“What’s a Tartarus? Isn’t that what Doctor Who travelled around in; you know the telephone box with the flashing blue light on top of it?”
What if mythology isn’t myth? The ancient Greeks told fabulously detailed stories involving unbelievable creatures; monsters which dominated all tales from that time. Were they just highly imaginative, or was their inspiration from somewhere else?
Doctor Talbot Harrison, a professor in archaeology, receives a phone call one morning which will destroy everything he perceives as reality. His brother – his identical twin – has been mysteriously killed, and within moments the United States Military appear at his door, literally dragging him from his home. Thrown into a helicopter under intense armed guard, it doesn’t take long until they are attacked by something which cannot possibly exist.
Talbot’s world will never be the same as he discovers the truth behind the Government’s experiments to open a rift into another universe. His brother’s death has come as a result of their quest to utilize machinery which destroyed an entire land, and now they believe Talbot is the only one with the ability to aid them. They need him to help reverse the doorway which they have opened; a doorway into the darkest realm of Greek mythology.
A realm which lies beyond Hades.
Protected by the most elite soldiers on the face of the planet, Talbot must try to close off a power which should have never been restarted. It is a force which destroyed one of the most advanced civilizations the world has ever seen, sucking it beneath the ocean waves to remain shrouded in mystery for all time.
He cannot flee, they are hunting him.
He cannot fight, they are too strong.
Talbot can only hope to stay alive long enough to get through the rift, survive beyond Hades, and stop the machinery which his brother helped start. The opened gateways may spell the doom of the entire human race as two realms become one, and humanity is consumed by the beasts which seeded so many incredible legends….
When did you first become interested in writing?
I get asked this a lot and it’s a very interesting question. It’s kind of like being asked: “When did you become interested in being a human?” I’ve always had stories flowing within me; it’s part of what makes me who I am. All that’s happened over the years is that I’ve gained the confidence to share those stories with people I don’t know.
I think every writer will tell you something similar. Sure, there are some who write simply to make lots and lots of money. We in the industry refer to these people as disillusioned fools.
What style of writing do you use most?
My writing is largely instinctive. I don’t set out any plans for chapters or scenes. In my mind I have a large-scale image of what the story will entail, but often it takes off on a strange tangent and I just try to keep up. Such was the case with The Dark Path, which started out as a pretty basic crime-thriller but turned into so much more when I realized I’d made my main character too strong, too powerful for mere gangsters. I needed someone tougher. So I figured I’d pit him against the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Has your style changed from when you first began as an author?
I know I’ve learned a lot, but I don’t think it’s changed too much in the grand scheme of things. I try to create scenes of vivid imagery with lots of background research to make the unbelievable plausible. Sometimes it meshes incredibly easily, sometimes I feel like smashing my face into the keyboard, but that’s the price I pay for trying to morph dreams into words.
Something dropped down behind the body of the mercenary. It took Jake a moment to focus on it. What in the world…?
“GRENADE!!!” someone hollered.
Jake’s eyes fixed upon the small, black, cylindrical object….
Haunted by the toxic memories of a torturous foster-father, Jacob Hope yearns to make a difference in a world gone awry, trying to accomplish some small scrap of good in an ocean of wrong. Tumbling through life with no true direction, Jake unwittingly reveals a nightmare.
The gates of Hell have been unlocked, and something long imprisoned has broken loose from its shackles to roam free upon the Earth. It cannot be bargained with, it cannot be defeated, and it exists with only desolation in its heart….
Longing to confront such evil but not knowing how, Jake must embark upon a journey not only of destination, but of self-discovery. In his attempts to thwart a fallen angel, Jake must also come to grips with his own part in this almighty drama.
For above it all haunts the legacy, a prophecy of who Jake truly is:
Christ reborn – the new messiah.
In what way do you usually put down your ideas first?
Always a word processor. I’ve heard of writers using typewriters and even long or shorthand and it just blows me away. They say it helps in their creative process or something. I personally don’t understand how something that slows you down can help when the ideas start flowing, but hey, if it works for them, good luck. It just brings to mind a person using a horse and cart instead of a Lamborghini in order to get to a destination. Sure, it gets you there in a more traditional way, but it’s slow as hell and the horse farts a lot.
What made you choose that medium?
I like to think of it as common sense.
Do your ideas come from life or imagination?
Both. Anyone who has read my books will tell you they’re packed with all sorts of weird stuff that can only come from the quagmire situated between my ears. But they’re also heavily researched, and usually double-checked by my editor, so the fantasy is balanced with reality.
Other aspects come from my own life experiences. For instance, one of the opening scenes in The Dark Path involves the Dark Man torturing a drug dealer for information. The techniques he uses are actually based on those of a man I knew many years ago who worked as a collector for some very shady people. He was a nice guy; I think he sells real estate now.
How do you choose your characters?
I try to create characters that people can relate to or at least sympathize with. Quite often they will develop themselves, like Wes did in Beyond Hades. He started off as a very minor character who just seemed to bloom out of nothing. To date he is still one of the most popular characters I’ve ever used, and with good reason.
“Well, all the stories about vampires these days have them turning metrosexual. I just couldn’t live with myself if we turned the Keres into simpering, sensitive dudes more worried about their hair and wardrobe than sucking the life out of people.”
Fenrir the wolf howls. Bifrost beckons. And Wes answers.
The enigmatic Australian SAS commando awakens into a maelstrom of death and destruction, his memory in tatters, and his former friend and companion dead.
In his hunt for answers, Wes uncovers much more than he was searching for, and enters a war which could see the very planet destroyed as beasts of ice and perils from outside our realm of reality threaten humanity’s very existence.
Wes must try to find a way to stop a foe that cannot be stopped, and will use anything at his disposal to ensure mankind is not reduced to slavery by the creatures which founded some of the most terrifying fables of all time.
This thundering sequel to Luke Romyn’s bestselling novel, BEYOND HADES, is certain to blow readers away with blistering action and thrills which would humble the very gods.
Who is your favourite author?
I read far too many books to have one specific favourite author. My favourite books of all time are the Harry Potter series, but I’ll just as happily read Dean Koontz or Stephen King while on another day settle down with a Lee Child book or something from Clive Cussler. I’m currently re-reading Magician by Raymond E. Feist.
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
Unfortunately, as an author I’m not allowed favourites among my children. While some of my tales and characters resound stronger to me, I’m not allowed to voice any favouritism lest the rest become jealous and hack me to pieces in my sleep.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
It usually takes me about three months to hash out a first draft. Reviewing and editing takes around the same amount of time, so roughly six months from start to finish. I’ve been lucky of late because all my recent releases have been drafts I penned a few years ago, so all I’ve had to do is edit and publish them. Now, however, I’m faced with the task of writing again after a couple of years’ break from novels. The prospect leaves me sweating, but also extremely excited at the prospect of what the future might bring.
His anger became a leashed beast, a monster he had successfully caged, and he fought with precision and skill, not rage.
Nobody can escape their past. It will always be there, returning to haunt you in the darkest times of your life.
Mike Swanson knows this – his past torments him daily and he sets himself upon a path of death and misery. He justifies his dark deeds by enacting them upon those he perceives as evil, not knowing that the real evil lies within himself.
Killing the scum of society, Mike becomes one of them and draws the attention of a group who require people with his skills. Unwillingly enlisted into the notorious ‘Blacklisted Brotherhood’, Mike must first survive horrendous training in order to hunt down a madman whose deeds will see the world plunged into anarchy if he succeeds.
Blasting across continents in their pursuit of justice, the team will come together in ways that they had never imagined and must learn to trust each other if they are to survive.
For if they die, it could mean the end of freedom.
Will Mike survive the confrontations in order to see out the mission? Or will he cut loose and run from the responsibility that has been placed upon him? Why should he care for the people of the world when they have never cared for him?
How well do you take criticism?
Extremely well. I giggle like a toddler being tickled whenever someone says something negative about my work.
Truth be told, any negative feedback is terrible. As writers we yearn for the unobtainable shine of perfection which dangles seemingly just beyond our grasp, and bad feedback merely reminds us how disgustingly mortal we truly are.
That said, I try to take anything negative and work on it, refining my skills in an effort to eliminate any weaknesses (God forbid) my writing might display. It’s not always an easy process, and some nights I yearn to hunt down the address of my latest heartless critic and stab them in the face with a Kindle. I have always (thus far) refrained from do anything so ridiculous, and continue to just smile and wave.
The main thing to remember is that you can’t please everyone. Someone yearning for a bit of erotic werewolf fiction is unlikely to enjoy one of my novels, it’s just logical, and the fact they haven’t enjoyed one of my books should be no great surprise to anyone.
There are also those who seem to just enjoy complaining. I’ve had a few refer to the violence in The Dark Path, a book about an extremely malevolent assassin dragged somewhat unwillingly along a road to redemption, travelling through Hell itself along the way. According to these critics there is no need to have explicit violence in such a novel. Well, I was originally going to make it a pop-up book filled with daisies, but couldn’t get the colours of the petals quite right. Others have complained about the swearing of Wes in Beyond Hades and Slaves of Valhalla. I’ve known several guys in the Australian SAS. Trust me, they swear a lot. To leave it out would be like describing a monster truck with a 2-stroke lawnmower motor under the hood.
At the end of the day everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just because they don’t like something doesn’t mean it isn’t good. My 5-star reviewers far outnumber the 1-stars, and those are the people I write for.
What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. If you come to an impasse it’s either because your story is weak or a change is needed, not because your imagination has stalled. Regardless of the reason the answer is the same: shake things up. Introduce a new character or option and just go with it. Sometimes such a tactic will turn into nothing, but at other times it reveals a gold mine.
This is one of the main reasons I avoid over-planning my novels beforehand. By structuring them you create walls and rules which must be adhered to, and when you hit one of these walls your options become limited. Writing freely gives you total freedom. It’s like cultivating a garden in the country as opposed to the city.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
Unless a work is unequivocally flawless it’s never truly finished. There just comes a time where you have to accept that to edit further might do more harm than good, and you simply let it go, like a child into a minefield.
What are the titles of your published works?
I currently have six novels published. They are The Dark Path, Blacklisted, Beyond Hades, Slaves of Valhalla, Corpus Christi, and Sins of the Father.
His screams were not of pain, but anguish at the sight of the Dark Man first waking his wife, and then slowly setting to work on her.
New York’s underworld quivers at the mention of his name. Evil courses through his veins like blood and his conscience has lain dormant for over a decade while he has slashed and burned his way to the top of the food chain.
The Dark Man, born of torment into an existence of death. In the underworld of killers he reigns supreme. And yet he is chosen for a task of supreme benevolence.
Why would he be selected to save a young boy, the Avun-Riah, and then protect him against a horde of enemies, both mortal and demonic?
Because he is the only one with any hope of success.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have risen from the pits of Hell and, along with a fanatical army of cultists, are ranged against Vain. If the boy is slain then Sordarrah will be raised to destroy the Earth, a feat even Lucifer never managed.
Evil is being used to fight evil in the ultimate battle for the outcome of all existence. Armageddon sits upon the horizon and all that stands in its way is a man
whose path has always been dark….
Have you any publications planned for the future?
I have two more novels due for the four-part series, The Legacy Chronicles. Past that I have a plan for another in the Prometheus Wars series, plus at least two stand-alone novels that I have ideas for.
What about plans for the future?
To take over the world.
What advice would you give new authors?
Don’t give up. The publishing world is like swimming through rapids within a river of acid. To survive you need a very thick skin and realistic expectations. Be positive, but don’t think you’ll receive worldwide acclaim from your first novella, because chances are you’ll be disappointed. This is an industry where it usually takes years just to get noticed, and you need to be prepared for the long haul. But don’t give up, have faith in your talent, and learn as much as possible along the way.
And for God’s sake, read. Read, read, read. Read everything you can, from tomato soup labels to magazine advertisements to random Wikipedia articles, not merely books. Become addicted to it. Study the varying writing styles, the uses of similes and adjectives, what works and what doesn’t, and then implement what you’ve learned into your own writing. You’ll be surprised how much it helps.
Have you done any courses to help you?
None at all. If there’s something I don’t know I either research it online or discuss it with other writers. I’m sure there are great courses out there, and if that’s your thing go for it, but for me I’d rather give a prostate exam to a rattlesnake than listen to someone in a classroom.
Hell has been unleashed into the world of men, we just don’t know it yet. One man has unlocked the doors separating Earth from Hell, and now humanity will pay the ultimate price.
Unless Jacob Hope can save them.
The scars of the past rarely fade, but Jake has managed to heal many of his, knowing that to continue on his crusade he must enter the final battle as more than just a man, he needs to be a leader, a figurehead for all mankind.
Having managed a surprise victory over the immortal Abaddon, Jake sets forth to thwart the plans of the Fallen. His search leads him through exotic locations in a hunt for vital information to aid him in the final battle.
And yet information might prove to be his greatest enemy.
Dragged into Hell, Jake is confronted by Satan, who reveals a secret which devastates all Jake holds to be true.
As Jake begins to lose control of the ever-darkening power contained within him, his confidence frays and his search for answers becomes more and more desperate.
The Lord of Hell has claimed him as his son:
What do you do to market your work?
Everything I can find. Along with social media there are various writing sites that allow you to create author profiles. Interviews such as this one are a boon for anyone trying to get their name out there. Paid advertising can be somewhat hit-and-miss, but at the end of the day the important thing is to get people to see your name and the names of your books. If they see something enough it’ll stick in their head, and then when they go book shopping they might look you up.
Either that or they’ll just go and buy Twilight because their sister’s friend’s cousin said on Facebook that sparkly vampires are freakin’ awesome.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
Are you interested in collaborating with artists?
Something like that would be extremely interesting. So long as time permits I’m up for anything.
Have you got hobbies?
I love getting to the gym for weight training and boxing/muay thai when time allows. Cycling is great, and whenever I get a chance I go shooting with my bow. But only target shooting. I abhor the killing of animals, people not so much. But only in my books.
Where are you based?
I’m currently in Far North Queensland, Australia. It’s basically a place where every living thing is designed to kill you. Great for kids.
© 2013, Isabella Francesca Abigail Shores. All rights reserved.