Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Character Interview with Anthony Mieko Griggs from INCEPTION (NEURALIAN CHRONICLES -- THE SIEDE) plus a conversation with author Brandon J. Hall!

Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview.  I offered this once on my alternate blog, I Love Romance Blog, and it turned out so well that it made sense to offer these special intervews here on this blog.  These character interviews, now and in the future, should prove to be very enlightening for all of us. 

Today we have the pleasure of meeting Anthony Mieko Griggs, a character from Inception (Neuralian Chronicles—The Siede). We'll get a chance to talk to the author, Brandon J. Hall, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Anthony Mieko Griggs!
 





Interview

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Anthony.  Please have a seat.

Anthony Griggs:  Thank you.  It's a pleasure to be here.

Marie:  We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay?

Character Anthony:  Sure.


Marie:  So, what is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?  



Anthony:  Well, I’m a student mostly…but I do some freelance graphic design on the side.  I enjoy anything that allows me to be artistic.  My mind wanders a lot, it always has.  People call me a dreamer but realistically I think I’m more reflective.

Marie:  What is your family like?


Anthony:  There isn’t much to speak about my family.  My mother...(looks away) my mother was an alcoholic.  She drank herself to death.  My father, let’s just say we didn’t often get along.  My parents argued often.  I think the only person I found comfort in was my uncle, God rest his soul.  He used to take me fishing.  Taught me how to cast a line and just sit back and enjoy my surroundings.  He taught me to escape into my mind when I didn’t have books to pacify me, when my parents were at each other’s throats. 

Marie:  What did you childhood home look like?

Anthony:  My childhood home, honestly, I try to forget.  So many bad memories…(sighs) it was a little house.  Paint chipped away on the windows from the outside.  I remember when I was smaller my dad used to keep it up for appearances but as time went on he just let it go.  Especially after my mother died.  It was a brick house in a somewhat quiet neighborhood.  We didn’t have much furniture, maybe a living room set and a television.  There was a kitchen table where we coincidentally never ate dinner as a family.  We had carpets thrown over wood flooring.  And it was always junky, that’s what I remember most, how junky it was.

Marie:  Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?  

Anthony:  I like to go fishing now just to clear my head.  I love sketching in my drawing pad.  And I most definitely love to be with my fiancée, Audrey.  She’s the world to me.
 
Marie:  What is your greatest dream?

Anthony:  My greatest dream is just to make a difference on some level.  Just…you know…just to BE more.    

http://www.amazon.com/Inception-Neuralian-Chronicles-Siede-Book-ebook/dp/B00HHIHNZI/ref=la_B00HO3JKN4_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408220349&sr=1-1
  

Marie:  What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

Anthony:  I wish I could be more driven than I am.  It isn’t like I waste a lot of time or anything.  I just know I’m not all I can be right now.  

I honestly can’t tell you what’s stopping me.  Maybe it’s just as simple as my lack of confidence.  I don’t really see a lot in myself.  I’m definitely nothing special.




Marie:  Who was your first love? 

Anthony:  Ah, my first love!  Audrey is my first and only love.  When I first met her I thought my heart finally had a beat.  She saw things in me I still don’t see for myself.  But she understands me, and she’s never judged me.  For better or worse, she’s always had my back.  

Marie:  What's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?  

Anthony:  I don’t know.  I grew up practically thinking I was a punching bag.  My father used to lay into me so awful I used to wonder when the day would come he’d finally kill me. 
I'm sorry; can we move on to another question?

Marie:  Yes, no problem.  I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable.

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?  

Anthony:  The only dream I had growing up was getting out of my father’s home.  Thankfully I have done that.  I can say with pride that I’ve never looked back.  I would rather live under a bridge with little more than a folded piece of cardboard than to ever need to depend on my father. 
  
Marie:  Who is your role model? 

Anthony:  I’d have to say my professor Braiden Siede is like a role model to me.  I see how he carries himself and the time he puts in with me working out assignments and the encouragement he gives me.  He truly makes me believe that someone other than Audrey sees something interesting if not special in me.  I guess it’s just his character, but I often wonder when I’m in his presence what it would have been to have him as a father or at least a father figure to me.  

Marie:  Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike? 

Anthony:  No.  I may be deemed a dreamer but I’m not pretender.  I usually stay as far away form someone I don’t like as possible.  

Marie:  What is your deepest desire?

Anthony:  My deepest desire is to marry Audrey some day and start a family.  We could be dirt poor but as long as I’m with her, that’s all I need.  Albeit, sometimes I wish I had something, I don’t know, heroic in my nature.  Sometimes I see myself in newspaper clippings for some contribution I made to the world.   

Marie:  What is your greatest fear? 

My greatest fear is anything that would prevent me from being able to have a long life with Audrey, that’s it.

Well, thank you for visiting us today, Anthony.  I wish you luck with Audrey.

Now, let's shift over and get the author's perspective.  We have Brandon J. Hall on the stage today!  Hi, Brandon!

 







Author Brandon J. Hall:  Hello. 


We just got to talk to the hero of your story, Anthony Griggs.  Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?


Brandon:  Anthony, he’s described as a dreamer.  And though he sees nothing special in himself he truly is a unique character.  He has the ability to “drift” which is a form of telepathy that allows him to sort of astral project into the minds of others when he is unconscious.  The thing about him is that he is somehow connected to a certain family lineage that in that dream state he protects them from dangers that would be detrimental to them as the effects on their minds translate to very real danger.  He’s also gentle though he has been through a rough childhood.  He’s a bit unfocused but he has a lot on his mind and his plate. 


Marie:  What are your character's greatest strengths?  


Brandon:  Anthony’s greatest strength is his thoughtfulness and his heart.  He has a truly giving heart that allows him to become selfless even when he feels he is weak.  


Marie:  What are his greatest weaknesses?


Anthony is a procrastinator although it’s really more reflective than it is him being inactive.   

Marie:  What are some of his favorite foods?


Brandon:  Anthony enjoys a great corned beef sandwich. That aside, he enjoys anything he didn’t cook himself.    

Marie:  What's a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?  


Brandon:  Anthony isn’t aware of his own bravery.  His commitment to things allows him to invest his whole heart and that becomes adventurous for him when he begins to encounter the events in the book that will flip his world upside down.  


Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?


Brandon:  I believe people will like this character because he’s relatable.  They will understand him and to degrees empathize with him and the choices he has to make.  Anthony comes from a very real place and is thrust into some very surreal scenarios that he handles with curiosity though he can jump foot first into some cases. I think people would be pressed to find a disconnect with this character.  

Well, now that we have a real taste of Anthony, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.   

Marie:  What first gave you the idea for Inception (Neuralian Chronicles—The Siede)?


When I was younger, around the age of 16, I was offered a contract for it when the story was in its infancy.  To me, the story never really sat well with the way it was told.  I'd written in a way that my peers could grasp it without a thought of where my audience would ultimately be.  Years of research into religion, culture and mythology made me want to mold this story to create a new mythology...one unique to me.  I'd always loved Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey.  I'd bend the covers to those books until they no longer had form.  Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, the poem of Beowulf...all that great literature fueled my imagination as a child.  I wanted a mythology as sound as those.  So I began to rewrite my story to become a mythology set across the ages.  It is now, the vision that I'd always seen.  And yes, the series is progressive.  It doesn't end with The Siede.  That series is only the beginning for the Neuralian Chronicles.  

Marie:  What is your writing style like?  Are you a pantster or a plotter?


Brandon:  I’m definitely a plotter.  I think that a story is only as good as its plot.  A story needs to have development and direction.  And I don’t really think I’d tell a story without having thought it at least mostly through.    


Marie:  I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers.  Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Inception (Neuralian Chronicles—The Siede) or getting it published?  What would you do differently the next time?  


Through the course of writing this story I’d done a lot of rewrites to tailor the story to many of the concepts that make up components of it.  I found that I really needed to pace myself rather than place constraints on me.  The book itself turned out to be closer to a thousand pages rather than its final four hundred and some odd pages that it is now.  And that was with a continued arc leading to two more books of this series.  When I finally locked an agent there was a lot of interest for the book but the consensus was the same, there was no way someone was going to publish such a large book so I had to break it in half, turning my trilogy into a series.  In that, I was unwilling to compromise the vision while I was willing to compromise the length.  From that, I think I’ve learned to understand today’s audience.  


I would tell aspiring writers to be unafraid of their vision.  Try to be unique.  Don’t try to tell stories that have already been told.  We don’t need another Harry Potter, Twilight or Divergent.  We need fresh and innovative ideas.  Challenge yourself.  And while there are publishers that will be less prone to take a leap on a new voice there are others just as eager to give the audience something fresh.  Try not to pattern yourself behind those before you.  Pick up certain techniques to enhance your own style but be yourself.  Don’t allow your inspirations from other sources to bleed into what is already an idea that sets you apart in a certain genre.  

And remember, for every NO you may receive there is at least one YES waiting for you.  Never be deterred but always work at your craft.  Do your research on the market.  Do your research on the subjects you choose to write about.  And no matter how fantastic the story may be in terms of scale, find ways to make the characters relate to your audience.   



All good points!

Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on Writing in the Modern Age.  Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

http://www.amazon.com/Inception-Neuralian-Chronicles-Siede-Book-ebook/dp/B00HHIHNZI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1408212590



Here is the blurb for Inception (Neuralian Chronicles—The Siede).




In the beginning all men were gods, Neuralytes…naturally enlightened beings.  That was until Pandora gave birth to humanity and the one entity all have looked to in their bleakest hours, Hope.  For centuries Hope served as a beacon through its chosen vessels to keep the balance.  Now there is a new vessel and the Jinn—dark counterparts of the Neuralytes—have plans for it.  Yet other forces would keep him from ever drawing his first breath.  


Anthony Griggs, a hapless dreamer, finds himself bound to the unborn child.  Through the abyss of dreams, they are connected.  Every time Anthony closes his eyes worlds collide merging closer into his reality.  Through his blood he is charged with the protection of the child from any invasive threats.  But his sacrifice could bear a great cost.  Can Anthony come to grips with his destiny to see Hope thrive?  Or will it be undone by the void of darkness to leave mankind in a wake of chaos?

What people are saying about Inception:http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/01/11/inception-neuralian-chronicles-siede-brandon-j-hall/

Purchase Links:

Amazon:http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00HHIHNZI 
Publisher:http://solsticepublishing.com/inception-neuralian-chronicles-the-siede/ 

About Brandon J. Hall:




Brandon J. Hall currently lives in Detroit, MI.  With his first novel, Reflections—The Chronicles of a Man Scorned, behind him he is set to move forward in a new genre.  This will mark his first outing in the realm of fantasy with Neuralian Chronicles—The Siede.  His passion has always been for the genre from his early childhood when he was given a copy of Homer’s The Iliad from his sister.  From then he’d always looked ahead to creating his own mythology that stood as unique as the likes of Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King.  

Very early in his life he’d developed a fondness for literature.  He’s always aspired to share his voice, his vision, through the craft he’d so embraced.  Having his art showcased during his elementary years at the Detroit Institute of Arts and praised throughout middle school he knew that his path was defined for him.  After several publications in the magazine, Afterthoughts, throughout high school for his poetry and art he knew his passion was clear.  After years of exploration and self-discovery he finally published his first novel in the year 2007, Reflections—The Chronicles of a Man Scorned.  Brandon now strives to place his name among those who have made him love the genre of fantasy by bringing his own unique quality to it. His series, Neuralian Chronicles—The Siede aims to do just that. 
 
Author Links:

http://nodnarbllah.wix.com/neuralian-chronicles
https://www.facebook.com/brandon.j.hall1 
https://twitter.com/BrandonJHall
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brandon-j-hall/25/586/5a
http://www.amazon.com/Brandon-J-Hall/e/B00HO3JKN4/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4470153.Brandon_J_Hall 
http://solsticepublishing.com/brandon-j-hall/ 

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Anthony Griggs, the main character of Inception, and Brandon J. Hall, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was a pleasure to have you here.  :)


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