19 May 2011

Through the Eyes of a Dragon

Part two of a two-part interview with Tracy Hickman, author of Embers of Atlantis

Welcome back to the second installment of a two-part interview with New York Times bestselling author Tracy Hickman. His upcoming novel Embers of Atlantis will be on bookshelves in the third quarter of 2011!

In the first novel based in the acclaimed Fireborn roleplaying game setting, Ethan Gallows’ world is transformed on a simple trip to film an art collection in London. After witnessing an act of sorcery, ancient memories flood his mind, memories seen through the eyes of a dragon, memories he’s told belong to him. Now while on a journey to discover the truth about his past he must place his trust in a woman claiming to be a draconic scion.

For those of you interested in the first part of this interview, read Waking the Dragon Within.

Delving into the deep

FFG: How do you feel your experience writing fantasy novels like your novels set in the Dragonlance world or science fictions novels like The Immortals affected your writing for Embers of Atlantis? TH: I tell writers in writing seminars that great writers cling to one humbling thought: that they have not yet written their greatest work. Writers must constantly be growing in their craft–every book should be a little better than their last. I drew on my experiences with Dragonlance, The Immortals, Annals of Drakis, and The Bronze Canticles trilogy I did with my wife, Laura, and in a sense have felt they are all a prelude to this book.

FFG: What is your favorite section or aspect of Embers of Atlantis? TH: I think I have really been enjoying the characters as the most exciting aspect of Embers of Atlantis. Everyone in that world has a past that is deeper than even they know in the beginning of their journey. I’ve especially enjoyed writing Sojourner Lee - the beautiful scion that we see on the cover of the book. She’s like a beautiful, draconic version of James Bond.

FFG: Who is your favorite character in Embers of Atlantis? TH: Asking me to pick a favorite character in Embers of Atlantis is like asking me to pick my favorite child! The truth is that I love them all for different reasons. Sojourner Lee is my idea of what a female James Bond would have been if played by Kim Novak in the late 1950’s. Ethan Gallows–our main character–is intriguing to me because of his journey from a news cameraman who hides from life behind a dispassionate lens to becoming involved in the world around him. Collette Montrose is a quirky character who’s hiding her own secret past.

Then there are the villains who are, arguably, the most important of all since any hero is only as great as the villains they oppose. Mr. Demissie as our key Grey Gentleman is superb. Joe at World’s End was absolutely a dark chocolate delight to write–my personal revenge on all those bad romance books with vampires.

FFG: Do you remember what the first piece you ever wrote was? Did you show it to anyone? TH: When I was in fifth grade, I decided to be a writer. I believed that the way you wrote a book was to fill out a few pages every day and, after so many days, you would have enough pages and that would be a book. So I began writing my first novel–a sea epic entitled The X-1. Thanks to my grandmother and my mother the original still survives.

It was about a battleship because that was the only thing I knew how to draw in the fifth grade. In my first sea battle of the book, the ship sank...unfortunately this was on page two. I then had my first case of writer’s block. I tried to salvage the story but it just wasn’t working. So, in fifth grade, I knew that I would NEVER be an author. Now I use this story as an example!

FFG: How would you say your writing style has changed throughout the years? TH: Every book needs to be an improvement over the last. Writers have to evolve or die–that’s my Theory of Author Evolution. I have grown each year in my understanding of story, structure and characters. Now I’m trying to pass that on to the next generation of writers who have their own dreams and stories to tell.

FFG: How do you think fans will relate to your characters? TH: All properly forged stories directly addresses our thoughts. All properly structured characters we know and identify...or identify with them. Embers of Atlantis has given me the opportunity to explore new characters in a fascinating world–and I think that’s what my readers expect from my work.

Thanks, Tracy! Eager for the release of Embers of Atlantis? The first chapter is available for download from the support page. Stay tuned for more previews in the coming weeks and pre-order Embers of Atlantis today!

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