In your own words, please describe your book….
“Awakenings” is the first book of my epic fantasy trilogy, “The Avatar of Calderia.” Herein begins a sweeping tale of good vs. evil, of intrepid heroes and nefarious villains, mighty wizards and Dark sorcerers, mythical races and magical creatures, passionate love and sadistic lust, thundering armies and raging dragons—and, of course, a desperate quest that spans a continent to find salvation before all is lost and evil prevails. If these themes sound rather familiar, that’s because I fully intended them to be so. While I greatly enjoy reading authors who strive to create unusual characters and settings, this trilogy is my personal homage to classic epic fantasy.
Rak`koth, a Dark sorcerer, is Awakened from eight hundred years of ensorcelled slumber, unleashing an ancient and terrible scourge upon the land as he enslaves a continent and builds an empire built on blood magic and death. Across the Luminous Sea in Calderia, Crown Prince Killian grows to manhood, unaware that he carries within him a seed of divine power that must now be Awakened, if his people have any hope of resisting the evil emperor who has cast his malevolent gaze upon the prince’s homeland as his next conquest.
But to do so, Killian must help forge an alliance with other warring nations, including his blood enemies, the Elves, and their warrior princess, Ellianthia, who wants him dead. Somehow, these sworn foes must join forces, gathering other companions as they undertake a perilous journey to find a hidden talisman, solve an age-old mystery, and save their world from descent into oblivion.
What inspired you to write this book?
Years ago, I was inspired by another fantasy author, who introduced her first book by saying that she was a voracious reader who had grown weary of haunting the bookstores, waiting for the next sequel to be published. So, she finally decided to write her own book—the kind of story that she would most like to read. That started me thinking because I, too, was always watching impatiently for the next sequel to any one of the 6-7 series I was following at the time. Like her, I finally got tired of waiting and decided to write my own tale. And, like her, I decided that, if I was going to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), it would be to create the kind of book I most enjoy reading: a classic epic fantasy, with all of the time-honored characters, mythical races, heroic themes and magical elements that I love.
Will this book be a standalone or part of a series?
“The Avatar of Calderia Trilogy” will continue with Books II and III. The saga of Killian and Ellianthia’s long and dangerous quest will unfold as they and their companions race against time, while a continent prepares for battle against the Dark sorcerer’s invincible armies and fell magicians. Before the story ends, the forces of good and evil will meet in a monumental clash of arms and magic to determine the fate of the world. But then, would you expect anything less from an epic fantasy?
What message would you like to convey with this book?
Well, first and foremost, my book is intended to be an exciting and entertaining adventure story for people to enjoy. If that’s what people get out of it, I’ll be very pleased. But, looking a little deeper, it’s also a story of courage, sacrifice, determination and heroism in the face of great adversity and against overwhelming odds, of striving to overcome old hatreds and find common ground. I imagine that most of us would like to think that we have some of those qualities of courage, heroism and determination lurking deep inside us, waiting to be called upon in time of great need. I know I’d like to think that I do, even if I don’t live in an age of sword and sorcery.
Where can readers find your book?
Can you tell us some about the writer behind the book?
I was raised on the East Coast, enduring the freezing winters and loving New York pizza by the slice, the kind you fold in half and start eating with the hot melted cheese dripping down into your mouth. After living in the San Francisco Bay area while in the Army, I decided to remain in California, where school tuition was cheaper and the climate more temperate. Now a psychologist, I live here in the sun with my wife and daughter, and assorted pets that control our lives. I don’t regret leaving the cold weather behind, but I do still miss the pizza. I have been enamored with science fiction/fantasy since I was (as my southern grandmother used to say) “knee-high to a grasshopper.” I enjoy reading, RPG’s, canning preserves, old time radio, and Scottish Highland Games (my middle name is McMaster). I actually had a kilt of my clan tartan made, and I’ve been promising myself to learn how to play “Scotland the Brave” on the bagpipes. Perhaps one day…
What has been the best moment in your writing career?
I’d say the single “best moment” of my writing career to date was seeing the book go up on Amazon for the first time. As any new author discovers, there’s so much more to publishing a book than just completing the manuscript. The learning curve was pretty steep when it came to editing, proofing, figuring out the technical side of formatting, commissioning the artwork, etc. It took a lot of time and effort. So, it was a wonderful moment to finally see my book sitting there on Amazon, available for all to read and (hopefully) enjoy.
How do you come up with the titles of your book?
Well, the reason for choosing the title for my first book is pretty much self-explanatory, since both the hero and the villain undergo a kind of “Awakening,” though in very different ways. But the story behind the title of my trilogy, “The Avatar of Calderia,” is more involved. I originally wrote the first draft over ten years ago, long before “avatar” became a household name from the 2009 movie. As many people know, “avatar” is a Hindu word that is sometimes translated as the incarnation or manifestation of a deity on Earth, whereas “avatar” in the movie title has a more modern meaning, referring to a character created and/or manipulated by a virtual reality player. I considered changing the name to avoid unwanted comparisons with the movie or the many other books with that word in the title. But, ultimately, I decided to stick with it because I like it and…well, because I’m stubborn. (I don’t think it will bother James Cameron).
How long does it take you to finish a novel?
The Avatar of Calderia Trilogy was originally written as a 2-volume series that had a combined total of about 450,000 words. The first draft took me nearly two years to write. When I began the “final” edit of the first book, I discovered several reasons for splitting the 2 longer books into 3 somewhat shorter volumes that would make up a trilogy. So, dividing the total writing time 3 ways, I guess I spent about 6-7 months to write the first book (Awakenings). But it took another 3 months to do all the editing and (endless) proofreading to get the book ready for publishing.
How can readers connect with you?
I’m always open for connecting with readers to share comments, thoughts and experiences (and also cooking recipes, if you know a good one for beef stew). I can be reached at:
What are you working on now?
At the moment, I’m in the process of editing the second book of my Avatar trilogy: Book II: “The Shining Stone.” Splitting the duology into a trilogy meant that I had to reorganize some chapters and create some additional passages for the sake of continuity. Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot about editing and proofing, so the process should be shorter this time around. I expect to publish Book II in the very near future.
Do you have any other books already released?
As I said, this is my first published work, with more to follow.