This week OBS brings you a new interview, in which I had the opportunity to chat with fantasy author James R. Vernon about his short stories entitled ‘The Three Moon Realm: Vol. 1’. Here we learn more about the Realm, its characters, the inspiration behind the stories, fun facts and more. Enjoy!
- Read the review for ‘The Three Moon Realm: Vol. 1’ here.
Caro: What was the inspiration behind The Three Moons Realm? How did it end up being five short stories instead of one full length novel?
James R. Vernon: The inspiration came from being a big fan of fantasy novels and wanting to create a world of my own. I’ve been working on a full novel for over a year now set in the same world, but because of work and family life, it’s been slow going. These short stories came about from my need to write, grow the history and culture of The Three Moons Realm, and not having long periods of time to spend on writing. So instead of writing small amounts for my novel in bits and pieces of my free time, I instead focused on creating characters that could show off some of the details of the world while at the same time help me to improve as a writer.
Caro: At the beginning of every story there’s a title and a date. I’m curious, what does AP mean? I also noticed that the gap of years in between stories goes back and forth, is there a reason for that?
James R. Vernon: The AP stands for After the Plague, which will be something addressed more in short stories and the full length novel. The timeline I’ve created covers thousands of years, with the Plague actually being the second major disaster that some of the races are recovering from. The stories jump around from one short story to the next simply because of how I wanted to order the stories. The order the stories are in are not the same order that they were written. I wanted the pacing to work well when I put them all together, with characters that had similar traits not appearing right after each other. Hopefully I was able to accomplished this.
Caro: Will we learn what happened to Dee’s friends in the future novels? Out of the five, I actually thought that that one was quite an interesting story, since you anticipate who he will be able to really trust and become a warrior at a young age.
James R. Vernon: Yes! Dee ends up playing a major role in the world, so while he might not be the main character in the first full length novel you will still start to learn a little more of what happens to him and his friends. Although it might not seem like it at the time, Dee’s decisions will have major consequences later in the timeline of the world. I have all of the major character defining moments for Dee all mapped out and think the paths that he chooses to take and the ones that he is sort of put on will really make for a deep and interesting character.
Caro: Axan Zarian has a daughter, if I’m not mistaken. Will she become part of a major role in The Three Moons Realm novels or was that the last we’ll hear of her? I became a fan of this plot 🙂
James R. Vernon: She will definitely play a major role as well, although I’m still working on when she will start to make her mark on the world. At first I had her interacting with the main character of my full novel early on, but as I got to that part of the book it seemed forced to and put her in. Not to worry though, her story will be told as well as her family’s story as well.
When I’m writing, I try not to put characters into my stories that you will only get to glimpse once or twice and then never hear from again. That’s why I try leaving the descriptions of the less important characters as vague, so that the reader can imagine them as they want and the focus can be placed more on the characters and plots that will play an important role in the future.
Caro: I really liked the description of the Gods. How did you create such names for them and are they inspired by any mythical Gods of ancient history?
James R. Vernon: When I created the Gods, I wanted to have a good deal of variety as the head priests of each represent the governing body in the land of the humans (not in Axan Zarian’s lands as you saw in his story). I love stories about Kingdoms with Kings and Queens ruling, but in my world I wanted the deities to have a more active role then just being mentioned in a prayer or curse.
Creating multiple Gods meant giving them their own roles and a reason why people might pray to one and not another or a combination of Gods. Having many Gods of course made me think of the Greek and Roman Gods, and the titles that they wore. Not wanting to directly copy those standards of course, I tried to come up with what I thought people might pray for, living in a fantasy realm. The names of the Gods, and a good deal of other things in my stories, are mashups of words from different languages; Latin, Greek, German, Spanish, and even Elvish, Orcish, and Dwarf. Avien’zia is the only one I created completely without help, and that’s sort of an inside joke with a few other people.
Caro: How does such a place like the Abyss come to exist within the Realm? It feels like a type of Hell, but you’re alive and someone can pull you out if they want. Does every creature in the Realm end up there or just the imps?
James R. Vernon: The Abyss is more like a world all in itself then a place like hell. Hundreds of different races of creatures, like the imps, are born, live, and die on the different levels, with their own hierarchy based purely on strength and the ability to manipulate creatures both stronger and weaker then you. MOST of the creatures are the direct creations of Ze’an, God of the Abyss, but there are certain exceptions that will be seen later on.
No one from the Realm has ever been to the Abyss, but connections between the Realm and the Abyss do appear at random. These connections let all sorts of creatures out while also causing other problems. It was one of these connections that was the first major influence and who Dee is in the story and who he is going to become.
Caro: What made you want to become a writer?
James R. Vernon: The main reason would be all of the different worlds that I’ve visited by other authors, and the desire to create my own because of them. The novels of wonderful authors like Terry Brooks, Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman, Tolkien, David Eddings, and Robert Jordan who not only create these amazing characters but also these fantastic worlds, races, cultures, and magic for the characters and the readers to explore. I want to create a world just as large, even though I’m finding that it takes a LOT of planning to do so.
Caro: If you had the chance to change the ending of any of your favorite written books, which one will it be and why?
James R. Vernon: An excellent question and one I can’t answer. I’m sure we all have read a story where we thought the wrong hero got the girl, or that the evil lord made some stupid mistakes, or even worse we found ourselves wanting the hero to lose. The thing is, those are the author’s worlds and characters and whether or not we agree with the choices made, it was their choice to make not ours. I mean, could you imagine if someone was to go back and start changing around a great movie like Star Wars to make it fit more with what they thought the audience would like? Oh wait….
Caro: Which is your favorite place to write?
James R. Vernon: My office without a doubt. Its a small room, added on to what use to be our garage, with one large window and a set of sliding glass doors that look out on my back yard taking up most of the back wall. When I’m writing I can just sit and look out the glass doors and imagine my characters outside in whatever weather I’m currently having in my area. Huge thunderstorms would have to be my favorite, as I have a clear view of the area and the lightning as it streaks through the sky.
Caro: If you had the chance to travel to any part of the world for free, where would it be and why?
James R. Vernon: I would have to say Rome. The culture there is incredibly interesting, and just having the opportunity to see what’s left of the Roman Empire would certainly get my creativity going.
- Favorite color: Blue
- Favorite food: Anything made from a potato; potato chips, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato skins, sweet potatoes, potato salad…
- Favorite movie: Star Wars, hands down. The characters, adventures, races, different worlds, and The Force all got me hooked as a Sci-Fi and Fantasy fan.
- Favorite music: I listen to everything from classical to heavy metal. My favorite artist though would have to be Tom Petty hands down. Anytime one of his songs comes on the radio, I have to stop and sing along.
Caro: What new projects can your fans expect in the future?
James R. Vernon: Trying my hardest to finish up my first full length novel, Bound to the Abyss. My short stories might appear first, depending on how the story goes. Over on my author blog, here I’m starting a contest where people can submit a character they have created and I make them fit into the Three Moons Realm. These characters could appear for a moment or two in a short story or main novel, or they could go on to become major players in the events of the world. Its an experiment, but if it goes well and there is a lot of positive interest, it could become a reoccurring event.
Thank you to author James R. Vernon for a great interview! I definitely had a great time doing this interview even though I had so many questions to ask but knowing that a full novel is coming I didn’t want to get too spoiled or spoil other readers 😉 If I have the opportunity again in a near future I would like to ask which episode of Star Wars is his favorite and which Metal band he likes most!