Anton Strout was born in the Berkshire Hills mere miles from writing heavyweights Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. He currently lives in the haunted corn maze that is New Jersey (where nothing paranormal ever really happens, he assures you).
He is the author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series and the Spellmason Chronicles for Ace Books, a division of Penguin Random House. Anton is also the author of many short tales published in anthologies by DAW Books. His latest book, Incarnate,the third Spellmason Chronicles book, is coming out September 30, 2014.
In his scant spare time, his is a writer, a sometimes actor, sometimes musician, occasional RPGer, and the worlds most casual and controller smashing video gamer. He currently works in the exciting world of publishing and yes, it is as glamorous as it sounds.
He is currently hard at work on his next book and be found lurking the darkened hallways of antonstrout.com or talking with your favorite SF&F authors on The Once and Future Podcast (www.theonceandfuturepodcast.com), where he is host and content curator.
Find Anton at:
First off, can you tell us a bit about you?
Me? I’m simple. Just a New England boy who move to NYC and then New Jersey (insert your own joke here) in the pursuit of wanting to entertain by any means necessary. I love Corgis and bacon, but not bacon on Corgis. I’m left handed and have a not so secret desire to be the bastard Petri Dish offspring of Douglas Adams and Joss Whedon.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Pretty much. Or rather, I always knew I wanted to entertain. Writing was just one of the many forms it took. Since being a magician, musician, actor, teacher, didn’t all pan out, making crazy fantastical things up out of my head won the battle for supremacy.
What kind of writer are you? Panster or Plotter?
At heart, I am a pantser. I need to surprise myself in the writing process or else I get bored. If I outline more than a single page of “In which __________ happens” I feel like I’ve written a short story for the whole damned book, and don’t want to flesh it out. I need my characters to surprise me. That said, I’ve had to learn for the continuity sake of writing two series to get a little more down about the plot of each. It just saves time sorting out all the threads I’ve laid out when it comes time to pull it all together.
Where do your ideas come from?
There is a little shop on Carmine Street, just off Sixth Avenue. Ask for Sid. He’ll hook you up.
More often than not my ideas come from what I read. Usually my thoughts go like this:
That was a good paranormal detective book, but that’s not the story I’D want to tell if I were doing it. Oh, wait, I CAN tell the story I want to tell.
I’m also a pop culture geekhound, and my brain seems to be in a constant state of mashing things up that I’ve been consuming. That’ the only way I can currently explain the young adult Steampunk Iron Man meets Voltron Dickensian street urchin novel I’ve been getting down this year…
A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
Imagine Disney’s Gargoyles as told through a Joss Whedon filter… arcana, witches, warlocks, alchemists, gargoyles, & a tiny stone golem named Bricksley!
What are some of your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I’m all over the place, really. Love me some John Irving, Nick Hornby, Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Rothfuss. So many different styles, but each of them evoke a different love of storytelling in me. With Adams, it’s the spot on humor. With Rothfuss, the turns of phrases that flow so sweetly. John Irving is all about the characters and plotting. I take inspiration from every damned genre out there. It’s the curse of working for one of the Big Five publishers in NYC. More blessing than curse, though…
Do you have a favorite book and if so what is it?
Every few years I have to reread the entire Lord of the Rings. Even though I’ve done it many times over and have absorbed the movies and video games of it, it somehow recharges my love of fantasy every time. If I had to pick one book of the trilogy, it would have to be The Fellowship of the Ring. There’s something about beginnings and the start of an adventure that truly brings me pleasure. That said, I personally like writing the middle books of my series best. I’ve already taken the time to introduce them in their first volumes. Now it’s time to take them out for a spin!
What are the scenes that are the hardest for you to write?
I have intimacy issues. Or rather, my characters do. I’ve no problem writing violence and action, but when it comes time for people to love up on each other or be sweet, I have to work at it harder more than anything else in my books. I always worry that I’m going to go over the top into cheese or schmaltz, and it really does give me pause when I have to go there. I power through, but it does not come naturally.
If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why?
Stephen King- the man is a master of tapping into universal feeling and horror, and has far more heart touching hits than misses. Would just love to chat about the totality of his work and the process behind it all. On Writing remains one of my favorite books on… well, writing.
H.P. Lovecraft- creepy in the way he just looks, Lovecraft gave us the Cthulhu mythos, which has given me hours of pleasure and terror in gaming and in reading. It’s a fantastic piece of world building that I would love to get behind the scenes on.
Douglas Adams- As a child a fan of Monty Python, Adams’ British style held an immense appeal to me. As an adult, I still find tight writing with even deeper layers to it on my occasional rereads of the first three Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books. He would charm the hell out of me, and I would let him!
Last question, are you working on anything right now?
I’m working on the above mentioned YA book, as well as a secret idea with a secret coauthor. I can tell you I’ll be in a new anthology called Fierce that’s coming from Ace/Roc next year and is edited by Jim Butcher.
Spellmasons have the ability to imbue stone with life through alchemy and the centuries lost language of their kind. The results are an ever growing gargoyle population in New York City, which makes for interest if somewhat destructive times. What one magical ability do you wish you could have and why?
HITTING ROCK BOTTOM
When Alexandra Belarus discovered her family’s secret ability to breathe life into stone, she uncovered an entire world of magic hidden within New York City—a world she has accidentally thrown into chaos. A spell gone awry has set thousands of gargoyles loose upon Manhattan, and it’s up to Lexi and her faithful protector, Stanis, to put things right.
But the stress of saving the city is casting a pall over Lexi and Stanis’s relationship, driving them to work separately to solve the problem. As Stanis struggles to unite the gargoyle population, Lexi forges unlikely alliances with witches, alchemists and New York’s Finest to quell an unsettling uprising led by an ancient and deadly foe long thought vanquished.
To save her city, Lexi must wield more power than ever before with the added hope of recovering a mysterious artifact that could change her world—and bring her closer to Stanis than she ever thought possible…
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- 1 Small Gargoyle + Signed copies of all 3 Books in the Spellmason Chronicles
- 1 Signed copies of all 3 Books in the Spellmason Chronicles
- 3 Signed Book of Choice from Anton Strout
- 5 Swag Packs
- What one magical ability do you wish you could have and why?
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