- For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(Simon) I got the bug early. My first literary work, The Magic Skates was picked up by my elementary teacher. I was six. First gold star! That was it. Hooked. The problem that accosted me later was that although writing fiction, especially fantasy, turned out to be my lifelong calling, the realization also struck me that I wasn’t very good at it. So somewhere between age six and fifty-one I broadened my writing abilities. I’ve written about a dozen books but I wouldn’t put any of them ‘out there’. I refer to them as my ‘growth phase’, which is a euphemism for working at sucking less. Mannethorn’s Key was a culmination of over a decade’s worth of work. I’m proud of it. It’s my first work that I feel has earned a place in the literary ether.
- All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.
(Simon) I am not so much cursed by the block as I am the Mull. I am a muller. I write a paragraph, analyze it, read it back, demand that it speaks to me, write a fake following paragraph just to coax it, and then delete it and rewrite it. I never have a block. In fact, at times, I’ll write 10,000 words in a single shot. My issue is that I will then spend four weeks mulling over it.
- Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?
(Simon) I love writing epic fantasy. For me, no other genre provides more firepower for my imagination or lets me fully immerse myself while writing. It delivers the palette to create a unique world that doesn’t limit the scope. As George R. R. Martin proved, it can be terribly dark, vulgar, violent and sexual while still world building. Besides, there’s a lot of mutants, vampires, zombies and dystopian futures out there, according the number of scribes chronicling such tales. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the best books produced this decade are in those sub-genres. I have read some brilliant works, and many are far beyond my writing and imaginative abilities. However, I believe there is still a place and a desire from many readers for the epic.
I am also a huge fan of science fiction but I’m not that smart. To write really good sci-fi these days requires, in my humble view, a commanding grasp of physics and science. In fact, many of the best writers in the genre are brilliant physicists.
When I’m not writing I’m hiking in the alpine, crooning in the basement while playing my guitars (badly), outside chopping wood, or building very questionable additions onto our house in the Rockies.
- I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(Simon) They do now! It’s funny. I’m the reverse of that, I guess. I’ve played the corporate game. I was a newspaper publisher and, for a while groomed for upper management with all the ‘perks’. I walked away. It was killing me both spiritually and physically. I’m a fortunate man because I had the choice to do so but it’s been a struggle nevertheless. I am both a musician and writer. That’s what I put ‘out there’. Yeah, I picked some real winner careers for making the big bucks but it is what I love. Friends and family have been incredibly supportive and believe in what I’m doing.
(Kam) I’m thrilled you have a solid support team behind you.
- Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(Simon) Yeah, I’m with you on that one. There are so many amazing writers. However, I have my all-time favorites, no doubt. Stephen R. Donaldson was a genius with the Thomas Covenant series, really launching the dark, introspective side of fantasy. David Eddings has been a huge influence. Tolkien, well – we can just leave it there. Terry Brooks, Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, and I quite liked the Runelord series by David Farland. The first books of Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind were stellar but then I just got bogged down – or they did. Still, they impacted my own writing, no doubt, even if it was just to remind me to treat the reader with respect and keep the story moving.
- If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?
(Simon) Wow. That’s a tough one. I would have to say the Belgariad series by David Eddings would make my dream list. However, it is so painful to watch great books get butchered by the movie industry. The first three LOTR’s were done reasonably well. I won’t talk about the Hobbit. Let’s not speak of Eragon.
If it was done right, with a great screenwriter, it would top those that have preceded it. The most unsung face for a wizard has to be Tommy Lee Jones. He would make a perfect Belgarath! Maybe Mr. Ratcliffe could launch a new career as Garion??
(Kam) Eragon, I actually loved the movie. Never read the book but the movie wasn’t half-bad.
- Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(Simon) Ha! No, let’s be open and avoid any covert ops. I have two buns in the oven. The first, of course, is the sequel to Mannethorn’s Key, called Outworlder. I have the full plot of the trilogy laid out and have penned about a third of Book Two already. It’s slated for a winter, 2018 release. My other project is one that I am quite excited about, an urban fantasy entitled Gaia’s Assassin. It’s dark, a bit dystopian, but I feel it’s quite unique from the work we’re seeing in the genre.
(Kam) Can’t wait to check them out!
- Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?
(Simon) Mannethorn’s Key is my debut work. You can find it on Smashwords, Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and in many fine bookstores. The book is out in both ebook and paperback editions.
- Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
- Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(Simon) Remember the internet when the vision was about freedom and access? I know – I’m dating myself – but we are at that point again with literature. At our doorstep is the opportunity for a diverse voice unlike any time in our history. For the first time, you, the reader can access independent bloggers, reviewers and authors in a way that was unfathomable a decade ago. Keep it that way. Support new authors. Write a review, and buy your books from alternatives that support a free and open marketplace of ideas, not a monopoly that ends them. Sure, we don’t all have the marketing and editing resources of the big boys, but that’s why we have sites like this to help you discover the gems.
Thank you for supporting indies like me, along with independent blog and review sites.
There. That’s my plug. Thank you for reading!
(Kam) And thank you for giving me and our lovely visitors the chance to get to know you a wee bit better. Also, I appreciate the opportunity to host you and this amazing, generous giveaway.
FYI: Any reader would be lucky to have Mannethorn’s Key so, if you want to add this epic fantasy novel to your library, stick around for more details!
Ladies and Gents, I hope you enjoyed my interview with Simon Lindley. Now lets discuss the giveaway!
Prize up for grabs — A KINDLE COPY of the Mannethorn’s Key: Book One of the Key of Life Trilogy.
To enter the contest – Leave us a comment below. Say howdy, leave a smile/heart, or ask a question.
One entry per person. International residents are welcomed to enter, too!
The contest will end Friday at 11:59 p.m., central time. On Saturday, I will select a winner, post their name on a comment, and be in contact with him or her SO……. have your settings open to receive messages or follow the comment thread and be ready to give me or Simon your kindle email address.
Thank you and Good luck.
~~ PRIZE! ~~
TWO WORLDS. TWO SPIRITS. ONE POWER.
At the end of an age, a Bearer wielded the Key of Life and ended Dragon’s Rule. Such powers and heroes, long dead or lost, must again be raised and found…
Algarth Willowbrow is about to gamble everything. His once-powerful Order is in ruins, and he faces an unwinnable battle to save his life and his people. In a last, desperate attempt, he lures his arch nemesis deep within his keep, hoping to utilize him and reclaim a long-hidden magic, powerful enough to save the world – or destroy it.
Bartholomew Waxman, former derivatives broker extraordinaire has gambled everything – and lost. Bankrupt, unemployed and divorced, his only hope for salvation is to try and rebuild his self-inflicted shattered life. But at his first job interview, he is grabbed by a spell and thrust into the netherworld of Between. There, he is groomed to wield a power so vast that it will decide a world’s fate.
The land’s only hope is the reluctant and unprepared Bartholomew, the wizard Algarth whose powers are gravely in doubt – and the Key of Life, with its true power hidden from all.
Delve into the beginnings of a vast fantasy epic that embraces a man, a wizard and a world seeking redemption.
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER SIX, MANNETHORN’S KEY:
The wind picked up with a sudden, icy bite. He smiled and ended his melody. The gust had not originated from the waning heat of the departed sun or the hills beyond. It was born from a Seether landing on the road ahead.
Behind three of the wolf boars who had taken position directly in front of the cart’s path, dust and gravel churned up from the flaps of massive, leathery wings. The stranger saw nothing but the black silhouette of a two-legged beast towering twice the traveler’s height. It blotted out the early stars; the only discerning features were its yellow phantom eyes, now assessing its prey.
The Seether spoke, snakelike, assuring its hunters, “Itsss a wizzard! It bearsss the mark. But itsss magic iss ussselesss. Rip it to piecesss!”
The wolf boars were ecstatic. A meal was coming sooner than expected, but only the three who stood ahead of him on Ferryman’s Way advanced.
The wizard stood silent with eyes focused on the road ahead, as if his enemies were invisible.
Slowly, cautiously, the entire pack tightened its noose. The three forward gained courage as they sensed no meaningful defense from their prey, saliva dripping from their muzzles.
The stranger remained motionless, the only tension was in his fingers, taut about his staff, knuckles white.
“Ghaawww!” The wolf boars attacked, lunging for the quick kill, one for the stranger’s neck, the other for the legs, with the last to rip open his abdomen and feast on his guts.
The wizard’s arms rose just as the wolf boars leapt – and the air cracked.
A soundless percussion reverberated out from the crowd of odd company on Ferryman’s Way. The attackers momentarily hovered in the air, frozen in the eerie wave of dark power. The remaining wolf boars looked on in confusion and fear, but they too were frozen in the vile energy. The ground underfoot and surrounding fields along the roadway trembled, and the boulders in the fields glowed with a fiery tinge as if ignited to life.
A second passed, and the night awoke anew, the spell over. Three wolf boars lay dead only inches from the traveler’s bare feet; their bodies twitching and bellies split open, blood spilling from their wounds in great black pools, reflecting the resplendent stars above.
“By the Grail! He wieldsss the Han! He isss one of usss!”
The traveler under the cowl grasped the staff and the harness of his wagon but remained ominously silent.
“My lord, forgive uzzz. Why hide your Order?”
The stranger spoke. “I answer to no subordinate. Am I your Lord, Seether?”
“You wield the Han, my Lord. Yesss,” it replied.
“Good. Then answer me this. Are you the Seether of the conquered Plains, keeper of the Map of Ismantrutna?”
“Yesss, Lord. Do you ssseek the power over the Zzzhin puppetsss? It showzz uzzz all the ancient HanZzzhinSsshasss. I keep it ssssafe.” From a pouch strapped to the creature’s barreled chest it produced a scroll in its clawed grasp.
“How is it that you approach an unknown enemy carrying such a valuable relic and take no precautions to ensure your master’s property remains safe?”
“I. I –”
“Just as I suspected. Mindless beast. Must we Mil-HanFanthas and the Hanlord do everything ourselves? Give it to me.”
“I will take you to it, Massster. I am the keeper of the map.”
“Have you permisssion from Hanlord Grailborn to take the Map from me, my Lord?”
The stranger paused. “Here is my permission.”
He raised his arms, staff held high overhead, and to the dismay of the remaining pack, the wizard let loose the dark Han magic upon the night once more. With a look of satisfaction, the wizard forever released the wide-eyed Seether and his wolf boars of their duties.
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