Lance Conrad - Riveting, Thought-Provoking Fantasy
When Lance Conrad isn't researching how to grow kumquats indoors or looking up the latest nuclear reactor designs, he writes riveting fantasy novels with a lot of heart. The first book in his Historian Tales series, The Price of Creation, is wildly popular and boasts a 5-star average on Amazon. Today, Conrad reveals to us how a dance with a pretty girl inspired him to write The Price of Creation, how he practises acupuncture on his friends and how he has to battle his own brain in order to produce his novels.
Please give us a short introduction to The Price of Creation
The Price of Creation is set in a land where each person is born with a small Stone that decides what they're going to do in their life. It enhances their natural abilities, makes them a master at that one thing they're meant to do.
The story focuses around this one family; their son is born with a Stone that destines him for great destruction. So the family has to raise and train up their son while protecting him from their own people, who see the boy as a threat and want him killed. When everything falls apart, the boy is banished to this land of savages, called Destroyers, but there he's able to find out about the history of his own land, where the Stones came from, and what their true purpose and power really was.
Was there anything in particular that made you want to write The Price of Creation?
The moment I decided to write The Price of Creation came during a New Year's Eve dance. I was dancing with a pretty girl and she asked me if I had any New Year's resolutions. I wanted to impress her, so I said I was going to write a book... and then I did. I imagine some people might expect some deeper, philosophical answer, but I've found that impressing pretty girls is usually the best reason I ever have for doing anything. ;)
What inspired the concept of the Stones?
The Stones are symbolic of what everyone is already born with, a set of gifts and talents that makes them special. In our reality, finding out what our "Stone" is often takes a lifetime of self-discovery. In the land of Surac, people are literally handed their identity and destiny in a nice little package. As you might imagine, this is both a blessing and curse.
Sadavir struggles with who he is and identity is an important theme in your book. Why did you pick this approach?
I've always believed that your most powerful writing is your most personal writing. Sadavir is born different, and in a way many people find hard to accept. I think there's a lot of people out there who can relate to that. Identity is never as simple as some people try to make it.
Does The Price of Creation contain an underlying message?
Of course! Though I've found that the message I intended isn't always the one that the reader gets from it. So I will leave it to the reader to pull what is most valuable for them out of the story.
Besides writing, what other cool skills do you have?
I have been called a jack of all trades, master of none, and that captures me surprisingly well. I can fake just about any trade, I do amateur acupuncture on brave friends and family, and I enjoy a little knife throwing to wind down after a long day. ;)
Tell us a bit about your writing habits. What does a typical writing day look like for you?
A standard writing day for me is anything but standard. I have ADOS (Attention Deficit.. Ooh Shiny!). So writing for me feels a bit like a wrestling match with myself. My brain desperately wants to research how to grow kumquats indoors and the newest nuclear reactor designs and go for a LONG walk through new territory. So I have an intense struggle keeping myself in front of the computer and typing out a story (always typing, as my handwriting makes chicken scratching look like elegant calligraphy). Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, to be honest. But eventually books get written.
The Stones supposedly predetermine the fates of the characters in your book. Do you believe in fate in real life - or do you think we shape our own futures?
I suppose I'm a bit of a hybrid in that area. I believe we are born with certain strengths, weaknesses, etc. I further believe we are born the way we are for a reason. So the hand we're dealt isn't a matter of random chance. That being said, how we play that hand is entirely up to us.
You use the unique perspective of a historian to tell your story. Why?
I think partly it was to challenge myself. In each of the Historian Tales books, I have to create a world and characters, and bring them through an entire plot with no cliffhangers. And yet, I have to build on the larger, overarching plot of the Historian himself in every book.
Some readers report that they really enjoyed The Price of Creation, but that the subsequent books got even better. How, would you say, did you evolve as an author through the series?
As a quick disclaimer, I will say that many of my readers disagree with me on this point; but I feel that since The Price of Creation, I've managed to evolve the most in the area of character development. I feel like my characters in The Price of Loyalty had a lot more depth than the characters in The Price of Creation.
The Price of Creation is a quick read with fast-paced action. How important do you think it is for a story to flow quickly?
I've had a lot of great reviews for my books, but my absolute favorites are when they say "I couldn't put it down!" That is what comes of a good flow. It should be the goal of any author, at least in the fantasy genre, to pull the readers into the world they created and make the reader feel like the story is happening to them.
What aspect of being an author did you not know going in?
I hope this doesn't make me sound too jaded, but what has surprised me the most about this journey is the help and support I've received from my fans. I've always done most things on my own, so it's been a new experience to have people who give up their time, without even being asked, to help me in my work. I even have some fans who bring me food and drink when I'm selling at conventions because they know I don't take care of myself. It feels a bit like a family and it's deeply humbling.
What are you working on right now?
I actually have three new books in the works right now, two more in the Historian Tales series (The Price of Survival and The Price of Redemption); and the first book in a new series that will be called the Soulless King series. It will be a 5-book series and the first book will be The Pawn's Advance. I'm ridiculously excited about that one, by the way...
Where can our readers interact with you or discover more of your work?
I'm generally not hard to find. Readers can find me on Twitter (@LanceConradlit), Facebook, and on my author page, lanceconradbooks.com
I am also running a writing contest and an art contest this fall based on the books, and details about those contests can be found on the website as well.