Joseph P Macolino - A Rich World Full of Magic, Adventure, and Diverse Characters
Husband, father, and seeker of truth, Joseph Macolino has a passion for nature, philosophy, and all things fantasy. An unwavering Christian and self-declared anarchist, he dreams of a future human society where people can truly cooperate and voluntarily exchange ideas, goods, and services.
When he’s not writing Evorath, he’s likely outside gardening, spending time watching a show with his family, or reading a book on philosophy. Considering himself a lifelong student of humanity, Joseph enjoys meeting new people and being exposed to new perspectives. He believes each person’s unique gifts can help contribute to stronger communities and hopes his work encourages others to embrace their gifts.
Evorath introduces a rich world full of magic, adventure, and diverse characters trying to find their place in the world. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, The Birth of Death.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Birth of Death is about.
It’s my take on the classic story of good vs. evil. But good is not the fairy tale, flawless hero you might expect in this sort of fantasy. Instead, good is represented by a diverse group of people struggling with their own difficulties working together -because they have to. The two lead elves, a centaur warrior, a felite (catperson), and others all with their own flaws and challenges have no choice but to fight for the very world they live in. Death in the title refers to the main villain of the series, Yezurkstal. His reign of terror is set to begin as he seeks to transform the world. And like all real evil, he of course views himself as Evorath’s savior.
Tell us about Lieutenant Artimus Atyrmirid. What makes him tick?
Artimus may not realize it himself, but at the start of this story you’ll find he’s fallen into a slump. He’s a brilliant investigator, skilled archer, and pragmatic thinker. But he’s really not had much in his life to really live for. His pursuit of justice and order is what keeps him going. In many ways, he’s a workaholic. Fortunately, as he gets to know Savannah, he’ll have the chance to find there is more to life than simply one’s work.
What makes Mage Savannah Sylvanas so special?
The events of this first book are some of the earlier stories and legends. As you read, you get to watch that history unfold. Savannah will be remembered as one of history’s most impactful figures of this time. I can’t say too much without spoiling bits of book 2 and 3, but one thing you’ll find in this first book is that she is an incredibly powerful druid. But her magical prowess is not the only reason the history books will remember her.
This book involved a lot of world-building. What did you have the most fun with?
That’s a tough one. When I think of world-building, I don’t want any detail to slip through the cracks. This is why I have a good dozen documents or more that focus exclusively on different aspects of world-building. From ancient history, to politics, art and literature, social hierarchies and societal norms, unique words and cliches, religion, and even creation myths (surprise! the creation story mentioned in this first book is not the real one). I tell people it will probably take at least 6 or 7 books before I spend as much time writing the actual stories as I have spent already on world-building activities. And of course, as I write each story, there are still details that I iron out and develop further. With that said, I have lots of fun creating the world of Evorath. The political structures of the different major races in this first book was a really fun part. But I guess in the spirit of fantasy, I’d say developing the magic system was one of the most fun things I did.
What makes the magic in The Birth of Death different from other books in the genre?
An excellent question to follow up with. To me, magic is one of the most important elements of fantasy. And want to keep some of the inner workings of magic a mystery in Evorath as future books will go into more depth on it. What I will say is that magic is everywhere in Evorath. Rocks, rivers, trees, any items or living thing has it -the magic is invisible to most unless it is being wielded. In other words, most people can’t see that latent magic until it is being used to cast a spell. But due to its pervasive nature, everyone is born with some capacity to use magic. Those gifted with magic may have a significant amount of magic they can store within themselves. Expending that magic can lead to exhaustion. You’ll see many mages in Evorath will carry staffs outfitted with gemstones. Different materials in Evorath house different magic and certain gemstones can be more conducive to certain kinds of magic. Having gems or other talismans or amulets allows them to store more magic so they don’t have to drain themselves of their own energy. Keep in mind, while every creature has some capacity for magic, many never tap into it and many have such little capacity that it hardly makes it worth using. Using magic is essentially an exercise in discipline though. Magic users learn to mold and focus that ever-present magic in the world and can use that to create all manner of spell. To the untrained, it might seem they just have some great gift that allows them to pull in the magic from around and do whatever they wish. In reality, it takes a lot of training and practice to get proficient in wielding magic, especially for more complex and powerful spells.
Do any of your characters ever go off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Sort of. I haven’t had any character go completely rogue on me, but I will say there was a character in this first book that I never intended to play such a crucial role. However, as I was writing about Casandra and seeing her personality unfold, I knew she was headed for something bigger. I can’t say much more without spoiling some things, but suffice it to say, she will play a bigger role than I initially thought she would.
Some readers say that this story also addresses deep social issues. Why did you find this important to write about?
There’s a quote by George Sand that says “Art for art's sake is an empty phrase. Art for the sake of truth, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful, that is the faith I am searching for.” I believe all art should say something about life and the human condition. There’s a lot of injustice in this world and I hope this book, and subsequent books in the Evorath series can get people thinking and question their preconceptions.
This is book 1 of the Evorath series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
It could be read standalone, but I hope people would want to see what comes next in book 2. The world of Evorath will unfold mostly through trilogies that take place during different times of Evorath’s history. So, this is book 1 of a the Evorath trilogy, which is akin to early medieval time on earth. The next trilogy will take place a more than half a century later.
What are you working on right now?
Book 2 is actually due for release this July. So right now I am working on writing book 3. I’m at least 25% through right now and am aiming for an early 2024 release for that.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
The website, www.evorath.com is a great resource. It includes more details about the prominent people of Evorath, offers a map that you can look at more closely, and provides an Evorath calendar -there are only 356 days as year in Evorath. You’ll also find I have accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for Evorath. Additionally, I’d love to e-meet people by joining the official Evorath Facebook group.