Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Anton Strout.
Anton Strout is the author of two fantasy series: The Spell Mason Chronicles and the Simon Canderous series. His latest novel, Stonecast (The Spellmason Chronicles, Book 2), was published in September 2013. His short stories have been published in several anthologies.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
AN INTERVIEW WITH ANTON STROUT
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
I’m Anton Strout. I’m an Aquarius. I like long walks… well, anywhere as long as I can log the steps on my FitBit and iPhone apps. I’m desperately trying to svelte down my ‘fantasy author’ physique. Oh, and I also write books that explore the fantastical and hopefully entertain. Oh, and every time you buy one of my books, a sixteen month old twins gets to eat!
- Have you always been interested in writing?
Pretty much. I’ve always done it, but not until 2001 or so did I think to even try it as a career. I was along time dabbler, writing short stories or my total tribute novel to the Frank Miller run on Daredevil. Around 2001 two of my friends were sick of other people’s books coming out, so we formed the cutthroat no-holds- barred Dorks of the Round Table writing group. Now all three of us are published, so it seemed a good critical endeavor to have started, huh?
- Are there any particular authors or books that have been a source of inspiration to you?
My work tends to fall somewhere between my love of Stephen King and Douglas Adams. King gives me a base for what I like to call ‘tapping the Universal’… he can write a line or two where most people will totally get it because it’s a universal truth or hits the nail on the head for 90% of people. That’s a rare gift. Adams is who I strive to be, trying to capture his delightful turns of phrase or capture his talent for humor. But at the end of days, I’d be happy if I could just be Joss Whedon.
- You've written two urban fantasy series, the Simon Canderous series and The Spellmason Chronicles. How did you become interested in urban fantasy?
I never set out to write urban fantasy, but I was a fan of all things fantastical growing up. Then Buffy the Vampire Slayer happened. I love the blend of the modern world with the paranormal and its sense of humor. I then churned through the first 10 or so Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books which (then) read like noir detective page turners. After that, an idea struck me about a man with magic hands that was inspired by a short story Garp writes in The World According To Garp, and the rest is history…
- You've written four Simon Canderous books. Will you write more Simon Canderous books in the near future?
I would at least like to do a fifth Simon Canderous book. There were some things left unresolved in book four of the series that I’d like to explore. I either need to find another publisher to take up the mantle, or Kickstart it myself. You know, in all that free time I have with the day job, writing and raising sixteen month old twins!
- Your new book, Incarnate, will be published soon. It's the third book in The Spellmason Chronicles. Could you tell us something about it? What can readers expect from it?
Book by book, the Spellmason Chronicles keeps pulling back the camera from the first meeting of Alexandra Belarus and the gargoyle Stanis who her great-great grandfather created to watch over the family long ago. ALCHEMYSTIC covers the initial lead in to that meeting and the immediate results of it. In STONECAST the camera pulls back further to show what exists beyond the knowledge that gargoyles exists. What else exists, is the question that is answered. With INCARNATE we see how New York City at large deals with the sudden knowledge of the existence of gargoyles, alchemists, Spellmasons and witches.
- Is there anything that you could tell us about the protagonist in The Spellmason Chronicles? What kind of character is she?
Alexandra Belarus is an artist who finds herself finding creative fulfillment in the arcane world. Once struggling to sculpt or sketch, she finds her true talent comes when she learns she is of the lineage of the last practicing Spellmason—one who transform stone into living creatures. It’s an artistry she could never have anticipated taking up, but finds herself rising to the occasion with the help of her friends. I like her. She’s good people.
- Will you write more Spellmason books in the near future?
There will be some short stories set in the world, but nothing novel length is forecoming. The Streets of Shadows anthology will feature a tale focusing on alchemist freelancer Caleb Kennedy. That’s out later this year, I believe.
- What would you say to a reader who's thinking of reading your books for the first time?
If you like urban fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, then I’m the author for you. The Simon Canderous books are more of a paranormal police procedural focusing on a man with the power of psychometry. The Spellmason Chronicles has a bit more open nerdery to them and is filled with gargoyles, alchemists, witches, a kickass dancer/paladin wielding a pole arm on the streets of Manhattan and a brick golem named Bricksley. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then welcome aboard!
- What are you currently working on?
I’m churning away on what I’m calling my young adult/Dickensian street urchin/steampunk/Iron Man/Voltron book, as well as a SEKRIT PROJECT with a fellow fantasy author that I can’t talk about just quite yet.
- Is there anything you'd like to add?
First, a big thank you to all my existing readers for their love and support, and a hearty welcome to anyone new to me.
Secondly, I invite you to come check out The Once & Future Podcast (www.theonceandfuturepodcast.com). It’s a show I host where I talk with other authors about their craft, their hobbies and rampant nerdiness. If you’re a writer or just simply a reader, come check us out. There’s a little something for everyone!