiber and Robert Howard were writing—they were always so full of magic, mystery and intrigue.  That was the feel I wanted to capture in these fantasy stories of my own—just to give the reader a few moments of adventure away from their own lives.

How did you develop the magic system at the center of the story? That is, the rules of the magic, how it is used and channeled, who can use it, etc.?

The rules and ideas actually were inspired initially by the Renaissance university and education system.  I tend to think of the education that the magicians receive as much more global than a simple expression of magic (I'm working on a prequel, Paper Armor, that really defines the use of magic in Cercia). 

Also, one thing that I knew was that I wanted a kind of magic that could be channeled through a universal resource but that I could have different cultures use in different ways.  That was where the use of the body as a conduit for earth energies came in.  I could write a whole post just on that concept and the differing relationships of cultures in the Artifacts-verse to magic—it definitely comes into play in The Jealousy Glass and more so in subsequent novels.

In The Universal Mirror, you take the time to set up your world before advancing the plot and conflict. Why did you choose to write with this slower pace rather than the page-turning style that seems to be in vogue these days?

To me, what was important was setting the foundation for a much broader story.  The series travels throughout a number of lands and examines the magicians' interactions with class, other cultures and with their own abilities.  It's hard to tell stories like that unless you start with a strong base.  I'm hoping that readers will want to stay with the series through its end and that, by allowing them to know the world and characters, they will love them as much as I do and perhaps imagine themselves a part of it. 

If you were to live on the island of Cercia, who would you be? Magician? Noblewoman? Both? What do you think it would be like to live there?

Oh, I'd probably be a poor wretch on the docks!

As far as what it would be like to live in Cercia, it would all depend on who you were and what your class was.  (And don't forget questions of gender, sexuality, and to some extent, religion.)  I imagine that being a noble in Cercia would be a fairly relaxed and pampered existence, if a little boring, whereas those  of the lower classes have it extremely hard.  Women also struggle in Cercia and have a much more difficult existence there than in the Anjduri Empire or other parts of the world.  There's a history behind that but that will be saved for other books.

What’s next for Quentin and Asahel?

They're both featured in the sequel to Universal Mirror entitled The Jealousy Glass.  This book, which comes out December 1, follows Asahel as he travels to the Anjduri Empire with Felix in tow.  It takes place one year after the events at the end of the first book and really starts to examine how things have unfolded in Cercia since.  Really, it's like a friend of mine put it—"The revolution's over.  Now what?"

The Universal Mirror is available at:  Amazon US (Kindle e-book), Amazon US (paperback), Amazon UK (Kindle e-book), Amazon UK (paperback), Barnes & Noble (paperback), Powell's Books (paperback)

Friday, August 24, 2012

REVIEW: Gnosis / Tom Wallace

TITLE: Gnosis (A Jack Dantzler Mystery)
AUTHOR: Tom Wallace
PUBLISHER: Hydra Publications
AVAILABILITY: Amazon US (Kindle e-book), Amazon US (paperback), Amazon UK (Kindle e-book), Amazon UK (paperback),  Barnes & Noble (paperback), Powell's Books (paperback)
APPROXIMATE LENGTH: 259 pages (paperback)

Recommended for fans of crime mysteries like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels.


Gnosis is a fairly straightforward detective story. It follows Jack Dantzler, the main character, as he searches for clues and gradually unravels the mystery at the center of the plot, laying out his thought processes. There is also a prominent religious element, as the man whose innocence he’s trying to prove is a Christian reverend.

Page-turner. Gnosis immediately introduces the reader to a puzzling mystery, opening with a seemingly random murder and then fast-forwarding to several decades later, when Dantzler reinvestigates the case. Twists along the way keep a reader guessing until the end.

Third person limited. The majority of the narrative is written from Dantzler’s point of view and outlines his thoughts as he wrestles with his perplexing case. Every so often, there’s a chapter written from the point of view of a secondary character. Some parts of the narrative transition into a more omniscient perspective to explain the background of a character.

Like every good crime thriller, Gnosis opens with a murder, one that is perplexing in its apparent randomness. Twenty-nine years later, Jack Dantzler, a dedicated Lexington detective with years of experience, is summoned by Reverend Eli Whitehouse, who was convicted of the crime. Whitehouse had said little in his defense at his trial decades earlier, and all the evidence pointed at him. Now, he claims that he is innocent and wants Dantzler to prove it.

Dantzler is initially skeptical, but “like it or not, his interest had been piqued.” Too many things don’t add up—why would a reverend with no ties to anything nefarious coldly execute two young men? He is also unable to stand the thought of an innocent man could be in prison, and so he begins looking into the case. When one of the people who was involved in the case is brutally murdered, Dantzler realizes that not only is the reverend innocent, but the real killer is still out there—and still killing.

The majority of Gnosis is written like a typical detective story or police procedural, depicting conversations between investigators, interviews with witnesses, and the like. Wallace lays out Dantzler’s internal thoughts as he contemplates his case, outlining the detective’s logic, doubts, and ruminations. The reader is given the same information as Dantzler, and as a result, it is easy to get lost in Dantzler’s head and share his frustrations as he finds himself bombarded by questions: “Why would Eli take the blame, then silently spend the next three decades behind prison bars? Why didn’t he fight it with greater vigor? What was the reason for his silence? What was he afraid of? Who was he protecting? Who was the real murderer?”

There is also a major religious element woven into this murder mystery. Dantzler’s first discussion with Whitehouse concerns God, and his third-person internal monologues are strewn with his musings on the subject as the book progresses. Dantzler is a Gnostic, a man who believes in a Creator beyond the God of the Bible, religion beyond the institution. Whitehouse, meanwhile, is a man of God who struggles to understand why such a heavy burden was placed on him.

The puzzle at the center of Gnosis is intriguing enough to keep the pages turning, especially when the real killer shows up, depicted as an unnamed shadowy figure, and stalks Dantzler. At the same time, Wallace likes to paint vibrant portraits of his characters, including the ones he kills off. In fact, all the murders in Gnosis are written from the points of view of the soon-to-be DOAs, starting with one of the punk kids Whitehouse was convicted of murdering. He wants the reader to get to know the people involved in his story, to understand their backgrounds, personalities, and drives. Dantzler, as the main character, is given the fullest treatment—everything from his past as a rising tennis star to his current sort-of relationship with the obligatory sexy female investigator is detailed. These character studies are what set this book apart from an episode of CSI, adding depth to what could have been just another whodunit.

Wallace is a skilled author who clearly understands the ins and outs of his genre—how to set up a mystery, drop clues, and create suspense. His writing is mostly straightforward and down-to-earth, making it easy to move from sentence to sentence without realizing how many pages one has gone through. There are moments when he goes a little overboard with the metaphors, and some of his sweeping statements about life and religion seem rather heavy-handed, as though he’s using his detective novel as a platform for his philosophical musings. Then again, Dantzler is quite the thinker, a man who studied philosophy and reads books on religion in his spare time.

Gnosis is a book that’s virtually impossible to walk away from, the kind that had me flipping the pages thinking, “What happens? What happens? What happens?” I ended up finishing it in less than two days, and begrudging the time I had to spend away from it. Its slower character-centric scenes are more than offset by the swirling questions of a baffling case, one that is anything but closed.

There are a teeny-tiny, barely perceptible number of errors that are harder to find than the mystery killer in Gnosis.

This book features a number of murders, and there is one violent scene involving guns. The descriptions of the corpses can be somewhat disturbing. There is some adult language. Sex and drugs are mentioned but not described in detail.

Tom Wallace is a Vietnam vet and an active member of Mystery Writers of America and the Author’s Guild. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and has penned two previous mysteries featuring Detective Jack Dantzler, What Matters Blood and The Devil’s Racket.

Monday, August 20, 2012

REVIEW: The Universal Mirror / Gwen Perkins

TITLE: The Universal Mirror
AUTHOR: Gwen Perkins
PUBLISHER: Hydra Publications
AVAILABILITY: Amazon US (Kindle e-book), Amazon US (paperback), Amazon UK (Kindle e-book), Amazon UK (paperback), Barnes & Noble (paperback), Powell's Books (paperback)
APPROXIMATE LENGTH: 178 pages (paperback)

Recommended for fans of medieval fantasies like the British TV series Merlin and the Game of Thrones books.

Fantasy—Sword and Sorcery

The Universal Mirror takes place on the fictional island of Cercia in a world of magic and noblemen. Familiar territory for fans of European-style medieval fantasies like the Game of Thrones series. The Universal Mirror is focused on a small group of characters and their personal battles within their magical world rather than the end-of-the-world type conflicts of epic heroic fantasies. With its depictions of class systems and old-fashioned dialogue, this book sometimes reads like historical fiction.

The Universal Mirror is the first book in the Artifacts of Empire series. Although the ending is open-ended enough to invite sequels, it does not leave the reader with a cliffhanger.

The Universal Mirror isn’t the fast-paced page-turner type, but it’s nevertheless engaging. Perkins sets up the book’s universe and the characters’ backgrounds while advancing the plot bit by bit—until the last third or so, when everything starts unraveling.

Third person. The book seems to switch between a more omniscient point of view and a closer, limited third. The chapters alternate between the perspectives of the two main characters, Quentin and Asahel, and only one characters’ internal thoughts are shown at a time.

On the island of Cercia, magicians are forbidden to leave and bound by strict laws called the Heresies. No magician is to practice magic on a human being, living or dead. But that doesn’t stop Quentin, a young and arrogant nobleman, from secretly engaging the services of a grave robber so he can hone his supernatural craft. His best friend, a good-hearted man of a lower class called Asahel, reluctantly aides him in his efforts, knowing that if they are caught, they will be executed.

Both Quentin and Asahel could be considered the protagonist of The Universal Mirror, which switches between their perspectives chapter by chapter. Quentin’s motivations for risking not only his life, but the life of his friend, are noble enough. He believes that magic can be used to heal and wants to practice on corpses, much like a medical student. In his obsession and determination, he often disregards the world around him—taking Asahel for granted, never questioning the origins of the corpses, and more. Asahel, meanwhile, is a genuine and loyal man who finds himself torn between the desire to help Quentin and his own sense of right and wrong.

Perkins’ writing has an old-fashioned lilt to it through its choice of words and its use of epithets (Quentin is often referred to as “the redhead”). The Universal Mirror seems to transition in and out of a more omniscient point of view, in which the reader is watching the story from afar, and a closer third, in which the reader experiences the story through the eyes of Quentin or Asahel. It’s not perfect—some parts feel overwritten and the little red pen in my head itched to scratch out a handful of redundant phrases—but it certainly has its own voice.

The Universal Mirror is the kind of book that allows the reader to really care about the characters and understand their world. Through dialogues and back stories that are gradually revealed, Perkins meticulously develops her book’s fantastical universe, describing everything from the structure of the society to the characters’ personal backgrounds to how the magic works. Asahel is by far the most sympathetic character, with his kind, somewhat naïve nature. Sometimes he seems a little too nice and dependent on Quentin, although as the book progresses, so does he. Quentin and his wife, Catharine, a cold and snappish woman whose physical beauty is marred by plague scars, are less immediately likable. Catharine often claims that her father bought Quentin for her, since she is of a wealthier family, and appears indifferent to his feelings and actions. Quentin is convinced that she hates him and treats her coolly even though he is secretly devoted to her. Their dynamic is what creates much of the book’s drama. And then there’s Felix, a magician and nobleman like Quentin, whose charming and casual nature hide his unpredictable intentions.

Many contemporary books, catering to an impatient audience, drop their readers in the middle of the story and make a mad sprint for the end, sprinkling the plot with a quick dash of details that are barely glimpsed. Like watching a countryside zip by out the window of a train, you get the idea of the world you’re in but not much more. In The Universal Mirror, Perkins throws this notion out the window. She takes her time to create the universe her story takes place in, describing the setting in intricate detail and showing scenes between the characters that may not advance the plot but give the reader a better sense of who they are. The book can feel a little slow, and the plot doesn’t really take off until the second half. But by the time it does, one is so familiar with the universe and invested in the people that the ultimate conflict holds greater meaning and carries more suspense than it would have without the set-up. I was, I confess, a bit impatient with the opening, but then I found myself unexpectedly moved and unable to put the book down.

There are a handful of small errors, but nothing distracting.

This book is pretty G-rated. There is some fantasy-style violence (magical duels, swords, and the like), but nothing graphic or gruesome.

Gwen Perkins grew up in small towns across the Pacific Northwest and currently lives in Tacoma, Washington with her partner, Laura, and their three children. Her hobbies include wandering beaches, baking pies and lampworking, or creating glass beads. She is the marketing director of Hydra Publications, a small press focused on speculative fiction.

Visit her website, Friend her on Facebook, or Follow her on Twitter

RELATED: An Interview with Gwen Perkins


Friday, August 17, 2012


Sarah Dupeyron, author of the thriller-romance Hashimoto Blues, answers questions about her novel's characters and inspirations. Visit her website.

How did you go about developing the character of Ellie Fox?

Ellie developed along with the story. I didn’t have a clear picture of her when I started writing, unlike some of my other characters. When a situation would arise in the story, I knew how she felt about it and how she would react, but it wasn’t a conscious effort to make her a certain way, she just came out the way she did. 

In Hashimoto Blues, Ellie flies an ultralight airplane called the Papy Volant. Why did you choose to make her a pilot?

In this case, the plane came before the pilot. The spark for my book ignited when my husband and I were visiting his parents in France. His father had just bought an ultralight airplane and we went to see it. The guy who shared the hanger with him had an old red ultralight with a wooden prop. It looked like it was held together with duct tape and bailing twine. That plane had character—I had to write about it! I immediately thought of certain illegal activities one could do with a plane like that. I needed a pilot for the plane and that’s when Ellie was born. I had some vague ideas before that about a criminal couple but I didn’t know who they were or what kind of trouble they were going to get themselves into. The plane brought all of that together and solidified it.

What was the inspiration behind the charming yet dangerous Max Cameron, Ellie’s lover and partner in crime?

My first impression of Max came one afternoon when I found a piece of sea glass in my coat pocket that had been left there from the previous summer’s vacation. I held it up to the light and thought, “That would be a really nice color for someone’s eyes.” I starting imagining what he would look like and, this may sound weird, having a conversation with him.  I finally realized this was the guy in the plane with Ellie. I have to admit that my husband played a part in it too—the funny thing Max does with his hair, that’s totally my husband. Every time he gets nervous, he pulls on his hair like that. The resemblance ends there, though.

The titular villain, Kendo Hashimoto, is a brutally ruthless crime lord. What can you tell us about him?

Hashimoto is the kind of guy who would kick a puppy when no one is looking. He goes to great lengths to look good in front of other people but he’s just a plain old scumbag. I like to know my characters’ details, their backgrounds, their likes and dislikes, even if I don’t put those details in the book. With Hashimoto, I didn’t want to get close to him. The inside of his mind was a burning black pit that was very hard to explore.

Hashimoto Blues is at once a thriller about escaping a crime lord and a romance about Ellie and Max’s relationship. When you started writing it, did you consider it primarily a plot-driven or a character-driven novel?

I didn’t consciously think of it either way but the characters definitely came first and were the more important aspect of it for me. The plot developed around them. I purposely picked characters that would be considered “bad people” and tried to make them likable.

If you could cast anyone in the history of cinema and television for a movie version of Hashimoto Blues, who would you pick?

This is a great question. I have a very specific idea of what my characters look like and the only one who has a corresponding actor is Frank. I’ve always pictured him looking like Paul Newman, around the time of the Sting. As for the others? I’m not sure I should answer, especially Max. Imagination is such a powerful thing that I don’t want to screw up someone’s mental picture of him. BUT, I think it would be really interesting to hear which actors my readers picked.  

Where do you go for inspiration when writer’s block hits?

I like to listen to music. I often use lyrics to get me started on a story. The Rolling Stones played a part in Hashimoto Blues, mainly Tumbling Dice. The lyrics say “You can be my partner in crime” and that little phrase got me thinking about a criminal couple. 

Are there any aspects or experiences from your own life that made it into Hashimoto Blues? Characters you relate to? Locations you’ve been to?

They always say, “Write about what you know.” I know nothing about being a criminal, but Ellie has a lot of my own personality traits. She’s at once smarter and dumber than I am, but we both always have our noses in a book. She goes beyond anything I would ever do, though. I have a criminal mind but not a criminal conscience; I can come up with a boatload of devious plans that I would never dare do for fear of being caught, making someone feel bad, or disappointing my mother. Ellie, on the other hand, never thinks of any of those things.

All of the locations in my book are places I have been. I’ve spent a lot of time in both Burlington, VT and Montreal, QC. A friend of mine lived in Burlington and used to take photos of people riding the deer statue in front of city hall—that’s totally taken from real life. If you walk down Sherbrooke Street in Montreal, you can find the Musée de Beaux Arts, the Ritz hotel, and the very strange looking house where Hashimoto lives. There is a club SuperSexe on Ste. Catherine and a crêperie on Rue St. Denis. Eagle Ray’s is a real bar in Roatán, Honduras. Describing locations adds an aspect of realism to a story and I feel a lot more comfortable doing that when I know the look and feel of the area.

Are you currently working on any future projects?

I am writing a sequel to Hashimoto Blues called Don’t Kill Norman. I also have been playing around with two more stories that could possibly turn into novels, a western and a supernatural romance. 

Hashimoto Blues is available at: Amazon US (Kindle e-book), Amazon US (paperback), Amazon UK (Kindle e-book)

Monday, August 13, 2012

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Yannis Karatsioris

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.

The third one of the series, will be staged partly on the moon and partly on earth and will essentially be the Game the series is titled from. 

The Book of the Forsaken is available at: Amazon US (Kindle e-book), Amazon US (paperback), Amazon UK (Kindle e-book), Amazon UK (paperback)