Today, I am thrilled to host an interview with my Greek-Canadian Twitter friend, Adam Haviaras. Just the other day, he posted on his awesome website my guest post, Goddess Athena and her Sacred Temple, The Parthenon.
Adam, a historian as well as an author, combines his deep knowledge of history with his mastery in writing to create fascinating stories that are set in ancient Greece and Rome. Check out these gems!
Chariot of the Son is an epic retelling of the story of Phaethon from Greek Mythology.
During the age of Gods and Titans, Phaethon spends his days alone on the plains of Ethiopia, his only joy in life watching the Sun travel across the heavens. When the sad bonds of his life are about to overwhelm him, a truth is revealed to Phaethon which sends him on a quest across the world to find his place in the order of things, and to unite the family that he has never known until now.
This is a story of love and loss, of deep yearning to find one’s place and to make a difference in a world where even the Gods can weep. Chariot of the Son is the first installment in the new Mythologia series from Eagles and Dragons Publishing.
Chariot of the Son is available for pre-order (launch date: December 7, 2014)
Special pre-launch price, only $0.99! Chariot of the Son (Mythologia Book 1)
At the peak of Rome’s might a dragon is born among eagles, an heir to a line both blessed and cursed by the Gods for ages.
Children of Apollo is the tale of Lucius Metellus Anguis, a young warrior who is inspired by the deeds of his glorious ancestors and burdened by the knowledge that he must raise his family name from the ashes of the past. Having achieved a measure of success in the Emperor’s Legions in North Africa, Lucius is recalled to Rome where he finds himself surrounded by enemies, cast into the deadly arena of Roman politics. Amid growing fears of treachery, Lucius meets a young Athenian woman who fills his darkening world with new-found hope. Their love grows, as does their belief that the Gods have planned their meeting but when an ancient oracle of Apollo utters a terrifying prophecy regarding his future, Lucius’ world is once more thrown into chaos. Ultimately, he must choose sides in a war that threatens to destroy his family, his faith and all that he has worked for.
Find it now on Amazon: Children of Apollo (Eagles and Dragons Book 1)
Hello Adam and welcome to my blog!
Thank you Effrosyni for the invitation. I am delighted to be here.
What has inspired you to write Chariot of the Son?
I’ve always loved Greek mythology, and for a few years now I’ve been wanting to start a new series of books that would be retellings of ancient myths. I believe that part of the reason these ancient stories persist to this day is because they have been retold again and again, for successive generations over the ages. So, I came up with the Mythologia series.
There are many myths that I would like to get into and explore, but the first one that I chose was the Phaethon myth. There are different versions of this myth, but the one that caught my imagination was Ovid’s, from his Metamorphoses. Ovid created such a wonderful interpretation, I thought I could take it a bit further and write a story about a young man who doesn’t quite belong in the world, who has been longing desperately for something more in his life.
I wanted to create a story in which the reader could completely suspend disbelief and step into a world of Gods and Titans who can feel love, pain, and torment on a very human scale. This is how Chariot of the Son was born.
As a fellow Greek who also loves mythology, I’ll say, this sounds absolutely fascinating! Tell us, what was the first thing you ever wrote and how old were you then?
In my early teens, after a trip to England to visit relatives, I fell in love with history. I read everything I could get my hands on. The funny thing was that I simultaneously fell in love with creative writing too. It was, to me, the best and most natural way for me to express my love of history. I immediately started to take creative writing classes alongside my history classes, and those two loves have been intertwined inside me ever since.
I wrote lots of poetry at first, as well as short stories, and even a play. I think the two pieces that stand out from those early days were a sort of rhyming ballad about Robin Hood, and a lengthy poem of love between two youths who run away together to an enchanted fairy realm only to die tragically. Both those pieces ended up in my high school newspaper. That shocked people, I think, because I was a tall, strong, silent punk-type who went around in Sex Pistols t-shirts and my jeans covered in safety pins.
Like Phaethon, I didn’t really fit in where I was growing up.
Wait, you were a punk as a teen? Oh my, LOL, I can’t imagine you that way. Mind you, I used to dress up as Morten Harket of A-ha back then, so nuff said! What other writing have you done? Anything else published?
My main series of books is the Eagles and Dragons historical fantasy series which is set in the Roman Empire in the early 3rd century A.D. The first two books are Children of Apollo and Killing the Hydra. I’m aiming to release the third book, Warriors of Epona, in 2015. This series follows the career of an Equestrian tribune from an ancient, but nearly-forgotten, Roman family. It’s a vast sweeping story that takes the reader from Alexandria, across North Africa, to Numidia, Rome, Athens, and eventually to Britannia. This series has involved a great deal of research and travel to many of the places mentioned, including Roman sites in the Sahara. Also, the historian in me always tries to be as accurate as possible, and that includes ancient religion. In my books, I try to include the gods since most ancient people believed that the gods played an active role in their day-to-day lives. I’m really proud of this series.
Goodness me, I’m blown away just hearing about this! I’ll definitely check out this series. Any other ones I should be drooling over?
Thanks Fros. I also have an historical horror series called The Carpathian Interlude. This is something a bit more fantastical as it has zombies and werewolves, and other ancient entities. It’s set on the Danube frontier during the reign of the Emperor Augustus, and one of the events it revolves around is the Varus disaster in which Rome lost three whole legions in the forests of Germania. Again, lots of research for the history, but I also had a lot of fun mixing ancient superstitions with historical events. A large aspect of this series is my main character’s relationship to his patron god, Mithras. Mithraism is a fascinating religion, and that is something I really wanted to sink my writing teeth into. The first two parts are called Immortui and Lykoi, and the working title of the final part is Thanatos.
Fantastic stuff! What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current project(s).
I always thought I would be a writer who worked on one project at a time, from start to finish.
I’ve found that that’s not the case. I always seem to have a full length novel in some stage of development, as well as a shorter work and then a novella. I think that’s because I need to mix things up a bit and do something different from the larger work. The shorter works help me to stay fresh and to try out some new things.
At the moment I’m working on the second draft of Warriors of Epona (Eagles and Dragons Book III), and writing the first draft of Thanatos (Carpathian Interlude Part III).
I also want to continue work on a major Alexander the Great series. It’s called Killing a God, and I’m about a third of the way through. This has been going on for a while and involves a lot of research. Without giving too much away, it is a first person narrative by an Egyptian who is, due to horrendous circumstances, forced into Alexander’s army when it arrives in Egypt. The story begins in Egypt and will follow through the end of Alexander’s life. I may make this a serial, so that will take some major planning.
Lastly, I’m just about to begin research on the ancient Olympics, and the events, rules, and religious practices related to life within the sanctuary at Olympia. This is for a stand-alone novel which I want to write next year.
So, lots going on!
Lots indeed. Hurry writing the Alexander story, my friend! Nowadays, with the Amphipolis tomb ongoing excavation being on world news every day, people are thirsty for anything related to Alexander. You could be hitting a goldmine with the particular book. Next question…do you have any advice for other indie authors?
The best piece of advice I ever got was from my mentor, the late poet Leila Pepper. She told me to ‘just get the story down.’ She said the most important thing is to get the story onto paper, no matter what.
That advice has taken me far and I hear a lot of independent authors saying it in different ways. ‘Give yourself permission to suck in your first draft.’ ‘Don’t edit as you go.’ ‘Write the first draft with your heart, the second with your head.’
Also, I’ve found that by thinking of my writing like a business with creative products for sale (ie. by thinking of myself as an author/entrepreneur), and business plans for each release, the reality of making a decent living from this gets closer and closer. I always try to be creative, to learn new things, to be strategic, to be helpful to others, and to take risks. I’m trying to do all of those things.
Most of all, focus on what you love and let that shine through.
I couldn’t agree more with you on all these points. Well said! Are there any sites or writing tools that you find useful and wish to recommend?
I definitely recommend Scrivener which is the perfect project management tool for writers. It also makes it super easy for authors to create their own e-book files so you can invest your money in other areas of your business like covers and editing.
The Sell More Books Show podcast with Jim Kukral and Bryan Cohen always has loads of helpful marketing tips every week – it’s a ‘must-listen’.
However, the most helpful person/blog/podcast that I’ve learned the most from is Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn. Joanna, who is one of the most helpful, intelligent, and genuine author/entrepreneurs I’ve met, has certainly blazed a trail for indies. She’s not afraid to try new things, and she’s very transparent with her work. I’ve just finished her new Business for Authors book, and it is a fantastic resource. I’ve learned a great deal from Joanna over the past few years and certainly would be much farther behind in my indie author/entrepreneur journey without her. Most indies probably know her, but if not, her website is: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/blog/
Thank you for this information, I am sure it will be useful to many. Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?
I started out with a blog called Writing the Past back in 2009. On that site, I wrote about ancient and medieval history, archaeology, and historical fiction. I would post weekly about a wide range of topics from rewriting history, and peeks at specific archaeological sites, to things such as sex and traditions in the ancient world.
Because I wanted to take my author business (Eagles and Dragons Publishing) to the next level, I finally created my own full-on website this past summer. Writing the Past is still my blog, with the same topics and feel, but it is now a part of the bigger Eagles and Dragons Publishing website.
On the website, readers can check out the blog, look at and buy my books, read lengthy excerpts of all my books, see a list of future releases, and of course sign-up for my mailing list to get sneak peeks and special offers.
Eventually, I want to be able to sell direct from the website (because authors should never rely solely on big companies to distribute their work!), and create a store with other merchandise such as clothing, historical replicas, and other goodies all related to my books and to ancient and medieval history.
Sounds great! Do you listen to music while you write and if so, what kind?
I always listen to music when I write fiction. What I listen to mostly are movie and television show soundtracks. I like the emotive nature of soundtrack music which helps with the atmosphere as I write. If something has an ‘ancient’ feel to it, even better. Some of the soundtracks that I listen to include Gladiator, Game of Thrones, Dracula Untold, Rome, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Immortals and a lot more!
When it comes to editing, however, I can’t have any music on.
If you could choose another profession, what would that be?
I think I would like to be a film director. As I see it, that is sort of the ultimate form of storytelling. It would be loads of work, but it does seem like it would be a lot of fun too, despite the headaches. A film director is basically a Storytelling General!
What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?
My family is definitely number one. Without them I think I would be drifting through this life, lonely and uninspired. They give me a reason to get up every day.
Secondly, I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to travel. Apart from Canada, I’ve been lucky enough to live in Scotland, England and Greece. I’ve travelled a lot in all of those countries, as well as Wales, Italy, France, Tunisia and some other places. I certainly believe that travel is the best education you can get.
Third, I’m grateful for my creativity. As Steven Pressfield stresses in The War of Art, you need to acknowledge and thank your Muse. Writing is a large part of who I am, so I thank my Muse every day.
This has been wonderful; thank you so much Adam for being here with us today! Good luck with your new launch.
Thank you Fros. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to talk about my work.
Adam Alexander Haviaras is an author/entrepreneur, blogger and historian. He is the author of the Eagles and Dragons historical fantasy series, The Carpathian Interlude historical horror series, and the new Mythologia series of mythological retellings.
Adam has studied ancient and medieval history and archaeology at the University of Toronto, Canada, and St. Andrews University, Scotland. He lives with his wife and children in Toronto, where he runs Eagles and Dragons Publishing with the goal of bringing the ancient and medieval worlds to life through quality historical fiction.
Adam is always happy to connect with readers, writers and those who love history in general. Connect with Adam at www.eaglesanddragonspublishing.com , on Twitter (@AdamHaviaras), on Google+ or on the Eagles and Dragons Facebook page.
Most of all, be sure to sign-up for e-mail updates at http://eaglesanddragonspublishing.com/newsletter-join-the-legions/ so that you can be the first to find out about new posts, releases, contests, products and more.
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