As you all know, I write magic. So I am delighted to welcome another author today who writes in a similar vein but for a younger audience. Today Jeffrey Hollar is a guest in the Bingergread Cottage. Welcome Jeff! Let me brew you up a nice mug of something –
Now – pull up a chair (you may have to push one of the dogs off it) and tell me all about Keldane the Cursed What genre would you put it in, if you can – I hate having to pigeonhole my works, but broadly speaking – what???
I too hate to be put into a pre-made classification too, but let’s go ahead and call “Keldane The Cursed” Young Adult Fantasy. The main reason I dislike niches is I believe this book could appeal to readers of any age.
I so agree! If we start putting age limits on boks it puts other readers off – look at The Wind in the Willows! Can we have a bit of an idea of the plot, without giving away any spoilers?
The book is something of a cross sampling of the experiences of a most unlucky and unfortunate boy named Keldane. As the son of THE most powerful magic user the world has ever known, great things are expected of the boy. Unfortunately, almost anything Keldane tries to use magic to do ends up going very, very badly for someone.
What prompted you to write this, pure inspiration, an idea that had been simmering away on the stove for a while?
Keldane began as a character in a flash fiction story of, I believe, 150 words. Lisa Stull, briefly, sponsored a flash fiction challenge wherein the winner from the previous week got to provide the prompt for the next week. My wife, Lisa, came up with a prompt of “frogs, cats & vampire bats” and from that camne the first appearance of Keldane. Like so much of my flash fiction, humble beginnings have often had the potential to be much more involved works and Keldane proved to be the first. I mentioned playing with writing in different genres and so further installments of Keldane appeared from time to time. I moved on to other distractions and gave Keldane no further attention until I became a member of the Visionary Press Cooperative. We are a coalition of writers, editors, cover artists, etc all working for the common profit and good. Blaze McRob, one of the founders of the co-op, thought it wise for us to diversify our book offerings and I brought up that I had a YA fantasy serial on tap. The rest, as they say, is history.
Do you have a favourite character in this book and how would you spend a day with them?
I try not to play favorites with my characters as it just leads to hurt feelings and bad interactions between us. I understand Barnabas, a bat & loyal family retainer of Keldane’s family, is popular with my readers. I do believe, if I were to spend a day with him, I’d be spending most of my time convincing him how necessary it is for him to come back for the sequel to the first book in spite of some of the less-than-enjoyable experiences this book held for him.
Were any of your characters difficult to write? Who did you enjoy writing most?
None of the characters were especially difficult for me, though Prince Shalmuf, the djinn, was very difficult to convince to tone down his language for my younger readers. All of the characters have their own appeal to me in writing about them.
I can imagine! Are you like me? Do you ever get so moved, scared, amused etc when writing that you find you are laughing or crying? Have you ever changed anything because you thought it was just toooooo tooo much?
I don’t often get that way while writing simply because I’m not an especially emotional person by nature. That being said, I have found myself moved to such an extent once whatever it is has been all finished up and I’m reading it back to my wife, Lisa, for her opinions.
I was born and raised in Lima, Ohio (nothing like Glee) and left at the age of 18 for the US Army. As a Russian linguist, I travelled all over the world and had a lot of really cool, if classified, experiences. When I left the Army, I kicked around St Louis for a dozen years or so doing anything you can imagine to keep the wolf at bay. In 2007 a series of unfortunate circumstances led me to return to my birthplace where I met and married my wife, Lisa. I was doing security at the store she worked at and one thing just led to another. Though I hadn’t written anything in many years, Lisa got me back into it and I have never looked back. I’d like to think the sheer variety of experiences I’ve had in life have made it possible to add splashes of color to anything I decide to write.
Hey! Another ex-military! Russian eh? Wow I bet you could tell some stories … well no, you can’t. What a shame. I could chat to you for hours on that subject!
And finally, can we have a teaser? Give us an extract to whet our appetites.
Since I made reference to the difficulties I had with Prince Shalmuf, let’s look at just what I meant, okay?
Keldane watched in horrified awe as the smoke formed into a cloud and then a massive, unknown object solidified within the roiling vapor. The cloud and what was within, floated across the room and stopped, blocking the door out of the lab. Keldane heard Barnabas’s frantic screeching and chattering from the furthest corner of the rafters. He ignored the outburst and focused on the cloud. From within it a voice boomed, “I AM FREE!” The vapor coalesced into the shape of… a man?
If it were a man, he was unlike any man Keldane had ever seen. The head was large and bald. Deep-set red eyes, a sharp beak of a nose, full lips and a square jaw gave the being a fearsome look. Large hoops of gold dangled from its large ears. Massive shoulders supported the head on a thick neck. The creature’s upper body was a mass of heavy muscle. The torso tapered to a narrow waist and below that… a whirling cyclone of smoke took the place of legs.
Keldane stared in utter disbelief and terror. Who or what this thing was he had no idea. His magical senses prickled as he perceived vast power and malevolence emanating from the man.
“FREE! Free to exact most hideous vengeance on the vile spell-chanting piece of pig swill that entrapped me these many years,” he said. “Boy! You will tell me where I can find the festering pustule of excrement who styles himself Kelimbor! Speak boy and perhaps I will make your death quick. Well?”
Keldane goggled and stammered, “Who… wha… err… umm…” It was the best he could manage.
The giant spoke again. “Know you little human, you are trying the patience of Shalmuf, Prince of the Djinn, and a most formidable foe. You will tell me now where I may find the fatherless son of a diseased she-camel called Kelimbor!”
Keldane struggled to focus his scattered thoughts. A djinni? A real, live djinni was here in the laboratory and he, Keldane, had unwittingly set it free. They were ancient, powerful and incredibly evil beings. None but the most accomplished mages would try to face down such a menace. And yet, this one had been casually imprisoned in an old whiskey bottle by his father… his father.
Keldane bristled with unexpected bravery. “Hey you big windbag. You can’t talk about my father that way. I may not be him but I won’t let you get away with bad-mouthing my dad.”
And the important links – where can people buy your books / find you on the Internet?
I add new and varied content nearly every day to my website at www.jeffreyhollar.com That is where you can sample the full gamut of writing I indulge in. It covers nearly any and every genre you can imagine.
Keldane is available through all of the major formats: http://http://www.lisamccourthollar.com/2013/03/the-horror-that-is-keldane-cursed.html