Friday, July 29, 2011

Gary F. Vanucci: The IAN Interview

I am a native Pennsylvanian that lives near the Philadelphia area. I have been drawn to art and creativity in all forms from the time I was able to read. I started reading comic books at a young age and was drawn to the hobby immediately. I started drawing early on, pursued that for a good while, and loved all things that involved an artistic sense. This lead to me exploring singing and eventually writing lyrics and singing in an all original band in the late 80’s while pursuing a degree in fine arts that eventually shifted to Graphic Design, where I acquired an A.A. I began writing a Sci-Fi novel in the late 90’s then stopped as I seemed to get in my own way. While going to school, something tragic happened and we unexpectedly lost my father, a phenomenal musician, to a heart attack. This made me think that I wanted to pursue my writing once more. I decided to write and finish my debut novel, this time in the fantasy genre. Since my father never realized his dream, I thought maybe I would try it for the both of us!

IAN. Please tell us a bit about Covenant of the Faceless Knights.

G.V. Where to begin!? A brief summary is something like this: When a dangerous artifact goes missing from a temple, the elderly high priest in charge eventually comes to the conclusion that he needs help. He requests aid in the form of a former apprentice, Garius, who is now an Inquisitor from the Order of the Faceless Knights. After a series of interviews, Garius sets out on his quest aided by Rose, a thief among thieves, by the battle-hungry Saeunn, and by a naïve elf named Elec, who reluctantly agrees to accompany them at the behest of the persuasive Inquisitor. The eclectic group then sets out to recover the artifact before it falls into the hands of the lich who once held it. Such is the Covenant of the Faceless Knights!

This barely scratches the surface of the book as there are intricately woven webs of sub-plots going on as well as an over-arching villain that my readers will hopefully love to hate as well as several heroes that they may grow to love…or at least like!

IAN. How long did it take to write the book?

G.V. I spent the better part of a year between edits, re-writes, additions and subtractions, getting logo’s designed and artwork completed. The framework of the book was written in about three months, but I manipulated that many times, spending many a night writing, reading, re-writing and editing. I started with the concept of what would become the Realm of Ashenclaw on July 11, 2010 and after the story was written, I proceeded to fit it all in there! I had some creative help form a very close friend, too that will be accompanying me this year to GenCon! In addition, it was almost a year to the day that the book’s copyright was published (July 13, 2011).

IAN. What inspired you to write the book?

G.V. I was an avid gamer, reader and role-player growing up and have what my wife would call an ‘active imagination’. I played many games in many genre’s, but ultimately I always navigate back to fantasy…it is epic! I really had this overwhelming desire to get the book written over the last year and really enjoy the fantasy genre.

IAN. Talk about the writing process. Do you write at night or in the morning?

G.V. I write whenever the mood strikes. Day, night, afternoon, middle of the night are all good times, depending on when and idea hits. Sometimes it needs to simmer for a bit or warp itself into a better idea. For the most part, it needs to happen organically—you cannot force it…I have tried. Most of the times though, when a good idea hits, I run with it and do it until I can no longer write anymore as my eyes begin to bug out!

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

G.V. The first book I did not use an outline. It was hard doing it that way. I took copious notes and just starting spewing the tale, going back and changing whenever I felt the need. I am working on a second, and this time, there is an outline. So far, it seems much easier!

IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?

GV. I feel that the story is a ‘classic’ good vs. evil thing, but what will separate my book from the others is the ‘real’ quality of my heroes and villains. They all have a history that shapes them into that they are today and I feel that when you are reading about them, you may be able to relate on how they feel or what they are going through to some extent. Also, when my characters fight, they exert themselves, feel pain and react accordingly, despite the ‘fantasy’ aspect.

IAN. Is Covenant of the Faceless Knights published in print, e-book or both?

G.V. Covenant of the Faceless Knights is available in hardcover and softcover right now with an EBook on the way within the month of August.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

G.V. I hope that they can relate to something that affects them emotionally, that they have a favorite character and that they appreciate all of the characters, as some of my favorite ones are the ‘side’ characters in the book.

IAN. Where can we go to buy Covenant of the Faceless Knights?

G.V. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Authorhouse are all carrying the novel. There are direct links on my blog and on my home page (www.ashenclaw.com) as well to take you to the storefronts.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

G.V. I have a sequel coming, but I do not want to reveal too much about it. Suffice to say that there is a bit more action and the fun is just beginning!

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?

G.V. All of my links can be found on my home page: www.ashenclaw.com, including all of the social media links, blogs, excerpts, history about the world and more!

Covenant of the Faceless Knights by Gary F. Vanucci

304 pages

Fantasy

Authorhouse

Amazon.com

The orc bore down on him quickly and was only within a few arms lengths. He could see the beast’s teeth and drool spray from its mouth as it uttered some foul orc-speak. Elec waited calmly with his weapons drawn, but had not revealed them from beneath his cloak. As the orc reached his position, Elec nimbly dove down and to his left to avoid the brunt of the charge, all the while keeping his foot outstretched enough to trip the orc. The momentum of the beast’s charge took it headlong into the mountainside, sliding on the slippery slush a bit and smashing its helmet down around its eyes, looking a bit worse for wear.

Within a second, Elec was back to his feet, spinning hard and plunging his sword into the back of the creature, placing all of his body weight into the strike. He pierced flesh, but the blade stopped on something, most likely a rib, and therefore was not the killing blow he had hoped for. He cursed his luck, thinking the strike to be well placed. His frustration nearly cost him.

The orc howled in rage and pain and swung a back fist that would have taken off Elec’s head, had it not been for the combination of his sixth sense and the temporary, enhanced state of reactionary speed and reflexes that his elixirs granted him. Instead the blow merely grazed his face instead of crushing bone beneath it and he was able to roll with it. He regained his footing and stood again, shaking the sting of the impact from his mind. A sizable gash on his face was already starting to heal, due to an effect of one particular elixir coursing through his veins.

He waited for the creature to stand again and it straightened its helmet, growling and bleeding from the deep wound in its back. The orc regained its halberd and advanced again, more slowly this time, as orc blood stained the ground.

Elec whispered an ancient elven word under his breath and suddenly, he blinked out of sight and reappeared directly behind the orc. Its yellow eyes suddenly grew wide, contrasting with its dark skin as a rather long blade tip protruded through the front of its chest cavity. It went limp and dropped to the floor, revealing the visibly relieved elf holding Daegnar Giruth in both hands, its blade covered in orc gore.

Elec gave himself a silent congratulation as he acknowledged his victory. He mouthed a whispered thanks for the magic of the ring--it was one of many gifts that his uncle had given him over the years.


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