What was the first book that got you interested in fantasy and what was the turning point that made you sit down and put pen to paper?
Actually, it wasn't a book that inspired me to write, but video games, namely Chrono Trigger and the early Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy IV for the SNES inspired me to write a story about collecting a series of magical stones with elemental powers contained within. That was the seed that gave birth to Dawn of the Destined Hero and all the sequels yet to come.
What made me take the leap from thoughts and ideas to actually writing it was friends from school who had read some of my short stories, written purely for fun, and they really enjoyed my stuff. I received so many compliments that I wanted to write a full book, and then more books after that. Fast-forward seventeen years, many additions, even more rewrites, and plenty of editing, and boom, my debut novel was finally finished.
Apart from fantasy, what genres do you like to read for enjoyment and which authors do you read specifically to try and learn new techniques?
I'll admit upfront that I'm really bad about reading. I should read far more than I do, especially being an author myself. I should learn from the greats, experience other stories from authors I've never heard of, and see what other sorts of books are out there for me to enjoy. I'm sure it'd make me a better writer, and that's what I'm always aiming to do every single type I lay my fingers on my keyboard, ready to transform and idea into an actual story.
When it comes to genres I enjoy, I'm fond of science-fiction, action/adventure, mystery, horror, and a hint of romance. I'm not very familiar with non-fiction, but I fully intend to become more knowledgeable. In time, I personally hope to write books of many genres to see which I excel at and which fans enjoy the most. The more I can experiment and try new things, the better, more well-rounded writer I'll become.
How do you feel about the huge rise in "low fantasy" books like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games?
I think that there's value in every genre out there, and the appeal of "low fantasy" nowadays isn't too surprising. People enjoy fantasy, as a whole, and it's really interesting to see sparks of fantasy and magic and otherworldly things pop up in the real world that we live in every single day. I like those sorts of books quite a bit. I've read both Harry Potter and the Hunger Games series, and they're entertaining novels. I even have intention to write some low fantasy of my own, so I'm clearly interested in it. It's pretty cool.
What is an element that separates Dawn of the Destined Hero from other Tolkien-esque fantasies?
I wouldn't technically label Dawn of the Destined Hero as a Tolkien-esque fantasy. Tolkien created an entire world filled to the brim with orcs, dwarves, goblins, elves, hobbits, trolls, demons, and countless monsters. It's really nothing like our world. I'd more consider my novel to be historic low fantasy, in a way. The book is about medieval humans at war, engaged in long-term conflict, and there is very little magic outside of a few rare examples. Arimax Holycross, the main character, stumbles onto magic, and learns to control it himself, but the world he lives in doesn't even believe in the fantastic idea of magic or otherworldly abilities. Over time, throughout the series, there will be more and more magic popping up, but this book is fairly realistic and is comparable to real-world medieval history. I think that puts more focus on the magic that does take place, and makes it feel even more special than if every other character was shooting fire and summoning gusts of wind.
Let's talk about destiny. When it comes to theology and philosophy, do you believe that mankind is given free will?
My opinion on free will versus destiny has matured throughout my years. As a kid, I fully believed in destiny, which is probably why this book, and the sequels forthcoming, are so focused on the concept of fate. Now, I'm pretty sure that strong-will and hard-work is a lot more important than simply being destined to do something. In the book, however, destiny is alive and well, but that doesn't necessarily mean that everything will go perfectly for young Arimax. And, in time, he may stray from destiny, battling the wishes of the fates in order to do what he feels is right, not necessarily what he's meant to do. I think keeping it ambiguous will make it far more interesting over time than simply declaring everything to be "destiny," or having every moment of Arimax's life entirely based on his own actions.
In your personal reading, do you find yourself enjoying more recently written works or do you prefer the classics?
When its comes to my personal reading, I tend to prefer newer books to the classics. It's probably because people talk frequently about the newest "big thing" in literature, so I have more likelihood to check those out than a classic that people don't discuss as regularly. I still fully intend to read all the big classics, as I want to expand my horizons as far as I possibly can, and that will make me more prepared for all the future novels I have already floating around in my head, simply awaiting the day when I bring them to life.
If you could favorably compare your writing style to any single author, who would it be? Is it an author that inspired you from the beginning, or someone you 'accidentally' sound like?
Again, I'm a bad reader. I shamefully admit it, and that's something I fully intend to change as soon as I can. Having a Kindle and some time put aside for nightly reading should help. So when it comes to comparing my own writing style to other authors, I can't really think of anyone in particular. I've been compared to a few authors by other people, but I still, from what I've read, feel that my own style and "voice" is unique. I haven't necessarily emulated any other author, nor do I happen to sound like them. I do read and study how other writers handle certain things, like descriptions, dialogue, punctuation, comma-usage and so on, but I still find a way to adjust my own style rather than simply "copying" them or anything like that. Basically, I'd like to be the first Marshall Walls and not necessary the next *insert popular author*
Which character of literature do you feel best represents the archetype of the hero? Must a true hero be flawed or can a character actually be perfect?
I'll admit it's a bit of a lazy answer, but Hercules (or Heracles) is the first archetypal hero that came to mind. He's strong, powerful, courageous, handsome, and he has great purpose and drive to make up for his horrible sins. He's a flawed character, but one that strives to right the wrongs he's done in his life, and I find that to be a tremendously honorable trait.
Perfect characters are boring. They are inhuman and unrelatable. Real people have strengths and weaknesses. Hercules may have been the son of a god, but he was also human, and he made bad choices, but did the best he could to earn forgiveness through the Twelve Labors. That made him an interesting character, and certainly someone I think Arimax would look up to if he'd ever been told that fantastic tale.
Lastly, where can we find your book? Where can we stay up to date on social media? Twitter? Facebook? Goodreads?
You can find my book, Dawn of the Destined Hero, for digital download on Amazon at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Dawn-Destined-Hero-Marshall-Walls-ebook/dp/B00H08TBXC
I've kept this book exclusive to Amazon since the beginning, but I'm going to be publishing it across the board of online eBook retailers soon. I'd like it to be widely available to anyone interested in checking it out.
You can check out the official Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dawn-of-the-Destined-Hero/418571621601853
My Twitter account can be found here: https://twitter.com/marshall_walls
Like, favorite, subscribe, friend me, tweet me, and all that fun jazz. I'm always happy to interact with "fans" and people in general. I should also have my Goodreads page up soon, so you can check that out if you'd like. Thanks!