Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interview: Stephen Zimmer (author of The Rising Dawn Saga) + Give@way

Today I am excited to welcome Stephen Zimmer back to the blog. This time Mr. Zimmer has graciously taken the time answer a couple questions regarding a set of short stories published by Seventh Star Press set in the worlds of two of his series.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning fantasy author and filmmaker based out of Lexington, Kentucky.
Stephen has two series being published through Seventh Star Press. One is the epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series, which was launched with Crown of Vengeance (winner of the 2010 Pluto Award for Best Novel). Book 2, Dream of Legends, was released in January of 2011. The other is the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga. The Rising Dawn Saga launched in spring of 2009 with The Exodus Gate (nominated for a 2009 Pluto Award). The next step was taken in June of 2010 with The Storm Guardians. Highly prolific, Stephen is adhering to a release schedule that sees a new book approximately every seven months! (Bio taken from author's website)
1. In Temples Rising, the short story set in the world of The Rising Dawn, how would you say it plays into the series?

Temples Rising is a really fun one as it goes deep into the pre-Flood world introduced in the Rising Dawn Saga.  Where the Rising Dawn Saga's portrayal of the pre-Flood world takes place in a Sumerian-like region, Temples Rising is rooted in an ancient Celtic environment. 
It shows the kind of world that the Fallen Avatars and the Nephilim are establishing, including some of the more horrific aspects.  I can't say too much without giving spoilers, but there are some things in this story that will have a part to play in the novel series as well.

This particular story shows the potential of the short story series as well, as it allows me to go anywhere within the Rising Dawn Saga's world and history to tell a story.

2. What was the hardest part about writing a short story set in an already established world? Easiest?
The easiest part is that the ideas just leap out at you.  I have a trove of notes, sketches, and treatments covering the world that the Rising Dawn Saga is set in and its history.  From the pre-Flood age, through the genesis of the Convergence and its advance across the course of human history, to the events depicted in the Rising Dawn Saga, there is a wealth of background material.  This is fertile ground for story ideas, as I just need to think for a moment about some character, place, object, or aspect I would like to expound upon, and the story largely tells itself.

The hardest part is making sure I don't give too much away in relation to the book series.  I do want to have some connections that readers of the novels will recognize, but I also don't want to essentially create major “spoilers” for the novel readers.  There are times I may leave some subtle hints or foreshadowing in relation to the novel series, but these will be done in such a way that they will only be clear in hindsight, after reading the novels. 

3. Will the short stories, Temple Raising or Into Glory Ride, feature characters that readers are familiar with, or will they be following different characters?

Largely, the short stories involve new characters, or ones that have been only mentioned, or very briefly encountered, in the novel series.  There may come a time when I might want to do a few stories about a main character in the novel series, such as a Godral or Sargor story set in the pre-Flood age, in the Annals of the Rising Dawn collection, but for now the casts are largely new or expanding upon references from the novels.  

4. Are there any scenes (that you can tell us without spoilers) that you had the most fun writing while working on the short stories?
In Temples Rising, I have to say a particular scene where the Raven Queen is given a vision into another world by a Fallen Avatar was an absolute blast to write.  I got to really play with Celtic lore, especially in relation to the origin of a certain kind of spirit.  That won't make much sense until you read it, but when you read the story you will know exactly what I mean. 
In Into Glory Ride, a particular battle scene has been bouncing around my head for a long time, and I mean a long time, as the novel series has been in active development since the mid-1990's.  When Marragesh goes into the fight, you will know the scene I am talking about! I love writing stories and threads involving the Trogens, and apparently the Trogens are a big favorite of the readers of my series.  When you meet them in Crown of Vengeance, you may have one impression.  This short story presents a few more facets of them.   

With Lion Heart, a scene by a lake involving Wizards was my favorite.  I really grew to love the Sigananda and Mawa characters as I did this story.  You can expect to see them again in the future.  Sigananda would fit into the Sword and Sorcery genre as well, as he is one of those larger-than-life type of warriors.   
As far as Land of Shadow goes, a certain kind of creature is revealed later in the story that will have a strong presence in the novel series.  This particular creature I have been burning to do something with, as well as another kind of creature encountered at the beginning of the story. I feel much more relieved now that I have been able to do a story with both of these unique races. 
It is hard to talk about these favorite scenes without the danger of spoilers, so the above descriptions might be a bit vague, but in hindsight they will be perfectly clear to readers. 

5. If you had to recommend only one of the shorts that you think readers
need to read, which would it be and why? I know, such a hard question to ask an author.
As far as an introduction goes, I would say Into Glory Ride, as it shows how I take some conventional fantasy elements, like Elves, and apply new twists.  It also shows the side involving inventive elements, like the Trogens, and Trogen culture.  I think people will really get a kick out of what Trogens use for steeds in mountainous areas, as well as the Harraks.  I think this story is a good example of how I balance some iconic fantasy elements with more original ones. 
The runner up might be Temples Rising, as it shows how I blend mythical elements and cultural traditions and put my own spin on them in the Rising Dawn Saga.
Thank you for hosting me for this interview!  Great questions, and I promise to work very hard to bring you the best books and short stories I can within these worlds.  
Thanks, Stephen, for the great answers.
Want to see my thoughts on the The Exodus Gate and see why I recommend this series.
You can haunt Stephen Zimmer-
Thanks to Seventh Star Press, I have three sets of the ebook short stories to giveaway on the blog. Winners can choose between Nook and Kindle, ot epub formats. Giveaway is international.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks so much for this interview, it really gets deeper into my approach to writing. Was awesome to visit with you and I hope everyone enjoys the new tales!

  2. Great interview!

    It was interesting to read about the world-building behind the stories.


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