Hey, you’re a fellow Midwestern writer! Tell us why Iowan’s make for good fantasy writers, Eric.I’m amazed at the number of writers from the Midwest I’ve met since signing my contract. I don’t know about Iowan’s specifically (I’ve only been one for 2 ½ years; I grew up eating breakfast, lunch, and supper—I incorporated second breakfast after reading Tolkien—but I’m still uncertain what dinner means), but I’m a firm believer in write what you know. I know sword fighting—I fenced in college—and I’ve read enough fantasy to know dragons and magic. All of my other published stories have been science fiction; my fantasy manuscripts kept getting rejected, so I was about to give up and call myself a science fiction writer before I signed the contract for Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud.
*Wow, so you know your way around a sword. Cool, and I hope I don’t ever get on your bad side! Tell us about your book, Unveiling The Wizards’ Shroud.Owen is the only son of King Kendrick, which almost guarantees his birthright as heir to the throne, something he does not desire. Magic is the only thing he despises more than the idea of being king. When his father falls ill at Owen’s birthday celebration, he has to seek out an ingredient needed to save him, and the only way to succeed in his quest, is to team up with the very magician he holds responsible for the death of his mother.
*”Owen” seems to me a strange choice of name for a fantasy-based character. Are your Midwest origins showing?Owen means “young warrior.” When I write, I give all of my characters names based upon their personality. Many writers do this, but the first time I realized it was Heinlein’s ‘Stranger in a Strange Land.’ When I start writing, many characters end up getting new names. Cedric, Yara, and Hagen all started with different names. I intended to change Owen’s name. I wanted something more exotic sounding, but the longer I wrote, the more this young warrior became “Owen.”
Also, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I won’t discount the possibility it’s a subconscious reference to Owen Lars that my mind refused to let go.*Huh. Sorry to say I don’t know Owen Lars (yet, I’ve seen all the Star Wars flicks), but that’s awesome. I had no idea “Owen” means “young warrior.” You’ve obviously given a lot of thought to your tale. So, there’s a lot of prejudice against wizards in your tale, Eric. I’m detecting a sorta’ Professor X and Magneto vibe (yes, I’m letting my nerd flag fly) between Cedric and Argnam with Cedric promoting living in peace with mere mortals, and Argnam wanting to wipe humans out.
Anyone who read the post I did for Kai Strand (you can read it here) knows I love myself some X-Men, especially the mid-nineties variety. I’ve always liked the sympathetic villain like Magneto (an extremely brief synopsis for anyone who doesn’t know—his family was killed in the concentration camps in the 1940s, so he has a hard time believing in a world where normal people will live in peace with mutants). I didn’t want a villain just pouring forth evil (not that I don’t like those villains, I just didn’t want Argnam to be one).*I like sympathetic villains, too, Eric. Some of my fave characters. Is the prejudice against wizards a metaphor for anything happening in the world today?
I think prejudice, fear, and hate will always surround the unknown or the different. I didn’t write Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud with any particular metaphor in mind—and I certainly didn’t want to preach a message, but even if I did, I wouldn’t say my book means this, because to some people, it may mean that. Now I’ve taken away from the book for them, because I said what they thought meant that actually meant this. See how bad that, or this, could get?*Ai-yi-yi! Don’t make me think too much. Not a good thing. Yara’s a good, strong female character and Cedric’s a pretty interesting wizard as well. Good characterization, Eric! Are they based on anyone you know?
I don’t have a daughter, but if I did, I like to think she’d be like Yara in strength and attitude. For Cedric I combined three of my favorite wizards: Gandalf, Dumbledore, and Zeddicus “Zed” Zu'l Zorander. Then I made him much more flawed than these three.*I liked how you interwove various short stories depicting the past Wizard Rebellion throughout the epic quest, making for a richer tapestry. What were your influences?
I had to get the back story incorporated into the book. Had I just let Cedric tell Owen everything, I’d have lost 90% of my readers by the end of the third chapter. Stephen King’s “Wizard and Glass” (The Dark Tower IV) is almost entirely back-story, but it’s written like the events are currently happening. I tried mimicking his style, and I think it works in Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from readers about it.*There’re more beasties in this tale than a Ray Harryhausen film, the way I like my fantasy. So, tell me, did the shadow lizards originate from a dream? Or somewhere else?
I’m a recovering video game addict. I played a lot of The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. If these games teach us anything, it’s that beasts are everywhere in fantasy. The whole cave scene is my homage to a Zelda game. I just didn’t include a map, compass, bats, or a master key.*Eric, there are support groups for recovering video game addicts.
Obviously, Unveiling The Wizards’ Shroud is set up for a sequel. Are you currently at work on it? When can we expect it? Give us a few hints on what to expect.A sequel? Hmm, the idea never crossed my mind. Oh, who am I trying to fool? Well, I’m not actively working on it. My son asked me to write a baseball book for him, so that gets done first. But then I’ll be back to Wittatun. I actually have plans for a lot of stories in this world, but I don’t want to say this is part 1, this is part 2, etc. I do plan at least one direct sequel to Unveiling. I have two more quests to take care of (one for Yara, another for Owen). The two stories will take place simultaneously; I’m just not sure if it will fit in one book, or if I’ll need two.
*Can’t wait to read your baseball book. Sure it’ll be awesome.Finally—and for no reason, really, other than your last name is “Price”—what’s your favorite Vincent Price performance in a movie. Bonus points if you write the answer like Vincent Price would say it—over the top, hammy, and dripping with menace!
The ten thousand dollars offered by a millionaire to stay in a spooky house with him and his wife seems like easy money. But when the doors are locked, the screams are unleashed. This makes The House on Haunted Hill the best of them all.
By the way, I wanted to name either of my sons Vincent. My wife rejected it so hard, the word Vincent disappeared from our book of baby names. I still don’t see the big deal. We could have called him Vince.
Give a big hand to Eric Price for being a good sport! And look for his YA fantasy epic, Unveiling The Wizards’ Shroud, available now. And Eric and I are in a particularly giving mood now, since the holidays are upon us, so…the first person who can do another stellar, hammy Vincent Price impression via words, gets a free copy of Eric’s book and my first tale, Tex, The Witch Boy.
Make it over-the-top and dripping with creepy. Go!
Where you can find me:
Website/Blog authorericprice.com I’m always running contests!