Friday 4 March 2016

Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Travis Bow

I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Travis Bow to A Bookaholic Swede to talk with me about his story, Thane (Book 1 of the Everknot Duet)Travis Daniel Bow is the author of Thane and its sequel, King’s Table. He grew up in Reno, NV (where he raised pigs for FFA), earned degrees from Oklahoma Christian University (where he broke his collarbone in a misguided Parkour attempt) and Stanford (where he and his bike were hit by a car), and now does research and development work for Nikon. He has eight published short stories, four pending patent applications, one wonderful son, one beautiful wife, and one loving God.

Book synopsis: Of course he was joining them. He was going to train with the rebels, to learn to hold a sword and pick locks and speak languages and kill Huctans. He was diving in head-first, all in, ships burned. This was what he was born for."

When the Huctans conscript Timothy into a secret army—and when a girl with a strange set of skills sets him free—an awkward and lonely young man gets the chance to become a hero.

Throwing himself into the rebel cause, Timothy ignites years of pent-up frustration and futility in an obsessive drive to fight, spy, and deceive better than anyone else. Losing himself in the exhaustion of training and the danger of missions, he finds friendship with a Thane as fanatical as he is and wraps his new identity completely in service to the rebel Band. The rebel Band which, unbeknownst to him, was created to be betrayed.

A heart-breaking tale of duplicity, passion, and adventure.

Hi Travis, it's nice to be chatting with you. How did you discover indieBRAG?

On a plane, I believe; I saw an article in an in-flight magazine about indie writing and some award called a B.R.A.G. Medallion. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to give Thane some exposure.

Thane sounds like a really good YA fantasy book. Can you tell me something about the main character Timothy?

Timothy is a young man with a lot of potential, but no outlet. When he was younger, he was one of those kids who got teased for trying too hard and being too enthusiastic, so for the last several years he has (unconsciously) bottled up his talent and passion. This has been so effective that he has even convinced himself of his mediocrity, so that he enters this story with the burden of self-loathing and the smoldering desire to throw himself into something - a cause, a goal, a mission - with all he has. This quote from early in Thane sums Timothy up pretty well:

Of course he was joining them. He was going to train with the rebels, to learn to hold a sword and pick locks and speak languages and kill Huctans. He was diving in head-first, all in, ships burned. This was what he was born for.

Who is this Thane that Timothy befriends? Can you tell me more about this person, or is it a big spoiler?

His name is Jesher, and he is everything Timothy wants to be: talented, passionate, and insatiable in his drive to become a better Thane (a young scout / spy for the rebel cause). He recognizes that Timothy, unlike some of the other Thanes, is willing to go the extra mile, drill the extra hour, or nurse the extra bruise, and he takes Timothy under his wing. What starts as a mentorship grows into a deep friendship, and Timothy and Jesher become the perfect team for rebel missions.

I'm a bit curious about the girl with the strange set of skills. This seems to be a book with a lot of action, is there any romance or budding romance?

I'm glad you're curious about her; she's one of my favorite characters :). She was one of the first Thanes to be trained in the rebel Band, and is probably the most skilled in "Eliniel", the art of deception. She is also very independent; it is her disobedience of orders that brings Timothy and his brother into the rebellion.

There is some budding romance (I'll leave it to the reader to discover with whom), but it's somewhat understated. It grows over time, and is more of a side-note than the point of the story.

Can you tell more about the world you have created?

Botan is a fantasy land in its history and geography, but it is not a fantastical land. There is no magic. There are no imaginary creatures, or superpowers, or items of power. There are castles (mostly in ruins), ancient tunnels and mountain refuges (shrouded in secrecy), alliances and enmities between neighboring countries (exacerbated by the recent conquest and pending war), and, most importantly, a once-proud people starting to stir in rebellion.

Can you tell more about the Huctan and the Botani nations? Do they have a longstanding history of strife?

They do. The Huctan nation to the north has been an enemy for most of recent history. Borders have fluctuated as one nation grew stronger or weaker, but until recently, Botan was usually the stronger. This was in large part due to Botan's famed network of spies, ambassadors, and assassins - a network that was betrayed and destroyed when the Huctan nation finally conquered Botan fifteen years ago.

Have you always wanted to write fantasy books?

No, when I was very young I wanted to be a miner and get rich finding gold. Then I wanted to be a draftsman, then a horticulturist, then a landscape architect, then a chemist, then a writer (this was mid high school, when I started writing a very early version of this book), and finally an engineer. I've always been a reader (my parents had to limit me to an hour of reading a day at one point in an attempt to get me to go outside), and I think the love of reading about other people's worlds transformed easily into the desire to create my own. 

Any fantasy authors that have inspired you in your writing?

Yes, many. I grew up on some of the classics (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Frank Baum and Madeline L'engle), progressed to some more modern authors (Garth Nix, J.K. Rowling, Robert Jordan, and Sigmund Brouwer), and now hope to emulate authors like Orson Scott Card, Brandon Sanderson, and Megan Whalen Turner, all three of whom write deep characters and explore moral and philosophical issues in the midst of some of the most entertaining (and heart-wrenching) stories around.

Last, but not least, can this book appeal to older readers like me? I do love fantasy books, but I'm a bit cautious with YA, because well, sometimes there is just too much triangle drama and “instalove” for my taste.

It certainly can! Although I am a sucker for YA myself (and probably will remain so into my late nineties), it is a genre prone to tropes, from "instalove" and love triangles to orphan-with-stupid-parents and ugly-duckling-with-latent-all-powerful-magical-ability. I've striven to avoid as many such tropes as possible. The drama in Thane stems from Timothy's personal struggle to find his passion, the erosion and formation of friendships and ideals, and (of course) the action and intrigue of the rebels' fight... all themes that I think persons of any age can appreciate. Give it a try! :)

How did you come up with the title for your book?

With much pain and suffering. Choosing a title was difficult, and I've waffled over what to call the book since I was 15 years old (when I started writing a very early version of it). For a long time it was "A Time for War". Then it became "Thane of Botan". Finally I settled on simply calling it "Thane".

Who designed your book cover?

I did. Also with much pain and suffering (although I learned a lot about Photoshop - and leather working - in the process).

Where can the book be bought?

Smashwords link with free 50% preview



We are delighted that Magdalena has chosen to interview Travis Bow who is the author of, Thane, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Thane, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

No comments:

Post a Comment