Historical fiction writer, Linda Weaver Clark, interviewed me about book two, The Dragon Hunters. I also interviewed her, in a separate post, posted today.
Linda: As a fantasy author, do you have to do any research or does it come straight from your imagination? To create a world that doesn’t exist seems very difficult to me and takes real talent. How do you create a fantasy world?
Paul: My whole life is research—or at least that’s what I’d like to believe—especially when I’m watching TV in the wee hours of the morning or reading fiction when I should be studying some dense book on the history of Bronze Age warfare. Seriously, every interaction I have teaches me something that might end up in my novels or short stories. The educational shows, books, games, all of my traveling, and the many documentaries I watch contribute greatly to my writing. Building imaginary worlds that are believable takes a lot of thought and planning. I feel like every year of schooling, elementary school, junior high, high school, and especially college, has given me the tools necessary to create fantastical worlds. I think you need to have a solid understanding of history, geography, politics, culture, psychology, sociology, biology, and so much more to get it right. I spend time at the library, online, or on Amazon.com finding books that I have to have in my collection as references. The research never ends for me. I also find that having good conversations with intelligent friends about world building helps guide my research and leads me to fill in the gaps. The consequences of the choices you make when creating worlds are sometimes not obvious, but with a good working knowledge of our world, you can come up with the right idea. Just imagine if the world you created had magical lights that never went out, or a source of energy that never ran out. All of these seemingly minor things would change everything.
Linda: Do you put part of yourself into a character and does that person take on some of your personality traits? Since you write fantasy, do you pattern your characters after people you know? Do you have a favorite character and why?
Paul: The characters in my fiction all have some part of me in them, generally exaggerated. I can’t escape it. Sometimes I try to remove myself from the characters and make them totally different from me, but in truth—they all have some aspect of my personality. The main character in my Iron Dragon series, Drake, has a guardian personality like I have. I’m a registered nurse in a cardiac unit and I watch over people and protect them. Drake is very much like that. He lives to serve others and makes great sacrifices for those under his protection. I use the Meiers-Briggs personality templates as models for the main characters in my books. I feel it’s important to get a character’s psychology correct, or they just don’t feel right to the reader. My favorite character in my Iron Dragon books depends on the moment. When I’m writing Drake, he’s often my favorite character, but if I go to the depth of my soul, my favorite character is Bellor, (sounds like, Bel-LOR). He’s an old dwarven War Priest who has lost almost everything during his 250 years of life. He is wise and kind—a truly good guy who other people would sacrifice their lives to protect. He carries a heavy burden and knows that if he does not succeed, no one else will.
Linda: Your new novel, “The Dragon Hunters,” sounds very interesting. Could you please tell me how you developed your story? How did you come up with the idea? And what is the plot?
Paul: I’ve always thought that going after a dragon was the most interesting kind of fantasy story. Ever since I read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien I was in love with the concept. Finally, I wrote a series, The Iron Dragon novels, where the main idea is to defeat the Iron Dragon King and stop him from taking over the world. The description of the series is, “A hunter must leave behind the woman he loves, give up all hope of survival, as he is forced to guide his most hated enemies on a suicidal journey to the lair of the Dragon King.” The description of book two is, “The last of an order of dragon hunters must track down the daughter of the Iron Dragon King, and stop her from getting the Crystal Eye, an artifact that will cause the destruction of their world.”
Linda: What age group would you recommend for reading your books? Can adults and young adults appreciate them?
Paul: Library Journal gave me a great review and said that ages 12 and up should read the book. I find that 10-11 years olds love it as well, but the book is more for teens and adults. It’s very scary at times and has a significant amount of violence—though nothing more than kids see on TV or in video games every day. What’s made me feel good is that I’ve had an excellent response from adults. I have many fans who are in their twenties as well as older women who happen to be grandmothers. I think that almost everyone finds a character that they identify with in the Iron Dragon books, and that’s why they’ve been so well received. If I’ve done my job right, years from now, when people have forgotten the plot, they will remember the character that they loved.
Read sample chapters, listen to podcasts, watch videos about the Iron Dragon Series at www.paulgenesse.com.