AUTHOR Q&A FROM MARK GELINEAU AND JOE KING
1. How was the ‘Echoes of the Ascended’ series born?
Joe: Echoes of the Ascended is really a collection of stories and ideas Mark and I have been kicking around for a long time now. In a way, it became the extension of thousands of “wouldn’t it be cool if” conversations we’ve had over the years.
Like, wouldn’t it be cool if we could do a crime noir story in a fantasy setting, and Best Left in the Shadows was born. And wouldn’t it be cool if we could also pull off an epic fantasy tale in the same world, and A Reaper of Stone was born. And wouldn’t it be cool if all the stories were connected in some way and we could create a tapestry of distinctly different stories to bring a grander, connected story to light? And well, you get the picture.
We’d been doing this for a while, until finally we had the day where we went: wouldn’t it be cool if we finally stopped just talking about it and got off our asses and actually did it?
And well, here we are.
2. What incited the creation of the world of Aedaron?
Joe: There has always been something powerful and compelling about myth and legend. How, in many, ways they were created by our ancestors to explain the unexplainable, and yet, there’s so much about them that mirror our own human nature and experience.
In its heart, Aedaron is built on the myth and legends of their first great heroes, the First Ascended. We start our stories a thousand years after their time, and exactly who they were and what they did have been largely forgotten. But those legends were real. And they were just regular people once too.
That idea was really the birth of the world and our main characters, our five orphans who are destined for greater things. Echoes of the Ascended is our window into a new generation of heroes and stories in the world of Aedaron.
3 .Was there anything you did before you sat down to write your novellas?
Mark: I like to have a lot of things set up before I sit down to write. I usually have cast all the characters in my head. I have these images collected, along with dozens and dozens of research and inspiration images. These go into a digital notebook for reference. I also really need music when I write, and I like it to be themed to what I am writing, or at least capture the right feeling. Both A Reaper of Stone and the upcoming Broken Banners, (the two Elinor books) were written while listening to a lot of Florence and the Machine.
4. Why novellas and not novels?
Mark: We are both fathers, with full time jobs. We took a look at our own reading habits in the last five years or so, and realized that we weren’t reading nearly as much as we used to, and it was very much a result of just how busy our lives were. We wanted to tell the types of stories that we have always loved, but in a package that was more easily consumable in the time that people really have. There is something really cool about a novella. It has enough meat in it for you to really build some cool things, but because it is so short, it requires a level of pacing that serves to make it feel fast and exciting.
5. Is there anything you would recommend to aspiring writers/authors in writing high fantasy?
Joe: I have no idea if this works for other writers (or if it’s even working for us!), so take this with a healthy grain of salt.
But for us, the primary focus is to create a good story first, then use the world to better tell that story. Our first attempts were very world focused and those early drafts were very dense, slowly paced, brutal affairs for our beta readers (bless their pour souls!)
For us, when we focus on our characters and their stories first, we find the richness of the world comes out more organically. You don’t get it all at once like in the exposition heavy fantasy tomes of yore.
Instead, you get faster-paced stories where world information is revealed only as its important to the current story/scene, with the trust that you’ll get more details later, but only when you need it.
Or, at least, that’s what we hope is happening 🙂
6. What was the hardest part of writing your series and publishing it?
Mark: I think the hardest part came early on, but it remains. It is the realization that to be an author requires way more than just being able to write a story. Having to handle the cover design, the layout, the publishing, the marketing, and everything else that helps a book get out there. I am incredibly fortunate to have Joe as a partner, as he has taken on the lion’s share of so much of this.
The pace we have set for ourselves is pretty gruelling. A novella every month is pretty crazy. Even as we continue to do it, it still seems pretty nuts. But I love that we can have so many different types of adventures in Aedaron out there for people.
7. Who are your favourite characters and who were the hardest to write?
Mark: I think I am a little partial to Alys from Best Left in the Shadows. The banter between her and Dax, the slang of her Lowside world. I just love that. Roan and Kay are the toughest for me, because they are younger, and Faith and Moonlight is a more YA style series. It is a writing style where I am having to stretch quite a bit more.
8. Who were the authors that influenced your writing? Any recommendations?
Mark: I grew up loving the work of David Eddings. He, more than I think anyone else, influenced me when I was younger. There is just so much fun in the interaction of his characters. With all the love for Young Adult lit now, I think Susan Cooper is really not talked about enough. The Dark is Rising and the rest of her books are rich and wonderful. Lately, I think Joe Abercrombie is just killing it. His books are gripping. Love his writing.
9. Are there any sneak peaks you can give us into the future novellas? E.g. titles, teasers, etc.
Broken Banners, A Reaper of Stone book 2, will be out Feb 15, 2016.
Skinshaper, Rend the Dark book 2, will be out Mar 15, 2016.
Civil Blood, Best Left in the Shadows book 2, will be out Apr 15, 2016.
We’re still working on Faith and Moonight book 2, but it comes out May 15, 2016
– Mark Gelineau and Joe King
A Reaper of Stone (Echoes of the Ascended, #1)(A Reaper of Stone, #1)
Rend the Dark (Echoes of the Ascended, #2)(Rend the Dark, #1)
Best Left in the Shadows (Echoes of the Ascended, #3)(Best Left in the Shadows, #1)
Faith and Moonlight (Echoes of the Ascended, #4)(Faith and Moonlight, #1)
ABOUT MARK GELINEAU AND JOE KING
The defining moments in Mark Gelineau’s early life really trace back to two events. One was the discovery of an old cardboard box that had belonged to his grandfather. Inside that box was a collection of comic books, resplendent in their four color glory. Even though he had never met his grandfather, finding that box passed on a love of thrilling stories and daring adventure from one generation to another.
The second event was when his mother took him a to showing of Star Wars. For the entire duration of the movie, Mark sat with his mouth open and his small hands gripping the armrests. The better to pretend to fly the spaceships you see.
Since those early days, Mark has loved the stories of the imagination, the stories that transport a person from the world they know into new realities, distant domains, and realms of wonder. Even more than the stories themselves though, Mark discovered the sheer joy of sharing those stories. Taking them out of the cardboard box and into the hands of friends and family. This drove Mark first to education, where he could talk about the amazing stories out there in the world, and then eventually to writing, where he could try and write some of those stories for himself.
Gelineau and King is the extension of that joy. A place where Mark and his partner, Joe King, can take the stories they create out of the box and put them out there in the world.
Joe King spent most of his childhood doing what he loved most – building things with his friends. He built friendships, stories, worlds, games, imagination, and everything in between.
After a brief career in software, for a while, he pretty much gave up on the idea of building anything. Five years later, the woman who would become his wife, rode in on a white horse and changed his life forever. Another five years, and two beautiful daughters later, Joe is building new unimaginable things.
Joe believes in the power of stories, dreams, family, friendship, and getting your ass kicked every once in a while.
More than anything, he wants to tell a good story, and, for him, Gelineau & King is the constant reminder that it’s never too late to start building the things you love.