Monday, August 5, 2013

Interview with Fantasy Author Sean Walton

Sean Walton has published ten books of fiction including Linux Socket Programming. “I really wrote these for my children,” Walton said. “At times I pick up what they're reading to see what they are putting in their heads; I concluded that there was too little 'good stuff' out there, so I wrote these books to show that you have great stories with solid plots without all the 'yuck.'” Walton is happily married and has six children, which he dedicates his books to. When asked about what “clean fiction” means to him, he said, “My goal is to produce something that you're not embarrassed to read aloud to your children.”

Hello, Sean. I love what you said in your bio, that your goal is to produce something that you’re not embarrassed to read aloud to your children. That is so awesome. Please tell us about your fantasy, Elixir Quest.

It started really with the Split between Worlds series, which a boy, Sam Westecher, gets entangled in the world of dragons. He eventually becomes their king. The question was: “How did Sam gain the power, authority, and bloodline to merit such an honor?” That's when Elixir Quest materialized (note that each series is distinct).

Imagine a fictional island southwest of the British Isles which is home to humans and dragons. The island is literally divided in half with a very deep ravine to keep the two races apart, and the human kingdom sends knights to monitor the border, slaying dragons that attempt to encroach to quench their lust for human flesh. Sir Joseph of Tredin is the one knight of King Paol III's court who has successfully taken out almost three times as many “worms” (another name for “dragon”) as any other knight. However, everything changed when three metallic dragons appear demanding sworn fealty from King Paol.

Dragons in my series come in two compatible races, chromatic with a skin of various colors and metallic with skins of finely burnished metal. Chromatic are considered barbaric, whereas metallic are more peaceful. However, a dragon is dragon; leaving us humans trying to understand their culture. This is what happens to Sir Joseph.

King Paol III becomes deathly ill. Joseph has to go to the dragons' lands and recover an elixir to heal the king, but the metallics had ulterior motives, for there was a prophecy declaring that Joseph would be able to save the metallic dragon line and give Sam Westecher the power, authority, and bloodline he needed. The metallic dragons turned Joseph into the very thing he hated and frequently killed: a dragon.

Unlike many other stories that mentions some magic potion that would cure all ills, this one does not actually center on the elixir; instead, it focuses on Joseph's transformation from human to dragon...and all that goes with it! I recommend this book to more mature audiences, because children would struggle with understanding the depth of transformation Joseph faced. Nonetheless, all my children say that they loved it.

True to the staging of the story, this was a very religious time, so the reader will find many religious references. Naturally, Joseph, a devout christian, believes that dragons are cursed of God for tempting the First Parents. At one point he laments:

“God,” his eyes pricked with tears, “I have always been a good believer in thee. I ne'er once complained in thine ears, though trials so many times before have crossed my path. But, my Lord, my God, I struggle now with my vow of patience. Behold me: I am a beast, a monster, an ally to the evil one. Please forgive my impertinence, but why hast thou dealt me so? Was it because I let my friends die or neglected my Jane? Forgive me; please, forgive me.”
The skies remained silent.
“I am alone; even my God has forsaken me, a being accursed from the Fall,” he turned his muzzle to the side and moaned. “Please, God, don't forget me.” He howled, roared, and moaned, while the mountains echoed their own voices with each mournful cry.

Joseph's transformation is at the very core of everyone seeking to understand themselves. And a necessary part of understanding oneself is understanding one's heritage. So I did a lot of research into 11th century England and added notes to the end of each book to put events in historical context. For added measure, nearly every name, both dragon and human, has a significance and was fun to research as well.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

My spiritual journey is reflected in many of Joseph's. I've felt the feelings of being forlorn and abandoned, only to discover that God was there all along. Kstluan, Joseph's dragon-mate, stated it best in the second book:

“Nay,” he replied looking down. “I desire to reach the heavens more, but I feel further away.” He leaned his head against her flank. “I know that my God has not forgotten me, but I don't know how to reach Him.”
She chuckled.
“What, my mate?” He asked perplexed.
“Typical human thought,” she purred. “You believe that there is a cause to this. Perhaps, my beloved knight, the Light is letting you grow a bit, like a sire allows his hatchling to wander out of the weir.” She turned her muzzle and looked at him slyly. “You need to explore, feel the rock under your pads, stretch and flap your wings, hear the clicking of your talons on the stone. If the sire were to interfere, the hatchling would be robbed of the experiences it needs to become a full dragon.”
As I wrote and developed the stories, I felt myself be part of Joseph, and in fact, Kstluan is much like my beloved wife, Susan. All of my books reflect some aspect of my life making them, in part, the best gift I could give to my kids.

Joseph, an eleventh century dragon-slaying English knight, “discovers he must become what he hates.” Is there a lesson your readers will learn from this novel?

I'm glad you asked that question. Every story I've written, after finishing the work, I reread and try to glean some truth to it, because I feel that a story is worth nothing unless it has some eternal truth to it. I summarize such truth in the dedication to my children. Elixir Quest's is: May you remember that a destiny is something you choose, not something that's imposed. The message simply is: changes will happen, and we must be willing to face them and own them, because the Lord really guides the lives of those who love Him.

What a wonderful message. I love it. What does your family think about your writing?

At times, my wife dislikes it, because I get grumpy when the plot is not quite right or when I get interrupted too frequently, but she knows that I'm doing this mostly for my sanity and as a gift of legacy. My children really love it, but each has their own desires, naturally. Rachel loves romance (yuck!), and Elizabeth gravitates towards Manga (double yuck!), but all in all they are encouraging.

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I am a man... a man who's trying to do what's right and right for the family. God has blessed me with so very much that I struggle even to begin a top-10 list. I try to encourage others, serve where and when I can, and be a good example despite all the flaws I carry. I take comfort in what a beloved friend once told me, “Like lenses that conduct and focus Light, each of us will have our own hue. But as long as our lens is clear and unoccluded, the transversed Light will still flare in others true and bright, because it never was our light, it's His.”

Thank you so much for this awesome interview. I know those who read your books will be entertained and learn from your bits of wisdom.


Vellanova said...

Hmmm - pretty sure "Linux Socket Programming" is at least mostly non-fiction. ;-)

Brenda Rumsey said...

What an interesting concept for a book. Would love to read this one with my 3 grandchildren age 12, 13, and 15. Thanks for sharing.
grandmabkr at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

This book sounds great! Thank you!

LAWonder said...

It is rare and wonderful for an individual to have that attitude. I wish more fet that way.
I am hopeful to win/read and review your book.
Thank you and thanks to Linda for this giveaway.

Mary Preston said...

I know that my children & I always enjoy a story with dragons. It's that simple really.


George A. said...

This interview is very interesting. It sounds like you did a lot of research and a lot of thought into it. It would be interesting to see how a human can become a dragon. I would like an ebook if I win. I'm excited about reading this book.

RVB said...

Sounds like a really great book to add to my reading/reviewing list. Thanks for doing these book give-a-ways.
leeben1990 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have three impressionable boys. I am always looking for books we can read without embarrassment. This sounds like a good one

Neha said...

This book seems very interesting and unique

Sean Walton said...

Thank you all for your comments!

Believe me when I say that this has been so very rewarding for me and my kids. I work as an embedded systems computer programmer with two post-graduate degrees in computer science (hence "Linux Socket Programming"). I program phones for hearing impaired ( Having a venue where I can let my imagination run wild is critical for my sanity.

I was sincerely flatter when Linda approached me. So, again, thank you.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations to Brenda and George. A hard copy will be given to Brenda Rumsey and an ebook to George. Thanks for participating in this giveaway, everyone. Sean's ebooks are not expensive, so check them out.