As a special treat for you, Roland has made his book The Dragon and the Faerie FREE today, November 15!! Don't miss your chance to read this splendiferous fantasy novel!
Thank you again for joining me today, Roland! Let's get started, shall we? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Stories always bounce around inside my head. Reading books, watching movies; I would always try and rewrite a bad scene in my mind. I use to write little poems and stories for my wife when we were dating, mostly having to do with her and love. But I guess the first time I seriously considered writing was when I penned a bedtime story many years ago as a present for my nephew who was turning five. Years later, I tweaked it a little bit and self-published that story. It was not long after when the idea for the Vasara Chronicles was born, and I have been writing ever since.
I do that too! Rewriting bad scenes can be so much fun :) What has been the most difficult part about being a writer?
I would love to be picked up by a major publisher, but writing query letters to agents suck. I hate them! Condensing a 385 page book down to a paragraph is the hardest thing I have ever done. Plus I have had several experts help me with it, and each one has a different format. Maddening! It is ‘part of the game’ as they say, but I would much rather have root canal, less painful.
Oh man, I've never written a query letter but damn that sounds painful! Coming up with a book blurb was hard enough lol. Who are your favorite authors?
My list of favorite authors is long and diverse. If I had to pick six they would be J.R.R. Tolkien, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Stephen Lawhead and Stephen King.
OMG I adore David Eddings!!! He's one of the first fantasy authors I ever read and I still love his books so many years later! What authors inspire you?
David Eddings, because he creates characters with whom you can connect and identify with, this is something that I feel is important in my own writing. Another is Maggie Wood, an author I met by chance on a blog. It was because of her writing tips on her web site that enabled me to move forward with my first novel. What is that advice you ask? Commit to write at least one page a day. She has been a great online friend ever since. ☺
I totally agree about Eddings! I always felt like his stories were real and I remember arguing with my sister about how they could have really happened lol. I'll have to check out Maggie Wood, she sounds lovely. Do you like to plan your scenes out or do you just wing it?
I have a very, very basic outline that I will add to as my project progresses. The actual scenes, in my mind, I walk into, sit, and then watch and listen to my characters. So I guess you could say I wing it since I have no preconceived notions when I start.
That's pretty much how I do it, I play it through in my head :) What type of books do you like to read?
I will read anything, but my favorite genre is fantasy, and definitely what I read the most, my favorite being The Lord of the Rings. For over twenty years I would re-read that series faithfully every November. Which probably explains why this is the genre in which write.
That's awesome you reread it every November. I must confess, I had trouble with The Lord of the Rings because I got bogged down in the descriptions. I adore the stories themselves but they can be hard to read sometimes. What do you like to do in your free time?
Other than writing I like to hike and run. There are many forest and mountain trails close to where I live. It has also been my goal to at least run a marathon once in my life.
Oh wow, that would be awesome! I am the worst runner ever lol. I wish you luck in running that marathon though!! Where is your favorite place to vacation?
That would have to be Cape Cod, MA. I do love Disney World and would go at the drop of a hat, but I would also go broke. ☺
Cape Cod though, time just seems to stop there. There are a lot of cute little towns with unique shops, and beautiful beaches to sit and listen to the crash of the surf from the Atlantic Ocean and stare out towards England. I love that place!
Because you're awesome, I'll let it slide that you like Cape Cod more than Disney ;) Do you have any special Thanksgiving traditions?
We usually take turns having Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws, and then it’s just turkey, wine and football!
Haha, sounds like my family at Thanksgiving! Let's switch gears just a bit now. Why did you choose to write fantasy?
I don’t like being bound by physical laws if I don’t have to be. I always believe anything is possible, we just may not have discovered how to do it yet. So fantasy lets me do all things possible and impossible, and the reader will believe it…because it’s fantasy.
I couldn't agree more. What fun is abiding by the laws of physics when you can do so much with magic? What has been the most fun about working on your books?
To have a character appear on the scene that you didn’t even know existed. They certainly don’t exist in my mind until I start typing, then all of a sudden they are there. You get to meet them and learn their back story for the very first time. I find that so cool!
That really is very cool. What has been the hardest scene for you to write?
The hardest and most agonizing of scenes are the death of a favorite character. It takes me the longest to write because I am not quite prepared to say goodbye. In The Dragon and the Faerie, there was a character I absolutely adored, a young faerie, but I won’t name her, don’t want to spoil it. A scene was coming up where I knew she would die if I kept writing in the direction I was going. I didn’t want to do it, but I could think of no way to write it without it seeming unbelievable. So I waited several days before I started writing again, which in the end turned out for the better, because as I wrote a solution presented itself and opened up a whole new storyline.
I haven't had to write a death scene for a character, but I imagine it must be like having to say goodbye to a good friend. Definitely would be hard to write! Do you have any favorite characters?
Oh wow, that’s hard. I can’t say I actually favor one above the others. Each character is so unique and has such special meaning to me. As the reader, you only see what is permitted for you to see. So for instance, in Dragonsgate at the Red Bull Inn is a man you only know as the bartender. He has a couple of lines and is never heard from again. A minor character you may think, but that guy has a back story that will fill novels. And he has further adventures I’m sure, just waiting to be written. All my characters are like that, and I love them all.
That happened with one of my minor characters actually. He ended up having such an interesting backstory, he'll end up getting his own book! I love when authors create their own worlds! Tell me more about Vasara, please.
It is an incredible place! A world created by five gods and a goddess. I won’t go into all their names and attributes, but each one is responsible for the creation of the various races. The five gods together created dragons and wizards, and the goddess created the faeries. The five left Vasara many ages ago, but some of their power remains for the dragons and wizards to draw their magic. The goddess, Braylynn, remains in Vasara with her faeries to the south in Laurel Hollow, a beautiful wooded realm.
The land is vast and beautiful. From Fenner, home of the horse lords in the north, to the Parma Wilds in the south, range every manner of human and magical creatures. To the West is the Scio Ocean and to the east, the Border Lands, where warriors of the god Fallon protect the corridor from the ever encroaching demon horde.
In the capital, Kensington, the White Castle is red from the blood of the slain King and Queen by the renegade wizard Devon. Fifteen hundred years his oppression reigns until a brother and sister from our world happen upon a doorway into the magical realm of Vasara. What happens next…well, you will have to read to find out. ;)
Gah now I have to know what happens next!! *grumble* :) Moving on before I start pouting, Vasara is such a pretty name and I love how memorable it is. How did you come up with it?
Well, for awhile I could not come up with a name I liked. I kept typing zzzz whenever I needed to reference my world. It was probably around chapter 7 that my niece and I were just throwing names out there and I think I said something that sounded like Vasara and then she said the word Vasara, or vice versa, I can’t remember, but it was a collaborative effort. Once I heard the name it clicked, I knew that was it.
That happens to me all the time with my husband. I bounce ideas off of him and one thing leads to another. Love it! How many books do you plan to write in the Vasara Chronicles? Do you plan to continue having Andy and Emilia as your main characters or will future books have different characters?
There will be a total of four, the last one being a prequel. Andy and Emilia are the main characters in the first two books, but that might change slightly in the third. I’m not sure yet.
Oo can't wait for the rest! What sort of creatures inhabits Vasara? Can you tell me more about them?
Well, there are dragons and faeries of course. Along with the humans and wizards, there are also fauns, centaurs, unicorns, sea-dragon horses that I call Tagen, magical ravens, wild wood elves called Alfar, etc… Most I have borrowed from Greek mythology, but the two I created Tagen and Alfar, are my favorites as far as creatures go. Tagen are like sea horses, except they are as big as a pony with face and scales like a dragon. They swim extremely fast and are hardly ever seen.
The Alfar are wild wood elves that live in the dense forest of the Parma Wilds. They are small, territorial, and like the Tagen, are hardly ever seen. They fire arrows dipped in poison. They play a big role in the second book.
All my favorites! I knew I would love your book ;) Was there a reason you chose to have the portal to Vasara lie within a castle on the Hudson?
I grew up in the Hudson Valley and the castle on Bannerman’s Island had always intrigued me. A fire destroyed a lot of it during the ‘70’s, but enough of it remains to spark the imagination. I would go past it every day, back and forth to work on the train. I stare at it and think, something magical has to happen there. I knew if I ever wrote a fantasy novel it was going to involve that castle. Just as a teaser, book 2 involves another castle on the Hudson, Lyndhust Castle. When I come back for my interview on Book 2 I will tell you why I chose that one. ☺
Wait there's actually a castle on the Hudson?! I must visit this one day lol. We are just about out of time, unfortunately. Before you go, can you tell us what's next for you?
The next things for me is to finish up books 2,3 and 4. Hopefully along that journey a major publisher will want to pick up my story and make it a major hit. If not I always have the indie route and plenty of people who want to escape to a place where dragons live. For now I keep writing…
Awesome, I seriously can't wait to read your books and I bet some publisher will snag your books because they sound amazing. Anything else you want your readers to know?
I want to thank all of those who have come on this journey with me. I hope my story was able to take you out of this world and away from its worries if only for a little while. Thank you so much for your continued support. So many people have had a hand in making me the writer I am today.
And thank you Lindsay for given me this opportunity! It has been my pleasure to get to know you and call you friend! :D
Aww thank you for letting me interview you! I've loved getting to know you too! *hugs*
Well lovelies, doesn't Roland's book sound so freaking awesome? You know you want it! Read on for the blurb and book trailer, then go snag your copy :) Remember it's FREE today only!!
The Dragon and the Faerie...Buy it Now
Born in the Hudson Highlands, 16-year-old Andy and his sister, Emilia explore a crumbling castle that for centuries has housed a dark secret. They discover a gateway to a world inhabited by among other things, dragons, wizards, faeries and, demons. With his older sister in tow, Andy embarks on an adventure that will save two worlds, and shatter his understanding of who he and his sister are, and from where they come.
Buy it Now:
Find Roland Online:I call New York home. Except for my time in the USAF, I have lived my life in the beautiful Hudson Valley region. An area so rich in beauty, history and folklore an author has an abundance of inspiration to draw from. I have a wife and two great kids, whose very presence fills my head with storylines. I draw ideas from the people in my life and from the nature that surrounds me. I have always read fantasy, but sometimes I would come across a book whose plot I just didn't like, and in my head would proceed to re-write the scene. I guess this is where my desire to create my own worlds began, and it will be one of the journeys I will walk the rest of my days. And what a beautiful journey it is..