Series: The Prophecy Chronicles #2
Published by Smashwords Edition on 6-13-2014
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Daniel Marten crossed the Burning Sea and convinced himself that he is the Prophesied One. But what does that mean? In this second installment of the Prophecy Chronicles trilogy, Daniel forges new alliances in his bid to save Naphthali from the Emperor. He meets the Tene’breon, a magical race that has evolved to use the Weave as effortlessly as he breathes air. The leaders of this race recognize him for what he is…but they also see something more. Naphthali has been dramatically altered by the rule of a new governor, a man whose power is tied to Daniel in a horrifying way. How far will Daniel go to save Naphthali? And what is the secret that binds his destiny with his new allies? Only time will tell in The Prophecy Chronicles: Prophecy Revealed.
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Interview With Ron Hartman
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
The Prophecy Chronicles: Prophecy Revealed is the second in a trilogy about a man from our world, Daniel Marten. During a car wreck he suffers some extensive scarring on his face and his thrown into another world. He awakens on a battlefield where everyone recognizes him as a savior, believing he is “The Starburst Stranger” because of his scarring. The problem is, he doesn’t know what they’re talking about and only wants to get home to his family. In the first installment, Prophecy Foretold, he fulfilled the first part of a prophecy. Now he believes that he probably is the savior everyone believes him to be, but he still doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do to “set the people free”. He meets new allies, a group of magically-enhanced people called the Tene’breon, that help him return to Naphthali, the country where his tale started. They battle a mad governor that is tied to Daniel in a horrifying way, the fate of Naphthali and Daniel’s destiny on the line…
Where did you get the idea for the book?
The Prophecy Chronicles started with a seed that planted in my mind when I was sixteen or seventeen. I was driving home in a snowstorm and came across a series of s-curves. About half-way through the curves there was a frozen pond not far from the road. Even though I’d seen that pond a thousand times before, that time an idea jumped into my head: wouldn’t it be terrible if you lost control, your car slid across the road and into that pond? That idea never left me, and eventually it became the opening sequence in Prophecy Foretold.
Several years later I had a job where I had to travel quite a bit. While I was in the car, missing my family, I started to think about what it would be like to be trapped in another world. You only want to return to your family, but everyone in this strange world sees something else in you, and it’s potent enough to fight for. That idea was the beginning of the story arc that took Daniel from the car wreck in the opening sequence to Naphthali and all of the adventures that followed in Prophecy Revealed.
What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?
The overriding story arc of the entire Prophecy Chronicles trilogy is about destiny and sacrifice. What Prophecy Revealed specifically focuses on is what I suppose could be called Survivor Guilt. How do you keep going, knowing that other people gave everything for you, because they believed in you, even when you didn’t believe in yourself? Pretty potent stuff! Daniel feels guilt pulling at him like a chain around his neck, dragging him down continually. In this installment, Daniel has moved beyond the sense of just following someone else’s lead, which was the mode he was in for Prophecy Foretold. Now he is actively deciding where to go and what needs done for the good of Naphthali. I guess you could say the primary message here is that no matter what happens to you, no matter the guilt you carry, you can still make decisions to drive your own destiny, to work for a good that is greater than yourself.
How long did it take to write the book?
All told, it took me about a year to write Prophecy Revealed. I tried to get down at least one page a day, which can be pretty hard when you’re juggling working full-time and a full family life at the same time!
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
I’d say my favorite character in Prophecy Revealed is Bastion. He is the learned teacher of the magical Tene’breon. He is a master of a form of magical martial arts called Shal’tiar, and nothing ever seems to ruffle him. He approaches everything with a calm confidence that I wish I had in real life. There is also some mystery about him…why is he so calm, so self-assured? How did he become such an amazing warrior? Writing in the mysteries was part of the fun of this character, but I think what I liked most was his essential goodness, his certainty that what they were doing was for the good of the whole world, even outside of the country Naphthali.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I did have a pretty extensive outline for Prophecy Revealed before I started. This being the second book in a trilogy, I’d already established where the story started, and in my head I knew where it was going. That’s not to say there weren’t twists and turns along the way, though. There is a character named Dor Mouse that has an entire chapter devoted to a flash back of his past. I didn’t see any of that coming prior to putting hypothetical pen to paper, but it really brought to life one of the pivotal bad guys in the book. I don’t want to go into more detail and spoil it for you, but let’s just say poor old Dor and Daniel could be brothers in some ways…
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
There is one character named Captain Rangeford. He made a brief appearance in the first book, Prophecy Foretold, and comes back in this one. Looking back I think I could have spent more time fleshing his character out. I hate it when there are characters in books that make decisions seemingly completely antithetical to their essential core. I don’t think I did that with Rangeford, but it might have been a close call… I think if you don’t spend enough time with some characters, it can be hard to get a sense of why they acted like they did, and that can ruin the sense of an entire scene you spent pages setting up.
How did you come up with the cover?
In Prophecy Foretold there is a magical dagger that Daniel is tortured with. It robs all of the essence from his right forearm, leaving it essentially a dried-out shell. Sounds pretty evil, huh? But is it the weapon that’s to blame, or is it the intent of the user? That blade comes back to play a pivotal role in Prophecy Revealed (and maybe the whole trilogy), so it seemed appropriate to have a representation of that on the cover.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I remember when I was in grade school deciding I wanted to write a novel. I was very taken with fantasy, so I knew I wanted it to be in that genre. I sat down and banged out about three pages…and lost the thread of my story arc. That was when I first thought I’d like to be an author, but at the same time I realized how hard it would be. I didn’t actually seriously pursue writing again until about five years ago when I first started writing The Prophecy Chronicles. It is my passion! I’d love to be a full-time author, if only it paid the bills…
What are you favorite books and authors?
I go through stretches where certain genres and styles strike my fancy. My current favorite is historical fiction, and I’d say one of my favorites in that genre is the Troy series by David Gemmell. Okay it’s a bit of a stretch calling that one historical fiction, but it is written about the Trojan War, and it’s extremely well-written. I also like the books in the same genre by Conn Iggulden, especially the Genghis Kahn series, and the Roman legion series by Simon Scarrow.
What are you working on next?
Currently I am working on revisions of Prophecy Chronicles three, which is tentatively called Prophecy Fulfilled. I am also working on another novel that is more mainstream fiction that will focus on forgiveness and what happens when you do (and do not) ask for or receive it.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Be strong! Don’t give up! It can be very frustrating when you start in the business. Most agents won’t look at your work unless you’re published and most publishers won’t look at your work unless you have an agent (I know, it’s crazy). Smaller publishers is actually a great way to get started. After about two years of searching I found Rogue Phoenix Press, the publisher for the Prophecy Chronicles, and it has been very smooth sailing ever since! I wish I’d started with them and saved myself years of heartache!!
How do you juggle writing with family time?
I have three very active kids, ages 13, 10, and 8. Needless to say they take up a huge chunk of my time when I’m not working my full-time job, which is as a pharmacist. Sometimes it feels like when I’m not at work, I’m at soccer/basketball/football/track/orchestra/band/choir/boy scout events, and I never see my home! Consequently the only way I can find time to write is if I do it late at night after everyone else is in bed. My most productive time is typically 10pm to 1am. Kind of late, but hey, who needs sleep, right?
Rage started to build inside Daniel. He closed his right hand into a tight fist and felt a dull ache that quickly gave way to burning pain. Of course that was alright too, because that was as it should be. He looked back to his desk and there, on the now cluttered surface was—Ah! His solace. The ones he turned to at his darkest moments. Ashley and the kids beamed at him from photos.
He turned to the thing doing a poor job of mimicking one of his closest friends. Her eyes flashed orange and she gave off a series of clicks as realization struck. She may be orchestrating this, but it’s my mind, and I can control what happens. He looked at the pictures of his beloved family and considered his office, his refuge. She’d perverted it, desecrated it. Rage continued to build, and Daniel knew soon he would be powerless to stop it. Let it. He didn’t want to stop. Still looking at the photos, he started to speak, his voice shaking with fury. “These are my family, my friends. I give them my time, and my care.” He turned to not-Meg. “You are not one of them, and you will have no more.” The last came out in a roar as he closed the distance between himself and his tormentor.
He opened his right fist and clamped it around not-Meg’s throat, slamming her to the wall. The burning grew to encase his entire arm when he tightened his grip, but he refused to let go. He pulled his face to within inches of hers, and glared with suddenly steely eyes. “Who are you?” he growled.