Hey folks. Today I’m featuring fantasy author, Raymond Bolton on the blog. He is in an exciting phase of releasing a new novel and having his first novel translated. This is a 2-part interview, so please come back on Monday for the 2nd installment about translating his Awakenings book.
Thought Gazer is Raymond’s second epic fantasy tale, which continues on from Awakening.
Thought Gazer Synopsis:
Everyone who touches you transforms you, if only a little. But if you enter their minds, think what they have thought, in effect do what they have done, how complete will that transformation be?
If he had been born an ordinary man, his family would be safe—safe as anyone can be in a land torn apart by war. It is his singular gift, however, that causes his wife and children to be imprisoned and held hostage and him to be used as a tool. Caught up in a struggle between opposing warlords and refusing to play the game, Peniff elects to take the moral high road. This is the story of a man, in all other ways ordinary, rising above his fears to do what he must. Can he free his family before his betrayal comes to light? Moreover, what will he become before his journey is over?
BookViral.com has this to say about Thought Gazer: “Bolton… maintains the creative edge and distinctly satisfying thoroughness with which he originally imagined his far flung world. With an exceptional eye for detail and favouring narrative over dialogue his characters are imbued with insightfully nuanced characteristics that are both enthralling and plausible as his well-constructed plot evolves.”
* Publish date: 01-01-15
* Publisher: Regilius Publishing, LLC
He could not discount the possibility there were others nearby, so he turned his attention to the immediate area and tried to determine how the quartet could have surprised her. Chawah would never have allowed them to approach under ordinary circumstances. His eyes went from signs of a scuffle left in the soil when they had captured her, to a rise not far from the origin of those marks. Its summit was a little higher than her head and was a likely spot for an ambush. Still, they could not have known in advance he would come to this place any more than he. So how had this occurred?
He was not about to investigate armed with only the spear, so he returned to where his first victim lie. He extricated his knife and wiped the blade on the man’s tunic before returning it to its sheath. Then, he picked up the discarded bow, slung it over his shoulder, and a moment later was standing atop the knoll. On its summit, footprints, handprints and grass flattened by what was surely a prostrate form told a partial story of someone who had climbed to the top, had fallen briefly onto his belly, then scrambled to his feet and jumped. That one, likely, had landed upon the animal to be joined in the clearing by three more, one of whom had followed the first, leaping down the face, while the other two ran down its side.
But what had brought them to this remote spot in the wilderness? That was still unclear. He scanned the surrounding area, looking for anything unusual. For a while, nothing appeared out of place. A flock of chur soared overhead and a few other birds winged from tree to tree in their morning quest for food. Grasses and brush moved softly in the gentle breeze. Then he spied, protruding above the vegetation, what appeared to be a portion of a wooden structure.
He paused to examine the bandage and was pleased to see it was not saturated. The blood was no longer flowing. If he were careful, it would hold until he could sew the wound.
He turned and called, “Chawah!”
She craned her head and met his eyes.
“Stay here,” he said. “I will be right back.”
Her eyes half blinked in acknowledgement and Bedistai, satisfied she understood, turned and scrambled down the opposite side of the mound. He made his way down the slope and through the underbrush until he neared the place where the curious object stood.
In this wild place, anything constructed by man was suspect and he could not be certain there were no other marauders. He listened for the sounds of conversation or careless movement, but at first detected nothing. Then, as he approached, he heard soft rhythmic noises he could not identify. He slowed his approach even more, listening carefully. The sounds repeated in a pattern he could not attribute to any animal, but neither were they sounds of speech. A loud snort came from directly ahead, but it was separate from the utterings that had caught his attention. He drew his knife and peered through the brush. He saw several large hairy forms moving and heard the sound of hooves shifting stance. He circled to his right, keeping some distance between himself and whatever creatures they might be. Then, as he peered through the branches, he smiled. In a clearing stood an ox in harness and four horses saddled as steeds. The ox shifted and snorted as Bedistai emerged and the sound confirmed this was one of the noises he had heard. But now the puzzling murmuring which had drawn him here had grown clearer, coming from a place directly behind this great beast.
As he circled the ox, four wooden corner posts revealed the presence of a cart. Numerous smaller bars showed it to be a cage. Curious as to what it might contain, he approached. There, within the bars and resting on a bed of soggy straw, was a small wet pile of what appeared to be fine cloth. Well, “resting” was perhaps not the word, for the pile shifted and heaved in a pattern coinciding with the soft repetitions—too high in pitch to belong to any animal he knew. He stepped up to the cage, yet whatever was moving within the pile did not react to his presence. Carefully, he extended an arm through the bars, far enough to reach the mound of fabric. He grasped a fold between his fingers and tugged. At once, the pile rose up and he stepped back, pointing his knife. He found himself face to face with a woman whom, under other circumstances, he might consider beautiful. She was sobbing and trembling and, from her pallor, he could see she was deathly ill.
Author Interview with Raymond:
Hi Raymond, welcome to the blog:
What was the defining event that made you start writing?
It happened in my previous marriage. When my stepson declared he wanted to become a writer, it struck a chord and I realized I did too. In high school, I had placed second in a California State short story competition and, in college, an English professor had read loud to the class an essay I’d written citing originality of thought and writing style as his reasons for selecting it. Until that moment, I had forgotten both events, but they resurfaced and I realized how much confidence, let alone satisfaction, they had imparted.
What other writing have you done?
In addition to fantasy, I’ve written two thrillers which, for the time being, I’ve shelved. In the 1990s, I also wrote poetry and was awarded third place in a field of 1,200 in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s 2010 literary competition.
What made you choose this genre?
I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy, so when I began to write, it seemed only logical to start with what I knew best.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I am fortunate to have found cover artist, Natasha Brown. She seems to have an intuitive understanding of what will suit my story and why. I provide her with various elements I would like to promote, and she provides images she believes will reflect them.
Since Thought Gazer is part of a series, certain elements carry through from Awakening’s initial cover—the first in the series. The partial head and eyes reflect that telepathy, the ability to look into the mind of another, is the dominant theme. The world the story is set in has two suns, so these are also included to emphasize that this story is not set on earth. Finally, castles reflect the world’s technological state of advancement, or lack thereof.
Which scene from your book do you like best and which is your favorite character and why?
There are two scenes I love, each featuring one my two favorite characters: Bedistai Alongquith, a hunter, and Peniff, the Thought Gazer. Both are men possessed with remarkable character and courage. The excerpt above concludes the scene involving Bedistai and an earlier paragraph I did not include reveals something more about him:
Bedistai, in fact, was not given to any form of excess. Even his appearance belied his talents. Most hunters of his ilk wore the talons, fangs, quills and pelts of dozens of successful take-downs. His clothes, on the other hand, were of simple sandiath skin. Except for a solitary tooth suspended from a cord around his throat, he wore none of the ostentation of his calling. The significance of the tooth was that the creature who bore it, a beyaless cath’en, had killed all but one of a fully-armed hunting party numbering a dozen. Bedistai, the sole survivor of the attack, had managed to slay the cath’en. It had been his first hunt, and while the accomplishment had elevated him in the eyes of his peers to master hunter, the tooth served more as a reminder than as a boast.
This is an excerpt from the scene involving Peniff, who has been collared and leashed by his captors:
To say Harad was relentless is to understate the rage that drove him. He had pushed his party mercilessly until eventually, one of the horses, driven to exhaustion, fell and refused to rise. When Harad began flogging it, Peniff tore his leash from Kord’s grasp, strode up to Harad and grabbed him by the wrist, arresting the whip at the top of its arc. Harad turned to glare.
“You will kill it and still it will not rise.” In a soft, but deliberate tone, Peniff went on. “In fact, if you continue to deny the other horses rest or sleep, you will kill them all. Then what? Do you expect us to walk all the way to danHsar?”…
As the two stood staring, it was hard to say who was in charge: the one with the whip, or the one with the collar around his neck.
Do you have a blog?
I do, after a fashion. It’s called The Write Stuff. Every other Monday on my website, http://www.raymondbolton.com, I interview authors from various genres and from all over the world. While I often introduce debut authors, I’ve been privileged to have award-winning authors as well as NY Times, USA Today and Amazon.com best-sellers as my guests.
What’s your favourite line from a book?
“I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents.”
This is how John Steinbeck opens chapter five in East of Eden. He then describes infants born with three arms, with tails or with mouths in odd places before telling us some are born with misshapen souls and introduces the character named Cathy.
What is your favourite quote?
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” ~ TS Eliot
What’s your dream job and do you think you’ll do it one day?
As is the case for most writers, I hope eventually to write full time. Until that occurs, I follow the Ashanti proverb, “Act as if you cannot fail.”
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
For the last two and a half years business demands have put me on a plane every week. Fortunately, that came to an end last December and I have begun finding time for other pursuits like gardening and cooking. If I can free up a little more, I would like to resume practicing Tai Chi and playing the guitar. Both, however, require an hour or more every day for one to develop proficiency. And, of course, I would love to resume sailing and flying gliders, so I guess my books will really have to take off!
Where do you like to travel to?
I’d like to return to Greece one day. I love the island of Spetsis, home to Bouboulina, the real life Greek heroine who led the underground movement against the Nazis. It is also the place where John Fowles set his paranormal novel, The Magus. Then there’s Cephalonia, where Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was set. My wife and I inherited a house there we’ve never seen, in the town of Fiskardo, on the island’s northern tip.
What’s your experience of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network?
Shortly before I released my debut novel, the epic fantasy, Awakening, I had the good fortune to meet the founder of the Fantasy Sci-Fi News Network, author Leeland Artra. I played a minor role in the Network’s kick-off. Through it, I’ve met a number of wonderful science fiction and fantasy authors, like yourself, Kaz. It is a great place for both authors and readers of these genres to connect.
Kasper: I agree with you there, Raymond. The network is a great place to hang out and I have made heaps of friends there.
Thanks you so much for dropping by today and sharing Thought Gazer with us. I’m looking forward to part 2 of our interview on Monday as well.
Links to connect with Raymond and view his books
Website & blog: http://www.raymondbolton.com
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