Friday, September 22, 2023

Q&A with Tim Facciola




Tim Facciola is the author of the new novel The Scales of Balance, the first in his A AVengeful Realm series. Also a virtual fitness professional, he lives in Arizona.


Q: What inspired you to write A Vengeful Realm, and how did you create your character Zephrus?


A: A Vengeful Realm was born from three initial seeds. One, I wanted a rich mythology with a pantheon of rival Gods and magic systems derived from them. Two, I wanted to create a fantastical take on Spartacus’s revolt against Rome.


And three, I wanted a large cast of interconnected characters to have to contend with each other, the political machinations of a rebellion, and the apocalyptic threat of a war between the Gods. 


From there, Zephyrus was but one of seven protagonists to enter into the world. I wanted to explore the nuances of the human experience from the perspective of a gladiator slave suffering amnesia; absent the cultural biases, learned prejudices, or the pressures to conform to societal demands, Zephyrus has only his intuition to trust.


Q: How did you create the world in which the novel takes place?


A: The world evolved from the “What if…” question of, “What would it have been like if Ancient Greco-Roman culture persisted into and dominated Europe’s feudal age?”


Meshing these two very different worlds together was interesting, challenging, and a process, but a world on the brink of change and evolution is always a little messy.


Though I didn’t originally intend to capture that mess, that became my second goal: to weave together two (even three) cultures that really did not want to be woven together.


Forced assimilation tends to be messy, problematic, hypocritical, and filled with double standards. In such a world, things like honor and justice mean less and less and things like mercy and forgiveness are harder to come by.


So creating a world in conflict with itself created some great tension for the characters to interact with. 


Q: Did you know how the story would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I do like to begin with the end in mind whenever possible. A lot of the hows and whys did change; the way in which characters arrived at XYZ or how certain events impacted them certainly changed.


But the end of the trilogy never really strayed from the time I formulated it. I’m a heavy plotter, so a lot of the big moments tend to be very clear for me.


But sometimes, characters will see something, feel something that I—at the time of outlining—could not. When those moments occur, I trust the characters’ vision and go with it, then go back to smooth out the ripple-effects afterwards.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?


A: The goal is for readers to realize that who you were doesn’t determine or limit who you can become. The first step is knowing yourself, your true self—both the good and the bad. From that foundation of giving yourself grace, you can let go of retribution, forego what is just, and offer that same grace to others.


I want readers to believe that we are stronger together, not in spite of our differences, but because of them. But before that can happen, we have to know ourselves. 


Q: This is the first in a series--can you say anything about what’s next?


A: Good news! All three books in the trilogy are written—book 2 (Jan ‘24) is already in the production process, and book 3 (Apr ‘24) is in editing! So for those epic fantasy fans hoping for certain series to be completed, I will not put you through that torment.


But book 1 ends messier than it started. Book 2 picks up right after the conclusion of the first and only escalates. Since the wait won’t be long, I won’t spoil too much, but the scope broadens and the stakes rise with all your favorite characters from the first installment of the series. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I’ve had the pleasure of turning A Vengeful Realm into an audiobook with the help of the very talented Landon Soelberg. As a narrator he has truly made these characters come alive in his performance and I can’t wait to share it with the world!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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