Saturday, June 16, 2012

Apocalypse Now?

Hi everyone, my name is James A. West, and I’m honored to guest post for Flora.

Today I would like to talk about something I enjoy in books. Believe it or not, that topic is an apocalypse. When I was 13 years old I read The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and it literally changed my life. Not only did it point me toward a path of writing, it introduced me to the exciting worlds of fantasy. To this day, I love losing myself in a completely different world, and getting caught up in the characters’ adventures across strange and twisted lands. The darker and scarier the story, the more I like it.

On the question of apocalypse? I say bring it! Over the years, however, I began to notice that in most fiction the world comes to the edge of destruction, only to get dragged back from the brink. Thanks to Hero X’s good deed, everyone goes back to the 9-to-5 slog. Thanks, indeed, Hero X.

Part of the reason I want that apocalypse so bad is because it would be exciting, liberating … right? Who hasn’t dreamed of being one of those survivors Mad-Maxing it around the world? Constant danger keeping you on your toes, sleeping with one eye open at all times, wondering if you should eat the roots underfoot or gobble down a handful of grub-worms—oh, man, talk about living life to the fullest!

Okay, well, I suppose a lot of humanity would shudder at the thought. And, if I’m honest, me too. In an admittedly circular fashion, that brings me back to writing. It’s the one way I can live out all the apocalyptic adventures I want, but without the inconvenience of a toilet paper shortage, or having crazed cannibal hordes trying to turn me into the main course at a campfire barbeque. For myself, I’ll keep reading and writing about things I’d like to experience, but would not necessarily want to live.

As for my work, suffice it to say I’m an epic fantasy author with apocalyptic tendencies spiced with the macabre—my wife calls me the anti-fantasy epic fantasy author, and that works for me. You might wonder how, as an epic fantasy writer, did I deal with my love of cataclysm versus the typical Hero X saving the world? Well straight away, the apocalypse hits: the three moons slam together in the heavens, fire rains down, seas rage ... you know, all the good stuff. Then I jettisoned Hero X—in fantasy, this is usually the chosen-one-farm-boy-with-a-magic-sword—in favor of a hard-ass mercenary with loyalty only to his friends and gold. Throw in some demons cavorting about clad in the skins of men, a driving need for revenge, a love interest, and a wicked prince who gains the powers of a god, and you’ve got the ingredients for The God King, book one of my Heirs of the Fallen series. In book two, Crown of the Setting Sun, the aftermath of the apocalypse lingers on, and humanity is on the brink of extinction, wondering if they should eat the roots underfoot or gobble down a handful of grub-worms :D

So, to wrap up, I’d like to dedicate my series to all the fellow Mad-Maxers out there. You know who you are!

Thank you to Flora for graciously allowing me to post on her blog. If anyone found this blog useful or just fun, stop by to visit me sometime on my blog here.

The God King (Heirs of the Fallen, #1)Crown of the Setting Sun (Heirs of the Fallen, #2)


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