Q & A with Brian D. Anderson
Author of the Godling Chronicles
As a first-time indie author, you sold 10,000 copies in just the first three months. How did it feel to see your work take off in such a big way?
It's difficult to describe. When you first release your book, you daydream about people all over the world reading and loving it. You imagine your work hitting bestseller lists, and how your life will change as a result. But, when it actually happens, it brings mixed emotions.
I felt excitement, naturally, but it was mixed with a hint of fear and anxiety. The Godling Chronicles was my first effort as a published author. Now that it had become popular, it would be the yardstick by which I was judged. In fact, the second book in the series was far more stressful. I hoped people to like it as much as they did the first one. To my relief, they did.
The inspiration behind the series is quite endearing. How did you come up with the story idea for The Golding Chronicles ?
My son came up with the original concept. He came home one day after school and could not wait to tell me. I was working on an occult thriller at the time. I immediately dropped it and set to writing The Godling Chronicles .
Is your son helping with further concepts or simply rooting his father on now? How has that experience with him been?
In many ways Jonathan is a very typical young boy. His interests are varied, and he focuses on different things depending on what's happening around him at the time. There are aspects of all three Godling Chronicles books that are direct results of his suggestions and input. However I can't say that he spends all his time thinking about literature. He's a ten-year-old boy, and has varied interest. There are times when all he can think about is art, or chess, or video games, or. you name it. He has come up with other story ideas, several that are as good or better than The Godling Chronicles , but I think I'll wait until he's old enough to tackle the projects himself.
How do you shape your characters? Do you have a favorite?
As with most authors, I draw from a personalities and character traits of people I know, and mix that in with my own ideas. But the biggest challenge in development is to remember how relationships change with time and experience. Generally speaking, when I think about a new character, I tried to imagine their faults, weaknesses, and overall personality deficiencies first. Then, I insert the positive aspects that overshadow, or at least offset the negative. A character, properly maintained, will grow from there.
As far as a favorite character, I'd have to say Lee Starfinder. I draw from myself most directly when writing him. He's brash, and doesn't always think before he acts.
So many reviewers have said your novels appeal to readers of fantasy as well as those who don't usually enjoy the genre. What was your creative method while writing the books?
It's hard to say that I have a method. I just try to make sure that the three basic elements of a good story are all included. By that I mean, action, adventure, and romance. All the best stories, regardless of genre, have all three.
I think the reason people who are not your typical fantasy fans enjoy the Godling Chronicles, is because I try to focus on the characters and the story, more than the fantastical aspects one generally relates to a fantasy novel. Most readers, when it boils down to it, are only interested in enjoying the read. If the story is fun and exciting, it won't matter if it's fantasy, suspense, science-fiction, or anything else.
The Godling Chronicles made it on to the reading list for the UK foster program - and there's a special story behind that. How did the listing come about?
A foster mum in the UK, who taken on a special needs foster child, found my books to be very helpful in the child's development. It had an impact on her behavior, and her interaction with the world in general. I must say I was blown away when I heard this. You never expect a work of fiction that was only meant to be a fun read, to have a real impact on someone's life.
Because of these positive results, the books were included on the approved reading list for the UK foster program, and are currently being vetted for content, to be a part of school curriculum.
I would like to go deeper into the story behind what has taken place with this child, but is extremely complicated, and would require a question-and-answer section of its own. The foster mum wrote me a letter explaining exactly how everything came to pass. I posted it on my blog ( http://briandanderson.blogspot.com/2012/11/im-back.html ) , and it received massive positive response.
Who are some of your favorite authors, and h ow did they influence your own writing?
J.R.R. Tolkien, naturally. To me he is one of the greatest literary minds of the twentieth century. I love his traditional take on fantasy, and his purist view of good and evil. Call me old-fashioned and naïve, but I like that in a story. But of course, there are others. Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Dan Brown, JK Rowling, Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson, just to name a few. All of these have either been influences or inspirations.
How many books are you planning for The Godling Chronicles ?
So far, I think there will be six. But that may change if they story grows beyond what I can tell in six books.