Author interview with Elliott Baker of ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One)’

Author Interview with Elliott Baker

Right at the cusp of the Renaissance, new ideas were emerging, but old ones like slavery were contesting the changes. In 1671, riffles and pistols were still single shot and the sword rose to its deadliest skill level. Welcome to the swash and buckle of the 17th century.

 

 

Follow pirates at the dawn of the Renaissance, with Elliot Baker, and I as we delve deep into the first book in The Sun God’s Heir series, ‘Return’. Elliot, it’s been a while since we last chatted, what’s been going on your world since then?

Other than writing, ugh. Sally and I have been babysitting for our 3-year-old grandson, Jackson. When you tell him, “You’re cute,” he responds in an appropriate tone of voice, “I know, right.”

 

 

*Laughs* Knowing how cute you are is an important lesson to learn, so I’m glad to hear that he’s learnt it early and well! We’ll get to latest writing adventures soon, but let’s take our readers back in time to the initial development of The Sun God’s Heir: Return. How did it all begin?  

The Sun God’s Heir: Return arose from a dream experienced years ago, but never forgotten. The dream gave me the major players and the setting and refused to return to the creative matrix from which it came. Every creative move we make is a mystery. I’ve always found that my best response is just to be grateful and not make a big deal about it.

 

 

Are you a prolific dreamer?

I don’t remember more dreams than anyone else. This one was very unusual in both its detail and my ability to not only remember it, but its refusal to fade away in the face of real life.

 

 

Did you find yourself looking for inspiration from your own life to extend the foundation provided by your dream? What things did you mix into the story?

Reading superman comic books under the covers with a flashlight when I was ten.

 

 

Oh, good choice! There’s a lot of wisdom in those pages, so what important element did you decide to showcase in this book?  

Power is not the answer. As is evidenced by quantum mechanics, the logical connection between cause and effect isn’t always true even though it certainly looks like it should be.

 

 

What or who did you think about as you were writing to try and help you weave the idea that power is not the answer in?

Truthfully. My family and the people I love. It’s the only valid reason I’ve found in this life for getting up. And it works famously every day.

 

 

Having such a solid reason for working does make it much easier to keep working when the going gets tough. What else have you learnt by working through times when writing has been more challenging than fun?

How badly we all need editors. I am more than grateful for mine.

 

 

A writer who doesn’t love editors hasn’t met a good one yet! Do you find all of the writing you need to do in the lead up to giving it to the editor exhausting or exciting?

Depends on the day and whether what comes out is useful as kitty litter or words that might actually give someone a break in a busy stressful day.

 

 

*Laughs* I hope you didn’t have too many kitty litter days! Do you think you’re seeing less of these days since you’ve continued to hone your writing skills, and in turn are showing an improved author voice?

Thanks to my editor, my voice is stronger and clearer.

 

 

Thank goodness! There are only so many kitty little quality days you can take! We’ve now set the stage with the first book in the series, what can you share what’s going on with the series today?

The first Sun God’s Heir trilogy is doing well. I am running into the dreaded writer’s block, but am slowly navigating my way through. When you begin a creative project for the first time, there’s much less pressure. After all, you never did this particular format of writing before. When all three books have been well rated, you can’t just write something, it needs to be better than your previous work and that’s what drops a monkey wrench into the works. That’ll never happen to me. “Hah,” he said before sitting and staring at a blank computer screen.

 

 

Has it been easier to rise to that challenge by continuing on from the series brand that you’ve already formed with the earlier books?

Branding is one of those mysteries I have yet to crack. Still, it’s good to have mysteries in our lives. Makes things much more interesting.

 

 

It really does! So, where do the writing mysteries lie in your future? What are you working on?

Book 4 of the Sun God’s Heir series. Working title, Oracle.

 

 

How exciting! I can’t wait to hear more about it! And the fastest way I’ll be able to quiz you all it is to let you go and work on it. Elliot, thanks for returning to ItsWriteNow.com to keep us up to date with your writing career, and return soon with updates!

 

Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One) ( ASIN: B01MS3RCE0 )‘.

Want to find out more about Elliott Baker? Connect here!

Author interview with Elliott Baker of ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One)’

Author Interview with Elliott Baker

The debut novel from Elliott Baker, The Sun God’s Heir: Return is a new addition to the historical fantasy tradition of Wilbur Smith, Guy Gavriel Kay, Diana Gabaldon, and Patrick O’Brian.

 

For three thousand years a brother’s hatred burns. In seventeenth-century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, forces his way into incarnation, determined to continue a reign of terror begun long ago.

 

One remembers one does not.

 

 

What has been remembered, and what has been forgotten? Here to explore memory, Elliot Baker, has returned to ItsWriteNow.com to chat about a debut novel, writing and more. Elliot, it’s great to see you back here for a chat! What’s been going on with you since we last caught up?

Exploring the maze that is book promotion. The maze in Harry Potter’s got nothing on this one.

 

 

*Laughs* Yep, book promotion is much tricker than the Harry Potter maze! I’m sure that many an author looks enviously upon Harry and that maze, I mean at least he got a wand a whole bunch of spells to help him out! Has your recent time in the maze of self-promotion led you to think more about your author brand?

I can’t say that I understand branding enough to expound on it.

 

 

Well, we can’t really lament the lack of marketing and branding spells that could help you out there, although if they existed they would be awesome, so let’s chat a little about how your journey has changed. What’s new?

I have been introduced to writer’s block. Books one, two, and three of The Sun God’s Heir were published in 2017. I found that having done something to the best of my ability, the voice in my head leads off with “You’ll never be able to to that.” :) Took me a while to first recognize what was going on, and then find a strategy to get around it. I did and have begun book four.

 

 

Oh no, not the dreaded writer’s block! I’m sorry to hear that it caught up with you, but I’m very glad to see that you’ve worked your way forward to book four. How is book four going?

The Sun God’s Heir: Oracle (Book Four) There, it’s in print so it has to happen, right?

 

 

I think it would take something fairly big to derail it now! Do you feel that working past your first significant period of writer’s block has changed your author voice?

I don’t know. If I can temporarily ignore all the things I’ve learned, it should be fine. If I get tangled in the conventions of current writerlyness, I suspect I’ll lose the flow.

 

 

What thoughts do you keep at the top of your mind so that you keep yourself in a state of flow?

The current character. Story is always about character. Even creating the world the character is set in is only working on the frame. A beautiful frame will enhance the picture within, but without a worthy picture (character) the most beautiful frame can add nothing.

 

 

It’s so important to see both the frame and the subject in the frame working together to create the art that is a novel. And I really want to see The Sun Gods Heir: Return as a little more of a beautiful frame complete with characters, so let’s go back to the start. How did it all begin?           

The Sun God’s Heir began as a dream remembered. I suspect many writers have found their stories in this way. It was a fairly comprehensive dream and I remember being miffed upon awakening. I wanted to know what happened to the protagonist and his love interest.

 

 

At least you remembered enough about your dream to continue it. There’s nothing worse than knowing you had a great dream, but you can’t remember it. How did your characters transition from the dream to your writing?

Like any writer, I thought about them, and as we became more familiar, they somehow introduced the other characters in their play.

 

 

Did you introduce some of your life experiences to the characters to help them or their surrounds become more familiar?

Was I a pirate? Not in this lifetime, but the ideas have to come from somewhere.

 

 

Perhaps you’ll be a pirate in your next lifetime! Other than trying to become a pirate, what was important to share with your readers in this novel?

Power is inversely useful to the amount you have.

 

 

Was exploring power where you found your greatest lessons while writing, or did you learn more somewhere else?

To complete a creative task requires a great deal of support. Without my wife, these books probably don’t get finished. If you don’t have that level of support, go out and find it. Like anything else (sorry for the philosophy) if you look, you’ll find.

 

 

And when you’re looking to write, what do you usually find? Do you find yourself energise, or exhausted?

Since I write Historical Fantasy, the research can sometimes exhaust me, but the fantasy always energizes me. Kind of why I include them both.

 

 

I love the mix of multiple ideas. It makes things much more interesting! When you’re thinking about writing, or talking about writing like we’ve done here today, what random thoughts keeping popping up in your head?

As an author, I’m always looking for authentic motivation. As I write, I’m sure I’m asking myself questions like “What would he or she do if…” Interviews are time-consuming, but somewhere along the way, I start getting energy from the attitude of your questions. I mean, you’re not here now, but your words carry energy. I wonder if someone could just make up character interviews that would catalyze a writer in creating characters. Just a thought.

 

 

OMG, bringing characters to life through interviews! I want to see that in action! I’m going to think about that for a while now because it’s such an interesting idea! You know we’ve been very serious so far today, so let’s let our interest wander onto a few of my sillier questions, starting with, if money doesn’t grow on trees then why do banks have branches?

Why are airports called terminals?

 

 

To mock long-haul travellers who see no end in sight to their journeys. Can you cry underwater?

Of course.

 

 

If space is a vacuum, who changes the bags?

LOL. You mean like from a black hole?

 

 

I wasn’t exactly thinking of a black hole, but I think it would make cleaning up all of those broken bits of galaxies much simpler! So, now that we’ve cleaned up the universe if you had the chance to invent a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?

It would be a dragon because dragons make the best monsters. I’d call it ‘Best Intentions.”

 

 

Nice name! Keeping on the idea of monsters, what happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?           

Wow, that’s reverse engineering. I suppose he becomes just a man. Double negatives and all that.

 

 

I love that logic, and I think you’re probably right! Let’s keep that logic going and see what happens when we apply it to the next question if you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?

A giraffeasaur.

 

 

Now that sounds so cute, and I personally think it would be a winner for a best-seller plush toy line! You know, each time we’ve caught up I’ve liked to end the interviews by asking you about your personal favourite lines from The Sun God’s Return: Heir, so let’s turn the tables a little. What’s your favourite feedback that you’ve received from your debut work?

Yep, lost a night’s sleep with this one, a rapid pace and excellent writing kept me hooked when I should have put out the light! Great story and descriptive writing as well the philosophy included in the teachings of the Maestro. Loved it. Eagerly awaiting the continuing saga.

 

 

As we all are. Elliot, thank you so much for returning to share your latest updates on The Sun God’s series, and I’m sure we’ve enticed a few readers to sacrifice a little of their sleep to this adventuresome series!

 

Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One) ( ASIN: B01MS3RCE0 )‘.

Want to find out more about Elliott Baker? Connect here!

Author interview with Elliott Baker of ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One)’

Author Interview with Elliott Baker

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

 

 

What will happen in Morocco? To uncover the truths and secrets awaiting in Morocco, Elliot Baker has kindly returned to ItsWriteNow.com for the third time to chat about ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return’. I’ve mentioned it a few times before, but I’ll say it again, I love seeing authors progress with their writing careers, so I’m so glad that you’ve taken a few minutes out of your busy schedule to chat me. What’s been going on since we last caught up in September 2017 with The Sun God’s Heir?

The Sun God’s Heir has won a couple of contests which is a hoot. Book one has remained in Amazon’s top 10 Free books in its primary category of Sea Adventures and in the top 20 in Historical and Fantasy since it’s launch in January of 2016. It has enjoyed over 27,000 downloads.

 

 

That’s fantastic news! What a great testament to the quality of your work! With fantastic feedback from both contests and the reading public, I’m sure you’ve had great motivation to keep yourself working hard. What’s been keeping you working hard since September?

Exploring the strange and challenging world of book marketing. Does a tree make a sound when it falls in the woods if no one is there to hear it? I’d like to thank the readers of The Sun God’s Heir for listening. I am also beginning to write the next book continuing with these characters only in other lives and time periods.

 

 

I’m very eager to hear about your new book, and I’m sure the readers are too, but first let’s chat about that strange world that is book marketing. What have you been doing with marketing? Have you been playing around with social media or your own site to kick things off?

I am slowly learning the ropes. I’ve been a member of Instagram since my start, but will soon begin to inhabit the page. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words. I had a graphic artist render René and Akeefa and the drawing of Akeefa is very close to the picture in my head. Who knows. She may show up. Hard to decide whether to leave people’s images of my characters alone or share mine. If you want to see what she looks like in my head, or think I should put the image up on Instagram, use the contact form on my website and let me know on https://www.elliottbaker.com/

 

 

That is a tricky one. Pictures of the characters are great and can look fantastic, but some readers do get disappointed when the pictures don’t match what’s in their head, but personally, I think it would be a great idea to show a little taste of how you see life in ‘The Sun God’s Heir’. Are these characters who you have in your mind when you write?

I keep my mind as open to my characters as I can. I don’t think my characters are alive, but their patterns, which I’ve thought about a lot, are. If I’m open to it, the pattern makes a raspberry sound in my mind when I consider having the character do something contrary to their pattern. There is always the overarching ‘why.’

 

 

As a reader, you always hope there is an overarching why!   Looking back on it, what do you think was the greatest why or what you want readers to take from your characters in ‘The Sun God’s Heir’?

The accumulation of power will not bring you joy. It will not even bring you security and the escape from that which you fear. Fear and its manifestation, anger does not lead to joy which is the only reason to play this game. Good thing we get to choose.

 

 

Indeed we do. Was the exploration of these ideas of power, security, fear and joy what you had in your mind when you first started writing or did you have another target that you were working towards?

There are three books in the Sun God’s Heir trilogy. I had a general idea of how I wanted to finish, but the actual story of the main characters did not present itself until near the end of the writing. I had a couple of what if it doesn’t moments, but for the most part, (I don’t know why) I was confident that it would show up. I’m very pleased with the ending. After you’ve read over eleven hundred pages, the ending better be satisfying.

 

 

I completely agree. There’s nothing worse as a reader or writer than to be emotionally invested in a story, and finally get to the ending and find that it is rubbish. What steps did you take to make sure that the ending was satisfying for both readers and yourself as the writer? Did you bring in elements from your life to make the overall story solid?

Writing is a funny thing. We all enter the zone. Olympic athletes train to do it. So do yogis. Most of the time it’s unconscious and fleeting and we’re not even aware we passed through the state. A writer or musician or artist experiences the zone after a time of concentration. Stuff comes out that seems to be better or beyond what the writer or musician feels capable of. I think that we touch our subconscious and download patterns that we’ve unconsciously put together. The output seems brighter and though we take credit for it, we are always a little dubious of our ability to have created it. There are characters in The Sun God’s Heir from whom I learn as they speak. One of my greatest motivations to write is to get them to speak so I can listen. Sounds pretentious, but I’m glad for the help.

 

 

Sometimes I feel that getting to the zone of great work can seem like entering a mystical and magical realm. What do you do when you sit down to write to help yourself get into the zone faster?

Writing is a habit. We form and try to form habits all the time. Sometimes we hold on to one for a time, and then something comes up and we’re back to the chaos of our regular day. In order to write, you need to get your butt into the chair and keep it there long enough for something to accumulate. You can’t know if it’ll be worth the time or not. You just have to cast off and trust. For me, getting into the chair on a regular basis is the hardest part. “Oh, look, a bird.”

 

 

*Laughs* Those distracting birds! I hope that when you get to the editing stage your work is pulling you back to it and away from the birds. Or do you just turn your work over to an editor so you can sit back and enjoy the bird songs?

I have a kick-ass editor without whom all I’d have is a collection of words. It’s a back and forth process which in the end is very satisfying.

 

 

I’m glad to hear that you found satisfaction reaching the end, but I wonder if you had the same satisfaction at the beginning. What was the original idea behind your book that you wanted to continue to explore until you were fully satisfied?

The Sun God’s Heir began with a remembered dream. Like most folks, I don’t remember dreaming that often, but this one morning, I carried the dream into waking consciousness. It wasn’t the whole story, but there was the protagonist and antagonist as well as the germ of the story and the setting. The story stayed with me and refused to go away until years later, with the help of NANOWRIMO, I began to write it down.

 

 

Other than trying to conquer the challenge of NANOWRIMO, why do you write?

The easiest answer and the most trite is because I can. A great joy for me in reading a story is when I am transported somewhere else for a few minutes. When I come back to this reality, to my chair, I feel nothing so much as gratitude to the writer for having helped me take a break from the stress of this life. Often I feel recharged with the emotional energy from the scene or story. I wanted to do that. There is nothing so sweet as when someone tells me in so many words that they went somewhere for a few minutes.

 

 

I love that you’ve really dedicated yourself to transporting someone else to a different place through your words. Was giving the gift of transporting someone to another work the greatest reward of writing for you?

There’s energy in finishing anything, especially something that takes a while. Since my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Walker, read Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion to us in sixth grade, I’ve loved story. To be able to craft one is very gratifying.

 

 

Do you feel that your author voice or writing, in general, has progressed as you’ve continued to practice your craft?

We all have a voice in our heads. And we all have stories to tell. The trick is to stay seated long enough to access our authentic voice. Takes time and patience. Unfortunately it also often takes a support system to give the writer the energy that can’t be found in the moment. Just like listening to yourself in a tape recorder, you are often less than excited by the sound of your own voice. Stay with it.

 

 

Less than excited is probably not the description I would use when listening to myself on a tape recorder, I think that mortified might be closer. For others who feel closer to mortification, do you have any tips for authors who are struggling to stay with it?

Show up. Edit and polish until the work makes you smile. It’s not hard to get your work out there, and everyone is always in a hurry to do so. Force yourself to spend more time thinking, editing and deciding what you want. The actual publishing can be done in an hour.

 

 

Very true. The publishing process is fairly straight-forward if you set up your work well in the first place, which means that you can spend more time on the stuff that matters. The content! And speaking about the content and deciding what you want, earlier we touched on what you want for your current writing project. What are you working on at the moment?

Beginning the research for the next series of novels.

 

 

It sounds like early days then. As a writer at the beginning stage of a new project, I’m sure you’re asking yourself a lot of questions. I’m going to ask you a few questions now that you may not have asked yourself when you’ve been busy beavering away, but you never know your book might be better from answering a question like, if you’re in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights?

You run into less stuff.

 

 

Always advantageous when driving. Continuing onto the advantages, why isn’t there mouse-flavoured cat food?

Who would know what it tastes like?

 

 

I think the people who know what cat food tastes like have either lost a bet or a planning to win a dare. Either way, I don’t think that either situation is one that you want to be in. Now let’s go to a situation that Batman himself may not want to be in, what happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?

He puts a band-aid on it.

 

 

Go Batman! If you could invent a monster who is cooler than Batman or a vampire, what would it look like and what would you call it?

Doubt.

 

 

Yep, that’s definitely scarier than Batman or a vampire! What is your favourite word?

Virtually

 

 

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Because the paradoxes of life are what make it fun.

 

 

You gotta love those paradoxes. Looking back on the Sun God’s Heir, what was your biggest learning experience?

It ain’t over till it’s over.

 

 

And I’m sorry to say that today’s interview is just about over. Is there anything that you think we missed chatting about?

This has been the most in-depth interview I’ve taken. But you didn’t ask where do I find the spark to actually sit down and write a story I’ve had in my head for years? Don’t worry about the doing. Keep the thought, the desire in your mind. Keep visiting it, imagine what it would be like. It’s like knocking on a door. Sooner or later, the folks behind the door will get tired of your knocking and the door will open.

 

 

Elliott, I’m so glad that the door has already opened for your writing career, but I hope that you are able to open it wider and have so much more fun and success with it!

 

Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One) ( ASIN: B01MS3RCE0 )‘.

Want to find out more about Elliott Baker? Connect here!

Author interview with Elliott Baker of ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One)’

Author Interview with Elliott Baker

For three thousand years a hatred burns. To defeat a brutal pharaoh re-embodied in 17th century France, René Gilbert must fight his way through pirates and slavers to Morocco and reclaim the power of his own ancient past. To protect those he loves from one he once called brother, he must remember…

 

 

What will he remember? To explore the memories of ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return’, author Elliot Baker has returned to ItsWriteNow.com to chat with me about his book, writing, and some wigglier concepts that we’ll get to later. Elliot, thanks for coming back to chat with me, I love catching up with authors to find out how they are progressing in the writing world. For those readers who haven’t read our last interview, can you bring everyone up to speed by sharing a little of the Genesis story behind ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return’?    

The Sun God’s Heir began as a dream. Sometimes dreams are remembered whole when you wake up. This has only happened to me three or four times and it was years before I acted on this one. When I awoke, I had the protagonist, the antagonist, the setting and the main plot. Not the ending, but the beginning, the prompt. And when a friend turned me on to NANOWRIMO (https://www.nanowrimo.org), which is coming up soon, I had written fifty thousand words of an epic story that will be completed October 18th when book three, The Sun God’s Heir: Redemption comes out.

 

 

*Laughs* You took the NANOWRIMO plunge! I highly applaud your efforts for taking on the challenge of writing a novel in a month. That must have been one supercharged November! When you look back on that November, how do you remember your introduction to characters, outside of your already-formed protagonist and antagonist?

The secondary characters showed up when their names were called. Everyone can craft a story. We do so every minute of every day. The story of how I hope this day will go. It has characters in it. Most are familiar, but some are not. They show up when they’re called.

 

 

Were the events in the novel that were calling out to these secondary characters inspired from things that have personally happened to you?

My personal opinion is that it’s not possible to write without doing so. Have I been a pirate in this lifetime? Not that I recall, but the forces apparent inequalities that have animated my life, everyone’s lives, motivate our expression. Just my opinion.

 

 

*Laughs* There’s always time to become a pirate! Other than getting to experience the pirate life by fictional proxy, what did you really want to communicate to your readers through these words? Were those inequalities of life your reason to communicate, or was it something else?

The exercise of power becomes less effective the more we have.

 

 

What did you love most about sharing your views on power through fiction?

I love reading stories. As each word appeared, I enjoyed reading. When you write, the characters do what you think they should. Most of the time. And when they choose to do otherwise, the surprise is what reading is all about anyway.

 

 

*Laughs* Those pesky characters! Other than learning to move with the ebbs and flows of character behaviour, what else did you learn about writing while dealing with Sun God’s heir?

How little I know and how important others are to crafting something worth someone’s time. And how generous people are.

 

 

What are you currently crafting that will be worth our time to read?

I have three projects in the works. One is science fiction, one is a sports book, and one is a, well, I think I’ll let that one simmer a little longer. :)

 

 

Keep that mystery alive by keeping a few of those upcoming cards to yourself. Is that ability to develop mystery what keeps you coming back to write?

I was a musical playwright for a number of years. Before that, I worked in many jobs, too numerous to list. From shoveling chicken s–t to owning a small costume jewelry chain, to having a hypnotherapy practice. Each was a different story. I write for the joy of reading.

 

 

You gotta love reading!

Yes, love the story.

 

 

We’ve touched a little about this in the past, but how does your love of the story evolve as you write? What’s in your mind when you’re typing away?

I don’t think I do it consciously. I’m a pantser not a plotter. I get into the arena and see where I have to run and from what.

 

 

So it’s really just sit down in front of the computer and see what happens?

I’ve been flip about this before, but getting into the chair is the hardest part for me. Once in the chair, I lose track of time and after five or six hours can barely stand. My wife often has to come up and roust me out of the chair. The old “Once begun is half done,” is more true than not. We tend to argue for our inactivity, making up all kinds of rules and stuff. Sooner or later, if you’re really going to write, you need to begin. I find that if I show up, stuff gets ironed out.

 

 

Is the ending one of those things that needed ironing?

It wasn’t until the middle of the third book that I began to think of the ending. I guess I just trusted that my psyche would help me out, and it did. I kind of knew the direction all the time, just not the details. If I can promise anything, I’ll promise that the ending will be satisfying.

 

 

I’ll hold you to that promise! Has the use of an external editor helped you work towards that promise?

I am fortunate to have a primary editor who is incredible. She turns my sloppy musings into a real book. Kind of like Pinocchio’s father Geppetto. Until she works her magic, my writing is pretty gawky. There are also others, like my wife who makes sure I (my book) don’t go out without clothes on.

 

 

Have you seen a reduction of sloppy musings and an increase of work with a true author voice as you have continued to write?

Like any other activity, confidence seeps in.

 

 

Has that confidence also flowed through to your author brand, and how you want to represent yourself as an author in the world?

The marketing is the hardest part for me because I don’t get the perk of reading the story. It’s also often intangible. I know it needs to be done, and I am limping along, grateful for the help of people like you. Being ADD, my strategy is (Oh, look a bird) to stay focused and listen to the bright people standing around me.

 

 

Do you have any tips for self-publishing for other authors?

Like everything else, it can be done. It’s a learning curve. Don’t expect to know it all in the first application. The good thing about the current self-publishing opportunities is that you can re-do and improve. Make connections. Read Amazon’s how to until you can quote it. A lot of people have gone before making this if not easy then logical.

 

 

The people who have gone before on the self-publishing journey have left so many wonderful tips to reduce the learning curve for those that follow. I always find it amazing that it really is an attainable goal to become a self-published author! Elliot, is there anything about self-publishing or writing that I’ve neglected to ask you today?

Other than money and fame, what do you want from your books? Life is not easy. Not for anyone I know. We all need to take a break. If I can help someone be someone and somewhere else for a minute or two, I win. The gratification that comes from that is wonderful and my way of thanking those writers who have given it to me.

 

 

Oooh, that’s a fantastic question! I love it so much that I think that I will need to borrow it and add it to these questions in the future! And I love your gratitude towards the writing community! I’m sure you’re keen to return to the wonderful writing community, but you go I’d just like to ask you a few wigglier questions of life to get a glimpse of your opinion of the world. We’ll begin with, why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Karma

 

 

If you’re in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights?

Keeps you from running into deer. It’s dark out there.

 

 

But do you see the light if you’re moving at the speed of light? Or do you just end up with a deer in the windshield? Why isn’t there mouse-flavoured cat food?

I love these. These questions made the whole exercise worth it. You’ve done what I hope to do. How would you know? Who gets to taste it?

 

 

*Laughs* You wrote an entire book to partake in my round of silliness? I love that you’ve assumed that people are doing the taste testing here. My question to follow that up is does a cat really understand what’s in the packet that they’ve been served up? If we go with the assumption that the cat owner will never taste a real mouse or the mouse flavoured cat food, and a cat can’t complain that the flavour doesn’t match the label, does it matter that cat food label says mouse? Maybe it tastes like chicken, but if the owner won’t verify it, who is to say that we simply don’t have a case of false advertising? *Laughs* Okay, before the rest of the interview descends into a debate of the cat-food world, let’s change gears a little. If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?

Fear. It’s a chameleon most often dressed in the things and people we love. Its alter ego is loss.

 

 

Oooh, I like that you’ve extended on the answer to have a monster and its alter ego. It kind of makes it feels a little like Jekyll and Hyde. Are you left or right-handed?

Right

 

 

What happens when you get scared half to death twice?

You mean after I clean up.

 

 

Are you still able to clean up at this stage? Or are you so far gone that cleaning up is someone else’s responsibility? Ooh, here’s a good one for you, if nothing ever sticks to TEFLON, how do they make TEFLON stick to the pan?

Gum?

 

 

It’s a good idea, but I’m not about its long-term durability. If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?

LOL! Or would you just explode?

 

 

I’m thinking that explosion could be on the menu. Although after you’ve seen someone exploding from overeating I doubt there are going to be many menus in your near future… Moving our minds away to something a little more appetizing, what is your favourite word?

Virtually. Makes me laugh every time I hear it.

 

 

*Laughs* I can’t see how the word virtually is funny at all, but knowing you think it’s funny has made me think that it’s funny.  We’re virtually at the end of our explorations into the world of writing and wonder today, so Elliot, can you leave us with a nugget from your novel to inspire readers to explore the world of the Sun God’s Heir?

 

 

The cannon fired its deadly gift — grapeshot, small balls and scraps of iron strung together like evil pearls reaching out to grace the throat of the enemy mast and bring it crashing to the deck.

 

 

With a violent crash, we end today’s chat. Elliot, thanks so much for returning to chat about the ‘Return’ the first instalment in ‘The Sun God’s Heir’ series, and I hope to catch up with you again soon to follow the progress of the heir.

 

Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One) ( ASIN: B01MS3RCE0 )‘.

Want to find out more about Elliott Baker? Connect here!

You can also catch our previous interviews with Elliot below:

Author interview with Elliott Baker of ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One)’

Author Interview with Elliott Baker

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue a brutal incarnation begun long ago. In ancient Egypt two brothers are disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When Pharaoh dies, the physician goes to Greece to begin a new mystery school. The general makes a deal with the priests and becomes pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

 

 

Will the memories of hatreds past burn through? Here to guide us through thousands of years of ill will, I’ve been joined by novelist Elliott Baker, author of the first instalment in the ‘The Sun God’s Heir’ series ‘Return’. Elliott, thanks for guiding us through the ire in ‘Return’. ‘Return’ is a tale that spans from the seemly disparate worlds of Ancient Egypt to 17th century France. How did these worlds initially coalesce together to found the ideas for your novel?

In a dream. One morning, I had the beginnings of a story, the protagonist, antagonist, setting and general outline of the story. This isn’t unique. Most of us have awakened with the thought, “Hey, that would make a good movie.”

 

 

Yep, many of us have woken up with awesome ideas, but you actually took your awesome idea and did something with it, which is more than what most have done.  After you had this initial idea,  how did you breathe more life into it? Did you start with borrowing events from your own life?

We are all in the process of creating stories, and I don’t believe it’s possible to write one without at least the echo of one’s life or in this case, maybe lives.

 

 

I’m glad you alluded to of those past lives there. Were the topics in your novel like past lives, historical France and ancient Egypt burned into your veins and needing no research, or was a little research required to get the right nuances?

Did I do research? Oh, yes. I love reading a book and taking away something that I didn’t know before. All of the book’s historical aspects and people are real and researched. I just added in some ‘what if’s.’ The seventeenth century had plenty of material to work with. I’ll just add one word. Pirates.

 

 

*Laughs*  If you’re going to add a word that is one of the best ones to pick! When you had situated your mind in this world of pirates, or historical Egypt for that matter, did you find your characters immediately coming to life, or was it more work than that?

I’m a firm believer in getting your butt into the chair. Once there, if you sit long enough, the critical factor in your head gets bored and goes to sit on the bench. When that happens, the characters step forward and demand your attention.

 

 

You’ve used the word demand there.  It sounds like your characters are either a bit pushy, strong willed or a combination of the two. Do you feel that it would be accurate to say that the personality strength of your characters has changed the events you had planned or were the characters changed by what happened to them?

I would have to say the former.   A character’s personality is formed from the emotional energy of life, bad and good. That energy is creative and forwards the character’s story and mine.

 

 

Your characters really do have these large emotional energies. Can you see any actors who would be able to do these energies justice if ‘Return’ was translated to the screen?

That’s a great question and one I can’t just throw off. I’ve actually had a graphic artist draw a rendition of the lead characters, one of which is very close to the picture in my head. One of these days, I’ll send it out there as a gift to the readers. There’s a back-story chapter available now. The link is at the back of The Sun God’s Heir: Return.

 

 

A bonus chapter is a nice reward for readers who pick up a copy of ‘Return’. You’ve given many rewards to the readers, but where have you found your own rewards while getting ‘Return’ completed?

Finishing it. That people I know forget that I wrote it while they’re reading it brings me great pleasure. The point of the exercise is to give the reader a break.

 

 

During the reader’s break from reality is there anything you hope that they take from your novel back to their own lives?

The acquisition of power will not make you safe.

 

 

Was this also the most important learning you took away from writing or did you learn something more striking?

I learnt that you can’t see outside of the circle when you’re standing within. Every writer needs an editor and I am very grateful for mine.

 

 

We’ll chat about editors a little later, but I wonder if you could see a little outside of that circle that you were in while writing if there was anything that you feel you would have done differently?

Every thought we have is informed by all the thoughts we’ve had before. Some things can’t be sped up. The mistakes I made, and I made plenty, motivated changes which hopefully you’ll enjoy in the read. In answer to your question, I would have gotten my butt into the chair earlier.

 

 

Getting the butt in the chair is very important. And your as your butt has been in the chair long enough to see the completion and release of the second instalment in the ‘Sun God’s Heir’ series, has it also been in the

The Sun God’s Heir: Redemption (Book Three) will be out in October. The conclusion to the Sun God’s Heir trilogy is in edits and I like it. Hope you will too. After that, I have three projects underway which I’ll be happy to share once this one is finished.

 

 

Wow, that is an admirable number of writing projects in progress. What have you found that you love about writing so much that keeps drawing you back to create a new project?

It lets me follow characters and stories I’d like to read, but no one has written yet. I was one of those kids with a flashlight and comic book under the covers. Cliché I know, I’ve always loved stories. To be able to hear the thoughts, dreams, and desires of the characters can lift the written word above that of movies or plays.

 

 

How do you keep track of those thoughts and dreams while you’re in the midst of writing?

I’m not that organized. Pieces of paper.

 

 

I hope at least you have a box to push all of the pieces of paper into to keep the paper under control!  In that pile of paper are there detailed plans for where the story is going so that you know you’re on track?

I’m a pantser. Seat of the pants. I get to find out just like you do, only earlier.

 

 

How does the day-to-day writing life unfold for a panster like yourself?

Butt in the chair.

 

 

*Laughs* Getting that butt in the chair is half of the battle! And when you’ve got the butt in the chair do you like to switch on any music to get your mind in the mood faster?

The air conditioner.

 

 

Ahhh, the sweet strains of cool air. Air conditions really do make beautiful melodies. But do you ever find that those melodies don’t help inspire words? What do you do when you’re stuck for words and inspiration?

Butt in the chair.

 

 

*Laughs* Back to the plan of allowing boredom to eventually win out and the writing to commence. After the draft is all said and done, how do you go about editing and making sure it’s ready to be published?

You need people to help you. Wonderful, generous, brilliant people.

 

 

With adjectives like those, it sounds like you have some amazing members on your team helping you get to that final finish line of publication. As you’ve reached that finish line twice before, do you have any tips of improvement for authors who are currently running their own writing race?

Polish your work until it shines, and then polish it some more.

 

 

Are you well versed in the art of polishing in your day job?

I’ve done many jobs. For the last twenty years, I’ve been a musical playwright.

 

 

That sounds like heaps of fun to pair your words with music! But have you ever been tempted to dip your toes into the waters of another career path?

I’m good with this one for now.

 

 

If it’s working why change, right? Something that has worked well for me in the author interviews has been sharing the writer behind the words in the quick fire question rounds, and if you’re up for some up tempo topic changes, let’s share a little of the Elliott behind the novelist facade starting with the simple, what is your favourite quote?

The only thing in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and dead armadillos. -Jim Hightower

 

 

Poor armadillos. Do you have any philosophies that you live by?

It’s impossible to give anything away.

 

 

Who decides what morality is?

The context of the moment.

 

 

What is your favourite ocean?

All of them.

 

 

They are all pretty awesome. Are you able to pick a favourite word?

‘Virtually’ Makes me laugh every time I hear it.

 

 

Where is the line between insanity and creativity?

There’s a line?

 

 

I’m not sure, but I think it depends on the day of the week. What came first, the chicken or the egg?

The idea. Then we eat the omelet.

 

 

That sounds like one good meal.   Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Free will.

 

 

*Laughs* I never thought about glue having free will, but why not! Have you tangoed in the snow?

On the list.

 

 

Glad to hear that! If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?

The critical factor. That ogre that sits on everyone’s shoulder and says, “Nah, you can’t do that.”

 

 

Now that is one scary monster! Keeping our thoughts to the scarier beings among us, what happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?

Batmire

 

 

*Laughs* Poor little Batmire. I just have this feeling that the vampire powers wouldn’t mix too well in Batman’s veins and he would be worse off with the vampiric powers. Before we get to the final question today, is there any question that you think I should add in or something that you think we missed?

This was the most thorough interview I’ve had. If you’ve read this far, I wish you all the best.

 

 

*Laughs* I’m sure you haven’t bored our readers so far! You’ve just given them a wonderful insight into the world of the Elliott Baker. Elliott, for those readers who are still hanging can you throw a little more enticement for ‘Return’ by sharing your favourite words?

Do not rail at the pattern within which you find yourself. You are not there by chance, and if you allow anger to cloud your vision, you may miss the best opportunity for you to learn that which you are here to learn. – The Maestro

 

 

Elliott, thanks for sharing the opportunities you’ve seized to learn during the development and publication of ‘Return’ and I wish you the best of luck to continue your mastery in the third instalment in the ‘Sun God’s Heir’ series.

 

Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Sun God’s Heir: Return (Book One) ( ASIN: B01MS3RCE0 )‘.

Want to find out more about Elliott Baker? Connect here!