Exclusive Interview with Author Curtiss Robinson

Today, we're doing something a little different. This is our 14th guest author interview on the Marie Lavender's Books! blog, and fellow author Curtiss Robinson is visiting us. 


Hello!  It’s such a pleasure to have you here. :)




Good evening and thank you for taking time with me today.


Of course! 

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out and where can we get it?


My latest book is Guardians of the Mountain, and it is the third and final episode of the Heroes of Dae’run Trilogy.  This book is an exciting fantasy adventure novel that has more twists and turns than a roller coaster!  The novel begins as a prequel going back nearly a millennia to a time long before the other novels in the series.  A once proud and thriving city falls into corruption and decay.  A hero stands against the wicked and defiled rulers.  Death and suffering are all that remain and then errant magic sets things in motion that preserve the realm in stasis for a thousand years.  Fast forward to current times at the end of book two (Defenders of Griffon’s Peak) where our heroes have survived assassins, a plague of werewolves, and saved the realm from war and tyranny.  A thousand year old prophecy pits new heroes and old against the return of that ancient evil.  A plague of undead wash over the country side uniting all mortal nations in an epic struggle for survival.  The human, elven, dwarven, gnomish, and even orc tribes are brought together united against utter annihilation.  As the heroes and even their deities hold off the endless tide of zombies, ghouls, and undead, the key to victory falls to a simple and terrified librarian who holds the knowledge within himself to stop the ancient evil.  By all reports, this final book is a real page turner and one that simply cannot be put down.

It sounds very exciting!

Is there anything that prompted your book? Something that inspired you? 


I was inspired to write this entire series starting with my last tour in Afghanistan.  As an Army officer, I was charged with training and leading the local Afghan militia against the Taliban.  My unit of twelve brave Americans saw more action and experienced more trials than any of our previous deployments.  I fell into writing late at night as a means to unwind and decompress.  I simply could not write home of the things I saw daily and so I put my encounters into fantasy.  The characters in the series parallel my men and our enemies.  The trials and tribulations we faced permeate the storyline such that as the characters in the books suffer…so too were my men suffering.  As the characters found victory…so too did my men and our allies in real life.  There can be no doubt that the feeling of reality in these books is a direct result of the emotion I felt as I wrote night after night.  By the end of our twelve months overseas, I had book 1, Protectors of the Vale, and most of book 2, Defenders of Griffon’s Peak, complete.  It took more than a year to write the final book, Guardians of the Mountain.  I was able to write from the same mental and emotional place having suffered from my experiences which left me a somewhat changed soldier.  My men and I had much difficulty adapting to life back in the states, our battles continuing after we made it home.  Once again, our pain and victories lie in the pages of my work.

Oh, wow! What an inspiring tale! I have often thought that writing can be very therapeutic as well as liberating. 

So, tell us...

When did you know you wanted to write?  Or has it always been a pastime of yours?
I have always been a writer of some sort, but never had anything published until 2009.  I wrote short stories and poetry in high school and college.  As an avid role playing gamer and fantasy adventure reader, it was only a matter of time before my imagination made its way into novel form.  Of course, I never claimed to be a great writer especially when it comes to the final product.  I owe all of my publishing success to my editor and publisher.  They took the uncut gems of my work and polished them to perfection.
How humble you are. I greatly admire you and respect the journey that brought you here.
So, I'm going to ask another random question...
Do you have any favorite authors?
I have been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and R.A. Salvatore since I was a boy.  When it comes to high and epic fantasy, I think these two are the standard bearers for more writers in that genre.  I also enjoy modern fantasy and dystopian fantasy.  Andrea Perno and Isobelle Cate are both excellent writers.  I am a picky reader so my list is small.

All right.

We're curious. Do you write in a specific place? Or time of day? 
When it comes to writing I am one of those any time, any place authors.  If I am inspired to write, I grab the laptop and get to work.  I would encourage anyone who wants to become a great writer to write something every day.  Blogs and even Facebook are perfect to get used to cranking out words that compel others, but the real trick is writing something you love so much that you get excited about sharing it with the world.  Once you find the niche that gets you there…you have found your mojo.

I agree.

Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?
Never give up!  Stephen King’s book Carrie was rejected dozens of times before he got a deal.
Find your passion.  If you think you can write for money, you will go hungry.  You must write because it drives you and you love it.

Make alliances with other authors and book publishers.  You can try to do everything on your own, but relationships make this business manageable.  I love my editor and my publishing house.  We work well together.  If I had to do it all on my own, I would be pulling my hair out.
Lastly, make a name for yourself by sharing your work.  I have given a ton of books away for free.  I have spoken (publicly) and blogged to get the word out.  I have gone to book fairs, and book signings and all sorts of writer events and most of the time, I feel like I am not making any money…but it is a marathon.  We must pace ourselves and never give up.  Success as a writer comes long after the weaker wannabes have given up.

Good luck!
Thank you for your words of wisdom, Curtiss.
And thank you for stopping by! It was such a pleasure to have you here.  :)

Readers, here is the blurb for Guardians of the Mountain.
Imprisoned…deceived…betrayed… “My love, Theila is held captive…my own kinsmen have failed me and my mind…well, I am not myself.”
Wavren, Da’Shar, and Rosabela have been tasked with destroying the very essence of lycanthrope but the sacrifice is great. Which is greater; the life of an innocent man or the soul of a hero? One will be taken.
A new enemy arises from ancient ruins assembling an army of the most feared and despised abominations ever to walk the land. They have but one order: slay every mortal in the realm. Only a poor scholar, a wizard, and a clan of dwarves have the power to hold them at bay while the forces of good mobilize for the sake of all living creatures. Orcs, assassins, and the most unlikely of allies are called on to intercede but can they be trusted in such desperate times?
Love, faith, and courage flicker weakly amid the impending chaos and destruction in the final epic tale of the Heroes of Dae’run Saga.
Summon your strength, draw your sword and embark on the most exciting adventure ever written by Beau Coup Publishing’s fantasy storyteller…Curtiss Robinson.
Guardians of the Mountain awaits!

Here is an excerpt from the novel.
As Theila was escorted to the dueling arena, Don walked behind her and said a silent prayer that somehow this fight would be called off. The massive double doors opened to a well-lit amphitheater. The crowd was alive with eager anticipation. The warlock court sat center stage ready to pass judgment at the end of the duel. Theila was escorted to the south end, though barely able to stand when the grandmistress magically appeared. The centermost judges stood and announced, “Welcome, warlocks of the Black Gate. Today we weigh the worthiness of the demoness, Theila, to see if she should be condemned for her actions in Dek’Thal, or if she should be exonerated and lifted up by rank and station as the next grandmistress. This will be decided in combat.”
There was great murmuring in the crowd. Money changed hands. Many warlocks loyal to Grandmistress Anjelia booed and hissed, showing utter contempt to Theila and her arrogance in challenging their leader. Others cheered. Don thought the entire spectacle was foolish and barbaric. All he wanted was for his daughter to be released so they might cure her and ultimately that she might carry on with some sort of normal life.
The judge continued, “This arena has been warded to protect the citadel from any magic or fiend that might go awry. Good luck and fare well in your casting.”
Don whispered to his daughter, “Are you ready? Can you do this?”
Theila summoned her inner strength and said with grim determination, “I have no other choice. I will show them why they must set me free.”
Don sensed something hard and unyielding within his daughter. It was something dark and unnatural. He saw her jaw clench as the casting began. Theila called forth Zaashik, her voidwalker. The protector demon was a hulking fiend with powerful arms ending in scythe-like claws. It floated on a wisp of smoke and was more powerful than a raging bull. Anjelia called forth her protector as well. It was larger and had spiked bracers making it look more fearsome, but it was essentially the same as Zaashik.
Neither warlock issued commands to attack. This was common for warlocks who preferred to use the protector in a defensive manner while lashing out with hellfire spells and life-draining curses. Theila raised her wand and fired off an arcane bolt. Anjelia’s voidwalker took the shot squarely in the chest, and if it did any damage, no one could tell. More money changed hands among the audience, and cheers went up accompanied by gasps of astonishment.
Anjelia cast her first offensive spell. It was a life-draining attack that resembled a thick, black tentacle. Theila rolled to the side as the spell sought to engulf her and slowly crush the life from her body. Zaashik quickly moved in and with one mighty slash, his claws destroyed it. Theila moved back beside her protector and fired off a spray of green energy. As anticipated, the enemy voidwalker moved to block its master. The spell weakened the voidwalker slightly, and Theila’s protector grew in size. Now the voidwalkers were fairly matched. Again, there was cheering and more passing of gold coins.
The grandmistress began her next spell. With great sweeping movements, she summoned a smoking vortex that swept across the arena. It obscured Theila’s vision and rammed into her like a tornado. She spun around several times and was tossed more than a dozen yards to land with a painful thud. Don was afraid the fight was over, until Theila rolled onto her side and fired another blast of arcane energy from her wand. The massive voidwalker took the hit and seemed again unaffected. The battle was not going well.
The grandmistress called forth a gout of flame that would have incinerated Theila if Zaashik had not been there to take the blast in her stead. Theila looked up and saw her protector weakening. He would not be able to take another powerful attack. She called upon her life-draining power, sending a wave of black, pulsating energy radiating outward. The glyphs and wards protected the crowd, but flared mightily as they held off the draining magic. Anjelia and her minion were affected. Each wave pulled life force out of the two and sent it into Theila and Zaashik. As the spell ended, Don noticed that both Anjelia and her protector were greatly weakened. Anjelia was vomiting, and the demon looked less substantial as if it were more smoke than muscle.
Theila was somewhat recharged, and her protector was renewed. She sent her demon forward in attack mode. Zaashik flew toward Anjelia and would have cut her down if not for her own voidwalker. The two demons locked into a powerful grip with both hands extended and intertwined. Theila fired an arcane bolt from her wand, but Anjelia dispersed it with her own. Zaashik seemed to devour the magical energy that held the other voidwalker together. When it became clear that Anjelia’s protector was doomed, she summoned her succubus. The wicked demoness appeared with a fiery whip that lashed Zaashik unmercifully as he finished off the enemy protector demon.
Theila called forth Trig’zstder, her devious imp who fired off a volley of fireballs as Zaashik disintegrated into a puff of smoke. The succubus had no real defense and took the fiery blasts with screams of agony. Anjelia began calling forth her own imp as her succubus fell under the hellish onslaught. Theila had time to cast another spell. She called a great hail of fire and brimstone to blast the grandmistress. The attack disrupted Anjelia’s summoning. She threw her hands forward and projected a small shield of arcane magic to protect herself but without a fiend to assist her, she was now vulnerable. The crowd gasped and again more coins changed hands.
Theila called out, “Do you yield, or must I destroy you?”
Riveting! Readers, don't forget to check out this book!
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Author Bio
Curtiss Robinson was born in Key West, Florida, grew up in South Carolina, and joined the US Army in 1989. For twenty years he served in Ft. Bragg, NC, Schofield Barracks, HI, Ft. Bliss, TX and returned to work in Charleston, SC with the SC Army National Guard. During his second combat tour (OEF 2007) he wrote his first adventure novel, Protectors of the Vale, which mirrored the successes and failures of his PMT team in Afghanistan. In 2009, he wrote Defenders of Griffon's Peak, which further detailed the adventures of his sword-wielding and spell-casting fantasy characters. Curtiss is a lifelong martial artist and RPG enthusiast which contributes greatly to his combat scenes and vivid imagery but it is his love for epic heroes and tales of legend that fuel his love of writing.
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Website:  http://curtissrobinson.com/    

Curtiss' Books: