Author bio: Raymond Bolton divides his time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Portland, Oregon. Prior to being published, he won several awards for his work. Most recently, under its working title, Renunciation, Awakening was a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s 2013 literary competition from among hundreds of entries from the US, the UK, Canada, Europe and Australia. It also won writerstype.com’s June 2013 First Chapter competition. From April 2011, until it was disbanded in December 2012, Raymond was an invited, featured contributor for the writers’ blog, Black Ink, White Paper.
Book title: Awakening
Synopsis: How does a world armed with bows, arrows and catapults, where steam power has only begun to replace horses and sailing ships, avert conquest from beyond the stars? Prince Regilius has been engineered to combat the Dalthin, a predatory alien species that enslaves worlds telepathically, and to do so he must unite his people. But when his mother murders his father, the land descends into chaos and his task may prove impossible. Faced with slaying the one who gave him life in order to protect his world, he seeks a better way. Set in a vast and varied land where telepaths and those with unusual mental abilities tip the course of events, Awakening goes to the heart of family, friendship and betrayal.
Publish date: January 1, 2014
Fantasy Sci-fi Network: What made you choose this genre?
Raymond: I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy, so when I decided to begin writing, I fell right into it.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: We agree, it's a great genre and very popular too, so good call.
What’s the story behind your book title?
Raymond: It’s a multi-layered title. In the first scene, the protagonist awakens to a changed world. There are many awakenings throughout the book, right up to and including the book’s conclusion.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: That's a well thought out idea. Which is your favourite character and why?
Raymond: I’ve grown to really like the outlaw, Pithien Dur, a victim of circumstance who possesses integrity, a sense of justice, and a likeable bad-ass attitude
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: Sounds like a winning formula.
Do you have another job outside of writing?
Raymond: For the last 38 years, I have made my living as a hairstylist. Currently, I have clients in both Portland, Oregon and Santa Fe, New Mexico. This puts me on a plane every Wednesday.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: It's amazing you find the time to write, you must squeeze it in during flights and airport lounges! What are you working on now?
Raymond: I am working on the prequel trilogy to Awakening. I recently began writing Foreteller, the second volume of the trilogy. But because so much was dependent on events I’d forgotten in the first volume, I have set it aside and have returned to Thought Gazer, which I am rereading and revising as I go.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: Yes, prequels can get a bit complicated. Good luck with it. What’s your writing routine?
Raymond: Routine? Hah! On a plane every Wednesday, working ten hour days, I write whenever I can grab a minute.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: Yes, we thought as much. You must have heaps of ideas bubbling away through the week and exploding onto paper when you get a chance. What do you do when you have writers’ block?
Raymond: I return to what I’ve already written and begin editing. Somewhere during that process, ideas arise and I can return to the story.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: What type of books do you like to read?
Raymond: In addition to science fiction and fantasy, I read mainstream literature and thrillers.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: That's great. What’s your favourite line from a book? “I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents.” East of Eden, Chapter 5, John Steinbeck. So simply phrased, yet so chilling, this is the line that introduces the psychopath, Cathy.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: Who inspires you?
John Steinbeck, JRR Tolkien, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, AE Van Vogt, Martin Cruz Smith, Donna Tartt
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: That's an interesting variety. What’s your dream job and do you think you’ll do it one day?
Raymond: Being a full-time writer. I have part of it down. I’m working on the rest. Considering Awakening is only two months old, I’m doing pretty well.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: You certainly are. Well done on your awards and achievements to date.
Where do you like to travel to?
Raymond: Given my druthers, if work and my creditors were not so insistent, I’d return to the islands of Kauai and Spetsis, Greece—where John Fowles set his novel, The Magus
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: Hawaii and the Mediteranean - sounds idyllic and great settings for letting the imagination run wild.
Do you prefer ebook or hardcopy?
Raymond: I’m old fashioned. I still prefer the feel of paper.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: Are there any writing styles or genres you dislike?
Raymond: I dislike anything poorly written or poorly crafted. Writing’s an art, and should be treated as such.
Fantasy Sci-Fi Network: Great answer and totally true. Love it.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Now we'll have a look at your book extract and post up some link for people to connect with you and your writing.
Fear struck Ai’Lorc like a blow to his middle, leaving him on his knees, shaking and crying. Yet, while his flesh seemed to come apart one moment, then swell and bloat, ready to explode in the next, he knew it was all a lie. Though sickened to the depths of his being by the sea of vile fluids and stench through which the boat seemed to sail, he knew this nightmare was only a contrivance. That the Dalthin were manipulating him so caused a far stronger emotion to well through the revulsion and horror. Ai’Lorc was furious these creatures would so dispassionately inflict such pain and terror. As he sat, immobilized and overwhelmed by it all, indignity and frustration began to override the other feelings. He located the crossbow and took it, ignoring the swarm of wriggling, biting creatures upon it. Then, after making sure he carried enough bolts, he grabbed the rail and pulled himself erect. Though trembling and weak, he made his way aft and the tears that coursed down his cheeks angered him all the more.
I am not a toy! he protested.
As he made his way toward the stern, the intensity of the illusion grew and his vision tunneled. With great effort, he focused on his goal and strained to hold all other thoughts at bay. Although he stumbled unseeing past Pedreth, he paused and knelt over Leovar’s rocking, trembling form and placed a hand on his arm. He tried to reassure him, but his emotions welled in his throat and it was all he could do to stifle a sob. Rising again, he made his way past the helm and braced himself against the railing, freeing his hands. Placing a foot in the crossbow’s stirrup, he drew back the bowstring and fitted a bolt into the groove. His knees threatened to buckle and the world began to spin. He leaned against a backstay, bracing his knees against the railing and lifted the weapon to take sight on his target. Drawing a breath, he faced his pursuers.
The small boat had nearly overtaken the ketch. As he focused on its bow, Ai’Lorc found himself looking into the eyes of two madmen. One of the pair was whirling something over head. Suddenly he threw the object and Ai’Lorc saw, almost too late, the hook. He ducked as the claw flew past and fell clattering onto the deck. As its talons dug in, Ai’Lorc returned to his task.
He might have considered either man on the forepeak his target, but he was loath to shoot anyone the Dalthin controlled. While these poor souls were probably his most immediate threat, his eyes sought only Dalthin hides. One was visible over the cabin, so he fixed his sight upon it. Slowing his breath to steady his hand, he tried to calculate what he must do. Following his target with the bow would send the bolt to where the creature had been at the time he fired. He would have to anticipate the craft’s rise and fall and allow not only for its progress, but for the force of the wind. Thankfully, the wind blew steadily. Were it not for the two vessels’ proximity, he would have considered his task futile, especially in view of his condition. The small, writhing creatures that hung from his hair and reached for his eyes had become minor distractions.
A second grappling hook snagged the rail to his left, yet Ai’Lorc tried to relax and get in synch with the rhythm of the sea. Almost as if to assist him, the gray slug behind the cabin drew itself upright. Ai’Lorc’s finger closed on the trigger and began to flex. Then, while he watched, the creature shimmered and changed form, turning into a large bird of prey, but with such claws as he had never seen. The bird rose from the boat, took to the air and flew straight toward him. He was about to raise his bow to follow it, when intuition struck. He fixed his sights on the spot where the Dalthin had been. As the boat wallowed in a trough and wings beat the air and delirium seemed the only reality, Ai’Lorc fired.
… … … … …
Nausea fell away and clarity returned. Reg took a deep breath of clean ocean air. Then, as suddenly as it had departed, the oppression returned, but without its prior intensity. It was during that momentary respite, Reg knew Ai’Lorc’s dart had met its mark. The bird had been a distraction, but because Ai’Lorc had remained focused, the bolt struck its intended target. For an instant the Dalthin reappeared, trying to assume another form, then collapsed. One mind had left the chorus and Reg found he could distinguish each of the remaining three, as one can distinguish the alto from the tenor from the bass. Of that trio, one mind stood out and its intent was clear. For the first time, Reg was able to follow that one Dalthin’s thoughts as it gathered itself and prepared to act. It accumulated its energy, built upon its intensity and shaped it into a form it could use. When it was satisfied it could strike with the desired effect, the Dalthin focused on its target. As that focus narrowed, Reg understood thought could kill. The Dalthin intended to strike down Reg’s tutor like a hand swatting an insect. Before it could act, Reg reacted in kind and lashed out at the thing, startled he possessed such power. The strike was clean, forceful and accurate. His remaining strength evaporated and he fell to the deck. Darkness closed in. Before he blacked out, however, he saw the launch swerve. Then, as a wave washed over the pursuers’ port beam, Reg saw no more.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0991347102 (soft cover)
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