David Pauly - After the Dark Lord is Defeated
Growing up in a tough environment, David Pauly has always enjoyed reading about Fantasy worlds where smart, decent people enjoyed a better life than the one he was leading. He also always wondered about the aftermath of the "happily ever after" of some of his favorite fantasy books - what happened after the Dark Lord was destroyed. This inspired the birth of his fantasy series, Shadow Wars. As our Author of the Day, Pauly chats about Fantasy as a genre, his life as a lawyer and reveals why he likes to include political intrigue in his books.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Fourth Age Shadow Wars is about.
The Fourth Age Shadow Wars takes today's politics and socio/economic status and places it within a fantasy world. In short, its Lord of the Rings meets Dune. I promise it is an original story, there are no unlikely heroes wielding a mighty talisman destroying a dark lord 1000 pages later. Instead, the setting is after the dark lord has fallen, how will the races of Men, Elves and Dwarves run the world now that a unifying evil has been destroyed.
Why fantasy - what appeals to you about the genre?
Growing up, my personal reality was horrible. I was a small poor kid with a big mouth, who grew up in a town full of rich jocks, and those of us who have seen the Breakfast Club, filmed at my high school by the way, should have a rough idea of what life was like. Therefore I turned to Fantasy worlds, Middle Earth, Narnia, etc as in those worlds, smart decent people had a better life than the one that I was enduring.
When writing about your world, are there a specific set of rules that you stick to?
In my world, yes there is a set of rules that I stick too, the first of which is: don't break the rules. One thing that drives me nuts is for an author to set a rule in a world and then, 50 pages later, goes ahead and break it. The individual races in my world have unique characteristics, tendencies and magical abilities. I make certain that they stay true to their nature and abilities. The only other major rule is that the "gods", if you will, in my world have reached an uneasy peace with each other and no longer interfere with one another directly, they leave it up to their respective creatures to contest the balance of power in Nostraterra.
What inspired you to start writing?
I had just gotten divorced and living in the mountains of New Mexico alone in the snow gave me a lot of time on my hands. I was always curious what would have happened at the end of each great fantasy series, so one night I started typing out some sentences to answer the question for myself. 10 years and many revisions later, Shadow Wars was born.
You are a lawyer by day - do your experiences at work ever find their way into your books?
Yes, there are 2 trials in my book, where my legal training comes in directly. Otherwise, I draw on many experiences with former clients, other lawyers and judges to give many of my characters a realism that I often find lacking in many fantasy worlds. Otherwise, my world is my escape from my day job and I can lose myself within my own creation.
Your stories also contain a lot of political intrigue - why?
In the early 90's the nations of the west had the opportunity with the demise of the Soviet Union, to collectively make the world a better place; they failed to do so. Instead, they outsourced jobs, destroyed the American economy, looted and pillaged the third world and generally made the world a lot worse. While I could not force real politicians and greedy corporations to face the consequences of their actions, I could in my world.
Did you plot out the world of Nostraterra before you started writing the series?
No, I had no idea at the beginning of my writing what would happen in Nostraterra, frankly I didn't even have a name for the world. Instead, the tale grew in the writing, as each chapter was written, characters I never thought of sprang to life and ideas and plot permutations appeared almost by magic on the screen. As arrogant as it sounds, when I re-read certain scenes for the umpteenth time, I am still impressed by the creativity it took to write the characters and the plot. I constantly worry that I will not be able to continue the creative process, but so far book 2, Dark Shaman is coming along very well.
Do you also plan out all the plot twists - or do they tend to "just happen"?
Many of the plot twists initially just happened, but when it came back to revisions, I had to think long and hard about some of the plot twists to have the story make sense and to increase the pace. Too much back story and history and people get bored, too many elaborate plot twists and you get Matrix 3, which made no sense at all.
How do you make your characters so relatable? Are any of them based on real people?
Yes, many of my characters are loosely based upon real people and those closest to me who know me best should be able to make a connection here and there. That said, "all of the characters are fictional in nature and any resemblance to actual people is purely co-incidental" (lol) the lawyer in me had to write that disclosure.
Which of your characters was the most challenging to create?
Creating Daerahil was the hardest as he had to be larger than life in so many ways, yet still vulnerable and real. An extremely gifted intellect, a military genius, yet flawed by arrogance, and politically reckless. A man who loves deeply and expects the same from those he cares about; he confronts a terrible betrayal from an unlikely source that changes him forever.
Tell us a bit about your writing habits - best time of the day to write, pen or laptop, do you let your books "stew" before you go back to edit?
My best writing occurs at night after everyone has gone to bed, the wine is poured the candles are lit, the Ipod is on my head and I can lose myself in my world. Many nights these days, I am too tired to write, other nights only a few lines or ideas get put down. However, when its all clicking in my head, my hands can't type fast enough to keep up with the ideas in my head and I type until I am exhausted. I let the words stew for a day to a few weeks, sometimes the work needs only typographical correcting, other times it needs significant revisions. Very occasionally, I had too much wine and it made no sense, so I hit the delete key.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I am a hobby chef, who went to Cordon Bleu in Paris and I spend lots of time making overly complicated French food. I collect and restore antique Japanese swords, and have put together a ridiculously expensive stereo system. I train in karate badly, trying not to hurt myself as I lumber through various kata.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am working on the Shadow Wars sequel, Dark Shaman. There will be 5 books in total for the world of Nostraterra. I am also working on an auto biographical book about my time as a trial lawyer in Albuquerque, the working title is "Expensive Prostitute", though I toy with "Expensive Janitor" as an alternative title. Being a lawyer requires you to whore out your mind, ignore your morals, and spend your days cleaning up other peoples messes.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I am on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ShadowWarsFourthAge/ and I am on twitter at @davidpauly1105 I try to respond to any questions or comments same day, I will try to start blogging off my webpage, http://davidpauly.com/FourthAge/