Genres: Urban Fantasy
» Buy on Amazon
» Buy on Barnes & Noble
Telly is a homeless teenager struggling to survive on the streets of
Los Angeles, but he has just met a man that can make all of his dreams
come true. His rich new benefactor only asks for one thing in
return—something no one else has been able to do for two and a half
He wants Telly to kill him.
The man with the death wish is named Van, and he offers Telly an
escape from the constant fear, hunger, and shame that have haunted him
during his homelessness. Telly thought he had Van all figured out,
until a chance encounter with a gun-wielding thug shows that bullets
don't do Van the slightest bit of harm.
Van is much more than he seems; he’s an immortal seeking escape from a
world he now despises. He desires a higher plane of existence, but in
order to get there he must train someone to complete the grim ritual
that will free him from the confines of his immortal body. If Telly
can fulfill Van's request, he will inherit Van’s wealth, strength, and
eternal youth. But he soon discovers that Van is a harsh teacher with
a questionable sense of morality, and there are other immortals who
believe Van’s plans for ascension could lead to something they’ve been
dreading for centuries: the birth of a wrathful god.
Interview with Author Ramsey Isler
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
The Remortal is a culturally diverse Urban Fantasy about a jaded immortal passing on his “gift” of immortality to a young man trying to make sense of the world. Telly is a homeless kid with not much going for him until he meets a charming and mysterious man named Van. Van reveals that he is actually an immortal, with abilities and wealth beyond Telly’s wildest dreams. Van offers Telly the chance to inherit his powers and his fortune if Telly can just do one thing: find a way to kill him.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
The inspiration for this book came from a somewhat odd source. I’m a big fan of the Star Wars expanded universe novels, and Matt Stover wrote a book in that series called Traitor. The plot focuses on Han and Leia’s son Jacen, a young Jedi trying to find his place in the universe as he struggles with reconciling his Uncle Luke’s teachings with a violent and cruel alien enemy. Jacen eventually becomes an unwilling student of Vergere, an avian alien who was a member of the Old Jedi Order back before Palpatine took over. She takes Jacen on a far different spiritual path than his Jedi teachings ever did — a journey that deals in many moral gray areas — and she does so through remarkably cruel tutelage. Throughout the book, you’re never quite sure what her motives are, but there’s a definite method to her madness. I really liked Vergere, and the concept of mentorship gone to a dark place. That’s where I got the inspiration for Van and his unorthodox mentoring methods.
What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?
To borrow a line from legendary film maker Hayao Miyazaki, “See the good in that which is evil, and the evil in that which is good.”
How long did it take to write the book?
The Remortal is definitely a labor of love. I wrote it, rewrote it, put it away for six months, then rewrote it again. The book probably took up about 2 years of my life, overall.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
Van Giles, the antagonist, was definitely the most fun to create. He’s a complex character who can do deplorable things in one scene and then be a stand-up guy in the next. He can be generous, and he can selfish. He can be your best friend or your absolute worst enemy. In Telly’s case, he’s a little bit of both.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I’m not one of those outlining authors. I definitely subscribe to the method Stephen King mentioned in On Writing. My stories are like dinosaur fossils; buried for the most part, but a few key parts can be seen. The parts that peek above the surface give you an idea of what you have, but to get the real tale you have to do some digging. My job is to be the archaeologist uncovering those story elements, sometimes with a fine brush, sometimes with a shovel. Gradually, I figure out what kind of beast I have on my hands.
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
When we first meet Telly, the lead character, he’s homeless and aimless. The story briefly touches upon the circumstances that brought him there, but if I had a chance to change things, I’d expand on it a little bit.
How did you come up with the cover?
Since I have years of experience with design and Photoshop, I did the cover myself. The cover features a long distance shot of downtown LA, with an ominous red sky full of stars. The red really pops and makes the cover look great as a thumbnail on Amazon, but the overall imagery also conveys a lot of the themes of the story and setting. Van is reaching for the stars, as so many people in Los Angeles do. But in his case it’s a bit more literal.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’d always enjoyed reading, and I’d dabbled in writing a few things here and there during my youth. But I really become interested in writing novels a year after I moved to Los Angeles. There’s just something about this town that inspires people to be creative and take chances.
What are you favorite books and authors?
Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, John Scalzi, and Maya Angelou have definitely shaped my writing. Gaiman’s Sandman comics took the comic book medium to new heights. I read Stephen King’s The Stand when I was 12 during summer break and I’ve loved his work ever since.
What are you working on next?
I’ve just recently released a sci-fi novella called Ghosts of ARCADIA. This story is about video games, artificial intelligence, death, and what happens when all three collide. It’s available on Kindle now. Later this month I’ll be releasing a new novel called Clockworkers. Here’s the plot in a nutshell: an entrepreneurial young woman inherits a special gift from her father – an elf. She puts him to work building products for her luxury watch company, but she soon discovers that there are certain dangers involved with employing elves.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Products of creativity need a little objective distance. Put your story away for a while. If you come back a month later and still love it, proceed
How do you juggle writing with family time?
The key, for me at least, is to always be happy with the last thing I wrote. I never leave my writing in a place that I’m displeased with; I always walk away from the laptop satisfied. That way, I don’t feel anxious or distracted about my work when I’m with my friends and loved ones.
Enter to win a digital copy of Ghosts of ARCADIA by Ramsey Isler. Contest ends December 11, 2013