Hi, Jeff and welcome back. Tell me, when did you first start writing and how long did it take you to finish the MAVONDURI TRILOGY?
Hi, Vanna. I’ve been writing for years; since I was very young. But MATHION is my first big attempt at a novel. While I haven’t finished the MAVONDURI TRILOGY yet, I’ve been working on it for more or less 10 years, and MATHION about half that long.
What was the biggest obstacle in getting your book published?
Well, the great thing about self-publishing your work as an ebook is that there aren’t that many obstacles, are there? But in terms of pursuing a print publisher, that’s a wholly different proposition. So many authors are writing so many different books that it’s very tough to compete for the attention of a publisher, or even an agent for that matter. But the single biggest obstacle has to be the rejection letters I get. But I keep pressing, because I believe I have a story worth telling, especially given the times we live in.
MATHION, the first book of the MAVONDURI TRILOGY has been available for a year now. What additions can we expect from the expanded version? When are you planning to release it?
Yes it has, and it’s been a great year! I’ve met so many interesting people because of it, and I’m eternally grateful for every person who has read and reviewed it (yes, EVEN the negative reviews!). As for the REVISED & EXPANDED EDITION of MATHION, I can tell you that readers can expect drastic changes. Don’t worry, your favorite characters will still be the same! But I took this opportunity to really flesh out Mathion’s supporting cast. There will be some new scenes that provide great character moments, and I can tell you that one character’s fate has been changed from the original version. But as for more, I shall keep “mum” as the word. But on a final note, those who are true fans of this book and this world should look forward to the Appendices, which shed some light on a few interesting aspects of this world.
Tells us a bit more about the world and characters in MATHION?
The world behind MATHION, and the MAVONDURI TRILOGY as a whole in fact, is vast and rich and deep. This right here is the “Atlantis” we never knew. It has over 20,000 years of history to fall back on, including various cultures, languages, alphabetic systems, maps, even religions, and we get to see a small sampling of these in the MAVONDURI TRILOGY. To be a convincing story, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about in every detail, and I’ve always believed that if the world behind a fantasy story is detailed enough then there’s no need for a “suspension of disbelief” as you read the story, because you as a reader can just dive right in and discover an entirely new period of lost history.
Which character from MATHION are you most attached to and why?
I’m probably most attached to Mathion himself. He is me, well, the best parts of me about a hundred times over, and his story I think really says something about what it means to be an honorable person. Aside from Mathion, probably Kéle’il. He’s just so fun to write dialogue for!!
What about the rest of the trilogy, when do you hope to release the rest of the parts?
Well I THINK I’m about a quarter of the way through THE LAST ASCENSION: BOOK TWO OF THE MAVONDURI TRILOGY, but it’s become much bigger, and scarier, and far more “mythic” than MATHION was in terms of scope. Release dates are still an afterthought at this point, as I really do want as many people as possible to read MATHION and get excited about what’s ahead. So I won’t say anything right now, but I promise I won’t take as long as George R. R. Martin! (who is a fantastic writer, by the way)
Is this your first book or do you have other manuscripts waiting for publication?
MATHION is my first novel, yes.
Who are your main writing influences?
I love classical authors. Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H. P. Lovecraft are among my favorites. But the top of the list is J. R. R. Tolkien. I first read THE LORD OF THE RINGS when I was 13, and I’ve been floored ever since.
What are your top three ways of promoting your book? What type of success have you had with each?
Twitter, author appearances and YouTube, in that order. YouTube fills that “film geek” inside me (by the way, keep an eye out for a brand new World Premiere trailer for MATHION: THE REVISED & EXPANDED EDITION, coming soon!). I love doing author appearances though. The last one I did was really spectacular, the kids were enthusiastic about the book and I had a great time. I definitely plan to do more. But Twitter is probably my biggest resource, and it really is indispensable. It offers me a chance to promote my work and talk with other people about it, and connect with other authors as well!
What advice would you offer beginning indie writers?
Keep pushing. Make that your mantra. There are thousands of us out here, and we’re all pushing for the same thing of course, but if you believe your story is worth being read, then no matter what obstacles you come across there’s only one thing you have to do. Obliterate them. Thanks so much for having me, Vanna! As always, you’re the best and these were some great questions!
Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Jeff. I wish you all the best with your new book!