What do you get when you combine a little bit of Harry Potter, some Hobbits, Sydney Bristow, and classical mythology?
Answer: The Start of Something EPIC!!!!
Today's guest author too all of the things that inspired him, and created something truly exceptional. His "The Heart of Seras" series is medieval magic meets Buffy...and so very much more than that. This is one series that you'll want to dive right into, so please help me welcome its talented author:
Why did you first start writing? What was the inspiration for your first book?
I started writing this book series in 2005 during my first year of college (I was 41 years old at the time), after being inspired by a freshman writing class which had the first three books of Harry Potter as textbooks, and Classical Mythology 101. While I have always had a vivid imagination, I just had to put the idea I had to paper. I got inspired to the point that it was impossible to ignore. I started to put that together with my love of books, television and movies like "Lord of the Rings," "Gladiator," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," "Highlander," "The Hobbit" and many others. I came up with an idea in which a normal teenage girl is whisked away into a medieval time by a trusted teacher who has a secret and is really a warrior with an even darker secret. I often joke that if you could picture Buffy the Vampire Slayer being in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, you would get a good idea of what I was putting together.
Do you have any books in the works at the moment?
I am currently working on book four of my The Heart of Seras series, The Dark Warrior. Book one, Journey to Seras, was published in 2013; book two, The Elders, came out in 2015; and book three, Revelation, was just released this year. I am hoping for a 2020 release date for book four, and the whole series (six books) will be completed by 2024. Book five (Into the Abyss), and book six (Journey's End) are all outlined, and just waiting for me to get to them. I am also shopping around a new stand alone romance book I completed last year, as well as starting a new middle grade fantasy book (Weird Things in Wickerville).
What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
A typical working day for me depends on the time of year. As a teacher and coach, I work from the middle of August until the end of May. During that time my writing is limited to the evenings after family time around 8:00 pm, and write until 10:00 pm or so. During the summers my time is a lot different. I sleep in until 8:00 am, write until 10:30ish, work around the house and play with my grandsons until about 3:00, clean house before my wife gets home at 4:30, family time until 8:00 pm and write until 10:30 pm.
Have you always liked to write?
Oh yes, I have always loved to write. When I was a kid my best friend, my brother, and I created our own comic books with superheroes we made up. I wrote my first real story when I was in fourth grade, Super Joe Saves the President. I was a superhero and made my friend the president. I made one of the prettiest girls in class his wife. I remember being thrilled beyond belief about having my story read aloud, listening to my classmates laugh…and even being slightly embarrassed. During my time in working for an insurance company from 1983-1999 I wrote two screen plays. One was being looked at by a company that went out of business before anything materialized.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to be original. I hope that my originality brings readers who are tired of the same story. You can see in television and movies now days that so many things they are producing is a remake or a sequel or retelling of the same stories. I wish they would find my story because it is fresh and I haven't seen or read anything like it. That goes for the rest of the stories I have in the works.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Yikes, that's a tough question. I might use the part of the title of Frank Sinatra's "My Way," or perhaps the line, "I Did it My Way." I definitely didn't follow any standard course throughout my life, and I think that would work pretty well. Great! Now I'll have to start working on my autobiography.
How do you choose what you are going to work on? Do you write one story at a time, or are you working on multiple pieces from multiple storylines at any given moment?
I generally have two or three tabs opened at a time. I wrote one book while I was writing two others. If I have a great idea that doesn't work for what I am writing, I file it in my Notes and save it for another story. Just last night I wrote three messages to myself before I fell asleep. Each one was for three different stories I have queued to write.
How do you handle writing both books and blogs and Facebook posts and so on and so forth and ad naseum!? Lol. Okay, I’m looking for help, lol, how do you manage your time so well?
I don't handle it very well. I am terrible at self promotion. When I am sending out messages on Facebook or Twitter, or thinking about blogging or doing something to get my name and work out there I get frustrated because I should be writing.
Can you tell me a bit about your series?
Yes, Julie Ayers is a fifteen year old girl living in the quiet town of Sunset, Ohio. Her world was turned upside down by the arrival of the school’s new teacher, Marcus Campbell.
Her teacher, Marcus Campbell had a secret. He was a warrior from a medieval dimension searching for the mythical "Heart" - a hero given to the people of Seras to rid their world of impending evil. Marcus’s quest was challenged when he realized that the "Heart" was the vibrant teenage girl. Against his better judgment he convinced Julie to go to his world and begin preparation to face whatever evil laid ahead while keeping his bigger secret, that he is part demon and was once a ruthless leader who terrorized Seras, from his young protégé.
The evil Julie must face was manifested in the form of Queen Pallanex. She was a wandering follower of the Elderess Eryx, displaced by her temple leaders as being dangerous and unholy. Little did they know that was the type of follower Eryx preferred. Pallanex was young, beautiful, and flirty. She seduced the aging Canis, father of Marcus, and became his queen...and his downfall. With the help of William, a demonic warrior equal to Marcus and his former comrade, Queen Pallanex has a plan that threatens both worlds.
Julie must balance living the life of a normal teenager on Earth while handling the pressure of being the prophesied savior of Seras.
If you could choose one author to sit down and have a cup of tea with, and yes, it has to be tea here, who would it be?
Oh, that would be easy, J.R.R. Tolkien. I believe he would enjoy sitting down and having a cup of tea. I would love to tell him how big of an inspiration he is to me, and how his stories shaped my childhood. I would ask him questions about world building, creating different languages, cultures, and religions for his world. I would ask him questions about frustration and self-doubt. I would love to hear how his life experiences shaped what his fans have come to love about his work.
If any one of your novels was to become a movie or a TV show and you got the chance to work with the casting director for it, do you know who you would want to play your characters or who your inspiration for those characters were when you were writing your novel?
I have what I call a photo gallery page in my notes section. It contains pictures of all of the actors who inspire what my characters look like, talk like, and sound like. For Marcus, he is a mix of Russell Crowe's Gladiator, Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn, and Adrian Paul's Duncan MacLeod, to name a few. Julie is part Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy Summers, Valerie Bertinelli's Barbara Cooper, and Jennifer Garner's Sydney Bristow, again, to name a few. Looking over actors who I would consider for their roles right now would be Danielle Campbell from "The Originals," and for Marcus, I think Stephen Amell from "Arrow" would be perfect.
I am so excited to have put all of these books on my list. I feel like I can already picture all the characters and am already part of the world Joe has built.
Thank you so much to Joe for taking the time to answer my questions and hang out for a bit. Please check him out at his links below for more information on him and his The Heart of Seras Series!
Journey to Seras: hyperurl.co/93k2jr
The Elders: hyperurl.co/obidqx