Audio Book Narrator Interview one – Chris Morris

As part of the interviews discussing all parts of reading, writing and enjoying great books today something new. Audio books.  Audio books have been around for ages – I have copies on cassette tape (yes remember those?) and one on CD but now most are MP3 and far easier to listen to than having to change the tape every 30 minutes!

As the first of these interviews I am very pleased to welcome Chris Morris, author, musician and audio book narrator.

Welcome to Christopher Crosby Morris

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am all about sound. Most of us can hear farther than we can see and have deep sound vocabularies we seldom consciously bring to bear in appreciating more of all that goes on in our lives. My mission is to wake people to the enhanced quality of life available through fully developed hearing.

How did you become involved with audio book narration and production? We read aloud as part of our writing process, often repeatedly, until our prose is properly voiced. Telling stories, whether in prose or song, is a listening sport. To be able to produce our written works in audio versions completes our audience’s spectrum of storytelling accessibility and for many provides a more profound experience than reading. Plus, I know the sorts of nuance each character brings and can impart something of what they’re like at the nonverbal level.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? At some time or other I’ve read our entire catalogue aloud, rehearsing you might say. My favourite is I, the Sun, which is next up in our production queue.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I prefer heroic fiction. I do not/will not read dystopian material because it stifles growth of character, which is our destiny.

What are you working on at present/just finished? At the moment I’m reading Roy Mauritsen’s Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder. I’m narrating it as I read it for the first time, so it had better be heroic or I won’t read the next one.

Tell us about your process for narrating?  I read a chapter at a time on my Kindle Fire HD. I review the day’s material and highlight the names of the speakers to avoid mixing them up on the fly. I record in Adobe Audition and, when I misspeak, pause a moment, press the ‘M’ key to leave a marker, then immediately read the passage again and continue; I find it easier to go back later and edit at the marker points than to stop the bus, excise the offending bit, and then punch in to begin again; it’s about flow and rapport and technical interruptions can quickly degrade one’s performance.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  A point comes when I disappear and the story takes over, although I’m emotionally immersive and a section fraught with feeling can throw me off centre enough to leak into the voice and one has to stop and regroup at such a point; I’m steeling myself to deal with some of the death scenes in I, the Sun. So what’s enjoyable is being the voice of moments that transcend considerations of normalcy and possess the scope to portray extraordinary circumstances to the audience.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? Yes.

Do you listen to audio books? I listen to anything narrated by Derek Jacobi or Jeremy Irons; I also admire Alex Hyde-White’s narrations.

With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? Yes. But see below..

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? Audio storytelling, rather than being something new, is returning to us something very old in our DNA, the wonderment of gathering to hear a voice fill the darkness and elicit our participation in a tale as we imagine what we hear. All the world’s cultures need this very much now. The spoken word is primal in its power to involve us and, properly uttered, humbly magnificent, the grandparent of our better selves.

Can you remember the first audio book you owned? Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) narrating the Adventures of Pinocchio.

If you are an author, do you produce your own audiobooks or do you prefer to look for an independent narrator? Why have you made this choice? Before committing to produce our own audio books we signed up on the ACX site and began sampling the narrator talent there, which is considerable. We engaged Alex Hyde-White and David Kudler, both of whom gave us singular performances of shorter works and were supportive when I mentioned I’d like to give narration a go.

What I bring to narration is musicality. Good singers proceed from a natural speaking voice to the edges of register, tone, and volume their rendition of a piece requires; narration is similar but with the added consideration that one’s ‘piece’ is a lot longer than the average song and that ‘guest voices’ have to be incorporated into the narrator’s own. Listening to others sing my book pushed me right over the cliff.

By the time I finished my first run through of The Sacred Band, I had learned to produce an anchor voice – a centre sound – to carry all the exposition and yet have enough scope to inflect humour or suspense and other tensions when called for. We all have this ability and developing it is my lifelong fascination.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) So far so good. What I like most about ACX is the amount of homework they’ve done to address the needs of all the parties to a production. Since the audio book form is newly resurgent there isn’t the lore or fading dominance of crumbling “big houses” of audio book publishing – they’ve simply never existed – and ACX has a band of brothers feel to it at the moment that I like. Hope it lasts.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Not really. You do learn very quickly what your articulation preferences are. Glottal stops are unacceptable. Regional dialectics wear thin rapidly. Vocal caricaturization, if I may coin a term, or cutesy voices drive me straight into the arms of my nearest dog.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I always wanted to be lanky.

Where can we hear your audiobook? You can hear a free sample of my new audiobook, The Sacred Band, written by Janet morris and Chris Morris and narrated by Christopher Crosby Morris, on Audible.com at:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Sacred-Band/dp/B00N1YRVH2/

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Sacred-Band-Audiobook/B00MU2VCEO/

What will you be narrating next? After I finish Roy Mauritsen’s Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder, I am scheduled to narrate I, the Sun by Janet Morris, Outpassage by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, and then Beyond Sanctuary by Janet Morris.

You are also an accomplished author and prose editor. Where can find books you’ve edited, and some of your books and stories? I have many published stories. Some of my most recent short fictions appear in the following anthologies, some of which I edited. [These links are for Amazon Kindle, but most titles are also available in trade paper on Amazon, and in electronic editions on Nook as well as Kindle.)

Lawyers in Hell    http://www.amazon.com/Lawyers-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B0057Q0OIK/

Rogues in Hell    http://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B008JZCFMO/

Dreamers in Hell    http://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Hell-Heroes-Nancy-Asire-ebook/dp/B00DEB1IJE/

Poets in Hell   http://www.amazon.com/Poets-Hell-Heroes-Book-17-ebook/dp/B00KWKNTTW/

My novels co-written with Janet Morris are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in Kindle, Nook, and trade paper editions.  They include but are not limited to:

Where can we learn more about you?

My music is very important to me. Because you asked how to learn more about me, I recommend you sample my most recent album, available as MP3 Music and on CD at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Everybody-Knows-Christopher-Morris-Band/dp/B004GNEF3A/

You can hear more of my music on: https://soundcloud.com/christopher-morris

You may read about my history and see my bibliography at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Morris_(author)

http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Morris/e/B008L41JNO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

Social Media links for Chris Morris (Christopher Crosby Morris):

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMorrisandChrisMorris

https://www.facebook.com/christophercmorrissings

http://www.sacredbander.com

http://www.theperseidpress.com/#

http://www.facebook.com/christopher.c.morris.7?fref=ts

For other interviews with Chris and Janet and their characters please look here:

Sacred Band

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/character-interview-number-three-nikodemos-fantasymythic/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/character-interview-tempus-fantasy/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/character-interview-ghost-horse-fantasy/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/author-interview-and-special-guest-janet-morris/

Hell Week

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/a-week-in-hell-day-5-marlowe/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/author-interview-and-special-guest-janet-morris/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/a-week-in-hell-day-1-devil/

The Fish, the Fighters and the Song-Girl – Review – Fantasy

The Fish, the Fighters and the Song-Girl – Janet and Chris Morris.

This is another great collection of stories from the Thieves’ World/Sacred Band of Stepsons mythos seamlessly woven into a larger tale of what starts out as a simple journey. However nothing is simple where the demigod Tempus and his band of fighters is concerned, at a whim of one god or other as they are.

Some of the stories recount previous adventures, cunningly sculpted as a training tool for the younger Stepsons, and some are new, reminding the reader of why this series and this world are so exquisitely crafted. There is humour, albeit dark, love in many forms, loyalty above and beyond the norm, and of course a good helping of heroes – mythic and mysterious, dangerous and deadly but heroes nonetheless.  These are heroes in the mould of Odysseus or Beowulf, and the tales bring the reader closer to our mythic past.

The action starts early and does not let up, even for a moment, and the reader is drawn into the tempestuous world of war and its aftermath and is not for the faint of heart. This is gritty and many-layered with characters real enough to stay with a reader for some time to come.

Character Interview – Ghost Horse – Fantasy

Something a little different today, we get to meet not only a brave animal but one who has lived and died and lived again.

Welcome to Ghost Horse, from the Sacred Band Books.

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s):  Ghost-horse; the bay.  If you can hear me, you’ll know it.  I have no name in the way you mean.

Age:  thirteen years, interrupted by death and resurrection.

Please tell us a little about yourself:  A war-horse am I.  Strong and brave.  Straton’s horse am I, once found, then lost, then found again.  Of all the Sacred Band of Stepsons, Ace called Straton alone now rides me.  When he’s astride my broad back, nothing is impossible.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less:  Sixteen hands, blood bay war horse, broad backed and strong.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it?  A moral code?  Bear my rider whence he must go, forever.  Run far and fast.  Bring my rider’s battle to his enemies.  Charge boldly; never falter; never hesitate; refuse no challenge.  Feel the love, hear the words of my human partner…

Would you kill for those you love?  I do.

Would you die for those you love?  I have done so.  And been brought back to life for my human partner’s sake thereafter.  Now nothing harms me, no metal cuts me; in any battle, my blood never spills. Nowadays I do not die for love; I live for love – the love of my human partner, Straton.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses.  Carrots and sugar-beets, those my weaknesses, which I dearly love.  Running over green grass, into battle, finding the safest path to victory for my rider, protecting him and all his Sacred Band:  these are my strengths:  As the only ghost-horse of the Stepsons, my place is always in the forefront:  with Straton I forge new ground; I bear him everywhere, unflinching.  Such service we have seen, such places far and wide, as few horses ever see.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Ace called Straton, the right rider for this broad back; the right partner for my battles.

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions?  Do I like other horses?  As with men, some horses are brave, some cowardly; some generous, some churls.  I was bitten in the throat by a man who attacked me as if he were a dog, once.  So dogs are not my friends.  Sometimes a cat will bide with me, in this stall or that.  I like cats:  they give loyalty when deserved; they are rightly cautious.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them.  I have been a cavalry horse since I was two, and chosen from a band of captured bachelors.  Straton has brought me up; he is all I trust, all I love; he is my family.  Sometimes he finds me a mare or two, but battle is my greatest passion:  in war, Straton and I find our greatest joy.  Sometimes we run for the sheer bliss, over vast plains and through forest, with no enemy in sight.  Straton’s lover, Ischade, resurrected me after the dog attacked me, after the battle in which I was mortally wounded. She loves Straton; I love Straton, so Ischade is, in some ways, under my protection.  Up behind Straton she sometimes rides me, and then no place is too far, no goal to loft, for us three

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I remember the day Straton chose me, the look in his eye, the apple in his hand.  He sent me to other men, to teach me the ways of war, and got me back again.  We have thundered into so many battles, even the Battle of Chaeronea together.  With Straton astride me, I never doubt, I never fear.  Wherever he wills to go, I can carry him, be it to hell itself and back again.  This I believe because Straton knows it:  whatever my rider thinks, I know to be true.  Wherever he wants to go, I will take him.  Whatever he needs, I try to be.  So Straton gives me the wants, the needs, the courage of a man, and I show him the wants, the needs, the courage of a horse, and together we are indomitable. A horse wants to fight or flee, as does a man; deciding which is my rider’s task.  Making his wishes real, that is mine.

Do you have any phobias?  Dogs and the men who become them.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I have a spot on my withers where men can see into hell itself, and a spot on my hip where they can see into nothing at all.

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live:  The world in which I live is wherever my rider, Ace called Straton, wishes to go.  I have fought on Wizardwall, against the black mages of Nisibis.  I have fought on the battlefield of Chaeronea; I have fought in mystical Meridian.  Since I was foaled in Syr, I have been adventuring:  first among the other horses, until the mares cast us bachelors out; then in the high steppe country, and at last as a war-horse of first Straton and then the greater Sacred Band.  We fight in the forefront; we travel by cloud conveyance from war to war.  We have numinous allies to take us any place in space and time.  Except for my rider and the witch who loves him, all I care for is contained in Tempus’ Sacred Band.  And someday, Straton has promised me, we three will ride forever, away from witchery and angry men, in the green fields of the gods.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? A horse believes what he can see and feel, and is bred to tell what he can trust.  We have our gods, you know:  Epona, Poseidon, Hekate, and the war gods before them:  a war-horse gives his life into his rider’s hands, and that rider gives all to the gods.  My world is full of enemies, who’d eat a horse as soon as kill a man, and those enemies have rival gods.  So we war-horses fight on the side of right, as our riders see it.  And that will never change, has been the same since the first gods were foaled.

If so do you follow one of them? I follow the gods of Ace, called Straton.  As long as he lives, that will never change.

Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour:  I am a war-horse, so I go to war.  With Ace called Straton astride, I do the needful, all his gods command, since his gods are also mine.  I am a peace-keeper, so I ply angry streets.  I am an explorer, so I lope where no horse has ever gone before.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?  I go where Ace called Straton needs to go.  I fight for him, with him, beside him.  I keep him safe whether we are in this world or another.  Anyplace a horse can go, I take him – even a world away.  I have spun in whirlwinds unto foreign lands, even Thrace and Scythia and on from there.  Not future or past or anywhere is barred from the Sacred Band of Stepsons, so in ranks we sortie.  Even Tempus, the Riddler, has commended me in public for my bravery, when I have fought in dimensions some horses never tread, and more farther realms lie just ahead….

Name and describe a food from your world.  Salt hay, tender and tan, bluest grass bitten right from the earth, roots and dirt and all; fat oats, steamed until their hulls break open; corn and molasses and flaxseed mashed.  My favorites though, are carrots with their green and lacy tops, and chunks of tender sugar-beet.

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world?  Magic is the necromant who resurrected me, gave me a chance to come back to this world for the rider whom I love.  Some think magic is aught than natural; I say magic is the wind in your mane, yielding turf underfoot, and a rider on a mission.

What form of politics is dominant in your world?  Politics are for mares and men, not for stallions.  I will walk upon my hind legs to strike any enemy of my rider or my mares and foals.  I will trample jackals and lions and feral dogs.  I believe in giving one warning squeal, and a bellow of promise; then I strike, unashamed, to defend what is mine:  that is the extent of politics for me.  The rest is clacking of jaws and whistles on the air.

Does your world have different races of people?  We have humans of every color and belief and shape and size, just as we have horses as diverse.  In a herd of horses, as in a crowd of people, those who are alike band together against those of different nature.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.  In ancient times, Zeus gave two horses to Tros, king of Troy, to console the king after the god had taken Ganymede for his young lover.  From those great horses, the best, the strongest, the fastest horses are sprung.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? We have chariot with metal-bound wheels and axles fitted with scythes.  Some of us wear armor, felt or scales of metal.  Some of us have iron shoes upon our hooves.   What item would you not be able to live without?  My rider.

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some.  This world is full of gods, mages, shape-shifters; and demi-gods, and elementals – even a demiurge or two and creatures who spawn weather gods and fashion fates.

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? Horsemanship, so that we and our riders can be better partners.

Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.)  Hekate, goddess of race horses.   The Hippoi Athanatoi, the immortal horses of the gods themselves, offspring of the weather gods themselves; and all the Hittite god of horses, Tarhun, in and of himself a storm god.

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

The Sacred Band  http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Band-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00AMLKJAI

The Fish the Fighters and the Storm God  http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Fighters-Song-Girl-Sacred-Stepsons-ebook/dp/B007VQIJFY

Author name: Janet Morris and Chris Morris

 

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sacred_Band_of_Stepsons

https://www.facebook.com/TheSacredBand

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMorrisandChrisMorris

https://www.facebook.com/JanetEMorris

https://www.facebook.com/christophercmorrissings

https://www.facebook.com/fishfightersonggirl

https://www.facebook.com/SacredBandBeyondTriolgy

https://www.facebook.com/PerseidPublishing

Front Page

http://sacredbander.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Janet-Morris/e/B001HPJJB8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janet_Morris

http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Morris/e/B008L41JNO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Morris_(author)

 

Character Interview – Tempus – Fantasy

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s):  Tempus, called the Riddler, the Black, the Obscure, the Sleepless One, Tempus Thales, Herakleitos, Favorite of the Storm God, the Hero.

Age:  I’ve lived for centuries, in different countries, through different times, different dimensions.

Please tell us a little about yourself:  I am a mercenary of the storm gods, servant of the gods of war.  Sometimes I find my path solitary, but often I have warriors serving with me who also serve celestial purpose.  When I was young, I contested with a sorcerer to save my sister.  From this struggle came my curse and my immortality:  those I love are bound to spurn me; those who love me die of it; I regenerate any wound I take, except wounds of the spirit or the heart.  I’ve been thrust by gods and demiurges and even my sister from one world to another, so time for me is fluid. I was born in a lost place we called Azehur then, a philosopher-prince who loved the glory of truth above all things.  Now I go where the storm god of the armies leads, carrying him in my heart and in my flesh.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less:  Two meters tall, horseman’s body, eyes that show my age.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it?  I have one; I wrote one; I live one.  The Sacred Band Ethos serves me most times.   At its core is this truth:  live by the Logos; fight shoulder to shoulder for freedom; honor those who die in battle.  In living I have found that character is destiny.  My character tells me this:  grab reality by the balls and squeeze.

Would you kill for those you love?  Without hesitation, I always do.

Would you die for those you love?  If I could, I would.  But death is denied me.  Once I offered to trade my immortality to save another, to no avail.  I live on, amid the strife on every battlefield, from war to war.  Some say no war I fight can be lost, no cause I champion fail, but that is mythos, not reality.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?  Strengths I have many; governing those strengths is my hardest task.  My weakness resides in loving too much, all my fighters, my partners, and the world the gods have made.  For untold years my weakness was my sister in arms, Cime; then for a time it became Nikodemos, my partner.  Love of life itself, lived with heart and soul, is weakness:  one must want neither too much to live nor too much to die.  Rage is power, yet rage is weakness. Only so much can be borne from men, so much from gods.  My greatest strength is knowing one simple truth:  in change lies all good, all rest.  Glory and wisdom are all around you, in every breath taken, yet no man can discover the limits of soul.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? I greatly prize my relationship with my Sacred Band of Stepsons, and with one special Stepson, Stealth called Nikodemos.  My relationship with my sister Cime, who was cursed with me so long ago, yet confounds my heart.

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions?  Here too are gods:  in every creature free to breathe is proof of heaven. There is no animal that is not more noble in its way than humankind.  Horses are my greatest allies, friends and companions.  In a horse is nature’s greatest impulse, realized.  We breed some special horses in the Sacred Band:  Trôs horses, so fast they run holes in the wind; Aškelonian horses, created by the demiurge, who can run on water; we have even a ghost horse, who cannot die or be hurt whatever men may do.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them.  My Sacred Band of Stepsons is my family.  They mean the most to me.  Niko, my right-side partner, is the best of those, the closest to me.  As for my sister Cime …  some say we have no consanguinity, but we grew up together, fought a sorcerer together, staggered under our curses together; when we were younger and more angry, we wreaked great destruction together – her against sorcerers and me against human folly.  I have a mistress, Jihan, a Froth Daughter sired by Stormbringer, who begat all weather gods.  And I have a few sons and daughters, scattered here and there:  some of those are worth succouring, and so I do.

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I remember something from my youth, but you would not call those days my childhood, nevertheless, from earliest days I have taken the side of Reason against Unreason. I have spoken above of my encounter with a sorcerer, trying to protect my sister Cime, and the curses that fell upon both our heads because of that. If she hadn’t come to me to save her, would things have gone differently?  Would I have stayed where I was born, assumed my kingship?  Been content to philosophize and teach, but never act?  Probably not.  For war is all, and king of all… and all things come into being out of strife.  Unlike most, I know what gods and heroes are.  My curse and the warlike life I’ve led colors all: the battles I have fought; the dead I carry in my heart, from battlefield to battlefield, war to war. My battle with all sorcerers is not yet over; may never be.  Trying to help Nikodemos takes me back to my own young days of strife and fury.  The best men choose immortal glory in preference to mortal good. In teaching Niko, Cime and I have another chance to know the name of justice, to prove that opposition brings concord as we guide this hero, closer than any blood son to me, toward a worthy future.

Do you have any phobias?  No.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. When I am in battle, I am faster than any other upon the field.  If I am on a Trôs or other such horse, I can transfer my speed to my mount.  And, of course, any wound I take will heal, any limb regrow.

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live:  Now when I can I ‘live’ with my Stepsons in Lemuria, a seaside island citadel where time does not pass as it does elsewhere.  From there, with Cime’s mystic powers, I can stage any mission, fight in any place or time.  At this moment we are campaigning somewhere in ancient Thrace, Pelasgian times, at the whim of the storm-god Enlil, who shepherds us through all things.  War will be in the mix of it, with the god guiding us.  My Stepsons are skirmisher light cavalry; we fight with edged bronze weapons, primarily, against what hegemonies challenge us or displease the gods.  But a man is a warrior because of mind, not weaponry.  We fight with weapons at hand, against whatever confronts us, and mostly where the ancient gods still war.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? Many.

If so do you follow one of them? I believe in admitting that all things are one.

Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour:  Our world, as you call it, all that lies within humanity’s ken, is full of gods.  We are servants of history and its storm-gods, sworn to the gods of war.  Enlil is the foremost of these for my fighters and myself.  The worlds we know are polytheistic, and many wars we fight are actually theomachies – wars between gods or among gods and sorcerous humans, who warp the fates of simpler men.  Once I warred in a nearly godless future, to bring them the means to repopulate their heavens; this we did for people dying from their paucity of belief, prey to the lusts and greed and fears of others no wiser than themselves. As for myself, I am a simple warrior-philosopher; my relations with gods remain pragmatic:  when gods reside in my flesh and in my head, then they control the battle tempo, not I. Is this religion, when gods and fates and worse walk the earth?  Or is it reality?

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?  I mentioned that I go wherever the gods send me.  I have been in Akkad, in Sumer; I have been in Chaeronea, in Nisibis, in Mygdonia, in Thrace.  I have been in what you call 20th century New York City, and to a future of dying oceans and a place there called Sandia.  I have been to the ends of the earth, to Bandara, to Lemuria, to the City at the Edge of Time, and to Meridian, the archipelago of dream and nightmare.  To Meridian, I suspect the Sacred Band will soon return.

Name and describe a food from your world.  A posset:  spiced wine and cheese or milk and barley, sometimes with nuts and sometimes not; served often with lamb or fish or ox-tail.

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world?  We have a surfeit of magic, sorcerers from every time and plane meddling with Fates and gods.  We have wars between wizards and gods.  We have sorcery to rival godhead.  Thus, because people believe more in evil than in good, it does.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.)  Our world, I once said, is an everliving fire, with portions of it kindling and portions going out. In age of bronze, we hear Plato’s musings about timocracy and democracy and tyranny, as well as the elusive republic. I have lived in earlier theocracies, oligarchies, and simple hereditary monarchies, often passed down through female lines.  Meritocracy I have seen but little of; Kakistocracy is, to my mind, a condition synonymous with governance by decree of any kind and especially with simple democracy:  people will choose those most like themselves, long before they’ll choose a person one bit better:  the foolish hate the smart and try to destroy them. This truth itself dependably produces bad government.

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another?  Prejudice lives in flesh; the black dog hates the white; the roan horse hates the chestnut; in herds, mares of one color stick together.  How different, for humans?  People hate anyone different, and call them prey.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. The greatest myth is that wisdom is called by the name of Gods.  The legendary Gilgamesh sat beside the dead Enkidu seven days, until a maggot fell from Enkidu’s nose.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without?  Most of all, I need my war horses and the heroes who bestride them or drive them.  The items I need are loyalty, clarity, and justice.  The technology in my world depends on when you ask me:  sometimes we have bronze spears and war axes; sometimes we have iron flights and crossbows; sometimes we have fireballs, and armor forged by men and gods.  I have been where metal flies and chariots need no horses; in those places, man has become the slave of all he owns, afraid of having so much to lose – and thus has nothing.

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some.  We have a populous cosmos.  We have demons and devils and fiends; we have were-wolves and were-snakes and men and women who can change into any creature at whim.  We have undeads and necromants; we have dragons and rocs and creatures part-man who lie deep in the seas; we have Froth Daughters and Fates and Erinys and sphinxes and naiads, and creatures who lived before the gods were born and spawned them.  We have pantheons of gods, most of whom are jealous and bellicose, and deadly when they walk the earth.  We have gods within and gods without. We Stepsons ourselves are the weapons of the gods, some say.

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? That an intelligible light drives all things through all things, under a sun that is new every day.

Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.)  First, Enlil, greatest of the storm gods of heaven.  Next, Harmonia, whom we call Harmony, who is Justice, and sometimes walks among my Sacred Band.  Next comes Maat who tends the Balance. For eons, Aškelon of Meridian, demiurge, ruled over the seventh sphere, realm of dream and shadows, but no longer – but that is another story.  And we have the Logos, by many different names, who some call the will of Fates and some call Thunderbolt.

Please check out further posts in the next few days for Tempus and his Sacred Band.

http://sacredbander.com/

http://www.theperseidpress.com/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/beyond-sanctuary-heroic-fiction-review/

https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/character-interview-number-three-nikodemos-fantasymythic/

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICAPn0E7NC0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTaDPNWAtHk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8FqgC4eK6A

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sacred_Band_of_Stepsons
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempus_(novel)

http://www.ranker.com/list/famous-quotes-about-sacred-band-ethos/reference

Here are book links in chronological order, beginning with Beyond Sanctuary, the Author’s Cut, first book in the Sacred Band of Stepsons Beyond Trilogy.  

Beyond Sanctuary

Beyond the Veil

Beyond Wizardwall

Tempus

The Sacred Band

The Fish, The Fighters and the Song Girl

Here are Kindle Single links (shorter Sacred Band of Stepsons fiction):

A Man and His God

Wizard Weather

Mage Blood

Wake of the Riddler

Here are the Audio book links:

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-FantasAudiobookd-His-God-Audiobook/B00BEJ7LI0

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Mage-Blood-Audiobook/B00CXVRDWM

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Wake-of-the-Riddler-Audiobook/B00AU7IQZE

Character Interview Number Three – Nikodemos – Fantasy/Mythic

Welcome to Nikodemos, of the Sacred Band.

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s): I am Stealth called Nikodemos; Niko to my friends.

Age: How do you mean?  I have spent five years in the City at the Edge of Time, where time doesn’t pass, and lived now and again on Lemuria, where the Band is based, and where mortals do not age.  When I joined Tempus’ Sacred Band with my first partner, I claimed twenty-five years, not quite true, but I’d already been a right-side partner for nine years.  I have served sixteen years with the Stepsons.  So, thirty-seven, perhaps, as mortals count time.

Please tell us a little about yourself. First I should tell you that I answer your questions only at my commander’s order.  I’m overall second in command and hipparch, or cavalry commander, of the Unified Sacred Band of Stepsons.  I manage our prodromoi, our skirmisher light cavalry, as well as heavy cavalry.  I am a committed Sacred Bander, right-side partner of our commander, Tempus, called the Riddler, the Black, the Sleepless One, Favorite of the Storm God.  I am also a secular Bandaran adept, initiate of the mystery of Maat.  I’ve claimed Enlil when I have needed a tutelary god.  These days, the goddess Harmony calls me her own.  I’m not a man for words.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Tall, but shorter than Tempus.  Hazel-eyed.  Dark-haired.  Fit.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? The Sacred Band Ethos guides me.  I am still learning what the Riddler has to teach.  I strive for balance in all things.  Stepsons should want neither too much to live nor too much to die.  To serve with the Band requires unflinching determination; unwavering devotion – to one another, to honor, to creed.  I’m Bandaran at my core: venerating the elder gods, but worshiping only the god within.  The Band says, ‘Life to you, and everlasting glory.’  I don’t ask destiny even that much.  Only to be useful while I live.

Would you kill for those you love? I have.  I do.  It’s what I am:  a fighter.  I told you:  My mystery is maat, one of seeking balance and equilibrium, truth and justice. On occasion, I am justice incarnate, when justice must be dispensed with a sword.

Would you die for those you love? I am a Stepson.  So, of course.  If you are really asking about my being immortalized by Harmony, I will tell you only that what is between me and the goddess is ours alone, not yours to know.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? We are all weak, even those of us, like my commander or myself, who’ve been immortalized by some god or goddess or touched by sorcery.  I’m a Bandaran fighter.  I have a calling:  I take my strength, my mystery, my spirit and my skill out into the World and challenge its evil until it wears me down. Then I return home to Bandara or lately to Lemuria, restore my internal equilibrium, and do the same again.

If I must confess a flaw to you – and only the gods know why – it would be that I ask too much, not just from others, but from myself.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Ah, the women.  Everyone asks about how a Sacred Bander can love so many women.  It’s a soul that calls me, not the size of breast or buttocks.  But yes, I love women as well as men and horses, and the sun that’s new every day, and weather on the wind.  Without love, how can a man live fully the life that the gods bequeath?

My relationship with my commander is most important:  love without limits, wisdom beyond price; leadership is what he teaches, and commitment beyond measure.  I know I’m imperfect, still young in his sight, still balancing my rage.  More now than ever, since the goddess Harmony touched me, I need his guidance.

And there’s Harmony.  That this goddess favors me, gave me that great horse, is beyond my ken, but she’s goddess of the Balance, after all.

Above all else come my brothers of the Sacred Band.

And Randal, although he’s a mage and a shape-shifter, was once a partner to me and still like a brother:  not every man is alike in mind, and differences define us all.

Do you like animals? I love the Band’s Tros horses, and the horses we bred up in Free Nisibis, and the black horse the goddess gave me.  Love is vulnerability, you must understand:  love comes at the risk of grief.  I’m careful how much vulnerability I court.

Do you have a family? More than one:  The Unified Sacred Band of Stepsons; Bashir and the free men of Nisibis; the adepts of Bandara.

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? Too much suffering, too much death.  Terror in war.  Slavery and sorcery.  And then a left-side leader who loved me and made a man of a foolish boy.

Do you have any phobias? Witches.  Warlocks.  Arrogance.  Stupidity.  Stupidity kills more than all else.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I was courted by the entelechy of dreams who gave me a charmed panoply forged in hell itself.  I was stalked by a witch.  The Greek goddess Harmonia is my current lover.  Pick any one.

Tell Us About your world

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. These days I live with the Band.  Lately we’ve been in Thrace.  When we’re not campaigning, we billet in Lemuria.    There the Riddler’s sister rules with unchallengeable power from behind its sheer seaside walls.  From there we fight where the commander and his woman send us, anywhere in space and time – past, future, other realms.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? So many.  What’s between men and gods powers all.  We fight in theomachy, too often:  Tempus is Favorite of the Storm God, so we fight a lot of wars.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? Where?  Sometimes, a world away.  Wherever Cime, the Evening Star of Lemuria, decrees.  To places decoupled from time and space, like Bandara or Meridian or the City, or Thrace.  We’ve been places others only dream of.  We fought in a future so far away that the seas were dead.  We fought in a place so primitive ancient beasts walked the earth.  Sometimes we slip through gates between dimensions…  I’m a simple fighter.  Ask Tempus and Cime these questions, not me.  We go where he leads, we fight where he puts us.

Name and describe a food from your world. Nisibisi blood wine, made with bullock blood.  Possets of watered wine with cheese and nuts and barley.

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? You jest.  We fought a war for more than a decade against sorcery, thought we’d won it, but now fight the mages yet again, in other realms.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) An intellectual said we are timocrats.  What that means, I don’t know.  We fight for honor and our commander, not place or race national goals.  Dominant in our world are fools and kings and reavers and their sorcerous allies, who scheme under any name that will give them total power.  They try to seize control of everything and everyone.

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another?Races vie for power.  People hate anyone different, then deem them soulless, then try to wipe them out.  Tempus says that, absent reason, men will fight over eye-color, hue of skin or heavenly affiliation.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. We have no myths, except perhaps the one that says no nation can lose if Tempus and the Band fight on their side.  We have truths and realities, sometimes long forgot, and often twisted, that fools think are myths, going back to the time of Gilgamesh.

What is the technology level for your world? Tempus and his sister have the Lemurian windows, to take you anyplace in space and time.  We use repeating crossbows; some forged iron, some poor steel, some bronze, but well forged bronze still bests iron.  We have naphtha and poisons, great ships and more.  But what difference:  it’s the man, not the weapon, that wins the day.

Does your world have any supernatural beings? Supernatural?  Like the entelechy of dreams?  Or do you mean the gods?  Jihan, the Froth Daughter?  Witches?  Sorcerers.  Some mainlanders say that we Bandarans do the same as sorcerers, just under another name.  Mystical creatures?  Of course.  Naiads.  Erinys.  We have devils, demons, fiends, snakes that change shape, giant vipers and rocs and eagles.  Don’t you?  We have zombies, vampires, necromants; even a ghost horse, Straton’s mount. And our warrior-mage Randal, one of our bravest fighters, can become a dog or an eagle when he must…

Author notes: Novels(s) in which Nikodemos appears.

Beyond Sanctuary (1985), (2013), Janet Morris http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Sanctuary-Sacred-Band-Stepsons-ebook/dp/B00GU0FPDG

Beyond the Veil (1985), (2013), Janet Morris http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Veil-Sacred-Band-Stepsons-ebook/dp/B00GU0FIG0

Beyond Wizardwall (1986), (2013) Janet Morris http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Wizardwall-Sacred-Band-Stepsons-ebook/dp/B00GU0FH6G

Tempus (1987), (2011) Janet Morris http://www.amazon.com/Tempus-Sacred-Band-Stepsons-Tales-ebook/dp/B00BI175EY
City at the Edge of Time (1988), Janet Morris and Chris Morris
Tempus Unbound (1989), Janet Morris and Chris Morris
Storm Seed (1990), Janet Morris and Chris Morris

The Sacred Band (2010), Janet Morris and Chris Morris http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Band-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00AMLKJAI

The Fish the Fighters and the Song-girl (2010), Janet Morris and Chris Morris, http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Fighters-Song-Girl-Sacred-Stepsons-ebook/dp/B007VQIJFY/ref=pd_sim_kstore_2

Nikodemos  also appears in Morris & Morris Sacred Band of Stepsons stories set in the Thieves’ World shared universe, including:

“Wizard Weather,” Storm Season, Ace 1982

“High Moon,” Face of Chaos, Ace 1983

“Hell to Pay,” The Dead of Winter, Ace 1985

“Power Play,” copyright (C) Janet Morris, Soul of the City, 1986

“Pillar of Fire,” copyright (C) Janet Morris, Soul of the City, 1986

Author name:Janet Morris

Chris Morris

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

theperseidpress.com

sacredbander.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janet_Morris

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Morris_(author)

https://www.facebook.com/PerseidPublishing

https://www.facebook.com/TheSacredBand

https://www.facebook.com/SacredBandBeyondTriolgy

https://www.facebook.com/tempusandniko

https://www.facebook.com/fishfightersonggirl

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMorrisandChrisMorris

Beyond Sanctuary – Heroic Fiction – Review

Beyond SanctuaryHeroic FantasyJanet Morris.

5 stars.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Sanctuary-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00GU0FPDG

When gods, immortals and mages fight among themselves mortals die, and die again. Tempus, an immortalised warrior, and his Stepsons must unite with some of the scum of Sanctuary, an ironically named city to be sure, to save a child and themselves from the machinations of a powerful wizard. Souls and more are at stake in a war which must be fought, and must be won, no matter the cost.

I was hooked by this from the first few lines, as it is a superbly written and very intelligent heroic fantasy. The characters are already established but it doesn’t matter, there is so much depth in both the world and the characters that the reader finds themselves on a ride of epic proportions. Not for the faint of heart the story does not hold back with the realities and moralities of battle, but beyond this there is a real sense of camaraderie among the Sacred Band and the Stepsons, loyalty which locks together men and horses in a dark world which leaves the reader wanting more.

Author interview and special guest Janet Morris

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Today I am delighted to welcome Janet Morris, author of some of the best heroic fantasy and historical fiction around. She is a very busy lady and the Library of Erana is honoured that she has found time to be interviewed.

‘Life to you and everlasting glory.’

Janet’s bio: Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 30 novels, many co-authored with her husband Chris Morris or others. Her debut novel, written as Janet E. Morris, was High Couch of Silistra, the first in a quartet of character-driven novels with a female protagonist. According to original publisher Bantam Books, the Silistra quartet had over four million copies in print when the fourth volume, The Carnelian Throne was published. Charles N. BrownLocus, is quoted on the Baen Books reissues of the series as saying, “Engrossing characters in a marvelous adventure.”

Morris has contributed short fiction to the shared universe fantasy series Thieves World, in which she created the Sacred Band of Stepsons, a mythical unit of ancient fighters modeled on the Sacred Band of Thebes.

She created, orchestrated, and edited the Bangsian fantasy series Heroes in Hell, writing stories for the series as well as co-writing the related novel, The Little Helliad, with Chris Morris. 

Most of her fiction work has been in the fantasy and science fiction genres, although she has also written historical and other novels. Her 1983 book “I, the Sun”, a detailed biographical novel about the Hittite King Suppiluliuma I was praised for its historical accuracy; O.M. Gurney, Hittite scholar and author of “The Hittites,”[2] commented that “the author is familiar with every aspect of Hittite culture.”[3]

Morris has written, contributed to, or edited several book-length works of non-fiction, as well as papers and articles on non-lethal weapons, developmental military technology and other defense and national security topics.

Here’s an excerpt from Chris’ Wikipeia bio: Chris Morris began writing music in 1966, fiction in 1984, and nonfiction in 1989. Much of his fiction and nonfiction literary work, including all of his book-length science fiction and fantasy, has been written in collaboration with his wife Janet Morris, with whom he has also written two novels under the joint pseudonym of Daniel Stryker and one novel under the pseudonym of Casey Prescott. He has contributed short fiction to the shared universe series Thieves’ WorldHeroes in Hell, and Merovingen Nights. He has also co-authored with Janet Morris four titles in The Sacred Band of Stepsons saga.

Chris Morris has also authored song lyrics and melodies. Notably, Chris served as chief songwriter, singer, and leader of the “Christopher Morris Band”, formed in 1976, whose first members were Chris Morris, Janet Morris, Leslie Kuipers and Vince Colaiuta. The first “Christoper Morris Band” album, produced by Al Kooper of Blood, Sweat and Tears fame and featuring the Tower of Power horn section, was titled the Christoper Morris Band (MCA 2282), and released by MCA Records in 1977. The album’s nine songs, all of which are sung by Morris, included eight songs written or co-written by him. TheChristopher Morris Band album was reviewed by Ken Tucker in Rolling Stone Magazine.[1] and in GIG Magazine.[2] The Christopher Morris Band album was also one of Billboard Magazine‘s “Top Album Picks” (7/16/77)[3] and listed by WBCN Boston as among WBCN’s “52 Heaviest Records for 1977.”[4] TheChristopher Morris Band album was also reviewed in Record World, July 23, 1977.[5] The Christopher Morris Band was reviewed after their first major live performance as a headliner in The Boston Globe by Tom Long.[6] Previous to that, Chris Morris was the band leader, and the original Christopher Morris Band was the core back-up band, for Al Kooper’s 1976-1977 “Act Like Nothing’s Wrong” national tour.

In the realm of nonfiction writing, Chris Morris has authored books and articles on military and defense matters in collaboration with Janet Morris and others. Chris Morris served as Research Director and Senior Fellow (1989–1994) at the United States Global Strategy Council, as well as Adjunct Fellow at theCenter for Strategic and International Studies (1993–1995). At USGSC, Morris co-authored the nonlethal weapons concept and the seminal paper,Nonlethality: A Global Strategy,[7] and co-led the USGSC’s Nonlethality Policy Review Group. Events surrounding Morris’s work in the nonlethal weapons area are chronicled in Chapter 15 of War and Anti-War, by Alvin Toffler and Heidi Toffler, (Little, Brown, 1993). In 1998-1999, Chris Morris was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on Nonlethal Technologies and his views are reflected in the associated report, Nonlethal Technologies: Progress and Prospects, Council on Foreign Relations, 1999. He served in 2003-2004 as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on Nonlethal Weapons,[8] which produced the report Nonlethal Weapons and Capabilities in 2004.

So enough of what wiki has to say, here is the interview 🙂

You have been in the business of writing for many years, where did this desire to write spring from? I have been writing as long as I can remember, juvenile poetry, stories.  I edited a school newspaper, for which I wrote a fiction serial, when I was in the sixth grade;  I wrote my first book when twenty-five, and that first draft became my first professional sale.

Where do you find your inspiration? Inspiration is everywhere, from life itself, and in why people and nature behave as they do.  Human life, animal life, behavior and the human condition fascinate me.  I especially like myth and fantasy because they allow me more freedom to say what I want without concern to transient political correctness.

Research is an important part of world-building, not to mention essential in historical fiction. Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel? Are there any sources you favour?  I love doing historical research and technical research for my books.  I have always been one to delve deeply into what interests me.  Research takes me much deeper into most subjects than my reader wants or needs to go, but makes my characters authoritative.  One should write what one knows about:  in fantasy or science fiction, and even myth or historical writing, incontrovertible knowledge can only be taken so far.  Since I write nonfiction as well, I know the difference.  For mythic and historical writing, I like the ancient sources.  I find the earliest sources I can find, and when the inevitable contradictions arise among previous works, I always choose the most ancient source:  the ancients weren’t trying to confuse us:  what they said was told-for-true.  Even with science, there is no static truth:  once there were nine planets in our solar system; everyone knew that; now there are eight.  Facts change.  As one of my characters said, “What’s true today may not be true tomorrow.”  For later reference materials, I think my two favorite source books for the ancient world are still Pritchard’s The Ancient Near East and the Cambridge Ancient History, followed closely by the Oxford Classical Dictionary.  As for science and technology, I’m still involved with s&t issues, so I keep current but for fiction, the speed of change in technology is not helpful or useful.  Good fantasy or good science fiction need to extrapolate from whatever base contains the subject of the story.

Of all your characters do you have a favourite? My favorite characters are, for heroic fiction, Tempus and Niko, one of his Sacred Band.  For science fiction, Det Cox from Outpassage, which we are just now republishing in an Author’ Cut edition, and for historical, Suppiluliumas of Hatti, whose annals I used in creating the biographical novel, I, the Sun.  I usually love or hate a character if I want to write that character’s story.  I’m working on Rhesos of Thrace, whose story will take me places I have long wanted to go:  into the depths of the Iliad, and farther realms; like my other choices, he has unique sensibilities.

What ground-breaking events have happened in your books? In our various books, we have written what Kaler in The Picara calls the first true prostitute in sf/fantasy, Estri.  In the Sacred Band of Stepsons we introduced the Sacred Band concept of male/male lovers, including a kiss between Tempus and a priest which may well have been the first erotic male/male kiss in fantasy.  In the 40-Minute War, written in the 1980s,  we postulated an attack on the US capitol by Islamic extremists using a commercial jetliner, predicting 9/11 but with worse repercussions; we predicted the unification of Germany in MEDUSA.  In the Kerion Consortium/Dream Dancer books we envisioned “spongespace” and now discussions of “spacetime foam” suggest that a similar structure exists at the micro level.  I think probably the Sacred Band of Stepsons, begun in Thieves’ World, and the Silistra series, were the most controversial, because of their sexual stances and views of male and female roles, incest, pansexuality, violence and passion in general.

Do you self-edit? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? My first book was bought as a first draft with a request by Fred Pohl for only one addition, and that book’s New York Times review praised everything but the addition I made at Fred’s request.  My second book had a UK and US editor, both of which wanted one change, which resulted in a prologue.  Beyond that, my editorial support throughout my career has been primarily copy-editing.  I have helped other writers with their editing, I enjoy editing.  I was offered my own imprint by a major NY publisher and didn’t take it.  As an acquisitions editor I have produced volumes that several yielded award nominees and an award winner.  When my own books are in process, or in my co-writes, Chris Morris is my live-in editor:  he reads every line aloud and we argue about changes as we go along, so that by the time the book is finished, all necessary editing has been done except continuity checks and copy-editing.

Would you like to say a little about the striking cover art on your books? I hated my science fantasy and science fiction covers, and even my historical and thriller covers.  My favorite cover was on a pseudonymous “novel” – a novel, in those days, was a book which transcended genre.  So, having had much art history in college, when we got cover control for the Perseid books, we chose to use classical art and ancient art.  We match the cover art we choose from the entire catalogue of human art now available as public domain, and use a book designer.  For the first time, for Outpassage, we commissioned new art, from Vincent DiFate, classic artist of so much great science fiction and movie art:  this book needed a classic sf cover, being a hard-rocking sf novel in the grand tradition, and Vincent gave us a cover we adore:  perfect for the story, which is part military sf, part visionary and metaphysical sf, but first and foremost a surprising and rollicking sf adventure.

Who are your influences? My influences are still what I first encountered in childhood, what my mother read to me because my parents had classical educations and didn’t believe in children’s books per se:  Shakespeare, Spenser, Marlowe, Bullfinch, Milton, Byron, Homer, Hesiod, Euripides, Dante.  Later I devoured all myth books in the libraries of three nearby towns; read C.S. Lewis. Mary Renault and Burroughs and Asimov and Verne.  My father took me to my first science fiction society meeting when I was thirteen.  I was and am a voracious reader.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? We hope we bring total immersion:  that you touch, hear, taste, smell our stories; that you encounter the innermost thoughts of those different from yourself, and learn why they feel the way they do.  We try to materialize the world we want to visit, write a door and walk through it, and bring you with us, into an adventure and exploration that no movie or video game can provide, where you experience life through other temperaments.

What is your opinion on authors commenting on reviews? Often I’d like to comment on today’s reviews, and sometimes I am certain others should, but since my initial experience with reviewers was with paid reviewers for major newspapers and periodicals, I make it a practice not to comment.  If they say something good, then great.  If they say something bad, that’s their opinion.  If they say something stupid, or review the same book two different ways for two different outlets (yes, it happens), then people will see that for themselves.  Like any other writer, I’m thrilled with a good review, hurt by less.  For many years, I refused to look at reviews at all, no matter how good, and told my publishers not to send them to me.  Now the world has changed, and reviews have a different importance.

Do you plan your stories or are you more of a ‘pantser’? I never start to write unless I’m already enthralled by character, story, idea and point to be made.  I spend lots of time getting ready, reading related nonfiction, staring at the ceiling.  I don’t outline, beyond perhaps chapter titles, if that.  I know exactly where the story will end, but I allow it to get there as it chooses, if that is possible.  In some mythic or legendary or historical fiction, events serve as guidespots, and there I must write to whatever eclipse or famine or war came when.

Do you have any advice to share with new writers? I tell new writers to write with passion, with clarity, with brevity, with immediacy.  Find a character and listen to that character; find a voice and let the voice take you onward.  There are only a few plots:  it is how you tell your story that makes it great.  I ask writers to give me a synopsis of their story, and to refrain from writing until the story MUST get out.  I tell writers to take chances, not be derivative if they can help it; read in their topic area until they feel in control of all their data, then put 10% of that data in the story:  what you need to know, as writer, is far more than what the reader needs to know.  But you DO need to know it.  All writers should strive for greatness, from their very first line.  Better to grasp for brilliance and fail, then to waste time writing less than your transcendent best.

Do you have any marketing tips you would like to share? I was very lucky with High Couch of Silistra, and marketing was thrust upon me, not something I did, but something that happened to me at a publisher’s behest.  Now, with Perseid Press, a publisher producing “books for experienced readers,” we continue our tradition of reaching high, taking chances, hoping for brilliance, not only from our own work, but from the work of others we publish.  So I’m not the one to ask how to break into a genre beyond suggesting that a great book will find its way, and live longer in the end than trash purposely written to be trash and chase a trashy market.  Write your best, put it out there, let people know it’s there, and keep writing more.

Most authors like to read, what books do you enjoy? I love ancient history, third to first millennium bce; ancient near east is my favorite.  I love books about the nature of the cosmos, nonfiction books; I love philosophical problems of space and time.  I love archaeology.  I love the heroic model, and pre-Socratic philosophy most of all.  SO mostly I read source materials, nonfiction, though I am still reading certain authors of fiction and plays, whose work is central to the Western Canon.

During your life what has been your favourite and your least favourite job and why? I think my least favorite job was mailing posters for a comic book company.  My favorite job was research director and senior fellow of the U.S. Global Strategy Council in Washington.

Do you think either of these gave you inspiration to write, or served you well in this profession? Sending out super-hero posters may have taught us something, but nowhere near what we learned in a long-term strategic planning think tank, which led Chris and me to international travel and exposure to governments and technology and minds at the highest levels humanity could then produce.  USGSC led to us write Nonlethality:  A Global Strategy; to becoming the architects of several nonlethal weapons programs and serving on the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Nonlethal Weapons, and becoming subject matter experts on foreign technologies. Although I still believe that our fiction is the most important work we do, there are people alive today who wouldn’t have survived if nonlethal weapons weren’t developed and disseminated, and for our part in that, we’re grateful.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I weigh less than my dog.

Any author profiles, websites etc. you want to add….

Our website is still in process.  We have several open FaceBook pages, most for different books, one for Janet Morris and Chris Morris.  We have a blog called sacredbander.com which we sometimes use.

Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Janet-Morris/e/B001HPJJB8

Book Links http://www.amazon.com/I-Sun-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00CLH393U

http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Band-Janet-Morris/dp/1937035034

http://www.amazon.com/Man-His-Sacred-Band-Stepsons-ebook/dp/B008MZ1T14

http://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B008JZCFMO

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Sanctuary-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00GU0FPDG

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Wizardwall-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00GU0FH6G

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Veil-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00GU0FIG0