Visiting me today is Dennis Young, author of The Ardwellian Chronicles. Good morning, Dennis.
D. Good morning A. T. good to see you again.
I see by your Amazon biography that you, like I, are a late bloomer when it comes to writing. Although you did start a little younger than I.
D. Actually I’ve written all my life. I was the kid in school who, when the teacher assigned a five page short story to the class, would turn in thirteen pages and think it wasn’t enough. I’ve written in business for over twenty years, dabbled in fanzines and other non-commercial publications. I started writing The Ardwellian Chronicles in 2005, but I’ve carried the stories with me for more than thirty years.
There are four books in the series so far. What next?
D. Actually I have five books, the first four novels of the series and the first compendium. The novels are Secret Fire, Dark Way of Anger, Secrets of the Second Sun, and Kaanan’s Way. The compendium is about many of the swords in the novels, called Blades of Alliance: The Thirteen Swords of Power. It’s a picture book and was a hoot to put together in 2012. What’s next? I have two more novels in the series, Blood Secret (working title), and Chitthra’s Heart. I’m also working on my second compendium about the “good guys” in the series, called Champions: The Heroes of Ardwel. It’s another picture book but different in format than Blades of Alliance. Beyond that, I still have five more “collections” to write, all of which are titled. My fan page on Facebook is “Working on The Ardwellian Chronicles and Hope I Live Long Enough to Finish”.
Any projected date of publication on number five?
D. For Blood Secret, I hope to have it out by May 2015. Champions should be available by Christmas 2014. Beyond that, we’ll see.
I would consider your work a mixture of science fiction and fantasy, kind of like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Maybe I’m wrong.
D. SF? Well, I’m not really sure about that. The Ardwellian Chronicles are high fantasy adventures, and the level of technology is very low. Magic exists but plays only a supporting role in my stories. The adventures are more about people of ability, facing adversity in its many forms and the sacrifices necessary to keep evil at bay. I played D&D in the late 70’s all the way through the mid 90’s and many of my story ideas come from my games. I had a great group of players for many years; always kept me on my toes as a game-master, created great characters, and enjoyed the challenges I put before them. Not only the physical challenges their characters had to meet, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges as well. Yes, in a good campaign you can have those things.
Where do you get your ideas?
D. As I said, many come from the D&D games and the characters within those. Others are from experiences in life I’ve had, or friends have had, and I try to adapt real life circumstances to the stories. The best stories in my opinion are about people, how they deal with adversity, how they rise above it, or in some cases, how they fail. Failure is a great teacher, and the old adage “that which does not kill us makes us stronger” is a recurring theme in my books.
Who do you consider to be your target audience?
D. Anyone who likes a great story about amazing people fighting against the odds. Adventure was once defined as “someone else a thousand miles away having a really tough time”. Here, you’re right along side these folks, watching their struggles and sharing their heartaches. Readers of adventure want to see the heroes have that tough time; too easy and it’s not interesting; too hard and after a while you just put the book down. There’s a fine line in adventure that writers have to walk in order to keep the readers’ interest but not make it too easy for them to see what’s coming.
So tell us a bit about yourself. What are your hobbies? I know you like to hit people with sticks.
D. Hobbies??? Well, when I need to get away from all the characters screaming in my head for attention, I do yard work; things like hauling rock for my back yard, building brick flowerbeds, and laying sod. Nothing like good physical activity for a real cleansing experience. Hitting people with sticks; I’m assuming you mean in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). Yes, I was active in the local barony for several years in various ways; armor making, calligraphy and illumination, service to the barony and kingdom, and of course, combat. SCA fighting is about as close as you can get to real combat without getting killed. We wear real armor, leather, heavy cloth, and metal, fight with weapons made of rattan and close-cell foam, and pull no punches on the Field. Our combat is full contact, full speed, not choreographed. Nothing like spending the day on the Field with three hundred of your best friends beating on each other.
What is your favorite period in history?
D. The present; I’d rather be here than anywhere else. For study, probably the Norman-English period from the Conquest through the early 1300’s.
If you could be an animal (real or imaginary), what would you choose and why?
D. I think I’d pass. Animals can’t type. Or write. So my stories would go unwritten and untold.
I know you travel a lot. Where is the most interesting place you’ve been? Would you want to live there?
D. I travel in business and I’ve been to the Middle East, India, Far East, Australia, Philippines, UK, and Ireland. I’d like to spend more time in Thailand because it’s a beautiful, friendly country, or Ireland, because of its history. If I were to choose one place to live, it would probably be Ireland or the UK for the history.
Would you care to share an excerpt from one of your books or your WIP?
D. Sure. This is from my third book, Secrets of the Second Sun; I love to write small, intimate scenes that set up what is to follow.
As told by Wolfe’ik, Greywald did not allow them in, and they met on windswept rocks below the outer curtain wall, half a league beyond the gleaming towers. She was as remembered, though it had been three years since his eyes beheld her form; slender, no taller, still, than he, armored as a male, what little skin was seen covered in inks and colors. Her hair, he came to notice, now was longer, full and nearly black, her eyes as points of steel, no welcome in her look.
Wolfe’ik cared not for her appearance, plain as she was, yet knew he looked much the same to her, life having burned away all but his essence, and naught was left but heart and mind and spirit.
Still they stood in the growing dawn, guards aside and horses nervous at the rear, capes and standards whipping in the wind. He grinned, thinking of a story once heard, a clandestine meeting, rulers met to seal the fate of the land, and horrors, then, that followed. He laid it all aside and spoke to break the silence.
Dennis, it’s been great chatting with you. Where can people find your books and you?
D. My books are available at local book stores or can be ordered there. Also I’m on Amazon where you can get hard copies or Kindle format, and B&N online too. My social media is:
FB: Working On The Ardwellian Chronicles and Hope I Live Long Enough to Finish
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0034PJ6FS
Or just go online and query The Ardwellian Chronicles.
Thank you, A. T., for having me. I’ve enjoyed your company.