Monday, September 17, 2012

Author Interview - Anton Strout

Today at Bibliognome I'm happy to present an interview with Anton Strout:

* An awesome reason to pre-order ALCHEMYSTIC by Anton Strout

Every pre-order means more money for Worldbuilders.

Bibliognome: How did you come up with the idea for Alchemystic?

Anton Strout: Like most of my story ideas, it started in a bar.  At Gen Con, to be specific.  The woman who bought my first short story ever, Jean Rabe, had an idea for an anthology called Spells of the City, which she invited me ben in.  The easy thing to do would have been to write some extended content for my Simon Canderous urban fantasy series since it takes place in Manhattan, but I resisted that.  I wanted to see what other characters I had bouncing around my brain.  So I came up with a short story about a young artist in Manhattan and the family legacy she discovers in an ever-watchful gargoyle set to protect them. The story is simply the moment where they first meet, but when you write a short story, you really need to work out the moments leading up to it, and what happens after the story ends.  In setting all that up for the short story, I realized there was more to this story that I wanted to tell, a story that might take several books.  Alchemystic is just the tip of the iceberg that is The Spellmason Chronicles.  I’m terribly excited about it.

Bibliognome: Which character did you think was the easiest to write for and why?

Anton Strout: Alchemystic is  told in two different points of view--one from that of a 22-year old artist named Alexandra, the other is that of an ancient gargoyle named Stanis who is bound to her family.  While I’m totally in touch with my 22-year old inner female stuff, I found it easier to write from the perspective of the gargoyle.  He has no modern sensibility. He’s learning to think, which means he’s like a child at times.  A deadly child, sure, but I found writing a more formal, observational character like Stanis was an interesting challenge as well as a treat for me.

Bibliognome: What are you writing currently or percolating in your mind to write soon?

Anton Strout: I’m in the thick of writing the second book of The Spellmason Chronicles, but I’ve got a project I’ve been working on that doesn’t have a home yet.  I call it my young adult Dickensian-Iron Man- Voltron-steampunk-street urchin battle book.  I’ll leave it at that for now. I’m hoping to finish it and shop it around later this year.  You know, with all that spare time authors have *epic eye roll*

Bibliognome: Which character in Alchemystic  is your favorite?

Anton Strout: There’s one character I have who is love because he doesn’t really have any powers, which makes him all the more fun to write.  Marshall Blackmoore is a bit of a geek, owns his own roleplaying game store called Roll For Inititative, and is a bit of a tactician friend thanks to years of playing D&D.  I kind of adore him, as we have a lot of similar traits, even though, in truth he’s nothing like me.  He’s far more courageous than me.  Even when he’s forced into it.

Bibliognome: Did you by chance ever watch the Gargoyles tv show and if so which gargoyle was your favorite?

Anton Strout: Why, yes, yes, I did watch Gargoyles.  If my Simon Canderous books were written because I missed Buffy and Angel, then The Spellmason Chronicles  is because I miss that old cartoon.  I swear I’m not writing fan-fic!  But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I write to fill the gaps of what doesn’t exist in the world.  As for a favorite:  Goliath is my homeboy!

Bibliognome: What author is a must buy for you/ do you enjoy reading the most?        

Anton Strout: I’m a huge Stephen King fan.  I’m always excited to see what he tries his hand at each time.  Having just bulk watched the recent run of Doctor Who, I really enjoyed reading 11/22/63 by King to see his take on time travel.  

Bibliognome: Which character that you've written about has been your favorite?

Anton Strout: Hmm... well, naturally they’re all my precious children, but of course I do play favorites.  In Dead Waters I introduce the vampire Brandon Walsh, who’s so out of sync thanks to the strange passage of time vampires go through that he’s named himself for his favorite character from Beverly Hills 90210.  I’m very partial to him, although there’s another vamp from that series that I love a little more.  He’s an old world architect whose learned to adapt over the centuries as the world around him did.  He has a bit of a tragic love story in his past, and some days I think I should just give him his own damn book and tell the tale.  There’s not enough time, dammit!

Bibliognome: What's the best part of the writing process for you?

Anton Strout: Having written.  :P
Actually, I like when I’ve vomited down the bare bones of my plot and dialogue.  I know from that skeleton I can fill all the rest in, fix what doesn’t work, but at least by that point I can see what is and isn’t working.  I can fix a manuscript full of X amount of words.  I can’t very easily fix zero words.

Bibliognome: What word is your favorite to say or write?

Anton Strout: Shenanigans... which then gets the Mehna Mehna song going in my head.  Plus it sounds so full of mischief, doesn’t it?

Bibliognome: If you had a gnome character, what would you name them?  

Anton Strout: Pritt Threefingers.  When I used to DM I stole Pritt from another DM friend of mine and he’s been a staple of any game I run.  I love Tinker Gnomes, gnomes that have just enough hyper invention in their brains to harm themselves.  Hence, three fingers.  He’s also armed with a pointed spoon he’s sharpened digging his way out of captivity. You do NOT want to be on the receiving end of Pritt’s spoon, believe me!

Bibliognome: Anything else that you would like to let people know?

Anton Strout: Life is short.  Do what you love.  Write what you love and read what you love.  That’s how I get by.  Also, I hope your peeps enjoy reading my new series as much as I enjoy writing it!

Quick Questions:
1.) zombie or vampire? BLAM!  Headshot!  NEXT!
2.) pop or soda? Soda.  I grew up in Western Mass where we don’t use the word ‘pop’ for soda or ‘bubblah’ for water fountain.  That’s soooo Boston.. eff that!
3.) silver or gold? Silver.  Gold bullets only annoy werewolves and there’s nothing worse than an annoyed werewolf.
4.) Starbursts or Skittles? Starburst.  I love Skittles too, but if you put Starburst in front of me I will eat ALL THE STARBURST! I think it’s about time to admit I have a problem.
5.) pen or pencil? Pen. As a lefty, it keeps the smearing down to a minimum.
6.) dystopia or utopia? Dystopia.  Utopia sounds sooooo boring.  I hate my characters happy.  If they’re happy, I’m not doing my job as a writer! 


  1. Very interesting, it's always nice to read about how authors come up with new ideas.

  2. Great interview!
    I pre-ordered Alchemystic a while ago and already got an email confirmation that it has been send out to me. Can't wait to read it.

  3. @Man of la Book and Sullivan McPig, thanks for checking out the interview. :)


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