This is it! The ultimate ‘New Kids on the Blog’ blog for 2018! And here to help us leave behind the old and usher in the new is Richard Garino, husband, father and author of a brand new book fit to skip a New Years Eve party for. Looking forward to 2019, I’m hoping to talk to a host of new authors, introduce some new sections to the blog and, of course, most importantly, doing a great deal of writing! But more about me next year. Check out my interview with Richard below and be sure to grab his books to help you start 2019 with great fanfare.
Richard Garino, Author of the ‘Chaos of Souls’ series.
“There are a great deal of books out there. We’ve put a tremendous amount of effort in telling our story, and crafting an experience for the reader. An enormous amount of time went into the execution of the cover design, as well as the interior layout, and the website: http://www.rmgarino.com/. We’ve paid attention to the editing, the story telling, the characters, and the plotlines. What we’ve tried to create is an immersive experience where the reader can get lost in the world. That’s why the books are larger than the average ebook. We want you to sit and stay for a while.”
1. Who are you? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve been writing for most of my life. Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated with what The Story is, how it functions, its hidden depths, and the different masks it wears. I live in the mountains of the east coast [of the USA] with my wife, three children, and all the characters still waiting their turn to speak. I am an avid brewer of beer and strong coffee, a voracious reader, an aficionado of fine cigars and single malt scotch, and am not nearly as obsessed with video games as my wife believes me to be.
2. You are an author. Tell us about your books.
One day my wife, Dorothy, mentioned to me that she would not want to meet an angel. You think you’d want to, but the reality of such a creature would be so terrifying, so awe inspiring, that you would feel insignificant. We tossed the idea back and forth, building on the concept, and found ourselves with this: what if what we think we know about angels is all wrong? What if those that fell were the good guys, and the bad guys were the angels who remained true?
In essence, that is the basis of the Chaos of Souls series. Here, we have a host of angels who defied the Creator’s command and entered the world. As punishment, they were ripped apart, shattered into millions of tiny fragments, shuffled, mixed with matter and reformed. They know what they once were, but they have forgotten why they left. These are the Lethen’al. The angels who remained true have learned to enter creation, hidden in the folds of matter, and they hunt the fallen angels. They are the Lo’ademn. One in particular they call the Apostate, who was charged to guard the way back. He has grown weary of his exile, and seeks to gather their fractured souls and return them to Heaven.
The Lethen’al have withstood the Apostate’s assaults for thousands of years, hidden away behind the walls of the Golden Vale.
As the series begins, Angus and Arielle arrive at the Gates that separate their world from that of creation. They are Lethen’al, but their souls are almost complete, and they remember more than the others. Book 1, The Gates of Golorath, tells of how they meet and are drawn together, even though the Blademasters and their squads try to keep them apart. As they grow closer, everything around them is affected.
Book 2 of the series, Angels of Perdition, has just been released, and it picks up where Gates left off. The opposition to Angus and Arielle’s union is removed, and as their marriage approaches, the parents of the Lethen’al, the E’ine, emerge from the shadows. They bring with them the threat of the Soul Chamber, and children begin to disappear.
3. What motivates you to write?
Not quite sure how to answer this one without sounding like a lunatic. Writing is a compulsion for me. I started crafting stories when I was ten, and I’ve never stopped. Everything I look at I try to describe. I look at how events come together, leading to the (seemingly) inevitable conclusion. Daydreaming is a common practice, as is playing with words. In fact, writing keeps me balanced and able to handle life. There have been times where I was too busy or preoccupied to write for long stretches of time, and I was miserable. It was hell. I don’t recommend it to anyone. As soon as I start chasing down the characters and let them tell their tales, all is well in the world.
4. What is your writers’ Achilles Heel?
Learning that the book, story, or essay is never going to be as good as I want it to be, imagined it to be, or expected it to be. And, that is ok. For a long time, I kept my work in notebooks, keeping them only for myself. I’d never be as good as Milton, or Hemingway, so why bother? I think it was the acceptance of this fact that allowed me to move past it. As long as I fought it, and tried to prove it wrong, my work was stilted and stagnant. Eventually, I got fed up, said to hell with it all, and just wrote the damned story already. I wasn’t great. But it was okay. Sometimes, that’s enough.
5. Your new book, Angels of Perdition, is the second in a fantasy series in which two worlds collide, good is measured against evil and those who are hidden by shadows are not necessarily on the wrong side of the conflict. What is your personal connection to the setting and characters in your book?
So, I was walking home one night from I forget where. This was way back in the day – I’m talking cassette tape in a Walkman way back. As was my norm, I was listening to Queensryche on my headphones, the song “En Force” from the “Warning” album playing. This was what I loved about listening to music; it lifts you out of yourself. Anyway, in my head, I see an elf burst from the cover of trees at night, and run through the tall grass of the plains. I ran along beside him for a while, trying to figure out who he was and why he was running. He was too fast, and I lost him. Or I got to my door. I’m not sure which. It was back in the day, after all. But, the image stuck with me. Over the years, I came to understand that it wasn’t an elf, but rather an angel, or more precisely a Lethen’al.
6. Which character(s) do you most closely associate with, and why?
Rastef Rhom De’Veldrin, the Forever Man, the Son of the Apostate. In the series, he is created as the perfect vessel for his father / Creator, the Apostate Tarek. Rastef is ancient, cannot die, and as a result, has the most unusual ways of looking at things.
7. Is there something you didn’t know about a character in the first book that revealed itself to you during the writing of the second?
Logan Fel’Mekrin. I did not realize he was handicapped when I wrote book 1. In the Gates of Golorath, he is present for only a handful of chapters at the end. It was not until I wrote about his trials in the Sur, the Otherworld, that I began to realize that he was unable to communicate with the other Lethen’al telepathically. This is a common ability, and being unable to do so keeps him isolated and alone. I came to understand that a lot of his arrogance and aloofness were defense mechanisms.
8. What is your favorite thing to discuss with your readers?
Books. I love discussing books, and the craft of writing; everything from word choice to sentence structure, from drafting to editing and back again. Not exactly the academics of it, but rather, the metacognitive mechanics. How the plot worked, how the characters were developed, whether or not the setting was given enough consideration.
9. What is the most annoying question you get from your readers?
Not many annoy me. The only one that gives me pause is “Who are your characters based off of?” To be honest, they’re not based on anyone I have ever met in reality. While each character is unique in its own right, they are sometimes hard to find. I will oftentimes have to chase them down, writing page after page before I figure out their voice. But, that discovery is part of the fun of writing.
10. What are some of the life-changing books you’ve read, and why?
Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco had a tremendous impact on me. It was the first ‘interpretive history’ book I’d read, and the first to really challenge the ideas I held about the world. Throughout the book it comes through that he’s playing, having fun with symbols and history. However, the book is so well done that you get the sneaking suspicion that while reading it on the subway, maybe you should hide the fact that you’re reading it, or else they’ll know that you know. The experience changed the way I looked at the world: I realized that it really is tinged with a touch of comedy to temper the overarching tragedy; and we view the world through a filter of our own making, and that this filter can be shifted and trans-mutated through our understanding. In the end, reality really is what you make of it.
Dune by Frank Herbert was another. The sweeping arc of its history, and how that history influenced the course of events in the story swept me away. In its own right, the novel can stand on its own as it tells the story of Mua’dib’s struggle for and rise to power. But even that is firmly influenced by the rest of the histories that came before it. The same holds true for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, with the firmness with which the story is set within the confines of a much larger mythology. Both of these prove the idea that the story you read does not need to contain every word written about it.
11. What is the one book you wish you had written, and why?
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. It’s got to be one of the greatest novels ever written. Not only does he want revenge, he’s delivered the means to contrive it. How awesome is that?
12. What is your greatest passion?
So, my wife tells me it’s her. Actually, its writing with her. We’re a great team. She sees what it is I am trying to do, and helps me take it to another level entirely. One of the greatest days of my life was when she decided to help me, and join me on my little obsession train. Now that I think about it, she was right all along.
13. Do you have other talents or hobbies?
I brew beer, paint, draw, am obsessed with knives and various other weapons, and am an avid reader.
14. What are you currently reading?
I just finished The Immune by David Kazzie last night. I’m a bit of a post-apocalyptic junkie. I plan on starting The Axe and the Throne by M.D Ireman in the next day or two.
15. Are there any new projects in your future? What’s next for you?
We’ll be releasing two novellas soon. These will be stand-alone stories, but will still take place in the Chaos universe. Both were written while working on Angels of Perdition. As I’ve mentioned, I need to sometimes chase a character down. Sometimes, it is a very long chase, and these were too good to just let go of. In addition to that, we have book 3, The Gathering of the Blades, to release in 2019, and a post-apocalyptic series that we’re working on as well.
16. And the question that everyone gets asked: Recommend one Netflix series I should watch!
The Haunting of Hill House. The characters are well rounded, well thought out, and the storyline keeps you guessing.
For more information about R.M. Garino, visit his website by clicking here.
If you are an author or promoter of books in any capacity and would like to be featured on this blog, send me a line about yourself and your book(s) to secure your spot.
Now, go forth, be spontaneous, ring in the New Year, and be ready for the great adventure that will be 2019!
Have a happy and extremely blessed 2019. Preferably filled with great books!