A big welcome to Anton Strout who is here to telling us about Interview with Anton Strout and celebrating the release of Incarnate, Spellmason Chronicles #3 (published on September 30, 2014 by Ace). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.
Interview with Anton Strout
All Things Urban Fantasy: First off, what I consider an easy one – what and where is favorite gargoyle in the world? Favorite gargoyle in New York? Is there a specific gargoyle that inspired Stanis?
Anton Strout: Stanis was probably more inspired by me growing up on Disney’s Gargoyles cartoon, but there’s no real basis for him other than the fact that I love the general art and architecture of New York City. We miss so many details of our skyscrapers here on the street level, but if you just look up there’s a whole hidden world to behold, especially in the older parts of Manhattan and its churches in particular. That said, my favorite gargoyle isn’t here. The Valencia Gargoyle in Spain sits along the side of a bridge and is a bit more modernistic, but there’s something about it I find full of action and aesthetically pleasing to me.
Is it difficult writing a book from two different viewpoints? What are your favorite things about writing both Stanis and Lexi’s characters?
It’s not easy, that’s for sure. Because Lexi and Stanis interact a metric ton, there’s always the worry of repetition while trying to show relevant bits of their personal perspectives. I do, however, really enjoy the opportunity to write as a twenty something modern artist and a centuries old gargoyle who struggles with idiomatic language. Lexi might talk Hogwarts or process the world through a filter where Dungeons & Dragons colors how one processes the magical world coming to light all around her. Writing Stanis is fun because he’s like a character in the musical Guys & Dolls, never contracting his words. Because of the late 1800’s time period he’s from, his language is a bit more stoic and reserved, and to me that means he really isn’t capable of modern day guile in what he has to say.
What’s next for Stanis and Lexi (that you can share)?
INCARNATE is the last book of The Spellmason Chronicles and since I kill them both, I guess NOTHING is the answer. Oops. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said that…
There will however be a tie-in tale from their world in the Streets of Shadow anthology featuring alchemical freelancer and sometimes love interest Caleb Kennedy.
And you never know when I might get the Kickstarter bug once the series has ended….
We’re big on cover commentary here at All Things Urban Fantasy – how do you feel about the covers of the Spellmason Chronicles? What do you think when you first see the final cover of a book of yours?
Overall, I love my covers. I think Blake Morrow kills it on each of them. That said, they’re not quite what I imagined. In the books, Stanis is a bit more demonic and gargoyle-y in the face, but I’ll allow him to look more rugged and handsome on my covers. The fact that any book cover is even close is nothing short of a miracle. Art departments have to come up with dozens and dozens of covers a month, all of them unique as they try to capture the essence of what the book contains. I think my covers are a good indication of my content, even if Stanis is holding a sword on the cover of INCARNATE when he clearly doesn’t need one. That’s what his claws, wings and crushing stone weight and preternatural strength is for!
Have you read any good urban fantasy recently? Who are some of your favorite authors in the genre?
When I’m writing urban fantasy, I tend to read a little less urban fantasy. I have some strange fear of cross pollination ever since The Dresden Files had wacky paranormal pamphlets, and the Department of Extraordinary Affairs from my Simon Canderous book trained its staff with wacky pamphlets. That said I did just finish California Bones by Greg van Eekhout, where magic comes from the remains of dead creatures, both real and mythological. Fun stuff. I’ve got a lot of love out there for early Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Amber Benson…
Who would win in a game of tag – Stanis or Lexi? 🙂
Stanis has a distinct advantage in that he can tag Lexi and fly away before she can even react. That said, she is a Spellmason, which means she hold some sway over living stone, especially that created by her great-great grandfather. I think there’s a fair chance that she could ground Stanis and win. If, however, he proved too willful, I still think she could win. She has been known to sculpt stone wings, wear them via a harness, and actually fly, so I’ll give the Tag Championship Belt to Lexi.
Anton Strout is the author of the Spellmason Chronicles, including Stonecast and Alchemystic, and the Simon Canderous series including Dead Waters, Dead Matter, Deader Still, and Dead to Me. He was born in the Berkshire Hills mere miles from writing heavyweights Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. He currently lives in currently lives in the haunted corn maze that is New Jersey (where nothing paranormal ever really happens, he assures you). In his scant spare time, he is an always writer, a sometimes actor, sometimes musician, occasional RPGer, and the world’s most casual and controller-smashing video gamer. He currently works in the exciting world of publishing and yes, it is as glamorous as it sounds. Anton is also the host and curator of content for the Once and Future Podcast, where he talks about books and general geekdom with some of the genre’s best.
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Enter the giveaway via the widget below – Open to US/Canada only
Available on September 30, 2014 by Ace
HITTING ROCK BOTTOM
When Alexandra Belarus discovered her family’s secret ability to breathe life into stone, she uncovered an entire world of magic hidden within New York City—a world she has accidentally thrown into chaos. A spell gone awry has set thousands of gargoyles loose upon Manhattan, and it’s up to Lexi and her faithful protector, Stanis, to put things right.
But the stress of saving the city is casting a pall over Lexi and Stanis’s relationship, driving them to work separately to solve the problem. As Stanis struggles to unite the gargoyle population, Lexi forges unlikely alliances with witches, alchemists and New York’s Finest to quell an unsettling uprising led by an ancient and deadly foe long thought vanquished.
To save her city, Lexi must wield more power than ever before with the added hope of recovering a mysterious artifact that could change her world—and bring her closer to Stanis than she ever thought possible…
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