Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed Sean Valiente, who has recently released The Lightning Knight (The Knights of Nine Book 1), a marvelous epic fantasy (Read the reveiw here) that takes the readers on an exhilarating journey into the world of its sixteen-year-old protagonist.
Sean Valiente was raised in Maine, where he grew up reading fantasy books and watching way to many movies and tv shows. He’s spent a decade tinkering with his story and characters, and hopes to inspire others to write their own stories.
How often do you base your characters on real people?
Most of my characters are loosely (and that’s a very loose loosely) based in some way to either people I know or characters I’ve grown up reading about / watching in movies or TV. Most of the time, no character is truly based on any one person, but rather elements of people I know help fill in some blanks and flesh out the character.
What does literary success look like to you?
If one person reads my book and it helps them in anyway, then I will have considered my book a success.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I hired a professional editor that cost a WHOLE LOTTA MONEY but it was worth every single penny. The difference between myself or friends / family editing and a professional is immense. Editors want you to have the best story possible, and they will help make your words shine.
Tell us some more about your book.
The Lightning Knight is the first book in a planned series of 10 books, and follows Oliver Quartermaine, the “Obi-wan Kenobi” to Po Pondarion’s “Luke Skywalker”, as Oliver tries to navigate this immense world I’ve created. What I ultimately love about this story is that it has real great elements of teenage love: that over-powerful, all consuming love that can feel like the only thing in the whole world and at the same time can end suddenly and you’re fine and onto the next relationship. It’s got that feel to it. And it’s also got jousting and magic and sword fights and dragons and all the classical fantasy elements you’d like, plus some extra “futuristic” elements that keep things interesting.
How many rewrites did you do for this book?
Oh gosh, at least three total rewrites and maybe five mini rewrites in between them all. My first story is drastically different than the final version, but with all the same bones. That first draft still holds a special place in my heart, but as I’ve grown as a writer, so has my story, which the final published version is really something spectacular.
Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?
The story really has been in my head and being workshopped for about ten years. I would tell my friends all the ideas and plots and scenes and they would light up and yell at me to actually write the thing. For me, the story comes in scenes, like watching a movie, and I’m just trying to figure out how to get from one scene to the next. Sometimes my characters surprise me and take me places I had no idea we would go. That’s how the character of Po (who became pretty instrumental to the story) came about. I was writing and I knew where I wanted to go, and then suddenly Po showed up and changed my life.
What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope readers take away a love of the characters and the world I created, but more importantly I hope they enjoyed reading the story. By now, I’ve read the thing like seven hundred and fifty-four times with all the rewrites and editing, and there are still times when the characters make me smile. I hope my readers smile as well.
What sort of a relationship exists between you and the characters you created in this book?
My characters are really their own people, they just live in my head. I never feel like I’m telling them what to do, but rather I’m watching them live their lives and just transcribing it down. They’re so real and teach me things all the time, and I hope I give them their proper due.
What’s next for you?
Getting as many readers to read my book as possible and writing book number two. I’ve already started and have about the first five chapters written. Let me just say, THAT STORY is real fun and I am loving it. There’s something about discovering a new story that is exhilarating and I can’t wait to see where my character takes me.
Categories: BookView Review Interview