pdmac - Dragons, Magic, and a Quest to Rule the World

pdmac - Dragons, Magic, and a Quest to Rule the World
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pdmac spent a career in the US Army before transitioning to education as a university Academic Dean. He transitioned again and now writes fulltime. He has a MA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Theology. He is a member of the Blue Ridge Writers Guild, the Steampunk Writers and Artists Guild, and the Georgia Writers Association. A diverse author, writer, and editor, he has also edited a Literature anthology, served as managing editor of an archaeology magazine, ghost-written an autobiography, and has had poems, short stories, articles, and editorials published in various literary journals, magazines and newspapers. His most recent short stories appear in the Short Story America anthologies III and IV, Poets in Hell, The Mulberry Fork Review, and the Fantasy Anthology Chronicles of Mirstone. He has also sung back-up for Broadway plays, provided voice for radio plays, and acted and directed theater stage productions. In his off time, he and his wife enjoy cycling, kayaking, and occasionally backpacking sections of the Appalachian Trail. Additionally, he and his wife love to travel, their favorite place so far being Crete, Greece. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, The Sixth Kingdom.

Please give us a short introduction to what The Sixth Kingdom is about.

The Sixth Kingdom begins with a reluctant hero, a student, who wants nothing more than to spend his days learning and researching arcane topics, hoping one day to move up the proverbial ladder to be part of the College leadership. Up until the story begins, his life has been uneventful and predictable. Unfortunately, this nearsighted vision of the world shelters him from the realities of life outside the hallowed halls of the College, as kings and armies of five kingdoms vie to dominate the world. All too soon, he realizes that his safe and secure world of learning is about to come crashing down.

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Tell us more about Fiach, what makes him tick?

Fiach has spent his whole life at the College. It is “home” for him, a place of routine and traditions – and comfort, for he knows what to expect. It is where he wants to live his entire life in the sheer pleasure of learning as much as is humanly possible. It’s not that he wouldn’t like to travel, but the College is the center and repository of all the world’s knowledge – why go anywhere else when he has what he wants right there? His ambition is to one day rise to the level of Wisdom Caste Master. Though he has aspirations of leadership, he’s the proverbial ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ person who doesn’t like games and prefers the company of likeminded individuals – specifically Cliona, Taegan, and Niall. They are a close-knit group of friends calling themselves the ‘Family.’ They will do anything to help each other. He is caring and sincere, and sometimes naïve. But he has an agile mind, which he will need in the days to come.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I’m not sure I’d call writing a “secret” skill. I have a MA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. In addition to 12 novels, several anthologies, and cowriting a 3-volume fantasy series with Richard Fierce, I’ve had short stories published in various literary magazines (Short Story America, Mulberry Fork Review, etc.). That said, I play guitar, enjoy gourmet cooking, have acted in and directed plays, provided voice for radio plays, and sang back-up for Broadway productions when I lived in Europe.

This is the first book of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?

Book 1 is not a stand-alone and was not meant to be a stand-alone (much like Lord of the Rings, and other epic tales). Books 2-4 continue to unfold the drama and the dynamics of the competing five kingdoms, shifting alliances, and the emergence of dragons as equal players in world affairs.

Readers say this book is really fast-paced. How did you pull this off?

I take this as a compliment. My goal is to make my characters as real as possible, with all their strengths and weaknesses. Further, tempo and pace are also important. I use the skip/skim concept - anytime a reader skips/skims what is written, it usually means the reader doesn’t think it important or necessary to the action/plot.

How do you go about worldbuilding in fantasies like this?

It began with the idea of a medieval world and an ivy-covered college, thousands of years old, steeped in traditions so old that no one knows why they do certain things or act a certain way – they just do. Add some dragons and magic and spying and warring kingdoms, and the story essentially unfolded itself. As any writer will tell you, we usually have in mind where we want the story to go, but then our characters have a way of doing things we don’t expect. Yet within that created world, there are still issues to consider – like how fast do dragons fly? How much can they carry, and for how long? How often do dragons eat? And of course, one needs to be careful of inserting anachronisms, or unrealistic accomplishments/talents of any character.

What was your greatest challenge when writing The Sixth Kingdom?

Who was doing what and where were they doing it? I had five kingdoms, the College, and the future dragon kingdom to coordinate so that the conclusion made sense, especially with all the characters involved. At the same time, I wanted the fantasy world to be as realistic as possible.

Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.

I had an idea of what I wanted the cover to look like and worked with an artist (who lives in Pakistan) to arrive at what I thought embodied the story. In this case, dragons are both fascinating and integral to the story.

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

I think all writers have their “quirks” or habits. Because writing is my “job,” I’m in the enviable position of dictating my own schedule. I write in the morning for 3-4 hours, every day. Then around noon, I take a break and go for a workout – running, cycling, hiking, etc. Then after dinner I may write some more or do plot strategies/outlines/notes. My one ‘quirk’ is that when I’ve finished writing for the day, I’ll stop mid-sentence. That way, the next day when I begin, I can finish the sentence and move on. Writers know that sometimes it’s hard to get those first words down each day. This is my method of helping me get started.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on the sequel to my time travel Viking romance novel Beyond Her Touch. Then I’ll be writing Book 3 of the Western Steampunk Trilogy, the Tombstone Series. I’m also writing a short story for Volume 3 of the World of Mirstone. And then, I’ve “finished” a 10 book Sci-Fi series that I hope to have published in the spring. I’m working with an excellent cover artist for 10 covers while the books are in the editing phase.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

⦁    Website - https://pdmac-author.com/
⦁    Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pdmacauthor
⦁    Publisher - https://trimblehollowpress.com/

The Sixth Kingdom

pdmac
Dragons, Magic, and a Quest to Rule the World! The Sixth Kingdom is the College, the center of all knowledge, secrets, and wizardry. And it has a secret, a BIG one. One that is about to turn the world upside down. Senior Acolyte Fiach has his world rattled when he’s mind-bonded to a dragon and has to stop the College's secret from being revealed. Can Fiach save himself, let alone his dragon?
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