For the first time at Literary Escapism…I would like to welcome author John Marco, who has graciously agreed to share with us his own experiences with book review bloggers and his foray into the realm of fantasy.
First off, I’d like to thank Jackie for inviting me to blog here. I’m grateful to her for the chance to speak to you all. Literary Escapism—isn’t that the perfect phrase to describe what so many of us look for in books? Even before I could read I looked to books to escape. I remember scanning the covers of science fiction and fantasy books as a boy, imagining myself in those fantastic worlds. I remember getting down on the floor at my old, dusty library (I can still smell it!), just so I could see the books on the lowest shelf. Somehow I knew, even then, that I wanted to tell stories of my own.
That was a whole bunch of years ago, admittedly, and things have changed a lot. Ten years ago, when I first started writing professionally, even the internet wasn’t what it is today. Back then many writers worried about how computers and the web might change things, but I don’t think any of us foresaw the enormous opportunities it would afford us. I’ve spoken about this occasionally at my own blog, but it’s particularly worthy of mentioning here—blogs and websites like Literary Escapism have made it much easier for authors to reach out and connect. Instead of “big media” organizations, they’re run by regular people who care about books and are generous with their time. I no longer find out about interesting books through the newspaper, as I did years ago. Now I—and all of us—have a feast of sources available, where we can interact directly instead of writing a “letter to the editor.”
My own path to becoming an author is probably typical of many writers. I tend to think that authors are born, not made, because the desire was so strong in me as a child. I’m sure some writers come to it later in life, but most of the authors I know can trace the need to write and tell stories back to their childhoods. For me, it was always fantasy. There’s an adage for writers that I’m sure many of you have heard—“write what you know.” For years I thought that meant I had to write about things I directly understood. But of course, I’ve never seen a mermaid or a dragon, so what good was such advice? Now I see that adage differently. Now I say, “write what you’re passionate about.” If it’s thrillers or science fiction or romance or whatever, great. If you love it, you’ll be better at it.
I’m lucky to be busy enough as an author to write full time, which had been my dream for years. I’m not a well known author or as popular as many others, but I have wonderful readers who’ve supported my books enough for me to make a living at it. I like telling folks that I don’t have the most readers—just the best ones. Fantasy fans are fiercely loyal to the genre and defend it whenever necessary. Maybe we’re geeks, but we don’t care. We know that some of the greatest titles in the history of literature are fantasy, as varied as Beowulf and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Right now, my passions are focused in two distinct worlds. The first belongs to the Skylords, a world something like our own at the start of the previous century, where mankind is just learning to fly, and the magical creatures that share their world don’t like that very much. The first book of the series is called Starfinder, and will be published in May.
Frankly, it’s tough for me to wait for my book to come out, but while I wait I’m hard at work on another project, this one revisiting a favorite character from a previous series—Lukien, the Bronze Knight. Imagine a tragic knight-errant, a sort of mix between Don Quixote and Elric of Melnibone, and you’ll have a pretty good picture of Lukien. I’ve done three previous books about him, and hadn’t planned to do another. But some characters are so compelling to an author that he just has to let them out of the box again, and so now I’m writing his next adventure, The Forever Knight.
I used to worry that I’d run out of stories to tell, but after six books—with more on the way—I see now that the world is full of stories, and that I’ll never get to tell them all. Just like I’ll never get to read all the books I want to, either. See? A feast.
Thanks, everyone, for reading.
We can’t have an author visit us without giving away a few of their books, now can we? John has been wonderful and is offering up a complete autographed set of his Lukien trilogy – Sword of Angels, The Devil’s Armor, and The Eyes of God.
In order to enter this contest, you must answer the following question: Where do you get the majority of your book recommendations? Do you still use the old sources of newsprint and widespread media or do you count on the many of us book review bloggers? What are your favorite sources for book recommendations?
As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
The contest will run until midnight on Oct. 21st. I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer.