Friday, October 18, 2013

Blog Tour Interview: Paul Anthony Shortt, author of Silent Oath

Welcome to this stop in the
Silent Oath Tour,
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About the Book

Silent Oath
(Locked Within Trilogy, #2)
Paul Anthony Shortt
Trade Paperback, 306 pages
WiDo Publishing
October 8, 2013
Urban Fantasy

Goodreads Synopsis: In this second of the Locked Within trilogy, hope has returned to New York City. Nathan Shepherd leads a small band of dedicated fighters against the Council of Chains and the city's supernatural masters. But it's not enough. Because from the shadows of Nathan's former lives comes an old enemy, one who knows terrible secrets that Nathan has not yet remembered, secrets that could undo everything he has fought for.

Nathan's only chance to uncover the memories of his previous existence, and to conquer these new forces of evil, lies in Elena DeSantis. A woman he has fought beside in past lifetimes. A woman he has loved.

Together, Nathan and Elena are the only future their city has.

Purchase Link

Author Interview

Please join me in welcoming author
Paul Anthony Shortt
to A Night's Dream of Books!

Maria:  This novel starts off fast and furious!  The opening scene has a very cinematic quality to it.  Have you done any screenwriting?  If so, how has it influenced your work?  If not, have any movies in particular inspired your action scenes?

Paul:  Thanks, I try to get to the exciting stuff early.

I haven't done any screenwriting, but I do think movies play a very strong role in how I write.  I tend to picture scenes in my head as though they're an imaginary movie, and then write what I see in my mind.  Action scenes in many modern movies disappoint me, because there's still a lingering trend where the director makes it really hard to see what's going on, whether through the use of dark lighting, excessive close-ups, or too much shaky-cam (that last one drives me nuts). 

That said, Marvel's superhero movies, both the Avengers series and Amazing Spiderman, have some beautifully-shot action sequences.  I think more filmmakers should take note and let the audience see what's going on in such important scenes. 

Maria:  Nathan is obviously a very appealing character (especially for us females).  What qualities do you think contribute to his appeal?

Paul:  Wow, he is?  I certainly never set out to make Nathan appealing in that way.  I've never considered myself to have much talent for traditional romantic characters.

If anything, contrasting him to his best friend from Locked Within, Ben, I wanted Nathan to be something other than a lantern-jawed alpha male.  One of the key factors about Nathan's development is that it's his acceptance of both his current, male side, and his former female side (Katherine) that gives him the strength to succeed.

In Silent Oath, I take this balancing of the masculine and feminine further, by introducing Elena.  It's only with Elena's return to his life that Nathan is able to remember more of his past and awaken strengths he never knew he possessed.  I like the idea that true strength in a person comes from embracing both their masculine and feminine sides.

Even beyond his romantic relationships, some of Nathan's closest friends are women, and they help ground him and keep him focused when otherwise he might lose all sense of objectivity.

Perhaps that's what makes Nathan appealing?  That while he still fills the traditional heroic role, he understands that he's a better, stronger person for the female influences in his life, rather than treating women as damsels in distress to be rescued? Tell me if I'm totally off-base here.  (grin)

Maria:  No, you're not off-base at all.  I totally agree with you!  A man who is comfortable with his softer side is very appealing indeed to a woman.  This is precisely what makes him romantic.  Men who are heavily 'macho' come across like brutes.  So I think a hero should be physically strong and masculine, but also know when to be tender and even vulnerable.  (I can't help thinking of Edward Cullen

Now, could you tell us more about Elena, the woman Nathan fights beside, the woman he loves?  How does she complement him?  How is she similar to him, if she indeed is?

Paul:  Elena's been a great character to write.  She differs from Nathan in many ways, having more training and experience recalling past-life memories than him.  This gives her a stronger sense of herself than Nathan has initially.  However, they both have things to learn and remember about themselves, and it's possible that Nathan's own uncertainty about his past could help him deal with some pretty heavy revelations in the book.

Both of them are dedicated fighters.  They've spent lifetimes fighting evil, and each has been affected differently.  Elena could be seen to be the more practical of the two, but also the least willing to compromise, whereas Nathan, who would be the more idealistic, has had to come from a position of weakness, and learn to make compromises and cut deals when necessary.

Without giving too much away, together Nathan and Elena are more powerful than they could ever be while apart.  They give each other a purpose and a reason to keep going, and though they may not realize it yet, they are each other's greatest strength, and most deadly weakness.

Maria:  In your opinion, what's the best thing (or what are the best things) a writer could do to ensure that readers love his/her book?

Paul:  Keep your promises.  Many times, I've seen an author set up a particular character or event in certain ways, leading the reader's expectations, only to pull the rug out and reveal that everything the reader thought or expected was wrong.  Now, done well, this can be an incredible moment, but it takes considerable skill to pull it off.

If you spend two books building up a showdown between the hero and the villain, don't have a side character kill off the villain in the third book.  If you're leading the reader to believe that there's going to be a huge rebellion at the end of the story, don't have it cut short by a sudden diplomatic meeting (unless, of course, part of the point of the story is that there is always a non-violent solution).

I've made certain promises with Locked Within and Silent Oath.  There are events in motion that will take Nathan and his friends to places they never imagined, pushing them to limits they didn't know they had.  As hard as things get for Nathan in Silent Oath, the third book will be even harder, and his final battle against Athamar, is, I hope, going to live up to everyone's expectations.

Maria:  And what's the worst thing (or what are the worst things) a writer could do that would make readers hate his/her book?

Paul:  See above.  Break those promises.  Have characters act against what's been established as their typical behavior, or counter to the way other characters think about them (the "awkward" character who has no problems in social situations, the "pacifist" who charges into combat).  Promise the reader a thrilling showdown, and finish with a weak run-down of events, lacking any real heart.

Maria:  Do you think this book and the previous one -- Locked Within -- would make great video games and/or graphic novels?  Why or why not?

Paul:  Certainly.  I'm extremely visual with my writing and I think my style would lend itself well to either medium.  I could definitely see the Locked Within trilogy as a graphic novel, or even a movie series.  As regards video games, it would depend on the type of game, I think.  I'd love to see the series as an adventure game or something along the lines of "Assassin's Creed" or "Dishonored".

So movie/ comic book/video game people, call me!  (grin)

Maria:  What attracted you to the urban fantasy genre?

Paul:  I've been into urban fantasy from before I even knew there was such a thing!  I always loved horror, and wanted to see more stories where the heroes could face monsters on more equal footing, instead of scrabbling about, trying to survive.

I like that I can blend together fantasy tropes like magic, demons, and sword fights, with modern elements such as guns, urban sprawls, secret societies, and hidden mysteries.  Tell me what other genre could give you pitched battles in the streets of New York, humans and demons battling it out to decide the fate of the world while news crews look on?

Maria:  Are you planning to write in other genres, or will you probably stick with UF?  If you 'd like to write in other genres, which ones would you like to explore?

Paul:  I'm already working on a young adult steampunk fantasy series, and I have some ideas that branch into more of a science fiction area, as well as some more traditional fantasy.

Maria:  What authors and books do you feel have had some influence on your own work?

Paul:  It's impossible for me to deny the impact Jim Butcher has had on me.  His Dresden Files titles have been some of my favorite books, and I was deep into them when I started working on the Locked Within trilogy.

Maria:  What new project(s) are you currently working on?

Paul:  Well, the biggest one is Final Hope, the third part of the Locked Within Trilogy, which is due out next year.  That'll be starting into edits soon, and I can't wait to see what my editor has to say.  It'll be hard saying goodbye to Nathan, but every story has to come to an end.

In addition to that, I have my steampunk series which I intend to release myself next year, with the first book, Lady Raven.  This book will see a young girl become an outlaw to save her mother from a patriarchal empire. 


 Interviewer's Note

I'd like to thank Paul Anthony Shortt for
such an awesome interview,
as well as Bewitching Book Tours for
including my blog in this tour!

About the Author

A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren't enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life.  Growing up surrounded by music, film, and theater gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use.  When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group.

Paul lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper.  Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11, 2011.  He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends.  The following year, Jen gave birth to twins, Amy and Erica.

Paul's first novel, Locked Within, was released on November 6th, 2012, by WiDo Publising.  Silent Oath is the second book in this urban fantasy trilogy. 

Online Links

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  1. Thank you for having me, and for your comments about Nathan as a romantic hero. I'll have to keep that in mind for the third book, and for future characters ;-)

    1. Hi, Paul! You're very welcome! And thank YOU for such a fasconating interview. I'll be purchasing both of your books as soon as I can. I'm looking forward to seeing Nathan's romantic side more often!

      Thank you for such a lovely comment!! : )


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