It's Friday! I hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving. If you've just come back from shopping, or are about to . . . grab a cup of coffee and take a little time to get know a great new author who just released his first book. Paul Anthony Short lives in Dublin, Ireland, and is an incredibly devoted writer with an incredible talent. Locked Within is an urban fantasy set in New York, but definitely not the New York we've come to know. A dark, supernatural world exists, and one man must reclaim a hidden power he holds within to battle against the demons. That man is Nathan Shepherd.
Q: When did you first start thinking about writing seriously?
A: I've wanted to be a professional author since I was about 12 years old. I've always loved music and theatre. My parents raised me in a very creative environment. It was never a case of "I like writing, maybe I could do that." It was always "I'm going to be a writer."
Q: What were your favorite books growing up?
A: It's hard to pick any one. I practically ate Christopher Pike's books as a teenager. Cold Fire by Dean Koontz was amazing for showing me that the idea of a wandering do-gooder could be a viable protagonist.
Q: What inspired you to write Locked Within? Describe the world you created.
A: I've studied a lot of real-world mythology and various beliefs. Reincarnation is a subtle presence throughout, and I wanted to tell a story where reincarnation was a common belief. Maybe not universally accepted, but still a powerful presence as a concept. The world of Locked Within is one in which there are two core beliefs which form a single ideological conflict. Simply, when you're born, and remember past life memories, is that person really you? Or do you just remember an imprint of them? Is the essential being, the soul, truly returned in a new life? Or is it lost forever, the memories nothing more than an echo?
Q: What kind of music do you listen to while writing?
A: Primarily film scores, particularly those by Hans Zimmer. I love his work. I also picked a couple of tracks to act as theme songs for the book, such as Northern Kings' cover of "We Don't Need Another Hero" and "Locked Within the Crystal Ball" by Blackmore's Night.
Q: Describe Nathan Shepherd. What are his greatest challenges in the book?
A: Nathan's a guy stuck in a dull job that he never wanted. He wanted to teach history, and instead he files documents in the Department of Records. He's got a girlfriend he loves, but their relationship is strained. He seeks out ways to escape from that monotony. What he doesn't know is that his "escape" is actually a path he's walked before, and which he seems doomed to walk again. His greatest challenge is to balance his own nature, his head and his heart, to find a way to embrace his destiny and still hang on to the things he holds dear.
Q: Why New York?
A: My wife answered this the best: "When the Old World wanted to hide from itself, where else was it going to go?" New York is the quintessential western city. Modern, cosmopolitan. A center of commerce and art. It's a young city, but powerful. I wanted a city that was prominent in the cultural mindset, one where I could contrast the old and the new, the idea of rebirth right there in our own world, the past and present coming together.
Q: What kind of message dose Locked Within give?
A: One of my primary themes in my writing is the sacrifices people make for the greater good. I think (hope) it gives the message that the things that are hard to do are worth doing, even when you can't see the reward yet. That the worst monsters can be beaten, and no matter how much it hurts to do it, beating them is a good thing.
Q: Any plans for a future novel?
A: Absolutely! I've just finished writing the sequel and I'm hopeful it'll be out some time next year. Once I know whether that can go ahead I'll start working on the final part of the trilogy.
Q: I read that you and your wife are expecting twins. How do you think fatherhood will affect your writing schedule?
A: It's going to play havoc! Hehe. But really, an awful lot of my writing happens in the time before I start work at my day job and on my lunch hour. Beyond that I get up early at the weekend to squeeze in some extra writing. I've also gotten good at writing in between other day to day tasks, so I'll do my best to adapt to the twins' arrival.
Q: Any advice for up-and-coming authors?
A: Don't give up! There are thousands of people out there with talent and ideas. It's not ability that makes the difference, it's the commitment to keep working, no matter how hard it gets. You can make any dream come true if you just keep getting back up every time you're knocked down.
Bio: A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren't enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life.
Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group.
He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. Jen is pregnant again and is expecting twins.
Blurb: The supernatural realm and the mundane world have existed side by side since the dawn of time. Predators walk the streets, hidden by our own ignorance. Once, the city of New York was protected, but that was another age.
Now a creature emerges from the city s past to kill again, with no one to hear the screams of its victims. The lost and the weak, crushed under the heels of the city s supernatural masters, have given up hope.
But one man finds himself drawn to these deaths. Plagued by dreams of past lives, his obsession may cost him friends, loved ones, even his life. To stop this monster, he must unlock the strength he once had. He must remember the warrior he was, to become the hero he was born to be.
His name is Nathan Shepherd, and he remembers.
Thank you so much, Mr. Paul Anthony Short! I love author interviews and this one was a joy to read. I wish you the best with your book launch and with your forthcoming family members—something tells me you're going to be just a little bit busy!
Folks, you can meet Paul yourself by stopping by his blog: http://paulanthonyshortt.blogspot.com
Have yourselves a great weekend!