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April 11, 2013 / minusbar

The Forever Knight – TLC Blog Tour – Interview &Giveaway!

For my stop on the TLC Book Tour of The Forever Knight by John Marco, I’ve got an interview with the author and two chances for you to win a hardback copy of the book!
After reading his book, I knew I had to pick his mind as I fell in love with his book! You can checkout my review of it here.
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For convenience sake, the following has been abbreviated.

John – J          Me – R

A Daily Dose of R&R is happy to have John Marco, the author of “The Forever Knight” with us today!

R – The standard bio serves a purpose but is available almost everywhere. So instead, may you tell me a fun true story about you?
J – Ok, a true story.  When I first graduated High School I had it in my head to become a private investigator.  At the time I was watching all kinds of crime shows on TV like Magnum P.I.  But of course I was young and had no experience, so I picked up the yellow pages (yes, that old thing) and started calling private investigation firms in my area.  I finally got someone who was willing to listen to me, and I told him I wanted him to train me to be a P.I.  This guy actually sent me out on a stakeout that very night, all by myself!  I was supposed to watch a woman’s house to see if her boyfriend showed up.  The P.I. guy told me to take a plain car so no one would notice me, but all I had was a big old 1977 Lincoln, which was huge and very noticeable.  Well of course I got noticed, and I got threatened, and I left.  And that was my entire career as a P.I.
R – What is the first story you can remember writing?
– The very first story I can recall writing was banged out on my sister’s typewriter when I was just a kid.  As I recall, it was an adventure/spy story.  There’s that whole “investigator” thing again.  It turned out to be only one or two pages long.  I remember being proud of it and showing it to my mother and her gushing over it the way parents do.  It’s funny to think about, because the story probably sucked!
– This is a rare occasion where I really enjoyed first person writing. What made you decide to switch the story writing perspective to first person?
– First, I’m glad to hear that you liked the first person narrative.  It was my first attempt at using that perspective, and I’m actually quite happy with how it turned out.
J – There are a few reasons why I went this route for the new Lukien story.  For one thing, when I look back on the previous books in the series, there’s all sorts of characters and situations, and that just wasn’t the kind of book I wanted to write this time.  I really wanted to create a very focused character study.  Also, Lukien’s voice just stayed with me.  I hadn’t intended to write more books about him, but he just stayed with me over the years and became rather insistent about being heard from again.  His voice was so clear to me, and I knew him so well, that first person seemed the only way to go.  As a writer you choose what works best for the story, and I think it was the right choice.
– Are there any other characters in this fictitious world that you’d like to write about in their own novel? If so, who?
– I’ve actually never even thought of that until you asked the question.  So many of the characters in this particular book are unpleasant, so I’m not sure they’d be able to carry a story the way I’d want to tell it.  Although, I do think the character of Anton Fallon might make an interesting main character.  He’s kind of roguish and untrustworthy, but good-hearted deep down. Interestingly, I think there are other authors who could do a better job than I could with that kind of character taking the lead.  I don’t really do that kind of “comedy” in my books.
– Is there a finite ending to Lukien’s story, or are you also enjoying learning about this character as you go?
– I do sort of have an ending in mind for Lukien’s story, but I don’t know exactly how I’ll get him there or how long it will take. He’s already come such a long way, but when people read this new book they’ll see that he’s got a lot of juice left in him, and a lot of adventuring yet to do.  He’s also still got a lot to learn about himself.  As get older and wiser (hopefully), so does Lukien. He’s become a big part of how I see the world.
R – For me, I saw parallels between Crezil and Grendel. Was the story of Beuwulf an inspiration at all for this, or is it just in my head?
– Surprisingly, you’re the first person to mention that to me Roger, because I thought people would see that correlation right away.  Maybe they have, but so far no one else has called attention to it.  Yes, Crezil is very much my take on Grendel.  I wanted to create a monster for this story that was truly monsterous, so I studied all kinds of different creatures from literature and mythology.  But Grendel was the one that kept beckoning me.
R – If this series was adapted to a film, who would be your ideal choice to play Lukien?
J – So, you sent me this question a few days ago and I’ve had it percolating in the back of my mind the whole time.  Believe it or not  I can’t come up with anyone.  I’m almost always disappointed when I see an actor chosen to play an iconic character.  It almost never works for me.  I’ve never really liked any of the actors who played Batman, for instance.  Maybe I’m like a proud father—no one’s good enough for my baby!  The one thing I would say is that I wouldn’t want a really well known actor to play Lukien.  I wouldn’t want people looking at him and seeing Brad Pitt.  I’d want them to see Lukien on screen.
R – Without too much spoiling, was there any particular part in this book that you found especially difficult to write?
J – Honestly, this book was perhaps the most pleasurable to write than any of my other books.  All books are tough on some level, but this one in particular I wrote for myself, without too much concern for what readers or reviewers would think.  Keep in mind that when I wrote it I was coming off the failure of my previous book, Starfinder, a book I loved but which just didn’t resonate with readers.  I was in a kind of frustrated mindset where I was tired of trying to figure out what readers wanted.  That’s a losing game, and writers shouldn’t play it.  You hear all the time how writers should study the market and look at what’s popular and then do that.  I suppose there’s some truth to that, but it’s at least equally as true that writers should follow their hearts and not worry too much about what happens once the words leave their pen.
– How do you make a reader fear for a character like Lukien who is seemingly immortal?
– I never really consider that people are going to fear for Lukien’s physical life.  I think they pretty much get the fact that he’s not going to “die” in any traditional sense, especially in a world where people can be immortal or live on in other dimensions.  My real interest is in getting people to invest in other parts of his life.  Will he reach his goals?  Will he get what’s important to him? He’s kind of “off the hook” when it comes to dying, so I want readers to care about other aspects of his story.  And of course, I want them to fear for the characters around him, because they’re *definitely* not safe.
– The only real criticism I’ve heard about previous installments in this series is that you use a lot of words to tell the story. The Forever Knight is very dense and fast moving. Was this intentionally done to improve upon the pacing?
– Very much so.  I’m still really proud of those previous books, but they were intentionally written as big, sprawling epic fantasy novels.  This one is different.  In fact I rarely refer to THE FOREVER KNIGHT as “epic” fantasy.  I mostly call it “heroic” fantasy, because I think that’s a much more apt description.  Personally, I find too many really long books tedious and hard to get through, and I’ve consciously worked on retraining myself and moving away from that style of writing.  I really don’t care too much about what color a character’s hair is, for instance, or the kind of foods they eat.  That stuff doesn’t really bring a character to life for me.
-Will we be seeing more of the Zurans in the next installment? They seem to be the perfect companions for a guy like Lukien.
– The Zurans were fun to write about, because at the time I had just seen the movie “Mongol” about Genghis Khan and I thought “yes, that’s exactly what I want the Zurans to be like.”  I started researching Mongol society a bit and found it all facinating, and tried to incorporate what I learned into the book.  So yes, there’s a pretty decent chance that we’ll see the Zurans again in some fashion.
– Do you have plans to switch the POV or narrative style again in future installments, or has Lukien found a home in first person?
– Never say never, I suppose, but at the moment I can’t picture going back to third-person for stories about Lukien.  I still love writing in third-person, and in fact I’m working on a completely different book right now written in that perspective, but Lukien’s voice is personal enough and strong enough that he’ll almost certainly remain in first-person.
– What writer, living or dead, would you like for the opportunity to collaborate with?
– That’s an easy one for me—Michael Moorkcock, definitely.  He’s always been a strong influence on my writing, and has been my favorite fantasy author since I was a kid.  I’m not sure how well it would work out, but it would be fun to try.
– In your writing process, do you use detailed outlines or prefer to have more loose guidelines to allow your characters to drive the story to the conclusion?
– I’ve been a big proponent of outlining for years.  In fact I’ve been known to say that I can’t imagine how an author could possibly write a book without one.  A lot of people talk about writer’s block, but writer’s block comes from having nothing to say.  With an outline, that problem pretty much goes away.  So yes, I still work from an outline, always.  Interestingly, though, by outlines have gotten shorter and looser over the years.  The one for my first book, for example, was enormous—about seventy pages, filled with notes and descriptions.  Now, a ten page outline is all I need.  I develop a lot as I’m going along.
– I know you’re a big Superman fan, so what do you think, are they finally going to get it right with this next movie?
J – Oh, let’s hope so!  I really do love Superman.  Such a great, iconic character.  Of all the movies coming out this summer, Man of Steel is on the top of my must-see list.  My only worry is that they’ll make the story too dark.  That might sound strange coming from a guy who writes such dark fantasy, but I get sick of seeing my comic book heroes always brooding and suffering. That’s not the Superman I want to see.
R – All of the books in the world are vanishing and you can save only three, what ones would they be?
J – I suppose I could be really selfish and save only my own books…no, just kidding.  I like these kind of thought experiments.  I’ll say All Quiet on the Western FrontThe Mists of Avalon, and True Grit.  They’re all favorites of mine and I’m constantly going back to them all for inspiration.
R – Alright, thanks a lot for taking the time to chat with me!
J – Thanks again for doing the interview!  Much appreciated.
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Giveaway Time! (4/11-4/18) 
This giveaway is for two hardcover copies of The Forever Knight, provided by John Marco and DAW Books.
Head over to my facebook page by following this link to enter via rafflecopter:  http://bit.ly/10MjJlh
Rules: 
-This contest is open to US & Ca.
-Multiple submissions by individuals using separate accounts will not be counted.
-Winner will be redrawn if they fail to respond within 48 hours of being emailed.
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This has been a TLC Booktour blog stop. Please support the author by checking out the following links:
And of course, feel free to purchase the book over at Amazon!
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Thanks,
Roger Bellini
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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Debra L Martin / Apr 11 2013 11:29 am

    I’ve been a fan of John Marco’s for years now, but I’ve never heard the PI story before. That was priceless. Can’t wait to read “Forever Knight.”

  2. Heather J. @ TLC / Apr 12 2013 3:40 pm

    I can totally relate to the mom-gushing-over-kid’s-story thing … I’m having to do the same for my 11-year-old son lately. I love it though!

    Thanks for featuring John for the tour.

  3. Miriam (merrium) / Apr 17 2013 11:30 pm

    Mr Marco has been one of my top 3 authors for years and have been waiting what seems like “forever” for “The Forever Knight” to be released! Thanks for for sharing, always great to here candid stories from our faves! :}

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