Monday, January 29, 2018

Interview with fantasy author Jason Armenta

Kicking off a new week with me is author Jason Armenta. We’re chatting about his fantasy adventure, Lost Heroes: The Warrior Edda Part One.

A gifted storyteller, Jason Armenta has been creating worlds, characters and epic stories for over 25 years. Lost Heroes: The Warrior Edda Part 1 is the first in a series. Jason captures readers with his dynamic characters and exciting adventures. Jason has a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies and a master’s degree in e-business management. His future writing plans encompass multiple genres including Viking adventure, fantasy, science fiction and espionage stories. Jason lives in the Pacific Northwest with his family.

Welcome, Jason. Please tell us about your current release.       
Lost Heroes is a fantasy adventure novel. It is set in a world of fantasy where monsters and magic are real. A good description of the setting is a medieval high fantasy world where magic, spells, magical items, beasts, deities, monsters and myths are prevalent.

The story focuses upon two main characters. A man, named Wolfgeir and a woman named Freya Einarsdodder. They are both Norse warriors, far from home who sail the seas in search of their fortunes. Within the book they meet for the first time, have a series of adventures sailing the oceans, fighting monsters, winning treasure, facing betrayal and unlocking secrets of ancient cultures. Along the way they fall into a romance and become lovers.

Life centers around their ship, their Norse crew and the sea.

Despite the high fantasy setting, I strive to keep daily life consistent with the medieval era. Hence, their dress, tools, ships and technology are as close to historically accurate as permitted by the fantasy fiction genre that I describe. I am fairly knowledgeable about this era and its history and I strive to keep it historically authentic, save for the magical/paranormal elements.

Though the primary characters, their ship and the crew is Norse, the book does not take place in a Scandinavian area. They are sailing foreign seas and shores. The action takes place mostly in a chain of islands where the dominant culture is modeled after Celts.

What inspired you to write this book?
Lost Heroes is my first novel, but I have been writing Norse/viking related stories and games for many years. This book is the culmination of many of these ideas and plots. I wanted this to feel like an adventure novel first, with commensurate pacing and action, blended with fantasy, magic and romance.

Excerpt from Lost Heroes: The Warrior Edda Part One:
Chapter 5
A man screamed below of them. They looked in time to see the form of a giant snake rising from the sand, now clearly visible in the torchlight. It was so big its whole body couldn't been seen in the ring of light provided by the torches, half of it disappearing in shadow. What they could see was the head and front half of a snake. It reared its head off the ground, more than twice Wolfgeir’s own height, and was in the process of swallowing one of the crewmen whole. The snake unhinged its jaw and shook its head violently, so that the human body would slide into its throat. They watched in horror as the last bit of Snorri's legs disappeared down through the creatures mouth. Brodir cried out curses at the thing and tried to crawl away from it, his leg so badly hurt he could not stand unaided.
Wolfgeir leapt off the stairs and landed hard, falling on the sandy floor and making the snake pause to track his movement. Wolfgeir got to his feet and called to the monster, "Come! Here I am!" and struck his sword against his shield loudly.
The snake lowered itself to the ground and started to move toward Wolfgeir.
Brodir took advantage of its distraction and kept crawling desperately toward the stairs.
Freya remained planted on her spot on the staircase. When the giant serpent started to slither toward Wolfgeir, she took up her spear in a throwing position and set her feet as best she could.
Wolfgeir watched the beast approach. As he did, he backed up, his sword and shield in a ready position. Now that he had its attention, he realized he didn't know what to do. It was huge. Maybe even as long as his ship and as thick as a big oak. He was breathing heavy and looking around the area to see what he might be able to use to his advantage. His feet caught on something he risked a quick look down; he had wandered into a pile of what looked almost like fabric. He snapped his attention back to the giant snake that was closing on him, tried to kick his feet free, and there was a sound like parchment tearing. He kept at it until he felt like his feet were clear of this strange material.
The snake closed to within seven paces of him and made a hissing sound that was so loud it sounded like a dull roar echoing slightly around the pit. It reared its head again and opened its mouth, baring fangs. Wolfgeir stared at the two fangs, each the size of a broadsword. He braced himself, ready to jump and roll to try and avoid its strike.
There was a shout from above and he saw a spear fly through the air to pierce into the creature’s soft belly about halfway down the raised portion.
The snake thrashed, writhing in pain.
Wolfgeir glanced up and saw that Freya had thrown the spear.
She drew her sword and jumped down into the pit with him.
The huge serpent’s writhing had worked the spear free. the weapon fell to the ground near the wall of the pit. He watched as it twisted in the sand, then noticed the mottled look to its skin in places.
"It's skin," he breathed, and he looked down around where he stood. The strange dried material that he had been caught in was a giant, twisted piece of snake skin. The creature was shedding its skin in places.
Wolfgeir was suddenly angry with himself. He had been so concerned about how to face this monster, he had hesitated in his attack. Freya hadn't. He rushed forward, keeping his shield up in front of his body and his sword pointed straight at the enormous snake.
The snake settled, instinctively coiling and flicking its tongue. Freya saw Wolfgeir charging at the serpent through the shadows. She reacted by shouting a war cry and banging the flat of her sword against her shield.
Once again, the monstrous serpent turned toward the louder sound and movement. From its coiled position, the snake raised its head high again. Freya tried to calculate whether she was close enough for it to strike at her, given its size--but before she could decide, it struck.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have begun work on the second book in the series. It will continue the story of Freya and Captain Wolfgeir and their brave, treasure seeking crew. It will begin where part one left off, with them sailing to find a new, lost land whose presence was decoded from a long forgotten notebook by their resident priest and academic, Oliver Tallus.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It took me a long time to come to that conclusion. For most of my life, even though I wrote each and every week I never really considered myself a writer. I suppose I had this image in my head of what a writer is and I didn't fit that image. Only about 2 years ago did I realize and accept that I wanted to take the leap and start writing fiction as a profession.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am not a full time writer yet, though I would love to be one day. For my day job, I work in IT helping to design, test and deploy enterprise level software platforms for a major corporation. I have been working in this field for a long time and all in all I enjoy my work. But, again, one of my dreams would be to work full time as a writer. Finding time to write is always tough, but if it is important you, you have to fight to make the time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do some of my best work, late at night. I guess I get inspired by the late night hours.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A film director.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Only to thank them for their support and that I am excited about this series, and I can promise even more over-the-top action and epic fantasy in the future.


Thank you for joining me today, Jason!

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