R2R: What genre do you prefer to write in and why?
JS: Epic fantasy is my favorite genre to write in. The idea that even though you know what you’re reading is fictional but the world behind it has a degree of depth and reality to it that it COULD have happened, that fascinates me.
R2R: Where do you like to write?
JS: Well given that I have a laptop, I can write almost anywhere. But Barnes & Noble is probably my favorite place to write. It provides me with great motivation.
R2R: How did the Mavonduri Trilogy originate?
JS: Ah, now *that’s* a story in and of itself! I’ve always been fascinated by werewolf folklore and Atlantis mythology. And I had started to write a futuristic supernatural noir-thriller about a gang war between werewolf hunters and werewolves when I picked up a copy of LORD OF THE RINGS by JRR Tolkien. Now, that story is a great tale but what really pulled me in was the depth of realism Tolkien had applied to Middle-earth, and the Appendices were by far my favorite part of the book. I’m also a history buff, so any fantasy story with backstory as detailed as LORD OF THE RINGS will undoubtedly have me hooked. So I looked at the story I was writing and imagined its origins, as an ancient blood-feud between these two races. I then spent 4 years creating over 20,000+ years of history and mythology,
and it was there that the first seeds of THE MAVONDURI TRILOGY were planted.
R2R: How did your characters find a voice of their own?
JS: They really find their own voice as I write. Each character is a reflection of a facet of my own personality (imperfections included), so I really don’t have to do much work on that! But there are times where even they surprise me in the things they say and do.
R2R: Can you let us know what to expect with book 1?
JS: MATHION (Book 1) introduces readers to Mathion, the main protagonist of THE MAVONDURI TRILOGY. Without spoiling much (the Original Edition is available on Kindle for those who’re interested, the Revised & Expanded Edition is coming on September 22nd — so mark your calendars!), Book 1 in the Trilogy really focuses in on themes of honor, power and destiny, three thematic elements that are central to each book. What I can tell you is that it is a very “traditional” read in the language that I used to write it in. I didn’t set out to copy Tolkien’s style (I never could even if I tried!) but there’s a very romantic notion with this semi-archaic language that’s so indicative of epic fantasy, and I really enjoy writing like that.
R2R: How about the rest of the series, any spoilers?
JS: No plot spoilers, sorry, but I can tell you that each book in the Trilogy has its own flavor and tone. Where Book 1 is a very traditional epic quest fantasy story, Book 2 (which I’m currently working on) brings more political intrigue into the fold, as well as being more “mythic” in language and tone. Book 3, however, is going to be the most interesting of the Trilogy. If you look at real-world mythology you will find that the deeper you dig into a myth the less direct source material there is. This is reflected in THE MAVONDURI TRILOGY, and so by the time we arrive at Book 3, the “translator” of the books has only fragmented journal entries to draw upon, from both Mathion himself and other characters directly associated with him. So in a sense, Book 3 of THE MAVONDURI TRILOGY will be very much an epistolary novel, and I’m really looking forward to writing that.
R2R: What is your favourite part of the trilogy and why?
JS: I would say that, so far, the first confrontation between Mathion and Azgharath (the High Lord of the Werewolves & the main antagonist of the Trilogy) near the climax of Book 1 is my favorite sequence so far. You’ll just have to read it to find out why.
R2R: Which authors do you like and why?
JS: I grew up on RL Stine and KA Applegate, authors of the Goosebumps and Animorphs series, respectively. Their work was what first got me interested in storytelling, and Miss Applegate’s THE ANDALITE CHRONICLES was the first “big book” I read, and that was in elementary school! But my hands-down favorite author is, of course, JRR Tolkien. The man did what no one else (not even George RR Martin, as great as A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is) has been able to do: he created a WORLD that we could, as readers, delve into and explore and find more and more.
R2R: What inspires you?
JS: There’s a lot that inspires me. But if I had to pick a select few it would have to be books and films. I have a long-standing love affair with film and the filmmaking process, and I try to incorporate a somewhat “cinematic” writing style into my more “traditional” prose within THE MAVONDURI TRILOGY.
R2R: What are your goals for the rest of 2012?
JS: To get published! That has always been my ultimate goal, and luckily those who’ve read MATHION’s Original Edition have asked me why it isn’t published. But regardless I want to publish this book so that I can pursue writing as a career. I couldn’t think of a better job than to tell stories and in turn inspire other writers the way I’ve been inspired.
Be sure to check out Jeff Shanley at the following locations…
Please click HERE to check out the books available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com by Jeff Shanley