Thursday 23 April 2015

Blog Tour Interview & Giveaway - The Leviathan Chronicles: The Last Stand at Aeprion by James Mascia

The Leviathan Chronicles: The Last Stand at Aeprion
Author: James Mascia
Genre: Science-Fiction

Book Description:
Still reeling from his wife's murder, Joel tries to escape the alien hunter and fulfill a promise he made to her. Years of searching for the fabled planet, Aeprion, has left the space freighter captain torn between giving up the search or giving himself up to Kraxem, an alien hunter.

When Kraxem and his minions attack Joel's ship again, he is forced into the nebula, where he'll have to do repairs. Once there, his thoughts revert back to the final day of Kate's life and the promises that were made. Learning to come to terms with her loss and release the guilt that he feels will be a hard battle to fight, but giving up will prove to be even more difficult and, perhaps, deadly.

Steeling his resolve to forge on, Joel vows to find the fabled living planet before guilt devours his soul and all is lost.

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Author Interview

1. Tell a little about yourself. What you do when you’re not writing? What are your aspirations for the future?
My name is James Mascia and I am an author, an artist and a teacher. I write mostly for young adults, and I typically stick with the sci-fi/fantasy end of the spectrum. When I am not writing, I am working on pieces of art. When I am not doing that, I am teaching high school English. When I’m not doing any of these things, I am watching and playing with my son who is a rambunctious two-year-old.

2. When and why did you start writing?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first book when I was 3-years-old. It was called “Garfield Takes a Bath”. Not only did I write this amazing story, but I illustrated it as well. I know my mother still has this tucked away somewhere.

When I was in the 4th Grade, I wrote a book (it was fourteen handwritten pages) called “It’s Monster Time”. In this story I had to guys get transported back in time to fight Dracula and his monster minions. I wrote two sequels to this story that same year.

When I was in high school, for my class projects, instead of doing the typical boring stuff, like a poster, I would write scripts for me and my friends to perform. I literally rewrote Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as a mafia movie, and Hamlet as a musical.

So, needless to say, I have always been a writer, even from a young age, I enjoyed creating stories and worlds. I enjoy both art and writing, anything where I can start with a clean canvas and can make it anything I want. So, it was only natural that one of my two careers (if you remember from before, I am also a teacher) be writing, and by extension of that, making graphic novels.

3. Have any particular novels or writers influenced your writing?
All the books.... EVER!!!!

Oh, I see by the look on your face you want an actual answer to this question. Okay, I will start with the classics, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia would be among my classic inspirations.

More modern—and this will require a story. Believe it or not, when I left elementary school and entered middle school, I lost my love of reading. The texts that we read in school I found juvenile and boring. I mean, how can a student who read The Hobbit in 4th grade be expected to read The Cay or whatever we read in those grades (actually, from Middle School, the only two books I can remember reading, mainly because these were the only ones I enjoyed were The Many Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury—yes, I agree that both of those would be odd choices for an 8th grader, but my English teacher that year was beyond awesome and didn’t read the conventional stuff).

So, anyway, I stopped reading almost altogether at that time, because I could find no joy in it (score for the American Public Education System, right?). so, it wasn’t until I was in the 9th grade when I found a book that brought be back into the light. Kevin J. Anderson wrote a trilogy of books for the Star Wars Saga called the Jedi Academy Trilogy. I loved Star Wars, so I got these books and read them. They were beyond awesome and got me to read again. So, after that very long explanation it was this book (or books, since it’s a trilogy) that has probably most inspired me.

4. Give us some backstory behind The Leviathan Chronicles. Where and when did you write it?
The Leviathan Chronicles started out many years ago as a Star Wars fan fiction. It has since taken on a life of its own and you would never believe that it started off as a story set in the Star Wars universe.

I wrote it back when I was a freshman in college, fresh or of high school. I look back at those original stories now, and I cannot believe how much I have grown as a writer since then. Recently, I decided to revisit these old stories. But upon seeing the dreadful state they were in, I decided to rewrite them from the ground up.

While rewriting this first story (yes, this is the first, I am working on two others that will be out soon), I noticed how like the old sci-fi pulp stories it was. It is a space adventure, with good character development and a bit of mystery. I said, that was the direction I was going to go with this. So, everything about the book feels like you’re reading one of those old pulp magazines.

As for when and where I wrote it. I did so this past fall/winter, mostly sitting on my couch (since I no longer have an office.) I wish I could tell you that it was on safari in the Serengeti, but alas I cannot.

5. What was your favourite part of writing The Leviathan Chronicles?
It’s the fun. And while these are rewritten stories, the new versions look nothing like the old ones. So, the fun thing about rewriting was not only recreating the story from scratch, but all the new twists and turns the story took that even I hadn’t expected.

6. What does your writing schedule look like?
I wish I could tell you I have a very regimented schedule. Again, I cannot do that. I can tell you that I write at about 5am, because I am the only one up at that ungodly hour, and I write at night after my two-year-old son goes to bed. Sometimes in that little bit of time I get, I will get 500 words typed, and other times I will get 2,000. It all depends on the day.

7. Which fictional character would you like to take to dinner and why?
The answer must be Batman… because, hell, the answer is always Batman. Who wins any fight? Batman. Who has the coolest car? Batman. Who makes Bill Gates cry when he shows him his gross annual income? Batman.

Besides, wouldn’t you want to ride in the Batmobile and get some drive-thru? Does it get cooler than that? The answer to those questions is… Batman.

8. Besides your lead, do you have a favourite character in the story?
When you consider there are only 3 characters in this whole story (4 if you count the computer), I have to say I don’t really know. I suppose Kraxem would be a good choice. He is very “one track mind” and the stuff he says, it’s like talking to a brick wall at times. But even with this in mind, Kraxem is still a ruthless killer and will stop at nothing to get his prize. So, I suppose I would pick him.

9. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
I hate to say this one, because I don’t enjoy complaining, but the most surprising thing I have encountered as an author was how your publisher will create a cover without your input that totally disregards the content within it, and that there is nothing you can do about it.

Originally, my book, High School Heroes, was published traditionally by a press who is no longer in business. When I saw the cover, I immediately hated it, and I told my publisher so. They told me pretty much that they didn’t care. Now, this book is about teenage superheroes. But on the cover, they put a girl and a football player standing in front of some lockers. The cover makes it look like it’s a book about football and the girl is the boy’s groupie. If you look at the reviews on Amazon (even though I am no longer with the publisher, and the book has a newer, much better cover) they all complain that the cover is horrible and is not right for the book.

It took over a year of harassing my publisher to get the book cover changed, and even then, we only got slight, slight improvements.

The reason why I find this so surprising is because a publisher is supposed to want a book to sell, and even with all the complains that were received about the cover, they still refused to make modifications.

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?
The same as you will probably hear from everywhere else. Rejection is the norm in the business. But don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up. Just keep sending your stuff out until eventually someone will pick it up.

And if all else fails, self-publishing isn’t what it used to be. Even when I first started out with my High School Heroes series only five years ago, it was hard for a self-pubbed author to get his/her stuff out there. Now, there isn’t as much of the social stigma on self-pubbed authors. So, this is now a viable option where it wasn’t always seen that way.

About the Author 
He fights evil across the known universe and crushes them between his fingers (at least, he does this with his words).

James Mascia is an accomplished writer with a bestselling series, High School Heroes, as well as a bestselling graphic novel, The Poe Murders. He has always been a fan of sci-fi, and is glad to be delving back into the galaxy once again.

James teaches in Maryland, where he also writes. He has a lovely wife and a tiny terror (a two-year-old) driving him mad, but making him laugh.

Author Links:
Website ¦ Twitter ¦ DeviantArt ¦ Amazon


5 Digital copies of The Leviathan Chronicles (Mobi or ePub).

 Blog Tour Organised by: