Destiny's War: Part 1: Saladin's Secret (Author Interview)




Destiny’s War looks like an exciting series.  How many books do you have planned for it?

It was originally one novel, however the length (over 250,000 words), not including the detailed endnotes and references, was far too much to release as one novel. The scope of the project compelled me to break the novel into five novellas. The first series is completed in draft form, which I am currently editing. The five novellas take place during World War I.

I have outlined three more series, a sequel during WWII, a prequel in the late 1800s with Sir Richard Francis Burton, and the conclusion series during the aftermath of WWII.

While each series has its own story arch, there is a larger arch that ties all four series and history together. It is certainly a challenging undertaking, but it has been outlined from start to finish and I look forward to it.
           


Can you tell us a little about Marion?

Francis Marion J├Ąger was born in the United States to a Swiss-German father and American mother with ties to the American Revolution. After his mother passed away, he ran away from home and caught a steamer ship to Europe and eventually the Middle East. There he worked on several archaeological sites, learned Arabic and spent time with the Bedouin. In many ways he had a similar experience to T.E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell, whom are both in the series. By the age of 18, Marion had become a spy, archeologist, soldier, and explorer. A young man molded in the vein of the great explorers and adventures. His life changes radically when he discovers Saladin’s Secret, introducing him to the world of the occult, ancient history, assassins and more.



What inspired you when writing Destiny’s War?   

T.E. Lawrence had a strong influence; however I must say Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) is the inspiration for the story. Burton was a British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, cartographer, spy, poet, and diplomat. He explored Africa, Middle East, and the Americas. He is considered the first Western to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, in disguise. He spoke 29 different languages, translated the Arabian Nights and Karma Sutra. His explorations and adventures are legendary. Burton was a true renaissance man and a real-life Indiana Jones.  He is not only my inspiration, Marion’s mother had told him stories of Burton’s adventures in the Middle East, which inspired Marion to travel there and venture to Mecca in Burton’s footsteps, both literally and figuratively.  




Why did you decide to become a writer?

I guess I had always been a writer. I am always writing something, research papers, essays, and notes. Verbosity was never a problem, paring it down was. Becoming an author, well that is a giant leap from writing. The catalyst was a chance meeting during a hurricane with an author, as we waited out the storm in a hotel. He unlocked the key, “show, don’t tell.”  My story quickly emerged from a series of notes and telling what happened, into the novel it is today. If it was not for the chance meeting, Destiny’s War may have never been published.


How did you come up with the story in Destiny’s War?

The story has been in the works of almost two decades. The series consists of two projects I had engaged, a research project on ancient history and a spy adventure story during World War I. The story weaves together very well, since several characters during WWI were archaeologist prior to the war, such as TE Lawrence, Max Von Oppenheim, and Gertrude Bell.  The Indiana Jones series mixed archeology and WWII together in a similar fashion. In many ways, Destiny’s War is a more real-life Indiana Jones adventure, with real characters, events, locations, and history.



Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Destiny’s War?

I had written the entire story (series) in third-person past. When I was re-reading the draft, I thought to myself, I really want the reader to be there, feel what Marion is going through. I decided to jump down the rabbit hole and re-write the entire story in first-person present. It was an epic challenge. It created new unknown challenges; mainly how does Marion learn about what happens out of scene. Reveals and discoveries become far more challenging when the entire story is told from Marion’s perspective as it happens. The story has so many mysteries and secrets, we learn about them as Marion does, the trick was how best to introduce the complex plot.



What do you like to do when not writing?

I enjoy traveling, mostly by train, ship, or foot. For me, the journey is far more interesting than the destination. In the rare spare time, I love reading and collecting the works of my favorite authors. While I do enjoy my solitude, there is nothing better than stimulating conversation over a meal and red wine. In some ways, I am an explorer and adventurer at heart. Perhaps a little of Marion lives in me.



Where can readers find out more about your work?

The series has a volume of references; locations, events, history, peoples, and artifacts, far too many to include in the already expansive endnotes. I created a website, destinyswar.com, to provide more information about the novel and history. I continue to post articles about characters, locations, and events that take place in the series. The world of Destiny’s War is certainly expansive, and the website provides information for those interested in learning more. I also include updates about the series and new releases, including the recent release of the audiobook. I welcome questions from readers, and I hope they enjoy the adventure.




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