About the Book:
Magic has been banished from our world for five hundred years.
The day that Nate died, everything changed for Quinn. His long-term mentor helped him through the death of his father, years of being bullied and far more. It also changed for everyone else. Nate was a wizard and five-hundred years ago had closed the thirteen gates cutting the world off from magic. With his death, those gates opened and magic returned to the world.
The world is unprepared for the return of corrupt wizards, monsters, fae, jinn, olympian gods and nameless elder abominations. But unbeknown to him, Nate had prepared Quinn for this day. He encouraged him to read books that explained the gods of Olympus, faerie tales, the words of H. P. Lovecraft and many others even though Quinn didn’t know it they were all real.
Now Quinn must prove he isn’t a murderer, learn to control magic and protect the world from threats it hasn’t faced in five-hundred years, all while avoiding being killed by his best friend’s ex-girlfriend.
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
Hi. I’m Elton Gahr and I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer. I grew up in Montana playing video games, baseball, hiking, fishing and all the small town stuff you might expect. I moved to Missouri about twenty years ago.
There is no one moment that got me into writing. There are a lot of small moments. In kindergarten I wrote a nineteen page story about a balloon in a penmanship class. A couple years later I wrote a choose your own adventure book that was passed around my class and I never actually stopped writing stories after that.
As for a career I was planning to go into computer programming, but my computer teacher took the time to explain what being a computer programmer was like. I decided that I’d rather be a writer and I’ve been selling my writing ever since.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
Most of my writing is done in the morning in my office. I eat breakfast, check my email and then write for three hours. But as much as I enjoy writing, that’s still work. When I want to do something more fun, I’ll go to the Panera Bread with my laptop. I get all the coffee I want and can pretend that being in the same room as people while writing makes me social.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
Mostly from other books. I love to read, but often when I read something I find some part of the story that doesn’t fit with the way I think things would work. Sometimes that’s just ignoring a basic convention of a genre. For example, a lot of urban fantasy and even some science fiction works on the assumption that no one would notice if strange things were happening. I think that by the time someone is riding a dinosaur down the streets of a major city someone would notice. So, I wrote a story about how the world figured out that it was full of magic and monsters and what happens after that.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
I usually believe I have a plan and depending on the story I have things that need to happen because there are more books in the series planned out and I can make the plot and characters cooperate and stick to the plan.
Then there are stories like Middlemen: The Brother’s War. I started out with a plan and realized about halfway through that a side character I had stuck in to fill out the world was actually the protagonist and let him take over. That changed the story entirely and made it much better.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I write and mostly read science fiction and fantasy. I was drawn to science fiction at first because of how much I enjoy reading about science history and scientific advancements. But the idea of spending years experimenting and testing things sounds like far too much work. So, instead I let other people make the discoveries, do the math, test it carefully. And while they do that, I make up stories about what might happen if it works.
Then I discovered one of the major problems in science fiction is that you can be wrong. You could misunderstand a theory or not know about one. You could use a parsec as a measure of speed or tell people that they only use ten percent of their brain. That drew me to fantasy, where I got to make up the rules of how the world works so that no one can tell you that you’re wrong. And of course I love reading both.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
This is the hardest question for me for a couple of reasons. In general, I’m terrible at the whole dream casting thing because I don’t know that many actors. It’s worse with my most recent book because the characters are all teenagers so none of the actors I know are currently the right age. But we’ll ignore that part.
The main character is Quinn, a sixteen-year-old boy, nerdy, loves to read and overly caution. There are a few options but Elijah Wood at the right age looks the part and is a good enough actor to carry the emotional weight of the story.
Tim is Quinn’s best friend. Because he brings a lot of the humor to the books, is Irish and needs to make Quinn look a little short I think Ashton Kutcher at the right age could handle the humor, look the part and surprise people in the moments when he becomes serious.
The third of the main characters in Hanna. She needs to be scary, look like she’s right on the edge of breaking and show the difficulty of controlling her power and feeling dangerous while not being all that physically intimidating. Since that’s more or less the character of Eleven from Stranger Things, the simple answer is that Millie Bobby Brown could do it. And she’s actually near the right age now.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I usually try to read a couple of books a week and most of the time I succeed. For me, there are two different types of writers. Those who I read and see what techniques and skills they used. For me these are writers like Isaac Asimov, Brandon Sanderson, and Stephen King. Brilliant writers who I learn from and from and understand.
The other writers are doing a magic trick I don’t get. I don’t like them more, but I am more intrigued by them. For me the best of these are Douglas Adams And J. R. R. Tolkien. I have read everything both of them have written multiple times and read and heard interviews about what they do, but when I read their books all of that disappears and I’m transported back to reading books as a kid with no idea how someone could do it.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
I just finished Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. It’s about the competitive memory scene and helps you to understand the type of person who would spend a year learning the technique to memorize a phone number rather than just writing it down. It’s a good book, but I haven’t had time to see how memorable it will be yet.
I also started the Brandon Sanderson novella Perfect State. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I always find Brandon Sanderson’s science fiction stories interesting because to me he writes fantasy with a more science fiction style that almost anyone with his hard magic systems that often feel more like an alternate type of science than magic.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
My go to for favourite book has been “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. I love the whole Hitchhiker’s series in virtually every form and it’s still the book I’ve read more than any other. It’s funny, smart and makes me feel better when I read it.
But recently there have been two other books that may someday break that glass ceiling. The first is “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson. It’s the first book in a decade that I read, then immediately read again. It has some of my favourite moment in fiction and it gets better when reread.
The other book is the one that I have only read once, but if someone asks for a book recommendation, It’s almost always “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl a book that everyone should read.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
My joke answer is always don’t. And it’s not entirely untrue. Writing is a lonely job that is a ton of hard work that will almost certainly pay you less than what you’d make putting the same amount of effort into anything else.
Once I’ve hopefully saved the people who think writing a book is a get rich quick plan from a lot of heartache I move onto the people who want to write because they love to do it. For them I have two pieces of advice.
First, read everything. Read fiction and non-fiction, books you love and books you hate. Pick up the classics and the trashiest novels you can find. Reading is how you create the writer’s toolbox and if you only read in the genre you love, it’s like building a toolbox with just a hammer. Also, when you read an absolutely terrible book that got published it gives you more confidence than reading a hundred good books.
The second point is deliberate practice. I used to just tell people to write, and that’s at the heart of the advice. But deliberate practice is more than that. It’s writing in a way that makes you better. It means writing beyond your skill level and sometimes failing. All too often writers hold back on stories or ideas because they are too precious or difficult. But you learn more by failure than by success. And it actually works for everyone and not some specific subset of people who write exactly like you do.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
My blog www.andscifi.com/eltongahr is the best place to start. From there you can sign up to my newsletter (https://dl.bookfunnel.com/fs8db9de4n) to get a free book. The newsletter is always going to be the most up to date on current projects, where I talk most freely about myself, and make some bad jokes. Facebook is www.facebook.com/EJGahr. Or you can follow me on twitter @eltongahr where I vacillate between avoiding it entirely because I don’t want to get angry and having conversations about my books and writing for a few days before I get drawn into one of the trending topics and have to log out. But I also put my announcements up there, including free books and short stories almost every week.
About the Author:
Elton Gahr was born the fourth of four children in Kalispell, MT on April, 30 1977. While there, he began to study the craft of storytelling. By kindergarten he was writing short stories, and in fourth grade he wrote his first fantasy epic. A handwritten choose your own adventure story in the style of the Lone Wolf series.
In 2002 he moved to Joplin, MO, and began to focus more on his writing. He collected the signatures of several well-known editors on the bottom of rejection slips from their magazines and returned to creating comic books with his friends.
Since then he has published five novels and two anthologies. Including the epic fantasy The Middleman Saga and his space opera series Spaceship Vision. His next story is a modern fantasy story named “The Thirteen Gates: Apprentice” that will be released May 7th.