Monday, March 13, 2017

Path of Angels Interview Questions with Dawn Witzke

So, my cover artist Dawn Witzke came out with a new novel, Path of Angels. There are some questions kicking around.

What led up to this book?
About 5 years or so ago, there was a lot of talk about Texas breaking away, people relocating to states with people who had like-minded views, and the fear of religious persecution by the government. I pulled a lot of conspiracy theories from the internet and exaggerated them, along with different things going on in our culture. I threw in a bunch of history and bam...Path of Angels.

What would you have done differently if you could do it again?
I wouldn’t have taken four years to finish the book.
What’s next?
I have several novels I’m currently working on. Relic Hunter - a futuristic tale of how the main character gets his coat. I’m also co-writing a fantasy novel that revolves around Irish mythology.
How'd you design the setting?
The setting for Nacerma is a combination of a bunch of conspiracy theories from both the right and left political sides. Then I centered it around the area I am most familiar, with some slight modifications.
What made you choose this route for the little road trip?
It’s a route I’m familiar with. Highway K is I-29 that runs between Sioux City (the fictional New Athens) and Omaha (the fictional Galt). Of course the towns in between are completely made up. The distance from New Athens to Galt is also farther than the distance between Sioux City and Omaha. Clinton Way is roughly Highway 30, another road that I’ve driven quite freqently.

How did you design the black / red guards?
The Black Guard came first. I wanted a military force that also served as a police force. In Nacerma the government is from the top down. There is the Central Council that governs everything. Power is then distributed to a number of branches from there, the Black Guard being one of those. The High Commander overseas the military branch. From there the Guard is divided into 7 branches, one for each of the six regions of Nacerma and the Red Guard.
The Red Guard came out of Monty Python. Yes “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition” made it into my book. Except the Red Guard are less comedy and more Nazi SS. They are the small elite force of the Black Guard who are charged with handling treason both secular and religious. They are judge, jury and sometimes executioners.
What was your concept behind the design of two characters?
Aadi and Mischa sort of materialized from thin air. They did however evolve a bit while writing the story. They are long time best friends.

Aadi is the type of person to not make waves. She practices her religion under the radar and isn’t concerned with changing the laws on religion. Her thought is that they will change as the faith spreads from person to person.

Mischa on the other hand, is more rebellious. He is part of a group that is public with its demand for changes.

They are both try to be faithful Catholics in their own way.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I don’t do much advanced research. I usually do it as the need pops up. In Path of Angels, I spent a considerable time researching time periods of Catholic persecution and how they kept things under wraps.
What did you edit out of this book?
Lots of whining and drama. It was a bit too much for most of my beta readers.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Always. I like to add in odd random information into my books. Sometimes it’s in dialogue and other times it’s in the setting. In Path of Angels, one of the secret codes is actually lines from the Bible.
Do you believe in writer’s block? (DO NOT ask whether they’ve had writer’s block).
Sort of. I believe that block’s are created by fear. Maslow's hierarchy of needs puts creative efforts higher on the pyramid. You have to fulfill basic needs and such before you can get into this higher level. When you’re stressed, your mind goes into a fight or flight state, bringing you down to a lower level on the scale. It’s much harder to write when you’re in a state of panic.

I’ve been there before, but it usually doesn’t last long, because I don’t fight it. I sidestep and do something else, like blog posts or art or reading or promotion or play a 1000 rounds of Candy Crush.
Path of Angels is out now.

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