A vigilante, a sinner, an innkeeper, and an exiled woman...
Title: The Wizard and the King – The Skull Staff, Book 1
Author : E. S. DeAngelo
Links to buy:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Skull-Staff-Book-Wizard-ebook/dp/B004R9QAQI/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1299802047&sr=8-4
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skull-Staff-Book-Wizard-King/dp/B004R9QAQI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300395850&sr=8-1
Tell us the story behind the story. What inspired you to write this novel?
My inspirations came from several sources. First there's the characters. The idea for the main character, Vincent Kavaldra, came from a very simple idea. Create the nicest, most selfless character I could think of, then put them through hell, slap him around a few times, and toss him right back in. Let him crawl out himself. And I think that watching him do just that is one of the most interesting aspects of my novel.
The ideas for my other 3 main characters came with ease as well. Kiku, the Innkeeper, came from my views on women. I've always had a high respect for strong, independent women. Hell, I'm marrying one. I wanted to create the typical cliché of a girl. Innocent, naive, and needing a man to take care of her. I wanted to then watch her destroy that cliché and become a woman. Sort of like creating a Mary Sue, then murdering her. Not being a woman myself, last time I checked, I cannot say for certain if I did this right. I will say this; I grow to respect this character with each line I write.
Zinos, the Fallen Paladin, came from my views on salvation. I wanted to see how hard it would be to break a man of my own creation. And break him I did. But I'll leave the rest of his story for those who read the novel.
As for Zemperta, she's my favorite. If I put Vincent through hell, then I made Zemperta live there. At one point in the story, Zemperta becomes handicapped. Her struggle to come to terms with her disability is one of the main focal points of the second half of the book. I took a lot of inspiration from my fiancé, as she suffers from MS. I was able to take the strength I see in her every day and mirror it in the character's struggles. There are easily 20 more characters I could talk about, each with just as much care. I firmly believe that anyone who reads the book will find at least 1 character they like.
As for my inspiration in writing the novel itself, I just love telling a story. It doesn't matter what type of story (Currently I'm working on a fantasy novel (The sequel to The Wizard and the King), a revenge thriller, a zombie apocalypse story, a crime drama, and a parody/spoof of video game RPGs) I just love to weave tales. I cherish the creation of a world other than my own, filling it with people and I cherish more so taking people into that world and introducing them to those people.
Tell us about the book cover. How does it represent your book? How did you choose the artwork?
I wanted to go with a minimalist approach to the cover. Not having access to a designer or funds to hire one, I designed it myself. The skull on the cover represents the Skull Staff that the main character carries. It has a gem in each eye that changes color with each spell he uses.
Glydûl, The City of a Million Eyes. When Vincent Kavaldra, a Wizard and self-proclaimed vigilante, meets a stranger in the dark back alleys of the city, the chance meeting sets in motion a series of events that will lead him into a battle with a tyrannical king, a cult of Necromancers after an artifact he stole from them, and his own sordid past.
For a Fallen Paladin, however, Vincent is the only thing that stands between him and revenge on a King that deceived him into slaughtering an entire village of innocent people.
An unsuspecting Innkeeper is caught in the middle of the conflict, when Zinos abducts her in hopes of ransoming an artifact integral to his revenge plan from Vincent.
For an Elf on the run, none of this matters. The only thing on her mind is survival, as she flees through the streets, pursued by guards after her for theft, attacking the King's guards, and the heinous crime of not being human.
The first book in the Skull Staff series by E. S. DeAngelo.
In addition to the blurb, here are a few small snippets from the book itself, with a brief explanation setting up the scene.
A little ways into the book, an Innkeeper named Kiku gets kidnapped and awakes in a cell. Here's a small snippet from her escape attempt.
As the room became illuminated, her hopes did just the opposite. Not only was she in a cell, she was in a cave. She decided to ponder where she was once she was no longer there. She glanced through the bars and saw the door that the man had exited earlier. That was where she needed to go, but she had to do something about the bars.
As a rat scurried by, she realized what she had to do. She sighed and grabbed it. She held it for a moment, wishing there was some other way. She realized that if she didn't get out, the life of a rodent would be the least of her concerns. With her free hand she drew a few runes into the mud. She closed her eyes and chanted a Transmutation spell Vincent had taught her. When she opened them, she was left with a cup made from the bones of the rodent, filled with its, now immensely more potent, stomach acids. She had to work quickly, for the acid had already began to eat through the bones. She made her way to the cell door and found the hinges. She poured a little on each hinge.
When she was finished, she quickly tossed the cup away as the last of the acid it held finished eating through it. She laid the cell door onto the ground. Or rather, it fell and she quickly got out of the way. Luckily the wet ground, apparently made out of dirt and clay, absorbed the damage with little noise. She smiled at her victory and began to leave, only to trip over the chain that bound her to the ground. She tried pulling on it, but in vain. Letting out a sigh, she grabbed another rat.
Near the beginning of the story, Vincent is called upon to help someone who is ill. The local mages have been unable to find a cure. Here is a snippet from that scene.
“Hello, Adrianna. My name is Kavaldra. Vincent Kavaldra.” The wizard knelt to get a better look at her. “Your friends Lars and Ventar told me that you’re sick.”
Adrianna sighed. “Ventar. I told you to stop bothering the wizards.” She then looked back at Vincent, “I’m sorry, but you’ve wasted your time in coming here. There is no cure.”
In reply Vincent simply chuckled, which caused Ventar and Lars to raise an eyebrow. “Helping people is never a waste of time.” He reached into his robes and pulled out the Skull Staff, “And as for there being no cure, allow me to be the judge of that.”
“What is that?” Ventar stepped forward.
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to harm her.” Vincent held the staff to her forehead. It’s eyes began shining, one a deep blue, the other light magenta. “I see…” He stood and glanced at the others. “No wonder they weren’t able to cure her. She isn’t ill.”
“Are you mad?” Ventar clamored, “Of course she’s ill. Look at her!”
Vincent laughed. “True, she is not healthy. She is, in fact, on the verge of dying. But she’s not ill.” When everyone gave him a confused stare, he added, “You can stick clay ears on me and make me prance around a forest. Doesn't make me an elf.”
“So you're saying someone did this to her?” Kiku asked.
“Exactly.” Vincent turned to her, “Remind me to put a gold star next to your name.” He turned back to Adrianna, “Do you have any enemies?”
“No...” She responded weakly, “I...”
“Nobody would ever think of harming her,” Ventar stepped in and looked into Vincent’s eyes. The wizard didn’t need a Clairvoyance spell to see the depth of the man’s sincerity. “Everyone she knows loves her. It would take someone with absolutely no humanity to do this to a woman like her.”
“Of course,” Vincent said more to himself than to anyone else, “that fiend Zinos hired you two to…” He paused as he remembered his promise, “…search for me, because he was the one who put this curse on her.” He shook his head, “I should’ve figured that out sooner.” He turned to Kiku, who arched an eyebrow, “Remind me to put red X next to my name.”
“Can you help her?” Ventar asked, noticing that Adrianna was becoming fatigued.
“I can certainly try.”
Vincent gripped his staff, and for a second Kiku thought she saw a look of uncertainty in his eyes, but it was gone before she could be sure.
“But I’ll need complete silence. Everyone stay quiet, please.” He took a deep breath, “Alright. Here goes.” He held the Skull Staff to her forehead again. It’s eyes changed, this time one became bright green, while the other was pure white. He began chanting in a tongue that nobody else understood. The eyes of his staff kept glowing brighter and brighter. Eventually everyone had to avert their eyes from the gaze of the staff. Finally the light faded.
“Adrianna!” Ventar called out, his voice brimming with joy. As Kiku returned her gaze to the woman, she saw why. Her skin and hair had returned to a healthy color.
Adrianna sat up, this time with ease. She looked down at her hands and saw that the color had returned. She then stood up and took a few steps to test her legs. Tears of joy streaming from her eyes, she looked at Vincent, “Thank you. I owe you a debt I can never repay.”
“Vincent, you did it!” Kiku said to the Wizard, who smiled and began using his staff for support.
“Yeah, I suppose I did.” He responded as he collapsed.
If you wish to see more, a 10% sample can be downloaded from the Amazon links.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
At the risk of sounding too modest, I'm not sure there's much about me worth knowing. If you feel the need to get to know me, you can add me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001114819093 and I post regularly on the Kindleboards forums.
Bio: I'm 24. I don't see that as nearly long enough to have forged a remotely interesting life. But I'll tell what I can. I was born and raised in Dayton Ohio. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to tell stories, just not how. I tinkered with ideas such as filmography and video game development, but those all involved far too many aspects that didn't have to do with story. I realized video game development wasn't going to work when I bought a copy of RPG maker for the original playstation and filled up 3 memory cards with the opening cutscene, which went on for about two hours. I eventually decided to just write. Most of my early work, including a 5 page zombie story written in 3rd grade, which incidentally got me sent to the school therapist, has been lost with time. I spent most of my life either behind a book, with a controller in my hand, or glued to a tv. I've had a love of storytelling in all of it's forms for as long as I can remember, and have very little respect for anyone who dismisses one or more of those forms without giving them a chance. These days I spend most of my time writing, enjoying video games, caring for my fiance, and of course, reading. And there you have my life in a nutshell. I hope that my career as an author takes me to the point where I can fill up many pages of an autobiography.