It looks like Kindle Fantasy Authors is gone—BlogSpot account is no more and Twitter handle has vanished. That kind of creates a problem given that I was going to reference my recent interview with them for some follow-up posts here. Fortunately, I saved the interview Q&A, so here it is in its entirety.
An interview with Scott Marlowe, author of The Five Elements
KFA: Hello, Scott, and welcome to Kindle Fantasy Authors! Please tell us about The Five Elements. I see it’s subtitled The Alchemancer. What is an alchemancer anyway?
Scott Marlowe: Thanks!
The Five Elements is a character-driven blend of fantasy, alchemy, and pseudoscience. The two main characters, while best of friends, ultimately find themselves on different sides of this thing called the Fifth Element. Along the way, there's plenty of intrigue, mystery, chases, soul-searching, logic problems, airships and other machines, and, of course, action. At its core, it's about flawed characters trying to do their best with the hand they've been dealt, which I think readers can relate to because that's pretty much what we're all trying to do.
As for what an alchemancer is… From a literal perspective it's the combination of an "alchemist" and a "-mancer" (someone who practices divination). This would make an alchemancer someone who practices divination by way of alchemy. However, in the context of my book, it's much more than that. Think of an alchemancer as part alchemist, mathematician, and scientist. The word 'alchemancer' never comes up in The Five Elements as it's part of a greater, over-arching storyline that will come to light in future novels.
KFA: I assume we will see some of these characters again?
Scott Marlowe: Absolutely. I'm currently working on the sequel to The Five Elements, called The Incandescent Engine. It picks up right where The Five Elements ends. So far, it's been a lot of fun taking these characters on another ride.
KFA: If you could put yourself into the book, which character would you be?
Scott Marlowe: Oh, boy… That's a tough one. In some ways, there's a bit of me in every character. But if I had to choose, I'd have to go with two of them: Aaron, because he's smart, responsible, and always trying to do the right thing, and Ensel Rhe, because he's pretty good with a sword (of which I'm not, by the way).
KFA: What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
Scott Marlowe: It sounds overused, but keep writing. Not only does it ultimately lead to more material for your readers to read, but it also makes you a better writer.
KFA: Whom do you see as your ideal reader?
Scott Marlowe: Someone who enjoys imperfect characters thrust into unlikely, fantastic circumstances who then have to dig deep to overcome the odds.
KFA: Which authors or novels are we most likely to find you reading when you’re not writing?
Scott Marlowe: I'm a Bernard Cornwell junkie. His Sharpe series is fantastic. Also, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Dave Duncan (check out his Alchemist's Apprentice series; good stuff), Michael Moorcock, and I've been enjoying Mark Hodder's ongoing Burton & Swinburne series of mystery/steampunk novels.
KFA: What inspired you to take on the challenges of writing a novel?
Scott Marlowe: I've been reading fantasy since I was a kid. I think even way back then the allure of creating my own fantastic worlds and characters was strong. Also, I think many of us read something and think to ourselves, "That doesn't look that hard. I can do this." Of course, the reality is that it is, at times, very hard. You spend a lot of time by yourself, living in an imaginary world with imaginary characters, and there's always this feeling of guilt hanging over you if you haven't met your word count for the day. On the other hand, there's a lot of satisfaction in it as well, the pinnacle of which is having someone read and enjoy the finished product. That's really what it's all about.
KFA: Please tell us about your writing process.
Scott Marlowe: I'm an engineer by day, so it will probably come as no surprise that I'm a diehard outliner. The outline for the next novel in The Alchemancer series, which is now complete (thankfully), is 50 pages long and took 2-3 months to complete. I lay a lot of groundwork in my outlines, and while nothing is ever set in stone, it gives me a good roadmap to follow as I'm writing along. The outline itself contains detailed information on characters, places, and, of course, a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the novel.
In terms of actual writing, I'm usually out of bed and in my study at home by 6am. That gives me about 2-2 ½ hours to write before heading off to the office for the day. Then maybe I'll do some more when I get home depending on the demands of my wife and two dogs.
KFA: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Scott Marlowe: When working on a rough draft, don't get hung up on perfecting each chapter or scene. Always keep moving forward until your first draft is done. Then go back and add the layering and other details and fix things. You'll never finish if you don't keep moving forward.
KFA: Where do you do your best writing?
Scott Marlowe: My study in the morning when I'm not answering lengthy interview questions. Kidding, kidding…
KFA: Do you have a website or blog where our readers can find out more about you and The Five Elements?
Scott Marlowe: Sure do. Go to http://www.scottmarlowe.com. There's info about my novels, some free short stories, and plenty of blog posts which they may or may not find of any use.
I'm also on Twitter and Goodreads.
KFA: Where can our readers find a copy of your novel?
Scott Marlowe: The easiest way is to go to my Amazon Author Page or visit my site.
KFA: And finally, as an author, what question have you never been asked, but would like to answer?
Scott Marlowe: "Where do you get your ideas?" Ha, ha. Just kidding. I think you stumped me. I got nothing.
KFA: Thanks for talking to us. Good luck with your writing.
Scott Marlowe: Thank you. Appreciate the opportunity.