SF & Fantasy

New Release Interview: Stonecast by Anton Strout


stout-stonecastStonecast by Anton Strout is in fine bookstores now!

The Spellmason Chronicles is an urban fantasy series like none we have really seen. No vampires. No werewolves. No demons. Just good old fashioned gargoyles in New York City!

The story began in the first book, Alchemystic. Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City. When she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure, she discovers her family history has entered her present in the form of a gargoyle named Stanis, stone brought to life by Spellmasonry.

Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other—and ultimately have to work together to save the city they both love.

Anton has written a sequel, Stonecast! It is published today!

Here is a bit more about it:

NO STONE UNTURNED…

Alexandra Belarus was an artist stuck working in her New York family’s business…until she discovered her true legacy—a deep and ancient magic. Lexi became the last practicing Spellmason, with the power to breathe life into stone. And as her powers awoke, so did her family’s most faithful protector: a gargoyle named Stanis. But when a centuries-old evil threatened her family and her city, Stanis sacrificed himself to save everything Lexi held dear.

With Stanis gone, Lexi’s efforts to master Spellmasonry—even with the help of her dedicated friends—are faltering. Hidden forces both watch her and threaten her, and she finds herself suddenly under the mysterious wing of a secret religious society determined to keep magic hidden from the world.

But the question of Stanis’s fate haunts her—and as the storm around her grows, so does the fear that she won’t be able to save him in her turn.

To celebrate the release of Stonecast, I decided to ask Anton some questions!

Read on!

NEW RELEASE INTERVIEW: STONECAST BY ANTON STROUT

Shawn Speakman: STONECAST, the second book in your urban fantasy series the Spellmason Chronicles, publishes today. But first, tell Suvudu readers about the first book, ALCHEMYSTIC?

photo-antonstrout

Anton Strout: Sure thing! In ALCHEMYSTIC we’re dealing with a very close camera on a modern day New York family, a camera that will pull back in STONECAST to reveal a larger picture of the unknown magical world…

But for the first book we are brought into the lives of Alexandra Belarus—a twenty three year old wannabe artist stuck in her family’s real estate business… until someone tries to kill her. When her assailant mysteriously seems to vanish into the dark of the night sky, things get weird. When she discovers that the creature responsible for it is Stanis—an ancient gargoyle sworn to protect her family—things get even stranger.

With the aid of her pole arm wielding dancer best friend and a Dungeons & Dragons nerd she begins to unravel the true legacy of her family and that maybe real estate wasn’t the family business she was meant for.

STONECAST picks up the tale roughly six months after the events of the first book as we take a look at the price paid for the event so ALCHEMYSTIC and what the existence of gargoyles, magic and alchemy mean in the larger picture of the world…

Shawn Speakman: What challenges were you confronted with while writing STONECAST?

Anton Strout: The Spellmason Chronicles has been a challenging series to put together. As an urban fantasist full of tropes, I’m used to writing a first person narrative perspective, but ALCHEMYSTIC and STONECAST have dueling first person perspectives. I’ve been forced to step up my writing game because the last thing you want is repeating scenes when you want to show both perspectives. I have to pick and choose my way through the narrative, creating not only the perspectives of twentysomething modern day Spellmason Alexandra Belarus and centuries old gargoyle Stanis, but also a third narrative which isn’t written but provided by the reader’s inferences that overlay what my characters are saying.

I’m getting confused just trying to articulate it, but trust me I think it works well, if the warm reception of ALCHEMYSTIC was any indicator.

The other challenge, of course, was trying to make nerdy Dungeons & Dragons playing/game store owning Marshall Blackmoore a convincing character… you know, because I am so unfamiliar with that level of geekery.. .cough cough cough…

Shawn Speakman: How did you come up with the idea of stone magic?

Anton Strout: After I ran over a gypsy three years ago, I stole her arcane secrets but not before she touched me with one of her crone fingers and whispered, “Body of a fantasy author…” before dying. The next day I had gained forty pounds and grown all doughy suddenly sporting glasses, but I also had this great new idea for these books, so it seemed like a fair trade.

Actually, I love museums and especially sculpture. Architecture, too. I’m obsessed with people who create things, really. Doctor Frankenstein gave his flesh golem life, so why not make my stone ones? I like the idea of all those behind the scenes of the magic in the world… if there was a novel just about who made all the rings in Lord of the Rings, I would read that. Some of it is in the work of Tolkien, but I want more more more about those who create. Writing a book about a sculptor really being able to give its work life just seemed like a natural progression in my writing, in the sculpting of giving my characters life through my own works of art. Man, do I sound pretentious.

Can I change my answer to: Statue pretty, make walk and talk…?

Shawn Speakman: No. You can’t. Ha! The myth of the gargoyle has been around for centuries. How much research did you do on the topic? And have you ever imagined what New York would be like if all of the city’s gargoyles came alive at once?

Anton Strout: Does watching Disney’s Gargoyles count? Actually, I haven’t watched that in decades, but I’ve always been in love with gargoyles from my college art history classes. I’m fascinated by old school stonework, and these adornments used for redirecting roof water on churches and such—then becoming mythological protectors—well, how could I resist exploring it, especially in a city like New York where the stone of this city is soaked with history?

Have I ever imagined what New York would be like if all of the city’s gargoyles came alive at once? Funny you should mention that… did I accidentally send you my outline for STONECAST…?

I think there might be proof landing on store bookshelves and e-readers as we speak…

Shawn Speakman: What are you working on now? The next Spellmason book, I hope?

Anton Strout: What am I not working on right now? First and foremost, I am working on keeping two four month old twins alive. Score two points for that! Twins, as you might imagine, have been wreaking havoc on my writing schedule so I’m sort of reinventing my writing time wheel as I go. Most important writing project? Spellmason Chronicles 3 is due to my editor by New Year’s Day.. that seems like it might happen on schedule. I’ve had to take off three weeks from it prepping for the launch of STONECAST with all these articles and guest blogs. Boo hoo, poor me, I know! I also have a yet unsold book I call my Dickensian Steampunk Voltron Iron Man Street Urchin Young Adult adventure… that’s about 50% percent complete. Then an AWESOME graphic novel idea also struck me, and I need to find the time to flush that out. I need like a forty hour day to do it all… if any of your readers figure out how to bend time and space like The Doctor, please have them email me.

Stonecast by Anton Strout is in fine bookstores today!

Gargoyles come to life!


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