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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Interview with Stephen Zimmer Author of Dream of Legends and Crown of Vengeance.


Stephen Zimmer will be known as a purveyor of fine, epic fantasy.  His hit Fires in Eden series features Dream of Legends and Crown of Vengeance.   Stephen has been kind enough to respond to my request for an interview.   Maybe it is because we love the same authors and maybe it is the fact that Stephen seems like such a down to earth kind of guy, but I think you will find his interview excellent reading. Author Interview Questions



Stephen Zimmer
 1.) What motivated you to write Crown and Dream ?
Crown of Vengeance, Dream of Legends, and the entire Fires in Eden Series as a whole has been in development since the early part of the 1990's. I have always thought about turning a corner and stepping into another world. Couple that with my love of medieval fantasy, and you have the catalyst for the series.

Of course, there's a whole lot more to this series, and that starts with the characters. Life involves ensembles, and this kind of focus led to creating a nice range of characters to take this epic journey.

Then there are the characters that populate the world of Ave, who begin to share the stage as the story goes forward into Dream of Legends. They each have their own special part to bring to the story, and the contributions that each of them make are indispensable to the greater story arc.

Showing how individuals all bring something that really matters to the grander tapestry of life is one of my biggest motivators with this kind of series. It is also a major motivation of mine to suggest that it is okay to consider the seemingly impossible!

2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?
Many of the threads developed fairly organically, except for the ultimate destination of the greater story arc, which I can't give away, as it would be the spoiler of spoilers. I do have an arc for the entire series, but I don't outline to an extreme, as I always want the ability to introduce new characters and threads as the series grows.

3.) How do you keep track of the astounding number of characters and scenarios?
Every thread and element continues to build throughout the series, and I've just gotten so immersed into this world that I do not have much trouble keeping track of them. I do keep a lexicon of sorts, which I am going to gradually start putting on the website for this series, so that reader-friends can use it to brush up or reference.

I know that this is not lighter beach reading. There is some complexity to it, but this is the kind of series that you can really sink yourself into, and reread, finding new things every time. Its got that depth and scope that I feel epic fantasy readers really enjoy. You have to give it your focus, as you miss a lot if you just skim or read lightly, but I really feel that if you approach these books in the right way, you will find them immensely enjoyable.

4.) Do you have a favorite character in the books and if so why?
It is really hard for me to pick a favorite, as there are many characters that I am very fond of. I do find Janus and Dragol very intriguing, and quite fun to write.

Janus is on a journey of self-discovery, as is Dragol, and they have both been brought onto their paths by very different routes. Dragol is a Trogen, a non-human race with a real warrior ethos, while Janus is struggling with some really elemental, philosophical elements, right when he finds himself in Ave during the events in Crown of Vengeance. Both have a lot of challenges due their individual circumstances, but I feel that readers will really like journeying along with these two characters throughout the series.

5.) What do you like the most about writing?
I really like the ability to soar into adventures without limitation, and you can do that in writing like no other medium. In a story, you can do anything, go anywhere, and have the world work out like you hope it will.

 
The process of seeing the characters come to life, and crafting the story, is a very fun process for me. 100 hours spent doing this is so much better than even ten hours spent doing something I don't enjoy.

6.) Where do your new story ideas come from?
They come from observing the world around me, and the people around me. Little bits and pieces come from everywhere, as it is a constantly evolving process. Ideas flow in all the time. Some are instantly clear, while others take time to percolate, or roll around in your head before being usable.

I also get ideas from being a student of history and its cycles, as the patterns of history always seem to repeat, even if the trappings are different.

7.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?
To realize that at the center of any genre of fiction, the basic core of having a strong plot and good characters is what is most important. You can write in any genre if you have that core in place. It is what helped me do my first steampunk short story, “In The Mountain Skies”, for the Dreams of Steam anthology from Kerlak Publishing (editor Kimberly Richardson).

8.) When can we expect a sequel to Dream of Legends?
Just as with my Rising Dawn Saga, you can expect a new book roughly every year. Probably around January of 2012 for the 3rd Fires in Eden book, as the 3rd Rising Dawn Saga title comes out around July of this year.

9.) Who is your favorite author and why?
J.R.R. Tolkien, because he was the one whose work set the spark to the kindling regarding my love of the fantasy genre. I have had many influences since then, the 2nd biggest being C.S. Lewis, and then others like George R.R. Martin, Glen Cook, C.S. Friedman, and even Clive Barker. But you have to credit the one that lit the fire!

10.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?
The best thing for an aspiring writer to do is to simply write, to represent yourself professionally, and be educated about the industry. Have realistic expectations, cooperate with editors, and understand that even if you get on a New York Publisher's roster, you will still have to really work hard to support and promote your work. Don't get in conflicts with other writers, and help support other writers. Do all of that and you will have a good chance of making favorable progress.

11.) BTW I really enjoyed your “critters”.
I'm glad that you did, because there are going to be a whole lot more of them in the series! Thank you for interviewing me! :)

6 comments:

  1. i have crown of vengeance on my kindle, i just havnt read it yet (i have too many books!!!) i am looking foward to it even more now.

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  2. I hear you, my pile waiting is growing, particularly with eBooks which I find harder to get to and I'm retired. Too much time spent on this darn computer. LOL

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  3. Stephen is a really gifted writer and also a very nice guy. It's a shame those two characteristics aren't always found in the same people, but Stephen integrates them really well.
    If you haven't read this series, get started. You'll wish you had read it sooner

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  4. Very cool interview. Stephen is a great writer and a pretty cool guy too. You'll enjoy meeting him at conventions and booksignings.

    Bobby

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  5. Very thought provoking questions that get to the core of author's skills. Good job answering them, Stephen.

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  6. Thanks for the interview.
    Fires in Eden series is really, really epic. I know what I'm talking about. I read Crown of Vengeance and I'm halfway through Dream of Legends.

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