Monday, March 26, 2012

Kevin Breaux returns to discuss his latest release Blood Divided the sequel to Soul Born.

I LOVE  this cover.



There exists an ancient elven proverb, dating before the time of man. Life and death, like day and night, meet at a point where they blend into one. It is that brief moment when anything is possible.

There was a time when four sparks of life burned brighter than the sun itself. Megan was born with power, Lucien born with station. Autumn was born full of life, while Nathan was entwined with death.

Peace has come and gone… The conflicts of old have returned-rejuvenated and driven. This is the beginning of the end. The children of Karn have come of age, and now they will take part in shaping the fate of Illyia.

Will they join forces, or with blood will they be divided?

 

Several months ago, we talked about Soul Born a good deal, but I somehow I missed asking you to tell us a little about yourself out side of writing. What do you like to do in your spare time?

Me? I’m just a normal guy. Like everyone else when I walk into a room you normally can hear a disembodied narration that says something like….

“Kevin James Breaux, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.”

Oh wait, that’s not me, that’s Michael Knight from Knight Rider, duh! I forget, I just have theme music… So, OK, OK, sometimes I think I’m kinda cool like that.

On my spare time I really enjoy playing video games and watching movies.

You know, I especially enjoy a game, like a RPG, where I get to create a character and develop them. I really get attached to my characters. This really started for me back during Final Fantasy Tactics for PSX. But in recent years I have been very connected to my Dragon Age: Origins and Skryim characters.

Games like World of Warcraft… Mmmm, World of Warcraft… oh I was addicted to that game for 2 years—a truly dark time for my writing, by the way. I think I was writing once or twice a week and playing WOW every other waking hour. Anyway, a game like WoW allowed me to design, create, and develop a character with skills and new gear. I was more interested and concerned with how my character looked and was perceived in the guild, than actually completing quests and leveling at times. J

Lately I have been on a retro game kick. I want to go back and re-experience the games I played as a kid. My first system was an Atari 2600, so I am playing with those emulators a lot. I got my old Atari 2600 out the other day and cleaned it up. I am considering connecting it and getting the true old school game experience. What will I play first? Not Adventure, although I love that game, probably Atlantis or River Raid.



What do you feel the challenges are of writing a sequel and how did you overcome them?
First I wanted to make sure that the sequel could, in part, stand on its own. I wanted to bring forward a lot of the themes of Soul Born and what made it work and then build on that. Soul Born had lots of elements of mystery in it; I tried to keep the reader guessing. That might work once, but I did not want my series feeling like the X-Files or LOST and never give you answers and just have you asking more and more questions. I am resolving things slowly and clearly and by the end of book three all will be out there.

One thing I think is important with sequels is bringing in new characters and expanding the world they all live in a bit. I do both of these things in Blood Divided. One of the most common questions I hear from readers is about Zian. They want more about him and his past. While he does make a return in Blood Divided, he is not much of a focal point. So I have promised to write a future supplementary short story just on him in the world of the Soul Born Saga.



Would you consider Blood Divided a stand-alone book or do you recommend readers start with Soul Born?
I wanted to make Blood Divided strong enough that it could stand on its own, but it does tie tightly into Soul Born since it’s about the children of the characters in the first book all grown up now. Focused on this new generation we learn about the present and the past at the same time. Megan, for example, is Opal’s daughter with Karn and she shares many of the flaws Opal had. She wants to be recognized for her power and she is jealous of those who get more attention than her. This is apparent regardless of whether you have read Soul Born or not, but might have more impact if you did. In fact, you could read Soul Born after Blood Divided if you wanted to. It just might spoil some of the surprises and the one big bomb that drops in the early pages of Blood Divided may not be so devastating.

So… yeah… I recommend reading Soul Born first. BUT you will see my quality and skill as a writer grow exponentially between these two books, so it’s hard not to say, “hey read Blood Divided first!”


Can you tell us a little bit about your favorite chapter from Blood Divided?
My favorite chapter of Blood Divided is actually a short one; a flashback of Tala giving birth and it is tied into an accident and tragedy that is befalling her in the present. Tala has always been one of my favorite characters to write in the Soul Born Saga, because she is always stuck in the middle of bigger things, trapped by her responsibilities and forced to ride out whatever storm is hitting. She is no hero and at the same time one of the biggest ones.


Who is your favorite character from this book. Can you tell us more about him or her?
I really like Vasche. I wrote him hoping to he would be the guy every male reader would want to be and all the female readers would want to love. Like… oh, name a male actor that is cool. Vin Diesel for example. Vasche is Kel Tora’s Captain of the Guard. He is young and strong and has succeeded in every test he has put himself to in life. He is in love with the Autumn, the Princess of Kel Tora, a feeling that is mutual but has not yet been admitted to or shared between the two. He is also attracted to and holds high respect for Tala, Autumn’s mother. When the world starts to shift and danger arises, Vasche is named one of Kel Tora’s champions to fight for her future. It is what he was born to do and he rises to the challenge.


What would you say is the theme of Blood Divided and why?
The main theme would be stepping out from the shadow of your parents and becoming your own self. Other themes you will see are: relationships and how difficult they can be, unwanted responsibility and how quickly a perfect world can crumble. Carrying over from Soul Born is the reality of a gray world, where good and evil are not so clearly defined in people.


Will there be a book 3 of the Soul Born series? If so can you tell us more about where this series is heading?

Book 3 is being written and is about 75% done. It is at 100K words now and I am aiming for 130K. ***SPOILER ALERT*** The series will shoot another 2-3 years forward. Illyia is in ruin and Vasche has finally found a way to come back home after being shipwrecked on an Island with Tala. During his time away he has prepared himself and a small squad. He is honor bound and determined to rescue his princess regardless of the fact that his whole world has changed while he was gone.

With Vasche is a group of mages, girls who Opal saved from Illyia long ago, but left defenseless when she died and her daughter Megan left to avenge her. Vasche has become their new leader, mentor and much more.

My intentions with this series was always to tell a fantasy story from beginning to end. Blood Divided was the beginning of the end. Flesh Ended will be a vicious completion to the story. I promise you will learn answers from questions in book 1 and 2. Also you will learn things you never expected. There will be returning characters and many surprises.


As a writer, what are you goals for the rest of the year? 

Above and beyond all else, I am seeking an agent for two new books I wrote, both of which start two different, longer series. One is a modern day, dark urban fantasy or horror. It focuses around a foul-mouthed fairy princess (like a Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton type) and the loads of trouble she had gotten herself into. The other book is a dark fantasy horror set in the Viking Age and is far more brutal than my previously published works. It’s me going all out… or 90% all out. I still held back some. I am very pleased with this Viking book and would love to see it at TOR or DAW.


Before you go, could you please share an excerpt for my readers. Thanks.
Here are a couple pages from the beginning. This will give Soul Born readers an idea where Tala has been all this time.

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Late that night, after her husband was asleep, Tala opened her eyes, staring straight up into the heights of their enormous canopy bed. Draped with vibrant orange silk, the family heirloom sat in the middle of the royal bedroom, flanked with two wrought-iron candelabras of which all but five candles total had burned down to the end.

Tala spent many of the first days she lived with the king decorating his bedroom; it clearly required a woman’s touch. Lining the room were many tall lush plants, so many so that the room appeared green when one squinted their eyes. Atop a shelf in the one corner was a collection of rare antiquities that the king had collected from various elven tribes, including the jawbone of a lizard man that an elven chieftain gave him as a thank you for King Ethan’s aid after a flood decimated the chieftain’s lands. Tala always sneered at it whenever her husband was not in the room—it did not go with her décor—but she was too polite to ask him to remove it.

Although she had not lived with her people for a long time, she still held true to a few of their customs. One such tradition was beating the walls with dried Orange Sparkle Blossoms, a flower that was indigenous only to the north of Kel Tora Castle on the border with New Maejika. It was said to keep the spirits from entering the room, but Tala mostly did it because it left a fresh smell that made her feel like she was sleeping in the wild.

The king knew well of her love of the outdoors, and thus sprinkled wild flower petals on the bed daily. It was a testament of his love for her; one she always repaid kindly with a morning kiss.

The mere thought of explaining where she was going, what she had to do, it made her feel almost as uncomfortable as seeing the man who called himself Khaos just the other day. With no other option in sight, Tala decided to sneak out in the middle of the night.

It had been many years since Tala vowed never to return to Drae’Qu’s lake home, but Khaos’s appearance forced her to break that vow. Like it or not, Tala knew the enigmatic fairy would provide her with some beneficial information in this moment of stressful perplexity.

Tala slithered from the bed like a snake shedding its skin, slowly sliding out of the sheets. The candlelight caressed her sweat moistened naked skin, making it shine and sparkle as if covered with thousands of tiny jewels. Tala drew a deep, silent breath and quickly dropped onto a rug on the floor next to her side of the bed. She placed her hands on the floor and sat in a crouch for a moment. She looked around the room. Tala had planned her exit carefully before retiring for the night with her husband. At the far end of the room was a window she had left open. It was her sole means of escape; she would exit where the cool breeze entered.

Underneath the window, about twenty feet below, was the balcony of the royal hall. Another fifty or so feet beneath that was the royal garden and fountain, a place Tala knew very well. The fountain itself was a sculpture of a pair of women back to back. They held hands out to their sides and spilled water from their mouths at a forty-five degree angle upward. She always thought it was a beautiful sculpture, but very silly too. The pool of the fountain was very large and reached toward the castle some. She had swam in it a very long time ago, so she recalled its dimensions with some clarity. Tala knew it was deep, but she was unsure if it was deep enough to handle a dive from the height of the balcony. Tonight she would find out.

She stared at the window intently. Her muscles tensed. Her eyes moved to a pile of dirty clothes she had hidden her satchel underneath. Inside the pack was simple attire, something she could wear to blend in with the townsfolk. At the bottom of the pack was a pair of hooked knives, a rope, and a small water skin.

Tala could hear the guards walking outside the bedroom and even some of the ones outside the window on the grounds. To her advantage, elven hearing reached much further at night, when most of the world around was silent and still. She waited for a clear signthat the guards were distant, then made her move. Sprinting toward the window, her bare feet slid across the chilled stone floor. A tiny shiver of anticipation shot across her body. Without breaking stride, she bent forward and scooped up the satchel from its hiding spot, finally slinging it over her shoulder. Then, with one clean motion, she jumped up to the windowsill, landing still and quiet. She brushed her yellow-green hair from her face and peered down to the balcony. No guards as far as her eyes could see. A gust of wind blew so hard she was forced to brace herself on the cold, lifeless stone behind her. Once she regained her balance, she took a final glance back at her husband in bed across the room. He laid still, sound asleep.

With a hop, Tala jumped down to the balcony. It was a quick fall, but it still caused her heart to race. She landed softly on the hard stone balcony, as only an elf could, with only the slightest thud. Tala snapped her head to the right and then the left. As she feared, a guard approached from far away. Knowing she had only a moment to act, Tala backed herself into a shadowy corner, until her body was completely engulfed in darkness. How embarrassing it would be, she thought, to get caught leaving through a window in the middle of the night, naked. How would I explain myself to my husband? It has been years since I did this. What would the king think? Unfortunately, it was all a risk she had to take to get the answers she needed.

The guard rounded the corner and passed with his back to her. His footfalls chimed a clunky metallic rhythm as he walked. A sound, she thought, that was loud enough to wake the dead. Humans and their silly need for heavy armor; she shook her head. After waiting for the guard to round the next corner, she confidently stepped from the shadows. Tiptoeing softly to the railing, Tala gazed down at the moonlit, sparkling water inside the fountain.

Not wanting to waste another moment, she threw her backpack down into a fully grown rose bush below. After a short elven prayer passed her lips, she stepped up to the railing and dove down to the water.


It's been great having you here today.

Purchase Links:

Kindle

Barnes and Noble Paperback
Amazon Paperback


Author Links:

Website
Author page at Amazon.

3 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll have to pick this up. Like the cover. Like his sense of humoras well.
And you still have an Atari? Whoa...

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I have long believed that some of the most creative people are involved with video games (either creating them or playing them). This book sounds awesome and I love the author's prose. The cover is spectacular. Plus, as a guy, he's really going to be able to write men well.

kevinjamesbreaux said...

Thanks guys, and double thanks to Dreamer's Perch for having me!

If you all read Blood Divided let me know. I have a sample chapter posted on my site too.

If you read Soul Born, please keep in mind it was my first novel and had some stinky-smelly editing. I'm fixing it up for a second release later... I hope. :)

Kevin James Breaux