This time out I’m ceding the floor to the distinguished Mr. Tim Marquitz, author and editor extraordinaire. Tim’s credits include the Frank Trigg novels Armageddon Bound and Resurrection. Tim’s newest effort, Dawn of War is out now in ebook on Amazon.com.
EME: Congratulations on the new release, Tim. Let’s begin the beguine and talk first a bit about yourself. I already know what a spectacular editor you are. I think that a good editor necessarily has to have the instincts of a good writer too. What’s your background? How long have you been writing and what drew you to it? What was your first published work?
TM: Thanks so much, Ed. I think what helps my ability to edit is exactly that: my instincts as a writer. When I sit down to examine a book, I’m not just looking at grammar and punctuation, but the book as a whole. I’m looking for characterization, consistency, continuity, and plot: all the things I worry so much about when I write. These are the things that make the difference between an okay story and a great one. Readers catch the little things and are turned off when the story stumbles. They’ll forgive a punctuation error or average writing, but they won’t overlook a poorly executed character or plot.
My background is pretty far removed from writing: blue collar, working man my whole life. I’ve always enjoyed writing song lyrics/poetry, and the occasional attempt at a story, but I’ve never put much effort into it. It wasn’t until around 1995 that I stumbled across the motivation to try to do it right. It was kind of an ego thing. I started putting it all together and began to realize my limitations.
It probably wasn’t until around 2004, 2005, that I really determined I wanted to do this as a career. Given my obsessive-compulsive interest in things I truly want to do, I dove into writing with a desperate need to succeed.
My first work published was Armageddon Bound, through Damnation Books. They gave me a chance to get my story out there and in front of people. Regardless of how things work out, I’ll forever be grateful to them for taking the chance with me.
EME: Now give us the rundown on The Blood War Trilogy and its first installment, Dawn of War. What’s it about?
TM: The Blood War Trilogy is my take on the epic fantasy genre. While many of the elements are similar to the genre, a focus on world-building and imagery, large plots, I changed things up a bit. There are elements of horror involved, as well as an effort to speed the pace of the story. While the book focuses on a number of points of view, the concept is of a singular adventure/circumstance that brings those points of view together.
Dawn of War is the start of it all. The Grol, a race of wolfen humanoids, find their way to a power that hasn’t been seen in ages. Once empowered, their savage nature asserts itself and they begin a genocidal campaign to rid the world of their enemies.
The main character, Arrin, exiled for the last fifteen years, sees the Grol destroy a neighboring nation and knows they intend to destroy his own. He too is empowered with an ancient magic, and he races home to save the love of his life and the child born of their illicit affair, the cause of his exile.
Along the way to save them, he learns that there are more enemies about than just the Grol, the vicious races of the world seemingly mobilized against the rest, waging war across the land. As the world is enveloped in chaos, Arrin is confronted by the first race born of the world, long thought to be dead, and is given a sliver of hope that the savage races might be turned before they destroy the whole of the land.
EME: How did your concept for this series come about? What were your major inspirations?
TM: I’ve always been a fan of the larger fantasies, but I’d kind of strayed away from them as I found the darker stories of horror and urban fantasy. My big inspiration for the Blood War books was really to find a way to mix the genres a little more. I wanted to bring the excitement and action of a sword and sorcery type book yet the world-building and scope of the more epic stories.
As for the specific ideas that led to the book, I’m not really sure. I have all these ideas waging war inside my head, and which ever scrambles to the top is the one I focus on. I’m pretty diverse in my concept of genre, all my books linked by darkness rather than specific tropes or expectations. Once the idea pops into my head, and is fully realized, that’s what I work on.
EME: At its core, Dawn of War has a love story, that of the outcast Arrin and the Princess of Lathah. Will this continue to be a driving force for the rest of the series?
TM: Love is definitely the motivation for this story. While we’ll see Arrin’s love evolve as the trilogy goes along, it is what bring this story into being. His love of family is the impetus that makes this story come alive, though the books are far from a romance.
Throughout the books, it will be the relationships between the characters, the love they have for one another that continues to drive the story. The choices they make, the reasons behind what they do, are all inspired by their feelings for each other.
EME: One of the biggest draws to writing a fantasy series for me is the world building – creating new cultures from scratch or mashing up the tropes of real life civilizations into something new. The depth of Middle Earth or the cultures that show up in Star Trek and Star Wars, etc. In creating the world of The Blood War Trilogy, what’s the thing you’re most proud of dreaming up?
TM: I tend toward the terse side when it comes to world-building. But for the Blood War books, I really made an effort to let the reins loose a little bit. I really wanted a visual world that was a part of the story, and not just there for background.
Nothing in particular stands out, to me, about the world I built, but I think the whole of it is what makes it interesting for me. I tied a number of the world’s geographic anomalies into the plot and that made it fun. Getting to create the story based on the concepts of the world was exciting, seeing how my normal approach is based in characterization first.
EME: What makes Dawn of War and its sequels stand out from other fantasy works?
TM: I think the biggest difference is its pacing and the mixture of styles. While I envision the trilogy as more traditional fantasy, the horror aspects and action spread throughout give it a different feel. There is a measure of introspection and angst, but in the end, the scenes fly past because it becomes obvious there is an end in sight. The trilogy doesn’t drag the concept out over a dozen volumes or more, digging into every spare thought or descriptive passage of the food on a character’s plate.
The idea was to tell a story of a world on the edge of ruin with an immediacy that many epics lack.
EME: Where can readers get a hold of Dawn of War?
TM: Right now, I’ve released Dawn of War on Amazon only (link below). The hope is that it will do well enough, numbers-wise, that I can secure a more traditional deal where I can release it in paperback.
After an indeterminate amount of time, I plan to have it for sale on my web site as well, and we’ll see where it goes after that.
EME: Sounds great! Thanks for stopping by.
TM: Thanks for having me, Ed, and for giving me the opportunity to talk about Dawn of War. I can’t wait for the newest installment in the Merkabah Rider series.
EME: Thanks, Tim. Looking forward to see how the trilogy unfolds.
Pick up Dawn of War (Book 1 of The Blood War Trilogy) on Amazon right here – –