Thursday 25 October 2012

Q & A with Joshua Silverman

TITLE:  The Emerald Tablet

AUTHOR:  Joshua Silverman

SERIES:  Legends of Amun Ra #1

GENRE:  Fantasy


PUBLISHED:  September 2012


Leoros doesn't have many friends. The son of a scientist and archeologist, he is constantly on the move. But when his parents make a startling discovery in Egypt, Leoros' world is turned upside down.

Do you wish you could have the power of a god? Would you use it for good…or for evil?

When an archeologist discovers the mythic Emerald Tablet buried beneath Egypt’s desert, her son decodes the ancient text leading him to a distant world.

On that world, a slave girl begins a journey towards a destiny she cannot imagine. But when an ancient foe rises from the ashes, they will be brought together
by forces neither understands.

Leoros, who dreams of being like the heroes in the comic books, must fight to unlock the secrets of the universe to save a people he never knew existed.

Atlantia, whose bloody visions wake her in the night, senses the darkness coming.

Together they will face an enemy with the power of dark energy, lose a mentor to the assassin’s blade, and be betrayed by someone they trust. Their fight for the future is just beginning, and before it is over, a final sacrifice must be made. When the darkness comes, will they stand and fight or will they join it?

There is darkness in everyone.

Watch for The Emerald Tablet coming soon in Read It & Reap!


Q.  When did you first know you wanted to write?
A.  I’ve been writing since I was probably six years old. My brother and I were heavily into comic books, and we decided to write our own when we were younger. That’s the first memory I have of writing. I got more serious when I was introduced to poetry in high school. When I was sixteen, I started writing poems. My next door neighbor had a guitar and we would write songs together—him with the music, me with the poetic lyrics until he taught me how to play guitar, and I started writing more compositions on my own. 

When I went to college, I took a creative writing class, which reintroduced me to writing fiction. I wrote a series of vampire short stories for the class. They were pretty awful. From there, I went a different way in my career, but I always kept writing song lyrics through the years. About two years ago, I was talking to my publisher (who was just a friend back then), and the subject turned to writing. I showed her some samples I’d written, and she liked them. Between her and my wife, they encouraged me to start a book. So I said, what the hell, and I did.

Q.  Tell us a little about your main character, Leoros.
A.  Leoros is an interesting guy. His mom is a teacher of archeology at a university, and she travels the world excavating ancient sites. She’s also a very spiritual person. In contrast, his father is a strict scientist, an only believe what you see kind of guy. His mom constantly hauls Leoros off to her excavations all over the world, which makes him very cultured but also very lonely. He has no friends since they are always on the move. Because he’s so detached from normal life, he spends most of his time buried in comic books and science fiction stories. They are his escape from boredom. He’s kind of a nerd, but he dreams about being like the heroes he reads about. Leoros is dying to do something interesting, something great. When he gets his chance, he finds out being a hero is a lot harder than the movies make it out to be, and he’s got to deal with that; he’s got to grow and mature.

Q.  How did you come up with the idea behind The Emerald Tablet?
A.  To understand how I came up with the idea, you have to understand how I grew up. My parents are kind of weird. They both love history, particularly the history of ancient Greece and Rome. My brother and I grew up listening to my dad recount stories about the battles of ancient Greece and lectures on why Rome collapsed. My mother is a also big fan of ancient Egyptian history, so she espoused tales of Pharaohs and Cleopatra. As a result of that upbringing, I grew to love history as well. I have mountains of history books at my house from antiquity to the modern wars. But my parents had another side. While they loved nonfiction, they also loved science fiction. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a required weekly show at my house (and yes, I know all the episodes). My brother and I grew up playing Magic, the trading card game, and building armies of orcs, goblins, vampires, and elves (and yes, I still have my decks).

So now that you understand that dichotomy, I wanted to find a way to bring my love of history and mythology, my non-fiction side if you will, into harmony with my fantasy and fiction side. What evolved was a kind of “what if” game. If you know Egyptian mythology, you know that Thoth was the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom and magic. Mythology says he wrote all the secrets and magic of the universe in a book originally known as The Book of Thoth. Over time, the name of the book was changed to The Emerald Tablets of Thoth. So I just said what if that was true? What if a god did write the secrets to the universe down in these tablets? And what if a kid found them? I just kept saying “what if” and ended up with not one book, but a series of seven books that I will write in the Legends of Amun Ra series.

Q.  What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
A.  Like most writers, I have a day job. Mine is a typical eight-to-five office job. Obviously, I can’t work on the book there; it’s not ethical and even if it was, it’s much too hectic to get any writing done. While writing The Emerald Tablet, what I typically did was come home and work on the book after work. Initially, my goals revolved around how many pages could I write at a time or if I could do one scene a night. But all of that ended up being too hard, and I could weasel out of doing it correctly. So I ended up just setting daily word counts. At first it was small, 300 words a day. Now I’m up to about 1,500 words a day, which I don’t think is bad considering I’m still working the office job. The only time this schedule broke was while I was editing book one with the editors to prepare for publication. I had to stop writing book two while I was doing that. Editing and writing are both time consuming and require two separate thought processes. I couldn’t do them both at the same time. So that delayed finishing book two a bit, but have no fear, it’s done and in editing now.

Q.  What was the hardest part of writing your book?
A.  Scheduling, by far. I don’t have much trouble with plots. I’m always thinking up something new I can torture my characters with. The biggest problem is balancing and managing your work schedule, family time, friend time, gym time, writing time, editing time, and personal time so everyone is happy and nobody resents you. I haven’t mastered that yet. I’m always pissing off someone by saying I can’t make the family dinner, I can’t go to the barbeque this weekend, I can’t go to happy hour, I can’t do this or that because I have to write/edit/market the book. It doesn’t matter. I just couldn’t and still can’t do it all. This led to a lot of family fights, marital fights, and fights with friends, but we all got through it, and worked on trying to find that balance.

Q.  Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
A.  God, so many. The first name that pops into my head is Frank Herbert (who wrote the original Dune Trilogy). That guy was a writer! Asimov, of course, cannot be understated. His ideas on robotics were brilliant. And for fantasy, I must say the originator of modern fantasy, Tolkien. The more contemporary authors I’ve read and that have influenced me are Terry Goodkind, George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Michael Shaara, Steven Pressfield, Paul Cartledge, and Donald Kagan. Of course, being a history lover, I also like a lot of philosophy books like Plato’s Republic, Marcus Aurelius’’ Meditations, Thucydides, and Herodotus.

Q.  What do you like to do when you're not writing?
A.  Read! Aside from that, I do the normal stuff: go hiking, watch movies/Netflix, dinner, play guitar, and watch football (when it’s on and I have three hours to kill, which is never).

Q.  What are you working on now?
A.  I am currently working on a novella for the Legends of Amun Ra series which will be an e-book only. It takes place within the universe I’ve created, but has separate characters apart from the main seven book series. It is tentatively titled Thea and the Fall of the Messenians, but I’ll probably change that. The novella tells the story of how the Messenians, where Atlantia is from, became helots, or slaves to the Thothian Empire. I am also waiting to get the first round of edits back of Book 2, Soul of the World, from the first of many editors.

Q.  What book are you reading now?
A.  I typically read one non-fiction and one fiction book at the same time so I have balance. As of this moment, I am reading E.A. Wallis Budge’s Egyptian Magic, a non-fiction history book, and my fiction book is Madeline Ashby’s vN.

Joshua Silverman was born in Washington DC and currently resides in Orange County, CA. He grew up watching Star Trek, Star Wars, and other science fiction series with his family when he was young. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a ritual show in his house. In his spare time, he collected a respectable collection of comic books and Magic: The Gathering cards.

When he’s not writing (or working in his day job to be able to write at night), he spends his time thinking about how to avoid traffic, what he’s going to have for dinner, watching cheesy apocalyptic or Kung Fu movies, working out, hiking, or reading.




TWITTER:  @JoshuaSilverma2


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the interview. The books sound like an intresting mix of history and fantacy. Will definately think of adding them to my list