Chase Blackwood - A World-Encompassing Fantasy of Epic Proportions
Chase Blackwood's life has been defined by struggle the way a moth battles an insect zapping light. He's studied martial arts since childhood in an effort to overcome fear. He's lived in a half dozen countries in an effort to "find himself," traveled to over 60 countries in an effort to "find humanity," lived in nine states just for the hell of it, oh... and the military has had something to do with that too. Chase has enjoyed combating terrorism, working as a federal agent, and also really likes puppies. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his fantasy novel, Tears of a Heart.
Please give us a short introduction to what Tears of a Heart is about.
Tears of a Heart is the beginning of a grand tale. It is the first in the Kan Savasci Cycle, a series of books that begin as a coming-of-age story and expand into a world-encompassing drama of epic proportions, in which an empire, internal kingdoms and entire island-nations collapse at the return of the old gods.
A mage-historian is tasked with finding the one man who could bring an end to the calamity. The one problem, he’s nowhere to be found.
What has inspired you to write this book?
There have been a number of inspiring factors that drove me to write this book. First, I’ve always loved fantasy as a medium to express a variety of ideas and to create new worlds. There is a certain creative effort in fantasy that doesn’t exist elsewhere, and I’m drawn to that creativity.
Second, I’d say that my travels and life experiences inspire me to put to paper the interesting things I’ve seen.
Tell us more about Aeden. What makes him tick?
Aeden is the protagonist of the Kan Savasci Cycle. We meet him as Kirin, a child from a warrior village, tucked away in a corner of Verold, hidden in the mountains.
The story is in many ways the transformation of Aeden from a boy into a man. It is a journey that is filled with heartache, conflict, and internal strife.
Aeden is driven by the need for acceptance, by the desire to avenge those he’s lost, and a moral compass that compels him to keep those about him safe from harm. Fundamentally he’s a broken character attempting to do what he feels is right as he finds his way through the world.
You have studied martial arts and traveled the world. How has this influenced your writing?
Both my study of martial arts and world travels have affected many aspects of my writing and influenced the direction of the Kan Savasci Cycle. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to every continent (except Antarctica, although got close once) and I’ve lived in numerous countries (having lived in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East). The diversity of cultures, histories, languages, and experiences allow me to create a more vivid and realistic world. The unique experiences, the fascinating people I’ve met, all provide a contextual basis to draw from.
As for martial arts, I’ve trained in numerous styles since childhood. These styles have grounded me with discipline, allowing me to write even in less than ideal circumstances (when tired, deployed, traveling). They also allow me to better choreograph fight scenes within the books and relate them to the reader in a digestible manner.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
People have compared your work to that of Rothfuss, Tolkien and Martin. Who would you name as your greatest influences?
First, I’m flattered by some of the reviews and praise I’ve received. It is touching, and inspiring, and gratifying.
As for who are some of my greatest influences. Rothfuss, Tolkein and Martin are certainly influencing individuals, as have been some of the classics (Dante’s Inferno, Lord of the Flies, The Count of Monte Cristo…)
Your hero is not always strong and courageous - at times he is weak and lost. Why did you create him this way?
I’ve known many strong people, men and women, and they all struggle with something. We all have out inner demons, our internal conflicts, our fears, desires, and weaknesses. I wanted to create a character that was plausible, human, and real.
I’ve had the fortune of working with some very courageous people, people willing to put their life on the life for their team. These men had everything to lose, and feared that loss when others weren’t watching. We all had our letters tucked away to send home to those we loved in the event of our deaths. It is these “weaknesses” that actually make us strong. They ground us. They give us purpose. They allow us to be courageous in the face of adversity and fear. So too have I allowed Aeden to experience these conflicting emotions.
This book is the first in a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Tears of a Heart is a bit of prequel in that it lays the foundation for the series. It introduces you to the main characters (most of them), the world, and sets up the beginning hints of something far greater to come.
It wouldn’t do well as a stand-alone book as the ending finishes on a cliffhanger that is picked up by the very next book: Tower of the Arkein. The entire series is one large overarching story that wouldn’t fit well into one book.
Into the Fold, coming September 10th 2019, carries onward where we left off in Tower of the Arkein.
What was the toughest thing you had to go through while writing Tears of a Heart?
I think the toughest thing I had to write was the killing of some characters that I had grown quite attached to. They become real in a way and their deaths are like that of someone I’ve known from afar.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I don’t know if my writing habits are interesting, but this is my process. I awake nice and early before the sun rises. I spend a few minutes reading the prior chapter, ensuring it sounds how I want it. If it doesn’t, I simply spend time fixing it and don’t write any new material. If it flows well enough, I write a new chapter. It doesn’t need to be perfect on the first writing. If time allows, I then re-read and polish. The following day or later that day, I return to that chapter and polish it to the point where I’m temporarily comfortable with it and move on.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, I am working on marketing the latest in the series, the third book: Into the Fold. It comes out September 10th, 2019 on Amazon and Smashwords. Grab your copy today! (That’s my only sales pitch)
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I can be found at www.chase-blackwood.com There you can find my Facebook and Instagram. I am also on Goodreads.
I have been contacted occasionally by fans and I do my best to respond, but there are times where I simply don’t have access to a computer or the internet and cannot reply. Please bear with me if I am slow to respond.