JAMIE MALTMAN: I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WRITE IN A SETTING LIKE ROME
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Jamie Maltman’s Arts Reborn series have a chance to become a big hit. The author is very talented and the history fiction world he describes is very interesting. It’s a real pleasure to have in our Q&A Mr. Maltman! Enjoy.
– What is your book Brush With Darkness about?
– The Pazian Republic is similar to Rome in the time of Caesar, where their legions have conquered/integrated much of the known world. Magic has become the stuff of legend and myth.
So when dark magic reappears in the hands of one of a formerly subjugated barbarian people, it presents the greatest threat the Republic has ever faced. Throw into that setting Simon Baroba, a fresh young legionary who is better at drawing than fighting, who is faced with the reality of the dark magic and has to deliver that message to the Senate. To do that he’ll have to unlock his own buried creative Talent, navigating through new friendships and rivalries that teach him more about himself and the world, but could lead to doom for his nation, his friends, or himself.
– How you decide to write the story?
– I’ve always wanted to write in a setting like Rome, and had a bunch of ideas floating around for magic that manifested through creativity. When I started telling a story to my son as I made it up, suddenly those two different ideas collided and I had to get the words down on the page.
– What was the biggest challenge during the writing process?
– Finishing the first draft. There’s been tons of work since, but that was like reaching the top of the mountain for the first time.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– Simon Baroba is a young man of mixed heritage, who wants to fit into his idealized version of the world, but has things that set him apart. He has a good heart, but worries a lot. There’s aspects of myself and other people in my life in him, but he’s definitely a mix, not one person.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– That’s a little complicated. I started writing the first draft in 2011, making it to about the 25% by the following November, when I more seriously picked it up again. I wrote THE END at the end of August 2013, and published March 2014. Book II was faster, starting late October 2013 and published August 2014. Future books will be faster still.
– Who are you?
– I’m Canadian, the father of two small boys, husband to a wonderfully supportive wife, an avid reader, boardgamer, computer gamer (Civilization franchise!), traveler, Doctor Who/Toronto Raptors/Toronto Blue Jays fan, who has too many interests for all the waking hours. I have a double major in Computer Science and Asia-Pacific studies, love learning, history, art, and exploring the world. I’ve studied 5 languages other than English, but am not fluent in any of them. I can pronounce lots of words, though!
– What are your writing habits?
– In my ideal world, or my actual world? I do my best to write daily, around having two small kids at home and a consulting business. I’d be best off writing as soon as I’m done my morning yoga, but I’m usually involved in something with the kids after that, so don’t get to the computer until after lunch. And then I have to fight hard to avoid being derailed for a while. Once I get writing, I write for as long as I can until the time runs out and I’m back to some other commitment. It’s the ongoing War of Art, as Stephen Pressfield says. Me vs Resistance and stuff in life. But it’s a fun war.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book and do you plan another one?
– I want to have more books of my series available before I start on most of my promotional plan. There are so many new authors out there, that even if you read something you like, if their next book isn’t available, you might forget about them. There’s also quite a few fantasy readers that don’t like to start a series until it’s finished, especially with a new author. Kind of a risk-aversion before committing to a series. So I have 2 books so far in the series, 3 more to come, and lots of related and unrelated ideas to explore. I intend to be writing for the rest of my life, so I’m not in a rush.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– Writing more books is priority #1. The rest of what I’m doing falls more into getting my name out there, accepting interview requests on blogs or podcasts, and I’m a co-host on the To Be Read Podcast (www.tbrpodcast.com), where we talk about the books we’re reading and other reader-related topics.
– Are you sorry that Vince Carter didn’t stay in “Raptors” and what are your best memories about him?
– I was ready for him to leave, because the situation was a mess. If we’d hired a better General Manager instead of Rob Babcock, the situation could have been handled better or we could have received a better return. I’m wistful of what could have been if Tracy McGrady hadn’t decided he needed to be the man in Orlando. Those two together would have been dynamite, and Vince would have been fine sharing the spotlight.
The 2001 playoffs encapsulated most of the best Raptors memories, and he was front and centre with his battle vs Allen Iverson trading 50 point games. The Slam Dunk championship was a wonderful moment too.
– There is a dispute about the new kids’ love – computer games, who are putting aside the interest of books. What is your opinion on the topic?
– I think it’s the wrong argument. I’ve played video/computer games since I was fairly small, and I still love them. But I’m also a life-long book lover. I see no reason why you can’t be both. I think the problem is that kids are made to read too many bad or boring books in school, from the beginning and all the way through, which give them a bad taste of what books are. Our system makes more non-readers than readers.
While the computer games are attractive every step of the way, and nobody is forcing them to play certain things they don’t like.
The solution? Let your kids see you reading books you like from the moment they’re born. Share great, engaging stories with them from the beginning. Use voices, make it fun, and do it with passion. And then play the games with them too, so they can become a fan of both.
– You are a fan of Tolkien, do you think that someone must develop more seriously his world that was left with so many side stories that may become great hits?
– No. I’d rather people just continue to be inspired by him and write their own books in their own worlds. I think it’s great when writers open up their worlds and encourage that kind of exploration, (and I’m a part of a project doing that right now) but I think Tolkien is the type who would have liked to maintain more rigorous control over his world.