Please welcome Mr. Batson!
NA: Welcome! What drew you to write fantasy fiction?
WTB: It's really what drew me to reading. Fantasy sucked me right in and showed me worlds I'd only dreamed of before. Tolkien's works were the most influential and I still read them today.
NA: What is unique in Sword in the Stars compared to other fantasy fiction?
WTB: 1) SiS stars a hero some people might hate. Alastair Coldhollow has a very dark past. He's guilty of unspeakable things. And yet…
2) SiS stars a hero who's not so black that he's beyond redemption. I think of Alastair as an Apostle Paul type. Paul was infamous for persecuting Christians. He stood by while men and women were stoned to death. Who knows how many people Paul personally murdered. It's for good reason Paul called himself Chief of Sinners. But God took Paul and slammed him. And Paul went on to write 2/3 of the NT. I'll let you read to see if Alastair finds such redemption.
3) SiS isn't afraid to tackle real issues of life: addictions, sibling rivalry, selfishness, doubt, passivity, etc. We live in a flawed world full of flawed people.
NA: Where did this story idea come from?
WTB: I wish I knew exactly where. God is the source of all my story ideas--hopefully, that's understood. Still, SiS came along in vignettes--short scene or chapter ideas and after a while, they coalesced into one really BIG story. 7 Books outlined for the series--that's a big, big adventure.
NA: Were there any smaller influences that came into the books?
WTB: Well, my wife and kids always influence my characters, as do friends and people I observe in life. I guess I draw quite a bit out of myself as well. Sometimes, I take a character on a journey through something I'm struggling with, hoping that both of us will find a way to overcome. ;-)
NA: As you look back on writing Sword in the Stars, what challenged you the most?
WTB: Worldbuilding. This is my first totally-in-the-fantasy-world story. No portals. No Narnia hopping in and out. Everything in Myriad had to be crafted from scratch, including languages, histories, currencies, races, geography, climates, etc. etc.
NA: Which character was the hardest to write?
WTB: Some of the villain characters are hardest to write because they take your mind down a dark path. Sometimes, I need to stop in midchapter to work on some lighter area of the book.
NA: Which character was the easiest to write?
WTB: Probably the characters that are most like me. I know instinctively what they will do or say at any given moment.
NA: If you could be any character in your books, who would it be?
WTB: You might think I would choose someone like Aidan or Captain Valithor, maybe Grimwarden or Alastair, but I guess I'd take Kaliam from The Door Within books. He's powerful and heroic, but also humble.
NA: I liked him a lot. J I really enjoy the training scenes in your books. Is it easy for you create them?
WTB: Nope. I have to research the training scenes so that I write realistic portrayals. Prior to my books, I didn't know beans about sword play or war tactics.
NA: That’s hard to believe! You write them very well. I heard that Thomas Nelson is not going to continue publishing your Berinfell Prophecies series. That’s a real shame. Are there any other publishers you are specifically looking to?
WTB: Oh, sure. Christopher Hopper and I would have loved to continue with TN, but there are certainly other publishers who might be willing to pick up the series. I won't mention any specifics at this time. Stay tuned!
NA: If your books were made into a movie, would you have any preferred actor, director, composer, etc?
WTB: Director: Peter Jackson (of course). Actors: Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, and a cast of unknowns. Composer: Jon Maiocco or Howard Shore.
NA: I like your choices! :D Can you tell us three or more things about yourself we readers may not know?
WTB: 1) I used to play lead guitar for a heavy metal band called Contagious. 2) I believe nachos should be America's National Food. 3) I have an orange cat named Rusty, and he often sits near me while I write. ;-)
NA: Wow! :O Can you give us any new info about your second book in the Dark Sea Annals, The Errant King?
WTB: I will tell you this: The Errant King will take place about 20 years after Sword in the Stars ended (not much time in Myriad time, but still...lots of things have happened). This story will have the most humor in it out of the series as well b/c young King Lochlan likes to "pretend" to be other people. And the ending of The Errant King will be unlike ANY you've ever read!
NA: I can’t wait! Do you have any other book plans or ideas after this series?
WTB: a supernatural, mystery thriller for adult readers called: Ghost. Another YA series I'm thinking about proposing as well, but I must keep this under wraps for now.
NA: Do you have any advice to those about writing fantasy fiction?
WTB: Tons, but not enough time to write it all here. Visit my blog and click the link for writing tips in my sidebar. You'll find tons of useful stuff. (http://www.enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com)
NA: Thanks for your time, and God bless you and your writing!