Here are excerpts from a really fun interview I did with author, Tamara Rose Blodgett.
Besides being an Author of several successful novels and series, Ms. Blodgett is also an excellent book reviewer for both her own blog and print. There are many kinds of “awesome” - particularly for lovers of the paranormal - to be found right here... http://tamararoseblodgett.blogspot.com/
"Death Screams," the third installment of her successful YA Paranormal series will be released in January. Meanwhile, Book One, "Death Whispers is FREE for a limited time on Amazon.com.
Ms. Blodgett's insightful 5 Star review of King's X and the complete interview can also be found here...
Here are some the highlights of our conversation, including an explanation of the title... What does King's X mean?
TRB: Stephen, I really enjoyed your debut novel, King's X. It's written with very realistic dialogue and placed in two different eras in history. What gave you the idea for switching back and forth? It's a unique method and compliments the reincarnation theme well.
STH: Thank you very much, Tamara. And thanks for having me.
The idea to have two converging story lines in different eras started with one of my favorite movies, "The Maltese Falcon." That's always been one of those movies for me, if I see it's on TV, I just stop whatever I'm doing and watch until it's over. Just love it. The characters, the suspense, romance, mystery, dialogue… all just great. But one of the coolest parts of the story is the stuff they only talk about in the actual movie. The history of the "Falcon," the intrigue, the spectacular chase/scavenger hunt that has apparently been going on for centuries, leading up to the events of the movie itself. It is like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is happening somewhere just off camera where we can't see it, so they're just telling us about it. I always wanted to do a story with all those elements, but also really deliver all the stuff they couldn't show.
|Danielle Eubank's 3'x4' oil painting|
interpreting the dual story lines.
The shadows of heroes from different eras
cross as Molly flees
and Broussard turns to fight.
The other part might be that I wanted to do a reincarnation story that I'd never seen before. Not so much like a ghost story with this eerie notion of, "hey, maybe she's remembering a past life." Since the beginning of wondering about things, people have wondered "what happens when we die?” The thing that gets me about this question is, it's not so much that we DON'T know the answer, it's that we CAN'T know. We can speculate. We can create beliefs and religions to address the issue. But we can't KNOW. Why is that? What's really stopping us? Once I asked that question, a pretty cool story started to brew. I realized that somebody may be keeping the answer a secret on purpose. And from there the whole world of King's X opened up for me. I knew I was onto a really special kind of villain, and a story that was going to be kind of like the Matrix, only instead of taking place in a computer, it's all of history - everything we think we know - that's been distorted all along. You cannot die. You are immortal, and incredibly powerful. But someone doesn't want you to know. They have kept you, and all of us, ignorant and afraid, since the beginning of time. Like children on a playground, like sheep before the Shepherd, we have been managed, guided… ruled. But by who… ?
TRB: Where did you get your idea for King's X and could you tell us what that title means? Do you plan to make King's X into a series? I certainly see the potential for that.
|The Sign of King's X|
Where did this come from?
Why does it mean what we think it means?
STH: You know when you were a kid and crossing your fingers behind your back meant that you were somehow free to lie to your best friend, or your Mom, or your teacher, with no consequences? I always wondered where the hell that thing came from. I learned that the sign used to have a name. Kids on playgrounds everywhere called it "King's X." They use to say it out loud to protect against being "it" while playing Hide and Seek or Ghost in the Graveyard. Then I wondered… okay, so where did THAT come from?
|Why "Good Luck?"|
All the history in the book is based on something real. That includes the ring, the "King's X" itself. I didn't invent it so much as embellish a lot of real things. The history and legend of the King's X will take you pretty far back in time, from kids on the playground, to medieval knights and pirates, and eventually all the way back to King Solomon.
The "King's X" itself is a ring. It's either magic or of a forgotten science or both. It does many things, but the most important is this: Once you've worn it, even once, certain rules no longer seem to apply to you. For one, you no longer "forget" as the rest of us do. Every time you come back, you will gradually recall every lifetime you have lived since that first time you wore the King's X, with perfect clarity. So every skill you've mastered, every book you've read, every lesson you've learned, will be with you. You will be quite awesome, my young Jedi.
A series? Yes, and hell yes.
TRB: What type/style of a writer are you? Seat-of-Your Pants? Outline King? Master Plotter?
|Or... "we're just friends, I promise..."|
STH: I wish I was good at outlines. The truth is that I start with an idea, try as hard as I can to outline it, but once I introduce characters into the equation, they completely take over and start going in different directions. I think, if I'm going to hang my hat on something as a storyteller, I have big ideas, and very real, very human characters. I've got a strong sense of both empathy and logic that lets everybody have a will of their own, and they just aren't going to do something stupid even if it would make my life easier because it fits the outline. You mentioned in your review that you had to check the cover to make sure I was a man because of how real the women are in my book. That. I take a lot of pride in that. The same is true of my villains. I don't see anything they do as black and white because I try really hard to be walking in their shoes when telling their story. They are not "evil" so much as they are real people making real decisions that lead them to being a "villain." You may hate them, but you also have to sympathize at least a little.
TRB: Amen to the character's humanization, Stephen!
TRB: Did you model any characters after real-life people? Is there a character that resonates with you?
STP: King's X is big myth-making kind of storytelling. So these characters are all pretty archetypal. The fun part is in, like I said in the last question, walking in their shoes. Wendell Book isn't just "good," he's really noble deep down, with many things he can and can't recall that have shaped him. The Shepherd isn't just bad, he's as cold as ice for solid reasons, all self-made, and that to me, is really scary.
My favorite character is probably Shahin, the moorish pirate with a dark past, an aversion to bloodshed and addiction to women. I was always a Han Solo fan, and Shahin is the Han Solo of King's X. Also, he is going to play a bigger role in the next book, so I've been thinking about him more lately.
TRB: What are a few things the reader can expect from subsequent installments?
STH: This book is the story of how our heroes in the modern era first encountered the King's X in the distant past. The next book will pick up the story of the modern heroes a little bit later (actually, that's why I set the story in 1968 - in the next book they will be around 1980, and gradually move forward getting closer and closer to real time). But there will always be a separate-but-equal story from a past era that weaves together with the first. The second book is going to be about 17th century pirates and some pretty famous historical figures from the Elizabethan era. And of course it will feature tons of action, suspense and a little romance. After that, I've got plans for ancient Rome and certainly Solomon's court with an alternative history of the romance between Solomon and Sheba. I can't wait.
TRB: Me either!
TRB: What is your hope for readers to experience by reading your novel?
STH: Wow… that's a great question. I guess there are two things. One, King's X is a big roller coaster with more twists than you will see coming, so I hope everybody has fun. And second, I hope it makes people think. The idea that you really are more than you appear to be is very powerful. And King's X does have an implicit challenge when you read between the lines. Something like… "You are more than what you appear to be. Now, what are you going to do about it?"
TRB: I loved the action, the thinking and the challenge...