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L.T. Suzuki

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Blogs by L.T. Suzuki

An Interview with Alan Baxter
8/4/2009 5:40:17 AM


In my quest to bring attention to promising, talented authors with a gift for weaving words into memorable tales, I’d like to introduce Alan Baxter, the author of the dark fantasy novels RealmShift and MageSign. Let’s begin with an introduction to the readers.

AB: I live on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. I write dark fantasy, sci-fi and horror. I enjoy riding my motorcycle and I love my dog. I also teach Kung Fu, but that’s for another interview.

LS: With three novels, short stories, a novella and a weblog, you’re a very prolific, busy writer. Where do you find your inspiration and what draws you to this particular genre?

AB: Actually, two novels are out and I’m currently working on a third. In truth, I don’t know exactly what it is that draws me to the dark fantasy, sci-fi and horror genre. I’ve always loved reading that kind of thing, my favourite movies are all in this genre and I love writing in it. I suppose, primarily, it gives me the ability to invent absolutely anything. If I can imagine it and I can write it convincingly, then I can make it real. It also gives me a canvas to paint very diverse characters onto, which let’s me explore all aspects of the human condition. And, being packed with magic and gods and monsters and so on, I can wrap it all up in rollicking good yarns!

LS: Many authors know from early on this is what they’d like to pursue as a career. Have you always been interested in becoming an author and are there any authors you can credit for inspiring you?

AB: I’ve always loved writing and telling stories. I’ve explored that in numerous ways, writing role-playing games campaigns, writing short stories obsessively as a kid, starting numerous novels. But it wasn’t really until I was in my mid-twenties that I stopped and thought, “I’m actually going to take this seriously and be a writer!” Once I’d made that conscious decision, there was no stopping me.
It was the great fantasists that really inspired me – J.R.R. Tolkien, David Eddings, Larry Niven, William Gibson, H. P. Lovecraft… the list is endless!

LS: You’ve received wonderful praise for your first two novels. Can you tell our readers a little bit about RealmShift and its sequel, MageSign as well as your protagonist, Isiah?

AB: Isiah is a very powerful immortal human that has the unenviable task of trying to maintain some level of balance between all the gods in all the realms. Anything people believe in exists, so all the gods you might think of are really out there, vying for the attention of humanity. The more believers they have, the more powerful they are. Isiah polices this activity, intervening when necessary to prevent any one god from pulling in too much power and gaining control over everyone – that would remove humanity’s free will, which can’t be allowed to happen. As Isiah says in RealmShift, “There could be no gods, but there can’t be just one.”
In RealmShift, Isiah has to shepherd a very unsavoury character by the name of Samuel Harrigan to Central America. In order to maintain the balance, Harrigan has to finish something that he started. The trouble is, Harrigan is a Satan worshipping blood mage, but he crossed Satan and pissed him off. So now Satan wants Harrigan’s soul. Isiah has to look after Harrigan and get him to the right place at the right time while keeping Lucifer at bay. Along the way things are interrupted by all manner of gods, demons and so on, making Isiah’s life very difficult.

LS: I find this plotline absolutely controversial and fascinating! I take it Isiah’s woes only escalate?

AB: In MageSign, the sequel to RealmShift, Isiah decides to go after the man that made Samuel Harrigan into the evil blood mage that he was – Isiah doesn’t want any more Samuel Harrigans in the world. This man is very elusive and known only as the Sorcerer. As Isiah tracks him down and learns more about him, he discovers that the Sorcerer is far more powerful, has many more followers and a more audacious plan than Isiah ever considered. It quickly becomes clear that if Isiah can’t find and finish the Sorcerer, life for humanity will never be the same again.

LS: Do you foresee additional novels featuring Isiah? Or do you have other projects in the works?

AB: I’ve just started work on a third novel. It’s not an Isiah book, but it is set in the same world that I’ve created with RealmShift and MageSign. Both those books are set here and now, but infused with my own brand of the supernatural. This new novel is set in that world, with a new protagonist and a very different direction, but there will be occasional cameos from characters in RealmShift and MageSign. I’m sure Isiah will pop up somewhere, albeit briefly.

LS: Can you tell the readers a little bit about your serial fiction, Ghost of the Black? I was quite intrigued by the tagline: “Cleaning up the scum of the galaxy.”

AB: This is something that started as an exercise in writing for me. It’s essentially written in the first person, like a journal of the exploits of a galactic Bounty Hunter known only as Ghost. He’s the best at what he does and he always gets the toughest jobs. He prides himself on catching these scumbags and bringing them to justice, hence the tagline. This first novella is written in 34 short chapters. I originally released it on my website in weekly episodes throughout 2008. Once it was complete I also made it available as a free ebook from Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/2787 ). I plan to write more adventures for Ghost – each time I’ll write them as a series of short chapters, which I’ll publish weekly on my site, then collect the whole thing into an ebook when it’s finished. They will all be Ghost Of The Black novellas. The first one, A ‘Verse Full Of Scum, is the one out now. It follows Ghost trying to track down and capture a murderous magic user that seems to be running as far away as possible across the galaxy, killing anyone that gets in his way. Now I just need to find time to write more!
LS: Indeed, there will be more, but readers will have to join us on Thursday, August 6th to catch Part 2 of this interview. Alan will share in his writing habits, his experiences on the road to publication and what’s in store for Red Blade Press. In the meantime, you can check out the following:

http://www.alanbaxteronline.com - All sorts of stuff on my website, including short stories, the first Ghost novella and the first three chapters of both RealmShift and MageSign. For more details of where to buy RealmShift and MageSign as well as details on getting your free ebook copy of Ghost Of The Black check here – http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/books You’ll also find a link there to a free anthology that includes one of my short stories. Have a look around the site and feel free to drop me line about anything.
You can also follower him on Twitter .AlanBaxter.


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