The Maidstone Chronicles Book 1
About the Book:
Will Owens is an orphaned teenager with a unique ability that has alienated him in the quiet town of Cochrane: he can see dark creatures emerging from the Arden Forest. And people are dying.
Will is befriended by Morgan Finley, a stunning fencing champion whose dreams of a Yale scholarship are haunted by her family’s secrets. The unlikely friends venture into the Arden Forest where they enter a magical realm in the throes of a brutal war.
Entrusting their lives to a Callum Sage and his rogue companions, Will and Morgan embark on a perilous journey across the Fourwinds to face an ancient evil birthed in a tower known as the Maidstone.
Courage, faith, and friendship are tested at every turn, but the group has yet to realize the full extent of the powerful forces that threaten to destroy the Fourwinds and reach far beyond the town of Cochrane.
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
Shane: My adventure into the world of writing began just as my life was coming to an end, or at least it seemed that way for a time. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with Recurrent Idiopathic Pericarditis. Overnight, I went from a typical teenager to being laid up in bed for weeks at a time in terrible pain.
I remember being rushed via air ambulance to Toronto and my Ante Linda had sent along a book for me, The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks. I wasn’t a reader back then, but when I finally succumbed to the boredom (imagine being in a bed for weeks in a world before the Internet), I finally cracked the cover and my world was forever changed.
Darryl: When I was a child, I often thought of becoming either an actor or a writer. I’m intrigued by the possibility of being somebody different for a while, walking a mile in their shoes. Writing allows me the creative space to explore some of those possibilities.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
Shane: I prefer to write late at night, tucked away with my laptop, headphones on.
Darryl: I like to be at my desk, as quiet as possible, any time of day.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
Shane: The scenery and the history found in the backcountry and ancient ghost towns of British Columbia inspire me to no end. I also enjoy working in third world countries and meeting people whose lives are so fundamentally different than my own.
Darryl: The big picture ideas come from Shane! Smaller ideas for characters and scenes come from my own experience and interactions with people mixed with imagination.
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?
Shane: Some people are analytical and need to outline heavily before they start writing. I’m the absolute opposite. If you’re like me, the worse thing you can do is overthink things. I like to sit down with a character in mind and cut ‘em loose. The more real a character is in my mind, the less work I need to do because they take on a life of their own.
Darryl: I don’t need a firm outline, but I prefer to know where the story is going. This helps me understand the characters and setting so I can try to keep things consistent and coherent.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
Young Adult Fantasy. Terry Brooks is the common bond that brought us together to collaborate on this fantasy series.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
Will Owens – Ian Frayne
Morgan Finley – Bella Thorne
Rowe – Jack O’Connell
Bremer – Christian Bale
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
Shane: Terry Brooks, Stephen King, Patrick Rothfuss, Tom Clancy
Darryl: Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan, Suzanne Collins, Michael J. Sullivan, JK Rowling, Kate DiCamillo
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
Shane: The High Druids Blade (Terry Brooks) Red (Sammy Hagar)
Darryl: The Rose and the Thorn (Michael J. Sullivan), On the Meldon Plain (Pam Brondos), Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo)
9: What is your favourite book and why?
Shane: The first book that came to mind was The Stand by Stephen King. I love giant stories about the end of the world and the characters in this book were beyond memorable.
Darryl: That usually depends on when you ask me. Besides Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, I consistently say it’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo). It’s a children’s novel, but it has so much heart and unbelievable adventure that I’m inspired every time I read it. And it’s really fun to read aloud.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
Shane: Damn the rules and get at it.
Darryl: Don’t write because you want to become an author. Write because there’s no other activity that brings you such joy.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
About the Authors:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the soul of a gypsy. Having lived in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and Haiti, I seem most comfortable when there’s change brewing on the horizon.
My adventure into the world of writing began just as my life was coming to an end, or at least it seemed that way for a time. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with Recurrent Idiopathic Pericarditis. Overnight, I went from a typical teenager with great parents, growing up in Cochrane- snowboarding, mountain biking, and playing any sport with a ball- to being laid up in bed for weeks at a time in terrible pain. Living in the deep north, we were 8 hours away from an MRI machine and for a while, things didn’t look so good as doctors struggled to figure out what was happening, and why. The pericarditis would come back a few times a year throughout my teenage years and for a while, I lost my way. I remember being rushed via air ambulance to Toronto and my Ante Linda had sent along a book for me, The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks. I wasn’t a reader back then, and when I finally succumbed to the boredom (imagine being in a bed for weeks in a world before the Internet), I finally cracked the cover and my world was forever changed.
Life doesn’t always end up the way we think it should, but isn’t that part of the ride? Hard lessons are sometimes necessary to prepare us for the next big adventure as we journey towards leaving this world a little better off than when we arrived.
After finishing the original Shannara Trilogy, I started writing. I can’t remember when exactly I started, but I do remember having a plethora of ideas as I tended to do a lot of daydreaming, especially in school. I spent years writing books that will never see the light of day as I cut my teeth learning this new craft. To this day, if I don’t get my ideas down on paper regularly, I feel out-of-sorts.
My greatest challenge as a writer stemmed from the fact that I loved to write massive stories, and conversely, struggled to no end with the countless tiny details of flushing out something great. Shortly after moving back to Canada from Haiti, I reconnected with an old friend, Darryl Frayne. I knew Darryl was just about the complete opposite of me, in that he loves to mine the gems found beneath the extra words that don’t belong on the page. He works down in the weeds, pruning and clipping and shredding and planting and changing the paths as required to develop great story. The magic that unfolded was…well, I suppose you can be the judge.
In the in-betweens, I married my high school crush back in 1998. Joy has added all manner of color to my life and to this day, makes life an absolute thrill ride. When our son came along in 2004, well, I love viewing the world through his animated features and cannot wait to see how he is going to leave the world better off than when he arrived.
As far as I can remember, my journey into writing began when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I had always enjoyed stories, so I experimented with some comic-book style writing. I would draw my characters in small boxes, complete with talking bubbles for dialogue!
My favorite books growing up include The Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings. As an adult, some of my favorite fiction writers include Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, and more recently, Michael J. Sullivan. I also have an affinity for YA stories with believable, endearing characters created by authors like J.K. Rowling, Kate DiCamillo, Rick Riordan, and Suzanne Collins. I could list so many others; there are far too many wonderful stories to read!
I am grateful for my timely meeting, subsequent friendship, and working relationship with Shane Trusz. He has a great gift for storytelling, conceiving grand adventures, and passionately spreading the word about our books. Although we are different in many ways, I am constantly surprised at—and thankful for—the way our gifts unite to form unique, enjoyable stories.