Gatehouse: The Door to Canellin
I read this book a few weeks ago and fell in love with the story instantly. This has to be one of the BEST fantasy novels I have read in a long time. A really long time. The Door to Canellin has everything that you could want in a fantasy book: magic, struggling protagonists, evil dragons, adventures, and plenty of sword fights. You can read my complete review here. It's an amazing book!
The author, E.H. Jones, has graciously agreed to an interview (below) and to giveaway a copy of his book to one lucky person!
- The contest is for US participants only.
- The contest will run from June 15-21.
- I will e-mail the winner, which will have 48 hours to respond with his/her mailing information. From there, the author will ship the book. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
I would like to thank E.H. Jones for participating in this interview AND giving away a copy of his awesome book. I can't say enough times how much I enjoyed reading The Door to Canellin, and I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
1. What inspired you to write this book? Where did you get the idea?
The idea and the inspiration are two very different things in the case of this book. The idea for The Door to Canellin was something that had been simmering in my brain for a while when I finally got around to writing it. I have always been an avid reader of fantasy, science fiction, and horror of all types. I’ve always loved, in particular, books in which a normal, average person is placed into a fantastic sci fi universe, or a world of magic and wizardry. Jack Chalker and his Dancing Gods books, or the Landover books from Terry Brooks, or the Narnia series… books that made me imagine that something like that could happen to me. I wanted to have a basic premise that would allow me to explore multiple genres in the various books, and write everything that I loved.
The inspiration, however, was my son. He was 11 years old at the time I wrote the first book, and he was having his share of problems in school, and socializing, in life in general. I was a single father raising a young son, and despite all the things we had in common, we had trouble relating to each other. So I conceived the Gatehouse as a short story, starring my son as the protagonist and me as the father, desperate to save him. The idea sort of grew from there, until the Gatehouse became first a book, and then a series of books.
2. Can you tell us anything about the next book in the series, The Door to Justice?
The Door to Justice takes our young hero to an alternate Earth, and the city of New Utopia, where two factions of super-heroes battle for control of the entire world. There is a larger cast of characters, including Wes’ cousin, Jack, and Jack’s mother, Fred. There are plenty of colorful costumed heroes, and hopefully a bit of mystery, intrigue, and humor to appeal to readers of all kinds.
3. In your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing process?
The hardest part for me is making cuts. I tend to be kind of wordy. I want my readers to get every bit of information I have in my head, and it’s always been hard for me to realize that sometimes it’s better NOT to share it all. There’s an old (not that old, really…) saying among writers about murdering your little darlings. Every word I write is one of my little darlings. Just think how many of them I killed… the first draft of The Door to Canellin was almost 140,000 words, and the final published version is just over 110,000!
4. I found it interesting that The Black Knight’s story seemed a lot like King Arthur’s
story. Was that intentional? Will we see a return of the Black Knight in the next book?
There was an intentional parallel between The Black Knight and the story of Excalibur, in reverse. The Black Knight came from nowhere and saved the day, and then left the sword embedded in a stone for its next bearer to claim. The Black Knight (in his current incarnation… no spoilers!!) will of course make future appearances, and the mystery of The Obsidian Blade will eventually be explained. It plays a much deeper role in the mythos of The Gatehouse than is first revealed.
Also, the parallels to Excalibur and King Arthur were played for a bit of ironic humor, as evidenced by Ryan’s reaction when he first spied the sword in the stone. His laughter hopefully showed that I didn’t take my own references to Excalibur or Arthurian legend too seriously. The connection is there, but Arthurian legend has been used, overused, and abused over the years. I wanted that connection, but I wanted to also acknowledge that yes, in a certain light, that connection can seem almost silly.
5. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write every day. Write a lot. Set reasonable goals for daily word count and page count. You may end up throwing away half of what you write, but you have to write.
But the most important advice I can give comes after the author probably thinks the job is done. Edit! Edit extensively. Have other people read your work for the things you will probably miss, simply because you’re too close to the words. The biggest complaint I have heard about self published authors is that their books are sloppy and filled with typos. While I’m certain that my editors and I probably missed a couple of things here and there, I believe there’s no excuse for shoddy editing in our masterpieces!
6. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about YA books being too violent and centered on “dark” themes. The article took on a negative tone towards YA reading material. Do you—as a YA author—feel that the majority of the YA books are too “dark” (as the article’s author stated), or did the journalist blow things way out of proportion?
There is a lot of darkness in YA books these days. There is even a little in The Door to Canellin, and wow, you should wait until Book 3, The Door to Fear! But I try to keep a balance of the lighthearted tone and the dark subject matter. That being said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a dark tone. I remember when I was in the “young adult” age group. I tended to avoid books that were written for readers my age, preferring to go with books with a more mature tone. I feel that if we write our books “dumbed down” or too vanilla, we’re insulting the intelligence and maturity of the young people we want to inspire.
1. Which character from your book is your favorite? Why? (I’m not sure I could pick a favorite. I enjoyed all of them so much and for many different reasons!)
Elarie is by far my favorite. I could write a couple of books with her as the protagonist. Even if I never write the character again (spoiler: you can expect to see her again), I know exactly where her life is going after the events of The Door to Canellin.
Me: I am glad to hear that she will be coming back! I loved the noble thief aspect of her character. Not to mention the budding romance between Wes and herself. It didn't seem fair to end it so soon.
2. If you could be any character from a book, who would it be and why?
Joe de Oro from Jack Chalker’s Dancing Gods books. (I’ve been asked this before, and for some reason I always pick a different character!) Joe de Oro, Joe the Barbarian and his magic sword Irving. After all the trials and tribulations thrown at him, he ended up with an amazing life in his new world.
3. If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would be the fist thing you would do?
I’d buy a couple of Espresso book machines and open my own small press. It’s not really about making money to me, it’s about my love of writing, and reading, and my desire to share that with as many people as possible. I don’t know the first thing about running a publishing company, though, so you can bet it would be run differently than anything else out there! That could be a good thing or a bad thing, but it would certainly be an interesting experience!
4. If you could invite any author—past or present—to dinner at your home, who
would you invite? Why?
Piers Anthony. Piers didn’t write my favorite book, but he has written most of my top favorites. His books have always been consistent, and his work ethic as far as producing books is definitely something to emulate. He’s had such a long career in both traditional publishing and self publishing that I would love to pick his brain!