This is continuing feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule. Today, I welcome Jim Melvin to Archer’s Aim.
Please share a short summary of you book.
I am the author of the six-book epic fantasy titled The Death Wizard Chronicles. All six books (Forged in Death, Chained by Fear, Shadowed by Demons, Torn by War, Blinded by Power and Healed by Hope) are now available on all online venues around the world, as well as a number of brick-and-mortar bookstores, including Barnes and Noble. There are also three short stories available online that serve as teasers. They are titled Torg’s First Death, The Black Fortress and Rise of the Sun God.
The concept of karma and the art of meditation play key roles in the symbolic aspects of my work. While deep in meditation, Buddhist monks have had recorded heart rates of fewer than 10 beats per minute. My main character takes this to the extreme. In an original twist never before seen in this genre, the Death Wizard is able to enter the realm of death during a “temporary suicide.” Through intense concentrative meditation, Torg stops his heartbeat briefly and feeds on death energy, which provides him with an array of magical powers.
For those of you who are just interested in a fun and entertaining read, don’t let any of this dismay you. Though my series has a lot going on between the lines, it is fast-paced and action-packed, nonetheless. I describe The DW Chronicles as a cross between J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen King – Tolkien because it contains many aspects of epic fantasy, King because it’s pretty darn scary and rough. The Death Wizard Chronicles is a classic tale of good versus evil, with lots of action, monsters, and magic. It also contains a compelling love story.
Only a Death-Knower can die. And live again.
Only a Death-Knower can return from death. And remember.
Only a Death-Knower can tell the world what he’s seen.
For a thousand years, none have rivaled the power of Torg, the Death-Knower wizard, as he ruled his people and kept peace on Triken.
Now a new threat has suddenly arisen. The evil sorcerer Invictus is greater even than Torg, and his greed and ambition threaten to engulf the land in eternal darkness. When Invictus imprisons Torg in a horrifying pit bored into the solid rock of a frozen mountain, the fate of Triken hangs in the balance.
Torg becomes freedom’s final hope, but first he must die to earn the victory.
Are the main characters inspired by anyone?
My main characters are inspired by my world view. There aren’t any specific individuals in real life who represent any of my characters, but rather
they are symbolic conglomerations of behavioral characteristics. Each character is larger than life, and more figurative than literal.
How did you begin writing & how long have you been writing?
I wrote my first novel when I was 21 years old and Jimmy Carter was president. Sarah’s Curse was an artsy murder mystery bursting with passion and intensity. I shopped it around to various publishers and got no bites, but I wasn’t particularly concerned at the time. It’s usually the second or third novel that hits it big, right? So I went about the business of writing my second book.
At this point in my life, I was in love with J.R.R. Tolkien (and still am), so I decided that my second novel would be a high fantasy. My roiling imagination gave birth to a character named Torg, and he was to be king of a band of desert warriors called Tugars. I made up these names just because they sounded cool.
Needless to say, I was full of zest and excitement — but not necessarily of worldliness or maturity. Over the next several years, every time I sat down to write about Torg I’d get a few pages in and then hit a wall. Each time, my excuse was that I was just too busy. I already was married, raising a family, and working a challenging job at a big newspaper. That’s a lot for any young person to handle, right?
Years turned into decades. As I said, I wrote my first novel at 21. It wasn’t until age 45 that I wrote my second one. And my how things had changed over the course of that time. George Bush now was president, for one thing. I was remarried and had five daughters, the youngest three of whom were adopted from Cambodia. But most importantly, at least as far as my writing career was concerned, I finally had developed the worldliness and maturity to bring Torg and the Tugars to life at the level of quality they deserved. After almost 25 years of starts and stops, The Death Wizard Chronicles was born for real. I wrote the first page of Book 1 in September 2004. Almost 700,000 words later, I wrote the last word of Book 6 in late 2007.
What’s the least engaging part of writing a novel for you?
I’m no genius, so I have to do a lot of up-front research before I am prepared to do the real writing. The preparation is tedious to me.
What’s the most engaging part of writing a novel for you?
Once all the up-front work is done and all I have to do is write, then that is the time when I really enjoy the craft. I can spin out the words joyously.
What marketing skill did you most need to hone?
I still haven’t honed my marketing skills. I’ve tried everything. I’ve spent, literally, thousands of hours. I’m still trying to find the magical formula that some — to be honest, with works inferior to mine — have somehow discovered.
What’s next on your project list?
I am writing a book about a war between dragons. It will be allegorical, and resemble our own world’s deforestation and destruction of the environment. I’m about 50K in, thus far.
If you work with an editor, please share your experience with that process.
My experience with my publisher’s (Bell Bridge Books) fantasy editor was enlightening — in some ways good, in some bad. The bad ways: She made me work my ass off. The good ways: The final product was vastly improved.
I also am an experienced editor. I have taken poor works and improved them, and taken strong works and improved them too. I find this to be a much easier task than actual writing.
Bio & Links
I was an award-winning journalist at the St. Petersburg Times for twenty-five years and currently work at Clemson University. I am married with five daughters. I have written eight novels, including The Death Wizard Chronicles, a six-book epic fantasy. My works contain adult content.
My website: www.jim-melvin.com
My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheDeathWizardChronicles
If you’re a fantasy author and would like to be interviewed for “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” just contact me via email or one of my social media channels and we’ll set one up. By all means, take a look at Jim books – I know I am. Thanks to Jim for the interview today. Best wishes on the latest project!
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