Michael Anthony – Dragons And Blades On Every Page
Author Michael Anthony comes from a business background, but telling stories have been in his blood from a very young age. His first series of fantasy novels is set in a fascinating world filled with dragons and blades along with plenty of political intrigue. Today we chat to him about his extensive comic book collection, how difficult it is to kill off characters and how he managed to weave so many different twisting plot strands together in his books.
Please give us a short introduction to Medieval Future: The Last Dragon Throne.
If I give the intro I'd want to give, it would tell too much of the story that is revealed by the end.
The book starts off years after the unification of the continent, which is one of four major continents on the planet called Merka. The Allfathers, a secretive learned group with their hands in everything, are pulling their strings worldwide to unite the planet, as it once was before what is called The Long Darkness. A period thousands of years earlier when meteors first struck the planet. They continued to hit the planet about every 900 years with less effect and less damage to the planet.
Daven Brookler is the first born of the current King, and set to rule. With the promise of uniting with a smaller but more powerful state called New Merka, an island continent just south of Brookler. Most animal life died off thousands of years earlier, except for dragons, humanity and a few domestic species like pigs, chickens and cows that were kept alive.
The Prince doesn't want to be King, and after tragedy strikes, he hides away on an offshore island that is ruled by a Queen who is allied to the Allfathers. There he meets Eliza, the Queen's niece, who he falls in love with. Eliza's best friend is named Roxy, who was raised in 'their' Aunt's palace since they were both eight. Eliza is originally from one of the Kingdoms of Brookler called The Ragin, and she was spirited away to be hidden with her family on Kailyn after her father, the former King of The Ragin, was killed as the Continent was unifying. The main force behind unification was Daven's father. The How and Why of Eliza's father's death comes out in the book. While in hiding, a revolution brews on the continent, and the Queen of Kaiyln Island, Queen Dianna, has her own goals.
How did you go from a business background to writing fantasy novels?
I've written stories since I was about 12 in these spiral notebooks. I have boxes filled and used to entertain kids with them at church and camp, as well as my own son to help put him to sleep. Medieval Future and definitely Medieval Tyrant are not for children though. The intended audience is 18 and over.
We believe that you have an extensive comic book collection. Who is your favorite character and why?
I've collected since I was a young boy. I loved Wolverine, Spiderman, Thor and even Deadpool, which if you are into comic books and their related movies I think you should see it. Although rated R, it had to be one of the most entertaining superhero movies ever. In fact, I believe that the upcoming Wolverine and Avengers movies are now rumored to be more open and R like due to the success of Deadpool
What was your inspiration for the secret cabal, the Allfathers, in your book?
All Illuminati related, Treasury Department of the U.S. We humans always think there is some unseen group pulling the strings behind the scenes. Currently there's Bilderberg and the like. In the book, the secret society is more than just real, there is a whole world there that is explored in book IV, coming out sometime in September I hope.
Can you give us some more information about the possible TV movie about the book or is it all still under wraps? Also, as an author, how hard is it to entrust somebody else with your world and characters when they translate everything to a new medium?
As a new author I think almost anyone would jump at any deal offered. Especially when you're totally unknown. I was offered a small sum to give up the rights for the first book and then they took back the offer so I never made it public.
Your book features a lot of character development, especially for Daven Bookler, what is your secret to pulling this off with such ease?
As most writers tell you, they put part of themselves and people they know into their characters. What they would do under certain circumstances and how they would grow over time. It's a lot of fun to explore life with real life events thrown in. It makes the characters more real to the readers. Especially when they are not at all perfect.
How did you come up with such a great setting for your tale and why did you choose it instead of a typical medieval fantasy setting?
Most of my stories were more science fiction oriented. This is as well. By the end of the book the reader has more than enough hints as to where they are in the universe at large and are shocked by the final song being sung in New Merka. In Book II it is explored further, complete with various hints by the main Allfather, who likes to quote people in his own past. Quotes that I'm guessing most of us will be familiar with.
How hard is it to weave so many different twisting plot strands together without confusing readers? How do you keep track of everything yourself?
I started with the ending of the book as the initial idea, and then wove the rest together over the year earlier from a few stories written long ago. Just like in life, the main characters aren't the center of the universe. There is always something going on around them, and often those stories are extremely important to the main storyline. Plus some of the other plot twists and stories are parts of other books to be released soon. There are whole storylines, with maps to be included of the planet that take place on the same continent as well as in Nusia, the large continent to the East. Plus several stories regarding the past and life, both before the Long Darkness and after.
Did you ever have second thoughts about killing prominent characters or end up with regrets later in the story for doing so?
I cried while writing about the death of several. Especially by the end of book II. My wife was busy laughing, in a fun and not mocking way, when I was writing several scenes. I don't regret the scenes as they are important to the story as it goes into Book III, which is going through the final editing now. As an author it is hard to see character dies. I don't think there is any better way to say it except that it really is like losing family and friends.
Any book that features fantasy, dragons and political intrigue is instantly going to be compared to Game of Thrones. Did this put a lot of pressure on you while writing or did it serve as motivation because the bar is set so high for the genre?
George R.R. Martin was more of an inspiration actually. I'm a big fan of Game of Thrones and put out a quiz book for the show in 2014. It was called Game of Thrones Black Belt in Trivia. Although Medieval Future is more closely related to Earth, and you understand there is a large link by the end of the book, the fantasy element was incredibly fun to write. This is more of a fun project than any kind of comparison. I never felt any pressure since I would never compare myself to G.R.R.M. professionally. By the end of Book III, which is called Medieval Revolution, the reader will see where the story is going, which is far different to being stuck in King's Landing or in Westeros, as excellent as the whole Game of Thrones world is. With Medieval Future, there are far more possibilities due to the history and storyline and where the books take place, as well as when they take place.
Your story features a lot of unexpected revelations. Did you have the whole story arc planned out before writing or did any major shifts occur during the writing process?
I started with the ending, and then had a basic outline that just grew via the snowflake method.
If you could have a drink with any author, who would it be and what would you have?
That's a hard one. There are just too many that I would love to have had a drink with. Unfortunately most of my favorites are no longer with us. Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Tolkien. Although Orson Scott Card is still alive. I'd love to meet with him, or G.R.R.M. for a beer, among the multitude of others out there that are just too numerous to name.
What are you working on right now?
I'm finishing book IV of the Medieval Future series and then starting up on book V.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I used to post my Twitter and Facebook accounts, but then was hacked on Facebook, and Twitter seems to play games with anyone who dares to have any opinions that are not aligned with their own politics. So now I don't advertise any of them. People can contact me though via my site or via my newsletter which people can join via my author page on Amazon or from the Kindle copies of my books. I think life is much better without social media. I used to waste so much time on it, and now I'd prefer to write or live life instead of being chained to the computer or my smartphone.