Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thursday Focus: Alan Edwards talks about, "The Curse of Troius..."

TRB: Alan, my other reviewer, Malryk, loved The Curse of Troius. Would you tell us a little about its premise?

AE: Certainly! The Curse of Troius is a zombie horror novel set in a fantasy world I’ve created. I wanted to go that route since the idea of a horde of Romero-esque infectious zombies that you couldn’t face with modern weaponry seemed appealing to me. It’s also a pretty low-magic fantasy world, so there isn’t much in the way of abra-ca-dabra-ing a way around the danger, and focuses on a typical small village and the devastation a group of zombies could wreak there.

TRB: What made you choose to go Indie? What is your advice to other authors that don't wish to go the “legacy publishing” route?

AE: Rejection, rejection, rejection. I found that writing query letters and synopsizes, err, synopsi, err, summaries and submitting manuscripts in the mail was sapping all the joy I get from writing, so I stopped after reading an article about CreateSpace and the changing world of self-publishing. I liked the idea that in a few weeks of work I could have an actual published book that my friends could buy. I didn’t think much beyond that. I knew it was a good story, and if some random person wanted to buy it, I thought it would at least entertain them.

My advice? Write the best thing you can. Get some feedback. Then polish it. Then publish it. Don’t spend the rest of your life editing it and trying to make it perfect, especially if it’s your first novel. Your first novel will always be the worst novel you’ve ever written. Publish it, and start writing another one, or a group of short stories, or something. Keep publishing.

TRB: You're my hero.

TRB: Where did you get your idea(s) for your novel? Is it a predominately “zombie novel,” or does it have zombies as a part of it with other supporting elements?

AE: A lot of elements came from dreams I’ve had. Every now and again, I get what I call a Zombie Dream. It’s like my brain plays me a movie. Sometimes I’m a character, sometimes I’m just a floating perspective like a camera. They are incredibly long, vivid, and stay with me. I love those dreams. One particular scene from a dream stuck with me enough that I knew I needed a story to house it. Thus, Curse.

It’s definitely a zombie novel, but it’s also a fantasy novel. I wanted it to have a slow build-up, so the reader could get to know some of the people involved, get a feel for them, and maybe begin to care about them before I have them messily devoured. Just having a bunch of strangers get eaten isn’t entertaining, to me. The fantasy setting made it more of a challenge to get people to identify with the characters quickly – there is no shorthand like “single mother working as a nurse” or “rugged doctor” that you can do in a modern setting. So, I had to build up a little more around them, make them identifiable and unique. Then have them eaten.

TRB: What type/style of a writer are you? Seat-of-Your Pants? Outline King? Master Plotter?

AE: My entire archive of notes would easily fit on one side of 8” x 11” paper, so I am definitely a Pantser. I found that even the rough ideas I had in my head would change as I actually reached the point in the story they took place. I think it helps me let the story grow organically and realistically instead of trying to stick with what might be a flawed outline or pre-conceived plot.

TRB: again, * Hero *

TRB: Did you model any characters after real-life people? Is there a character that resonates with you?

AE: One of the favorite games of friends of mine who’ve read it is to guess who some of the characters are based on. I used a many of my friends as a visual reference in my head, like I was casting a movie. That way, I knew how each character stood, gestured, spoke, things along those lines. Some of them have their personality traits blown up to an 11.

I have 4 characters that resonated the most with me: Comrick, Tevas, and Domic are all based on people I know, and since they’re role-players, I’ve seen them as characters beyond themselves. They are definitely the most fun to write. The fourth is Min, a young seer with an unfortunate past and bad choice in companions. She wasn’t based on anyone at all, so I had to work hard to truly identify with her. I ended up very attached to her.

TRB: What is your hope for readers to experience by reading your novel?

AE: I have one hope: that every reader will be inspired to send me ten thousand dollars in unmarked bills. Actually, no. The one hope I have is that they enjoy the story, and it entertains them for however long it takes to read it. I want them to be scared sometimes, grossed out sometimes, laugh sometimes, but in the end, just have a good time with it.

TRB: Is there a playlist that you listen to that inspires you while you're writing?

AE: I tend to listen to electronic music a lot, mostly trance. When I want a good atmospheric spooky sound for a scary bit, I like Midnight Syndicate or Nox Arcana or the like.

TRB: Who is your favorite author? Is there a certain genre you read [in] exclusively?

AE: My favorite author is Tolkien. He set the standard for world-building that I think can never be matched.

I read a lot of fantasy and horror, which is probably where I got the peanut butter and chocolate idea for my novel in the first place.

TRB: Are you a DTB (Dead Tree Book) reader, or do you use a dedicated reader? What do you predict for the future of these two formats?

AE: I love them both. My Kindle is awesome since it goes where I go. But when I’m sitting in bed, I like the feeling of pages in my hand. I think both will be around for a long time, even if the publishing industry itself changes radically. The allure of paper is too strong for a lot of folks, me included.

TRB: When can we expect the exciting sequel for, The Curse of Troius, to publish? What are a few things the reader can expect from the next installment?

AE: The sequel, The Storm of Northreach, should be published before the year is out. Since there is no magic-happy-la-la ending to Curse, the reader will see the effects of a spreading zombie horde over a large area, including a nearby city. It’ll be zombie mayhem on a large scale, but with a focus still on some of the survivors of Curse along with new perspectives to show the effects that a bunch of murderous people-eating monsters can have.

TRB: Malryk will be pleased. And, I may have to give “Curse” a try as I do fancy a book that doesn't tie things up neatly in the end...I sort of like a mess (even thought I tie up my own work...haha).

How has your experience as an author been different from what you expected?

I thought I’d be rich and provided with a pipe, tweed jacket, and sycophants by now. Honestly, though, it’s proven to be both easier and harder than I ever would have thought before doing it. Writing can be easy - a thousand words that ring true can just fly off the fingertips. It can also be impossible – staring at a blank page with no clue as to which word could possibly fit there. It’s been a fun ride, though, one I’m enjoying immensely.
Author Bio~
Alan Edwards majored in English at the University of Florida for approximately four weeks, until the endless daily grind of non-stop investigations into whether every single mention of a long straight object was nothing more than a phallic symbol made him quickly realize that he would never make it through to actually get an English degree.  He determinedly became a drunkard and dropout afterwards.

Later, he learned the fine art of bookkeeping, decided he enjoyed it, and eventually went back to school, this time for an Accounting degree, which he was able to complete while working full-time and attending night classes for the simple reason that there was no discussion of phallic symbols.

Becoming a stalwart and valiant accountant, he set the world afire with the speed of his T-accounts, the precision of his reconciliations, and uncanny way of balancing debits and credits.  By night, he dazzled and amazed all and sundry by reading, playing computer and console games as well as tabletop role-playing games, watching TV, and playing with his dogs. 

Nearly all of his time is spent with his lovely wife and companion Lisa, whose patience and love quite seriously carries him through the tribulations of life.

Connect with Alan~ 
He’d appreciate if you’d stop by for a chat.

Thanks for guesting on my blog,'re super-funny and were a great interviewee! :)

Peruse attached 5-STAR review by Malryk for Curse... 

June 15, 2011
The Curse of Troius (A Zombie Fantasy Novel)

Review by Malryk

Enhanced zombies, Prime medieval setting, Insidious magic, and a Catastrophic shovel - all the makings of the word EPIC!
This book was recommended to me by a good friend of mine, and I freely say that I was excited. One just needs to look at the title of the review. When we start out with the, Curse of Troius, we get a glimpse of not so much magical nature as the last days *of* magic. When this happened, I was more than a little sad of what we would be missing - especially after the tavern scene (you'll know it when you see it ;) ). However, this did not seem to impede nor take away from the progression and style of the story. We're thrown into a variety of folk, some who have experienced horrible scenarios, some with mysterious pasts, and some who have yet to show that they're worth anything more than the ale they have on the table. The story is compelling, the characters range from mildly-amusing to enigmatic (think "first encounter of "Stranger").

As the story progresses, we feel the slow building up of the release that we know is the zombie apocalypse. There-is-no-hope, that warm fuzzy feeling we get when the end of the world is neigh. Characters you may have hoped to have had a happy ending may or may not be gone - characters you may want to die in horrible way may or may not survive. It's up to you guys to read the book and see for yourselves the awesomeness that is the walking dead. A forewarning - there is not immediate carnage. If you want a book that gives you blood and guts from start to finish, go play Halo or re-watch Dawn of the Dead. If you want something with zombies and an actual story, read this book.

Hope all who read it enjoy it!

Oh, and a note to the author:
"If I don't see a sequel within the next two years, a zombie-pox upon you :)"  

Stars: 5 of 5
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-genre: Horror
Elements: Strong profanity, Strong Violence
Age: Mature

Cost:  $3.99
Grammatical/formatting issues: Nothing significant.
eBook: Yes
Hardcover: No


  1. It was an absolute pleasure doing this. =)

  2. I'll skin him if he doesn't finish the book for you Malryk, I swear ;P

  3. I like that you guys are willing to do violence! That's nice...real nice...;)


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