Monday, December 13, 2010

Interview with Fantasy Author Brian Rathbone

Brian was raised in New Jersey on a Farm where his family raised and trained racehorses. He then went from the farm to Corporate America in an air-conditioned office. After a while, he knew he had to make some changes in his life. When he began working at home, he took the time to write the story that hadn’t been told, his story, a story of fantasy and goddesses, a story of adventure. He is happily married to Tracey and the author of three novels.

Legend says that a Herald will be born who will save the land of Godfist from invaders. This Herald will fight for their freedom. To some it is only a legend but to others it is a prophecy, waiting to be fulfilled. The Zjhon are ancient enemies and are planning an attack but no one takes heed of these warnings until it is too late. Now it is up to the Herald to save them. The question is...who is the Herald and will she eventually realize her destiny in time to save Godfist?” (Linda Weaver Clarke)

Welcome to my blog, Brian. Your books are fantasy, which is a very popular genre. Please tell us about your trilogy and what each book is about.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview and a big hello to all of your readers. The Dawning of Power is the first in a series of fantasy trilogies. Each trilogy contains a complete story with what I hope are satisfying endings, and at the same time, each trilogy sets the stage for the next and leaves some doors open for the future.

I often wondered about the origins of Greek and Roman mythology, and I found the possibility that strange and magical things were made possible for a brief window in time fascinating. I asked myself what it would be like if a normally mundane planet experienced periodic ages of power, which shaped beliefs and customs that would hold sway for thousands of years.

It occurred to me that comets were an example of periodic visitors to our planet from deep space, and since they are luminous, it's feasible to think that they might radiate energy. In my imagination, a large planet drifted in close to the Oort cloud, its gravity sending a colossal stream of comets soaring through the solar system on an elliptical orbit. When I thought of how our ancestors might have viewed a storm of comets that lasted 150-years, Istra, Goddess of the Night, was born.

The Dawning of Power tells the story of Istra's return to the world of Godsland after a 3,000-year absence. In book one, Call of the Herald, we meet Catrin Volker, a teenage horse trainer. While trying to protect a friend, she inadvertently fulfills the prophecy of the destroyer, which claims she will destroy the Zjhon nation. Catrin's quest begins as she must face those who believe she is out to destroy them.

In book two, Inherited Danger, all of Godsland is at risk as massive weapons left over from the last age of power become once again viable. If left to charge in Istra's light, the weapons will detonate. Catrin and her friends set out on what seems an impossible quest to save even her enemies.

Book three, Dragon Ore, Catrin must journey to the fabled Firstland to stop the Zjhon form gaining access to immeasurable power. There, she must face mankind's ancient enemies, and her only hope may lie with an age old alliance.

Wow! I love the fact that a young teenage girl is the heroine of your book. As an author, I many times work certain things into my books that I love. I, too, was raised on a farm so it's easy to insert those experiences into my books. I understand that you are very fond of horses. Do you work this love of horses into these books?

I definitely did. They say "Write what you know," and the fact that fantasy and horses go hand-in-hand gave me a lot of inspiration to draw upon. Little things like shoeing horses, and working at an anvil and forge are much more real to me, since I've been involved with these things as part of the family business. The most significant way that my love of horses enters the books is through the horses that are characters rather than props. Much of Catrin's horse Salty's behavior can be traced back to a standard-bred racehorse named Vic Quinton. Vic was a crotchety, biting, kicking, squealing piece of work. Some of his exploits would make for great fiction, such as the time he bit a guy in the paddock at Brandywine Raceway. He managed to pull the guy's shirt off, and ate part of it before we could get it away from him. Vic finished second that night, and those who witnessed it gave him a bit wider berth from then on.

How fascinating! It shows that horses have their own personality. Where did you get the inspiration for your novel? Do you get any ideas from real life experiences? If so, give us an example.

My primary inspiration for writing fantasy is my love for reading fantasy, but that is bolstered by my experiences growing up on a working horse farm. There is no doubt that those experiences shaped my work and were in some cases the direct inspiration for a scene.

For example, there is a scene where several old men are about to shoot a horse because no one can catch him. The horse is still wearing its yearling halter, which is now much too small, and if it is not removed the horse will be ruined. Catrin catches the horse by sitting in the grass and ignoring the colt. Eventually, the colt's curiosity gets the better of him, and he puts his head in Catrin's lap, which is all the opportunity she needs to get a rope on him. This scene was directly inspired by my mother, who used this technique to catch a horse that had evaded my father, my uncle, and my grandfather. I admit that no one was planning to shoot the horse and I might have given it a bit of dramatic flourish. My books are filled with repurposed bits of my life, which makes them a lot of fun for me to read.

J.K. Rowling used a young boy as her main character but you chose a girl with magical powers. It’s about time we had a young girl be the hero of a book! What does your family think about your writing?

I've gotten a huge amount of support from my family and friends. I assume this is partially because I didn't use any of them as the primary inspiration for any of my characters. I have a bad habit of killing my characters, and that could be a little tricky to explain.

Oh my! Yes, that would be tricky. This has been a fun interview, Brian. Okay, now tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I've been outsmarted by birds, cats, horses, and the occasional squirrel. I think mornings are evil and should be banned, and my wedding band was inspired by a fantasy series--it's white gold.

I love your answers to this question. You are so comical but the wedding band is quite romantic. I believe the real reason for banning mornings is because you’re an author who stays up late at night, either writing to his heart’s content or watching a movie to help relax your busy mind.

You are correct about me writing into the night. I've worked night shifts for years and have just found that I do my best work in the evening. I've always had trouble falling to sleep, and I actually think about plot lines as a way to prevent myself from doing things like writing code in my sleep (that's exhausting).

Now we definitely know that you're not a "morning person." Thanks, Brian, for this awesome interview. I read Brian's book and it was great. My review is below:

The Dawning of Power
By Brian Rathbone

Legend says that a Herald will be born who will save the land of Godfist from invaders. This Herald will fight for their freedom. To some it is only a legend but to others it is a prophecy, waiting to be fulfilled. The Zjhon are ancient enemies and are planning an attack but no one takes heed of these warnings until it is too late. Now it is up to the Herald to save them. The question is... will the Herald realize her destiny in time to save Godfist?

But that’s not all…the Zjhon believe in the prophecy and have given the order to search for the Herald and do away with her. This is an intriguing fantasy and is hard to put down. The description of scenery is so well written that I could imagine it in my mind. The characters are believable and well developed. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Dawning of Power is a trilogy, which includes Call of the Herald, Inherited Danger, and Dragon Ore. I would recommend this book for all ages.

Written by Linda Weaver Clarke, author of the new mystery series “The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.”

For those who don't win, you can grab a free copy of the Call of the Herald ebook at Free Fantasy Ebook.


Daron D. Fraley said...

Great interview. Speaking of white gold, the Thomas Covenant series was one of my favorites too.

Brian's book sounds very intriguing!

Christine H said...

Count me in! I would also say His book sounds Intriquing!

Thanks for the giveaway!!

Aleetha said...

I thought there would be Greek God and goddess

Nice cover, I love it. Looking forward to see the second and the third. at gmail dot com

Aik said...

I'd love to enter!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Dovile said...

Please count me in too. Thanks!

spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

Cathy W said...

Thanks for a wonderful interview.
please enter me.
cjwallace43 at gmail dot com

barbjan10 said...

Interesting interview. This would be a great book for my teenage grandkids and even old people like me...LOL. Thanks for the tip about downloading an ebook - the first in this trilogy. Thanks for this giveaway and the chance to win this fantastic book. I hope I win.

Joyous Noel,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Alaina said...

Wow! I have to say this sounds like a very interesting book for all ages! I would love to read this book and I know other adults who would also :)

Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie said...

Adding his personal knowledge of horses will make reading this series more fun. I always love reading fantasy tales and would love to sample these.

info at

Anonymous said...

Great interview. These books sound really interesting. Thanks for letting me know about them and for the chance to win.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Cathy. You are the winner of this new fantasy series. I hope you enjoy it because my husband and I certainly did. Have a great holiday season, everyone!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering where the name Vic Quinton originated from concerning the, crotchety, biting, kicking, squealing piece of work...I nearly fell out of my chair when I read where Vic Quinton bit the shirt off someone and placed second in the race...
Vic Quinton/