Today for Dragon Eaters Week I’d like to Welcome Walter Rhein and his character Aquila.
*Who are you? I am Aquila of Oyos, the all-king, the scourge of man. This world is mine and the creatures that scuttle and crawl across the charred surface do so at my indulgence. I will bear no slight, not from a dragon, and certainly not from a man. The immortal law is that the ancient wyrms must not slaughter one another, but I know well that the laws, even the most ancient laws, were only ever meant as binding to the lesser creatures.
Where are you from? This is a young world, still hot from creation. Rivers of liquid stone pool into glorious and glowing molten ponds. When I stretch my wings and fly, the night air is hot beneath my wings. The heavier elements bubble to the surface, and can be taken in claw and set upon the topmost peaks where they cool into a bed almost worthy of my repose.
*Tell us about dragons in your world. We are the dominant creatures. It is a dragon world and I am the king. All other life is there only for my sustenance or entertainment.
What is the best way to kill a dragon? Ahhh, that’s the secret isn’t it? Do you think I am so foolish that I would reveal such a thing here? That, the most revered knowledge of our species. My official answer is that there is no way to kill a dragon. We are immortal, we are all-powerful, we are gods. That having been said, I do know a few tricks which have proven useful when my brothers and sisters have overstepped their position.
Where do dragons come from? Dragons pre-date the universe. We are the fragments of the first creator that took nothing and forged it by force of will into creation. In the resulting explosion of that first magnificent, defiant act of creation, the dragon form was instilled into the very fabric of reality. We are the mirror image of immortality, dominance and perfection. The darkness of the night is our eternal shadow, the glimmer of the stars is the reflection of our collective, beating hearts.
*Who are you? I am Walter Rhein, the author of the fantasy novels “The Reader of Acheron,” and “The Bone Sword.” I’m also the author of a humorous travel memoir about cross-country ski racing titled “Beyond Birkie Fever.” I am published with Perseid and Harren Press and maintain a blog at HeroicFantasyWriters.com as well as operate the accompanying Facebook Group. I have a book coming out in a few months about 10 years spent living in Peru, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you define a hero? A hero is a criminal with a good public relations team.
Have you written for anthologies before? How does it differ from writing a novel? Heroika is a little different because it’s not quite a shared world anthology, although there were a set of very general ground rules to follow. I was in the middle of writing the sequel to “The Reader of Acheron” when this anthology opportunity came up. At first I wasn’t going to participate because I was so busy with “Reader 2,” but I found myself daydreaming about the project and stumbled upon an idea. It was really relaxing to take a break from the larger thematic arcs of the novel I was working on and just crank out a self-contained story. I’m glad that Janet liked it and included it in Heroika.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? I used to be a pantser but I’m moving more and more towards being a plotter. It’s good to have a general idea where you want to go in a story, but your chapters have to also have that spontaneous feel. There always have to be room for movement in case your characters decide to take you places you hadn’t anticipated. That should happen because it means you’re being true to how you’ve defined your characters (when that starts happening, the books write themselves). Sometimes it can be a bit unruly to end a novel the way you anticipated, but if you can’t find a solution it might mean that the ending you hoped for isn’t within the make up of your protagonists.
How important is the fantasy genre to our society? I think it’s very important because you can get away with so much. Fantasy also allows you to make social comments that would be dangerous if you tried to say them in other genres. I’m actually a strong believer that fantasy is the dominant genre of literature. People don’t realize how many of the greatest works of literature can actually be labelled as fantasy (I could apply the label to just about anything).
Tidbit: Aquila of Oyos contains some characters with names that might be familiar from Greek and Roman mythology. That’s not an accident.