1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in the USA, Florida to be more precise. I've lived here all my
life and couldn't imagine living elsewhere. I’m happily married to a
wonderful woman, have two cats and a dog. No kids, and don’t really
plan to have them. I’ve been writing for over two decades and have
already published one novel, Ancient Rising, which was received well
by critics and readers alike.
2. Rise of the Ancients – Annuna is the second of the series – is that correct?
Yes, it is a continuation of the storyline that began in Ancient Rising.
3. How did you come up with the concept for the series?
Well, there’s a lot that goes into it. I love mythology, I have a
passion for archaeology and researching things from the past – the
Rise of the Ancients saga was birthed from that passion. The Greek
gods, the Annunanaki (whom I call the Annuna), Atlantis – these are
all fanciful things that captured my imagination and I hope will do
the same with my fans. I also like action, adventure, and romance – I
tried to infuse all of that into this series and I’m pretty happy with
what came out.
4. We noticed a long period between Ancient Rising and this book, why is that?
Oh well, mostly laziness on my part. Seriously though, I spent a good
year and half promoting Ancient Rising, then…well, life happened. I
tried to build my own publishing company and publish other speculative
fiction authors but unfortunately, we never really got off the ground.
It’s a shame, really. So I had to deal with that catastrophic failure
and all the entanglements that went with it. Not to mention, I do
still have a full time job in Information Technology. Before I knew
what happened – bam – three years had passed me by and those fans had
been waiting far too long and weren’t too happy with me.
5. Why a sequel? Did sales of the first demand a follow up?
Well, the first one left you in a cliffhanger – so it was mandatory
the story arc was resolved. Despite the collapse of the publisher,
Ancient Rising has sold and continues to sell pretty well. It is a
profitable little title and any time you have something that made a
profit, it’s a candidate for a follow up.
6. So this resolves the Rise of the Ancients story?
I wouldn’t say that – it pretty much resolves the main story of my
protagonist, Dan Ryan – but there are plenty of stories to tell in the
Rise of the Ancients universe that will be revealed in future
7. You call yourself a speculative fiction author, why not just a
Fantasy author or Sci-Fi author?
Excellent observation. I don’t just write contemporary fantasy. I
write horror, sci-fi, alternate reality, paranormal – pretty much
anything that falls into the Spec-Fic realm, I write. So I felt that
the speculative fiction author label fit best. You’ll see examples of
each when my short story collection, tentatively titled Welcome to My
Nightmares, is released later this year or early 2010.
8. Are there any differences, structure-wise between Ancient Rising and Annuna?
Actually, I’d say there is quite a bit of difference. In Ancient
Rising, we were telling the story of how Dan got into the predicament
he found himself in. I liken it to Indiana Jones meets Clash of the
Titans. Dan is thrust into a breathless search for Atlantis, traveling
all over the globe to piece together the clues to find the fabled
continent…then when he gets there, it’s a big surprise waiting for
Annuna not only continues the story, it also takes you back to the
origin of the gods – introduces the Annuna and their home Nibiru and
it also focuses on the rise of a young Prince Alosletian, who becomes
King of Atlantis when it falls from the gods’ graces. Annuna I think
may be a lot more fantasy than Ancient Rising. The fantasy side of the
story (with the exception of Hermes and the Sacrolites – a band of
zombie like creatures) really didn’t kick in until late in the book –
while Annuna punches you right in the nose with fantasy themes from
the start - so fans who expect a Da Vinci Code style investigation and
chase may be disappointed. Annuna is truly a contemporary fantasy
9. Even though this is series is steeped in Greek myth, somehow you
mix in Christian, and other religious themes as well. Tell us about
Actually, the last part of the book definitely has those
characteristics. Angles, Demons, even Jesus all get involved. Thoth is
an Egyptian god. It sounds confusing but they all have their place in
the hierarchy of the Annuna.
10. You mentioned Da Vinci Code, some reviewers have likened your
writing style to Dan Brown – is he an inspiration?
Its very flattering to be compared to a mega-successful author like
Dan, but to be honest, I hadn’t read the Da Vinci Code or any of Dan’s
work until after Ancient Rising came out and I heard the comparisons.
I liked the book a lot.
11. Who would you characterize as your inspiration?
Oh there’s many superb writers that I enjoy. My favorites include
Stephen King and Anne Rice, and even to a lesser extent JK Rowling. I
don’t really mimic anyone’s style – at least I don’t believe I do. I
write as I like to read. Some people love a voluminous behemoth of a
novel with 200 page chapters – not me. I enjoy short quick chapters,
fast-paced action, with just enough detail and character development
to paint the picture in my head. Sometimes I go a little overboard
with description – but I try to put my reader right in the middle of
the action. Still, I don’t think it slows it up and at least as I’ve
been told, my style keeps you turning the pages to see what happens
next. I think that’s a good thing.
12. The Speculative Fiction genre means different things to different
people – what does it mean to you?
Oh, I love it. Just love it. There’s nothing like a spine-tingling
scary story, a laser blasting swashbuckling space opera, or an amazing
fantasy world that can take you and immerse you into it. I’ve loved
being taken into the Stargate, battling for the prize by beheading my
opponent and taking their power, trembling in fear of the Alien,
finding the lost ark, stopping Voldemort and saving Princess Leia from
the clutches of Darth Vader. Who wouldn’t love this? In fact, I think
that speculative fiction is becoming much more mainstream and that’s a
13. What is the hardest part of writing a novel?
For me, it’s finding the time. With a day job, plus family time at
home, not to mention my little side businesses like our new website to
help independent authors get tools they need such as ISBN, book
formatting and trailers at http://www.dltatlantispub.com its difficult
for me to just sit down and bang out a first draft. Once I get that
first draft out – it gets easier. From there is editing, sending it my
editor, then editing some more and just for fun, a little more editing
until its just right.
14. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Early on, I have been writing since I was very young. It’s been a
passion of mine for about 25 years and only now am I finally able to
share my weird creations with the world. It’s exciting.
15. Do you read reviews of your work?
Absolutely. I take criticism in stride, I know I can’t be all things
to everyone. There’s going to be people who love it and a few who hate
it. I know there’s been some strange reviews that have had me
scratching my head, but I try to take the criticism of any review I
receive, learn from it, and try to get better.
16. Who is your favorite character in the series?
Oh I love them all – they’re all my children. But if I had to pick
one, it would be Doc Constant. He’s patterned after Sir Sean Connery –
the actor. I had Sir Sean in my mind as I created him. Sir Sean
happens to be my favorite actor so definitely, Doc Constant.
17. If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
Honestly, not much. I’m pretty happy with the way the series came out.
I think I should have gotten more involved in the formatting of
Ancient Rising – the book has some annoying printing issues that are
distracting. Unfortunately, it was already going to print when we
discovered the issues. None of those problems come back for Annuna,
which is a beautifully made book. Also, I wouldn’t have started that
publishing company. It cost me money, time and delayed my work on this
title. I had been away from writing for so long I lost my writer’s
voice and it took me awhile to gain it back. I’ll never let that
18. Fans can be pretty passionate about a work, what do you think of your fans?
I get emails and letters every day and its wonderful that my work can
effect so many people. When you are small potatoes, independent or
small press, you don’t expect many people to be effected by your work
– but they do and its great. Its stunning really to have someone say,
“Gosh I loved Ancient Rising, when are you going to write the next
one?” I enjoy reading people’s takes on my work, I enjoy talking to
them about what I was thinking or feeling in that moment. I love my
fans and even if I were to suddenly find myself at the top of the New
York Times bestseller list – I will never not return an email from a
fan. I’ll never be cut off from them. Its really because of them I
fought so hard to rediscover my writer’s voice and finish this part of
19. For those who have never read your work – can they read Annuna and
understand what’s going on?
Yeah, I’d say I balanced the recap of the first book so that my fans
that read the first novel aren’t bored while those who have never read
Ancient Rising can still understand what’s going on. I just hope that
if they enjoy Annuna, they’ll want to see how it all began in Ancient
Rising. Maybe that’s where the podiobooks come in…of course, I’d
rather have them buy the paperback so I can get the support I need to
continue my work.
20. What does the future hold for JC De La Torre?
Lots of writing – not only will I be releasing my short story
collection, I also have a new time-travel saga I’m working on called
Continuum Force. It’s going to allow me to continue my passion of
research into ancient cultures like Rome and Alexandre the Great. I’m
really excited about it. Oh and I’m also working on a podiobooks
version of Ancient Rising – it will be in episodic format and
completely free on podiobooks.com. I’ll also have some more Rise of
the Ancients fun…a prequel highlighting the first war in heaven,
things like that. Stay tuned to my website at http://jcdelatorre.com
for more information on all of that. I can promise there will not be
another three year layoff.