Ari Marmell tagged me as part of the Next Big Thing meme. I think it’s really cool that he thought of me, so the least I can do is follow through and do this thing. As it so happens, this coincides with the release of my new book, Echoes of Olympus, so you can probably guess what I’m about to talk about.
So, with that said, here are the questions and answers:
1. What is the working title of your next book?
Echoes of Olympus
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
There’s a little bit to this story, so I’ll try to stick to the relevant points. In 2008, I decided to go back to school and finish my degree (something I successfully completed in December of 2009). With the requirements I already had out of the way, part of what I had in front of me was a heavy dose of history. I had History of Western Civilization part 1 and Art History, plus Astronomy, and the one thing that kept coming up over and over that I really enjoyed was getting reacquainted with the Greeks, who I hadn’t studied in years. In a very literal sense, our civilization here in America, Europe, and other parts of the world really is directly derived from the Greeks. I’d argue that this is true to an even greater degree than it is from ancient Rome and the Middle Ages. What makes the ancient Greek civilization special? The emergence of democracy in Athens, art and architecture, and the scientific method developed by Aristotle and his contemporaries in the classical period. It was also the beginning of recorded history. In short, everything that we consider important today either originated with the Greeks or was derived from them.
But there’s more to it than just that. As a life long fantasy enthusiast, I realized that so much of what we take for granted today in fantasy literature also has its roots in Greek myth. The vast majority of the fantasy worlds use a pantheon built around a family of gods. Greek myth has that. Then there are the fantastic creatures: the hydra, Cerberus, dragons, pegasus, the minotaur, and so on. And the heroes: Hercules, Theseus, Achilles, Jason, and the list goes on and on. Many of the stories, like the story of Perseus and Medusa, Theseus and the Minotaur, and the Trojan War could very easily be adapted to modern fantasy stories. In fact, in my opinion, the best books written by the late author, David Gemmell, was his Troy series.
OK, you get the point. I love the ancient Greeks. But there’s one more point that came up in my Astronomy class. Dr. Michael Allen, Lecturer in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at WSU postulated that had enlightened civilization not fallen only to be replaced by the theocracy of the Middle Ages, we might very well have reached the moon by 1400 A.D. Athenian democracy was interrupted by Sparta at the end of the Peloponnesian War, and then a weakened Greece was conquered by Macedonia under King Phillip II (the father of Alexander the Great), and that was conquered by Rome, which eventually fell apart and gave way to the barbarism of the Middle Ages, so that made me wonder how the world would be different today had the Peloponnesian War never been fought. Perhaps a great deal.
So I wanted to explore that idea, and more than that, I wanted to set stories of politics, intrigue, and adventure in this world where Athens never fell, the gods were real, and they existed side-by-side with the philosophers and scientific discovery of the classical age. In addition to that, there was one myth in particular that I really felt deserves a sequel…
3. What genre does your book fall under?
It’s definitely fantasy and alternate history.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is kind of a tough one for me because I really don’t often think in terms of what actors I would have play the characters from my stories. That said, here’s a quick stab at it: Heliodas: Sam Worthington (yes, I know he played Perseus in that awful Clash of the Titans remake, but he kind of looks the part, at least if he lets his hari grow a bit), Thermiandra: Freida Pinto, Archetus: comedian Ahmed Ahmed, Pelephon: Ryan Gosling, Demosthenes: Terence Stamp, Menphon: Mickey Roarke (bearded, with old man makeup), Athena: Monica Bellucci.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The reluctant son of Zeus must answer the call of destiny.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is being published by Dark Quest Books.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I started the first draft around January 2010 and I completed it in August 2011. I took a long break in the middle when I landed my job as a staff writer for the now defunct 38 Studios (video game company).
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Think other Greek mythology stories: Clash of the Titans, Immortals, Jason and the Argonauts. Now add in some Cthulhu mythos.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Isn’t this the same as question 2? I suppose that if anything, it was an interest in adding my own take to Greek mythology, and providing an unexpected sequel for one of its most loved myths.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I’ve talked a lot about Greek myth, but I haven’t talked a lot about traditional heroic fantasy. At it’s heart, this is traditional heroic fantasy that owes some measure of debt to Tolkien, Robert E, Howard, and R.A. Salvatore. The idea is to bridge the gap, make myth fun, and show how not all fantasy has to be based in a medieval European type setting. I also tampered with the myths just a bit so that the version that we know from the written records match what the people in the world think they know, but there’s a sinister side that very few people know. That sinister side pulls more from H.P. Lovecraft than it does from traditional sources.
One other thing is that near the end of the book, there’s a response to a popular Hollywood movie buried in there, if you can spot it.