What makes a legend but the stories told about him? Interviewing Gorias La Gaul, the biggest legend of them all, is a dream come true for young scribe Jessica. Where other girls her age would swoon beneath the steely gaze of the warrior, Jessica only has eyes for his mouth, and the tales that come from it...when he takes a break from cursing or drinking. Unfortunately for Jessica, Gorias doesn't really have time to babysit. She's found him in the midst of an annual pilgrimage of sorts, and though he agrees to let her come along, it's not without a warning: You may not like what you see and hear. Just don't come crying afterward. Whether viewing past visions with magical gemstones or jumping into the fray alongside the barbarian, Jessica's about to get firsthand accounts she won't soon forget...and discover legends are far from reality, and just as far from being pretty. You wouldn't expect a youth of love and friendship from the greatest killer to walk the Earth, would you? These are tales of some of Gorias' earliest days, back before he'd found his swords, to a time when a dragon needed killing. Tales back before his heart had hardened. Maybe. For most men, the future is not certain and the past is prologue. For a legend like Gorias La Gaul, even the past is up for debate. One thing is for certain about these tales. They will be bloody.
Such is always the way for a man...
Born of Swords
CREATIVE HELP BOARD: How did you come up with the character GORIAS LA GAUL?
SHREWSBURY: After I’d written GODFORSAKEN, I had a number of ideas brewing for a fantasy novel. While drinking beer and listening to Johnny Cash and some bluegrass music with my brother Mark one Sunday afternoon, a few tunes brought this persona to life in my head. An ancient ballad about a Lord with two very sharp swords…mated to another song…a rather odd cover of Cash doing IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND LOVE where he says, “…but heroes often fail…” and there stepped the 700 year old merc. His first name comes from the spear wielded by Celtic god Lugh (seen in GODFORSAKEN). And La Gaul? Just flowed well. He isn’t a French or Gaulish barbarian.
CHB: BORN OF SWORDS seems to me as kind of a Gorias origins story, did you begin writing the La Gaul novels and stories in order and figured in this latest one it was time to detail out some of his back story? (Or am I wrong in my observation of BORN?)
SHREWSBURY: Each tale or novel comes to me out of sequence. Frankly, the idea of the flashback to his youth I thought could be a really great way to show us what makes him tick. I have many more stories set across his lifetime. This just happened to proceed after OVERKILL in a way, but before THRALL. The portion near the end is a flashback when he was over twenty and still finding himself. Kids do stupid things, of course, and Gorias is no different.
CHB: There has to be some personal enjoyment in writing books and characters like these. What do you like or enjoy the most about writing the adventures of Gorias La Gaul?
SHREWSBURY: Anything is possible, pretty much. I enjoy being in the skin of Gorias. He’s easy for me to write. Is he the darker side of my id, ego or whatever? Maybe, maybe not, but he’s funny, crass and a joy to spin yarns about. Sometimes, I surprise myself. All the folks about him and events spin on their own accord.
CHB: Your La Gaul material is probably best described as dark epic fantasy. In this genre, what makes the La Gaul stories unique from the genre material out there?
SHREWSBURY: Some slap the sword & sorcery label on him, but epic dark fantasy fits it fine, I reckon. I place him in an era really on the Earth, not a world pretending to be the Earth. But this way I get to do the history my own way. I think my stuff is raw to the core and frank, perhaps with a tinge of (Robert E) Howard & (Karl) Wagner's downcast attitude.
CHB: As La Gaul’s history takes place in pre-biblical times, how much research do you do or have you done to flesh out those times?
SHREWSBURY: I do plenty of research, but there is only so much info about that era, though they keep digging up new stuff that the historians are confused about. Jessica makes a comment about the stone markers seen in BORN as similar to a place in Turkey unearthed in the past decade. Kemet in BORN is Egypt, as that is what is was called long ago. I’m a smarty pants at times, like Albion is England, Transalpinia is France, etc. I’ve read much on that time, theory and other wild speculation, so it is a time just as good as setting my world elsewhere.
CHB: What do you like most about being a writer?
SHREWSBURY: The freedom to create, but I don’t revel in the God-complex we all have. I’m not full of myself. I enjoy seeing folks react in person to things I’ve created and that it made them act, laugh or feel anything. I love telling a story.
CHB: What do you like the least about being a writer?
SHREWSBURY: The voices in my head. Hah. Naw. The pay. The idiots one meets that need to be punched in the mouth. When I was writing on a manual typewriter snail mailing things, I thought a lot less about killing smart-assed, self-absorbed pricks that I see online who try to tell me how to live my life.
CHB: What is in La Gaul’s future as far as books and short stories? (without giving away any major spoilers)
SHREWSBURY: I have a number of epic novels in line for Gorias, one thundering into existence is a very broad, huge work that is surprising me as it is created. I’ll be exploring more of his life while chronicling more of his adventures…and possibly those of his daughter.
CHB: And final words on BORN OF SWORDS and Gorias La Gaul?
SHREWSBURY: Get it and read it. It has more balls than the World Series. It also has a twist at the end that would make Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling give out mocking applause. Read, laugh and enjoy. But don’t be too shocked in places. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. Cheers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven L. Shrewsbury lives, works and writes in rural Central Illinois. Over 365 of his short stories have been published in print or digital media since the late 80s. His novels include WITHIN, PHILISTINE, OVERKILL, HELL BILLY, BLOOD & STEEL, THRALL, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR and GODFORSAKEN.
He has collaborated with other writers, like Brian Keene with KING OF THE BASTARDS, Peter Welmerink in BEDLAM UNLEASHED, Nate Southard in BAD MAGICK, Maurice Broaddus in the forthcoming BLACK SON RISING and Eric S. Brown in an untitled project.
He continues to search for brightness in this world, no matter where it chooses to hide.
B&N Link for Born of Swords
Shrewsbury BORN OF SWORDS Tour Schedule and Activities10/26 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post
10/26 Man's Midnight Garden Review
10/26 Sapphyria's Book Reviews Guest Post
10/27 Azure Dwarf Review
10/28 Book in the Bag Interview
10/29 Creatives Help Board.How may I direct your call? Interview
10/30 WebbWeaver Reviews Guest Post
10/30 Sheila's Blog Guest Post
11/1 Dice Upon A Time Top-Tens List
Tour Page URL:http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/steven-l-shrewsburys-born-of-swords-virtual-tour/