The Sunday Spotlight
Today we get a further insight into the life, the writing and a little bit of everything else with my guest author,
Adam Alexander Haviaras
Talking with Adam
The Sunday Spotlight
Good Morning Adam and welcome back!
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since high school and my grade 11 creative writing class. I had a great teacher who gave me lots of encouragement. That was when I felt I had to write because I enjoyed it so much. I felt a real sense of freedom when writing. I still do.
What inspired you to start writing novels for your chosen genre?
I’ve always loved history and storytelling. When I was little, my parents would read me stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and Greek mythology. Then, when I went to university, I found that academia was inaccessible to the average person and the professors didn’t quite make history as exciting as it could be. I love history and I love writing fiction so combining the two just made sense to me. I love historical fantasy as a genre because it allows more creative freedom within the framework of the history I am working with.
Are you working on anything new right now?
At the moment I’m doing the final edits on Killing the Hydra which is Book II in the Eagles and Dragons series. Hydra is where the story really picks up and, as the title implies, Lucius (my protagonist) is forced to deal with the many enemies that are lurking in the shadows.
I’m also writing the second part in my Carpathian Interlude novella series which is historical fantasy/horror set during the reign of Emperor Augustus. The first part, Immortui, has Romans fighting zombies! Part II, which is entitled Lykos, continues the Romans’ battle on the northern frontier but this time it’s against werewolves.
I’m editing the first part in my trilogy of Alexander the Great and putting the finishing touches on a short story I’ll be releasing in the coming months. The short story is entitled Chariot of the Son and it is a retelling of the Phaethon myth from Greek mythology.
So, lots going on. I always thought I was one of those writers who would, and could, just do one project at a time. Seems that’s not the case after all!
What motivates and inspires you to write?
My wife is my greatest inspiration, in all things. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am. Every writer needs support and she is my goddess and muse.
I also get my inspiration from various things, be it history, music, movies, pictures, weird dreams or travel. I really get inspired by travelling. I love to immerse myself in the world about which I am writing, and for an historian, archaeological sites and historic landscapes are the best way to get inspired. When I visit an historic site, I can get even closer to my characters. I can feel the same light, see the same colour, smell the same air, touch the same surfaces, and hear the same insects, wind and babble of water. I believe that ancient places have powerful memories and it is fantastic when a creative traveller can tap into that.
As far as motivation, I guess it is the love of writing and the need to get all of my stories out before I die. That’s morbid, I know. But it is highly motivating, especially when you have so very many stories to tell.
Can you offer any advice to the fledgling authors, just starting out?
The best advice that I ever got was from my mentor, the late poet Leila Pepper. She said: “Just get it down. Write your story down. Don’t overthink it. Just write it down and then you can work on it later.”
I know this sounds obvious but it’s amazing how freeing that is. Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Just focus on getting your story down first. Write that first draft from the heart. Let it all hang out!
Also you have to write what you love. If you are not moved by what you are writing, how will anyone else be?
What is your all-time favourite novel?
For sheer brilliance, uniqueness and inspiration I would have to mention two: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley; and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Can you tell us who your favourite indie author is?
I don’t know that I can pick a favourite as there are so many great indie authors out there. Even though it is not my genre, I’ve enjoyed Joanna Penn’s Arkane series of books. Joanna is really dedicated to her craft and to putting out the best possible product. Her stories are thrillers but always have a hint of history and religion in them. I love that.
Another indie author that I have enjoyed reading is Roberto Calas. His fantasy novel, The Beast of Maug Maurai just draws the reader in to experience ultimate terror in the world he has created. He also has an historical fantasy series called The Scourge (published by Amazon’s 47North) which is a medieval zombie apocalypse story. It’s absolutely brilliant.
What are you reading at the moment & would you recommend it to us?
Actually, right now, I find myself reading non-fiction. I’ve been reading APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki. This is a nuts-and-bolts look at indie publishing and it’s packed with loads of good advice. For any new indie authors out there, it is a great starting point, and for people who have been at it for a while, there are some great tips. I definitely recommend it.
If you could Time Travel, what year would you visit and why?
This is a tricky question. There are so many periods in history that I love.
I might pick February 332 B.C. which is when Alexander the Great visited the Oracle of Ammon at Siwah in the Libyan Desert. No one entered the sanctum with Alexander to hear what exactly he asked the oracle. I would like to be there.
There is also October 21, 331 B.C. which is supposed to be the day that Alexander the Great entered Babylon after the Battle of Gaugamela, one of the greatest battles in history. Because the second book in my Alexander trilogy begins with this event, I would like to be there to get a sense of the elation felt by the Greeks after so many years of war with Persia.
I think I would also like to be with the Romano-British forces commanded by the historical ‘Arthur’ after the Battle of Badon (Mons Badonis) circa 500 A.D. From what little the sources say, this was the start of a hard-fought-for period of peace in post-Roman Britain. This is my favourite period in history and I am a big proponent of the existence of an historical ‘Arthur’ so being there would be pretty brilliant.
I could go on and on here, but those are just three examples. Phew. That was tough!
If you could be any character in any novel, who would it be and why?
Oh, wow. I think would want to be Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings. He goes through such a journey, he’s a great hero, he can live longer than other men, he can handle himself well in a fight and, at the end of the day, he gets the girl he loves. Brilliant.
Do you have a day job, other than writing – if so what is it?
I do. Though like most authors, I suspect, my ultimate goal is to be able to write full-time. However, I am lucky in my job because I work as a public servant supporting public libraries. I love public libraries and can’t emphasize their importance enough. And it’s great for me as an author-entrepreneur because I get to talk books, technology and publishing with some wonderful people.
What is your preferred method of writing: The plot pre-planned from day one, or just go with the flow and see what happens next?
I’m definitely a ‘pantser’. I let the story take me where it will. I love when I’m surprised by the twists and turns in my own stories, and when the characters go in a direction I hadn’t thought of.
However, because I write historical fiction, I do have a framework that I have to work within. If I outline, it’s usually to know when pivotal things happen to my characters relative to historical events.
Do you like to write while listening to music and if so, does your book have particular playlist you’d like to share?
I always write to music, particularly movie soundtracks. I like to listen to something to match my mood at the time as well as the scene. For Children of Apollo I liked listening to the Black Hawk Down and Gladiator soundtracks by Hans Zimmer, the Alexander soundtrack by Vangelis and the Troy soundtrack by James Horner. I like to write to music that is moody and exotic sounding. I also like music that contains mournful vocalizations such as Lisa Gerrard’s work with Dead Can Dance. For scenes taking place in a Roman marketplace, I used a lot of traditional-sounding North African music. It all adds to the flavour.
Which type of book do you prefer to read?
I never thought I would get into the e-book thing because I have so many paper books at home – seven book cases full! But, I got a Kindle as a present a little over a year ago and I can’t put it down. I read all my fiction as e-books now. However, I still prefer paperbacks and hardcover for my historical research. It’s just easier to flip back and forth to look at maps, charts and coloured plates or pictures.
Do you have any input in the Cover design of your novel?
As an indie author/publisher I have all the input into my cover designs. My cover designer is Derek Murphy of Creativindie. I love the creative process of cover design and working with Derek to try and make things work. We start out with some of my ideas, Derek comes up with about seven samples and then I pick and choose elements that I like. It’s a lot of fun.
What is the best thing about writing for you?
There are so many things that I love about writing – the escape, the ability to create things/characters in worlds without bounds, the process of assessing the human condition in varying circumstances etc. etc. However, because I love history so much, I think the best thing about writing for me is reviving the past times and having my own characters interact on an intimate level with historic people and places. I love the framework that history provides and I love using fiction as a way to fill in the many gaps in the historical record. Writing historical fiction is a way for me step into historical periods that have always fascinated me and fired my imagination.
Are you a:
a. Laptop Writer
b. Desktop Writer
c. iPad Writer
d. Pen and Paper Writer
My first draft tends to be written with pen and paper. That way, when I type everything into the computer at home, I’m already working on my second draft.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
There are many places I would love to visit but I think that one of the places I am most intrigued by is the Siwah oasis in Egypt’s western desert. That is where Alexander the Great travelled to in order to ask questions of the oracle of Ammon (Zeus). Nobody knows for sure what Alexander asked the oracle but what we do know is that things changed for him after this event. This vast oasis lies in the middle of the desert and the hill that the oracle temple is located on juts unnaturally out of the palm forest. It’s a very striking place from what I have seen in photos and documentaries.
What is the one book you can’t live without?
I wouldn’t want to be without any of my books of Arthurian tales since that whole story cycle is at the heart of my love for history and literature. It’s like going back to the beginning, but I suppose it’s a good thing that I still have a passion for the stories that started me on this quest.
Book Buy links:
Website/Blog - http://writingthepastblog.blogspot.ca/
Twitter - @AdamHaviaras
Adam’s Amazon Author page - http://www.amazon.com/Adam-Alexander-Haviaras/e/B009HH8IYC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1372445985&sr=8-1
Book Trailer – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4gpxDTeD8w&feature=youtu.be
Wattpad - http://www.wattpad.com/user/AHaviaras (Free short stories)
Historical Novel Society - http://historicalnovelsociety.org/?post_type=&s=adam+alexander+haviaras&submit=Search
So there you have a fascinating insight into the life and times of Adam Alexander Haviaras and his novel ~ Children of Apollo.
Join me again next week for a couple of Book Blog Tours, and anything else that may crop up in the meantime!
Have a delicious Sunday
Don't forget about the fab Give-Away
Scroll to the bottom of the post for details!