The Wet Ink Project welcomes fellow Kyanite Publishing author! We discuss is soon to be released The Magician's Sin. Look for it out on May 3rd!
First, and I apologize but I gotta ask, are you a big fan of magic? Not necessarily talking wizards and warlocks, but your Copperfields and Angels?
I am a huge fan of stage magic. I've always appreciated the blend of showmanship, subterfuge, and creativity that goes into succeeding as a magician. It's not something I could ever do, just from a lack of dexterity and body literacy, but I admire the art form. I have to confess that I watched too much Penn and Teller Fool Us as research for the stage magic portions of the novel. Mostly because I needed to know where the line was for an audience to think, "Wait, that's really magic, instead of just a good trick."
Now that I have that out of the way let’s dive into The Magician’s Sin. Loved the plot. Super engaging and a fun read. What inspired you to write a The Magician’s Sin.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! My inspiration draws from a number of sources. I've always been a massive fan of superheroes, especially DC superheroes, and I set out to create my own universe in that vein. I wanted to create a series of books starring a number of individual heroes that build to a team up book, kind of like the Marvel Cinematic Universe with less film. Anson and Caroline were sort of a natural start for me because they represent the old guard of humanity's defenders: the Wizards. The wizards are a dying breed, so the last few are the ones who need to pass the torch on to whoever is going to take their place. I had written a novel starring Anson previously, but it was an origin story set in the American Civil War. I might release that story some day, but I realized after I'd written it that teen Anson wasn't as engaging a character for me as grizzled, cynic old-man Anson. I also wanted magic and mythology to be the bedrock of the Titan City universe, as opposed to the super science found in Marvel and DC. Not to say that science won't be something covered in the future. (And aliens!) The Magician's Sin is just the start of a massive endeavor.
Titan City reminded me of an alternative history London. Where did you come up with the name and the mood of the city?
You're the first person to say London! I'm happy for the association though. I actually based the city on Boston, Massachusetts. I wanted to build a New England gothic/art deco metropolis. A city with a great and terrible history, reeling from a decade of absolute hedonism and the current desperation of the Great Depression. There's an amazing mood that colors so many stories written in the 1920s and 1930s that I needed to emulate in this story from a historical perspective. As for the name, Titan City is actually a nickname that has supplanted the original name. It began as an English colony called Parkhurst, named for the man who acquired the colonization charter from the King. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution swept the country that it became known as Titan City, named for the monstrous factories and great people who called the city home. In the time of The Magician's Sin it's really only the snooty historians who call it Parkhurst. I also have some plans for the Titans of mythology going forward in the series that will make the name seem more on the nose.
There’s more than a hint of mythological influence in some of the creatures. Did you have to do any research on mythos or are you just naturally inclined to loving mythology?
I've loved mythology all of my life, from reading the Iliad as a child to playing the great game Age of Mythology on PC. My love of mythology and superheroes is married, because in a lot of ways superheroes are just our modern myths. DC comics does an excellent job of capturing this spirit. The heroes are larger than life, the gods are very human, and the monsters are imaginative and terrifying. I also really love studying the history of myth creation and how mythology reflects on the people who wrote it. For instance Egyptian gods are generally benevolent because the Egyptian people lived in a part of the world where the seasons were very even and predictable. The Nile floods almost like clockwork. In contrast, the Babylonians lived between two of the most destructive rivers in history, so their gods are violent, unpredictable, and uncaring of humanity. I wanted to create a world where all myths are true (similar to American Gods) so keep an eye out in upcoming novels for plot lines and monsters related to Norse, Egyptian, Greek, Hindi, and even Christian mythology.
Switching gears a bit, I just want to get it out there that I loved the character Anson. For me, as a reader, his mix of cockiness and endearment was a fantastical extension of myself (if I had his gifts haha) if I were a wizard/warlock in an alternate 1930’s. Where in your creative mind did he come from?
I think a lot of people would say that Anson is the character who feels the most like me from a personality perspective. I think that's because he began life as character in a tabletop roleplaying game I was playing called Mutants & Masterminds. I've been in his head in a way that I don't think a lot of writers approach their characters. Roleplaying requires you to think and react as that character in real time. I will say he's a lot more eloquent in the novels because I have more time to consider his responses. He's also reminiscent of a lot of my favorite characters through history: Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities, Rick Blaine from Casablanca, John Constantine, and Dr. Strange. I just love Byronic heroes.
Caroline is a strong female character that the reader can be drawn to and root for, did you find it difficult to write a female character? I’ve read a few articles lately that male authors aren’t always finding the mark when it comes to creating a prominent female character. In my own writing it has me questioning if I’m approaching it the right way. Heck, I’ll go to my wife to see if what I’m doing makes any sense from a female reader’s perspective.
I'm fortunate that I have a ton of strong women in my life that I can point to for inspiration (and for beta readers.) Caroline is the character who made the most changes from draft to draft as I was working on The Magician's Sin. In the first draft, I didn't have a strong sense of who she was in a basic capacity. She read as 12, 16, 24, and 18 through different parts of the story, so I really needed to nail down her identity. This is going to sound strange, but I started making versions of Caroline in video games that I was playing like Fallout 4 and DC Universe Online. They didn't have her abilities so to speak, but it gave me a chance to start getting into her head. I like to think that I handle female characters well, but I knew I had to get her right considering the weight she's going to be carrying going forward. This is as much her story as it is Anson's in my opinion.
Reader’s are going to love this book I have no doubt. What would you like to say to anyone on the fence about picking up The Magician’s Sin?
This is going to sound funny, but if you're on the fence, I promise the novel is better than the blurb. I'm not great at writing blurbs or ad copy yet, but it is something I am constantly working to improve. This book has relatable flawed characters, chapters that propel you through the story, and more than a few subversions of expectation. But I'm biased!
Time for some run and gun questions!
David Blaine or Doug Henning?
That's so tough. I love the showmanship of Henning, but I'm a sucker for big stage productions. I think Henning is the superior magician from a craft standpoint, but I love the populist street magic of Blaine. I used both styles as inspiration!
Hamburgers or Hotdogs?
Hamburgers, hands down. Beef and cheese and sesame seeds are my main vice in this world.
Halloween! I love the whole month building up to the main event. The costumes, the movies, the candy, but most of all I love the idea that society at wide can harmlessly indulge its darker side. My lady and I watch a different horror movie every night of October and one day I want to host a massive Halloween party in a castle. You know if this writing thing works out.
If you had to pick one Game Design or Novel Author?
Can't I trade an arm or a leg instead? This is such a hard choice. Both flex very different creative muscles and they work in tandem to make each other better. I think I would feel empty if I didn't have both of those backgrounds working together to bring my work to life. If I absolutely have to choose, it's Author every day, but I'm coming for Thanos for snapping away the other half of me.
You can find Alexander at the following links: