Saturday, August 18, 2012

Exmortus 2: Temples Diabolic by Todd Maternowski

Abandoned by his family, his friends and his god, Ash Xavier finds himself utterly alone in a hostile world. Holding a mysterious key that may unlock the gates of Hell itself, Ash must choose whether to do the honorable thing and sacrifice his life for humanity's survival —or to embark on a mad quest for the woman he loves, a mysterious beauty that may be entirely a product of his imagination.

Meanwhile, a nightmarish terror from Ash's young childhood has resurfaced in the Abbey with plans to take his life...

EXMORTUS II: TEMPLES DIABOLIC is a compelling, profound and complex work of dark fantasy that plunges the reader into a world of hopeless romance, pathological obsession and the unrelenting search for power. Throughout it all, Ash Xavier searches for the truth: about men and gods, about the origins of life, about the possibility of redemption.

EXMORTUS BOOK II: TEMPLES DIABOLIC is preceded by the first book of the trilogy, EXMORTUS BOOK I: TOWERS OF DAWN, and followed by the third and final installment in the trilogy, EXMORTUS BOOK III: TOMBS OF HALF-GODS.


Welcome back Todd!  It's great to have you back.  I'm excited to find out more about your newest book in the Epic Exmortus series.  What can you tell  us about it?
The Exmortus series is about a young, self-absorbed and arrogant young man, Ash Xavier, whose entire meticulously-planned world is annihilated in a single night. Ash is left without food, weapons, armor or hope in a hostile world that tries to devour him at every turn. By the end of the first book, EXMORTUS: TOWERS OF DAWN, Ash has progressed to a certain point in his mental and spiritual development. By the end of the second book, EXMORTUS II: TEMPLES DIABOLIC, he is ready to move on from the power-obsessed adolescent fantasies that drove his youth, and instead use every power at his disposal to grow into a decent human being. Along the way, he must deal with a nightmarish terror from his childhood, the abandonment of his friends and a hopeless romance with a woman that may well be entirely imaginary.

Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of questions do they ask?
Yes! Hearing from readers is one of the single best things about being a writer. Sci-fi and fantasy fans are some of the most maniacal readers on the face of the earth, and they take their literature seriously. I'm constantly amazed by what they liked/loved/hated about my books. No two readers have the same opinion on anything, and it's fun to see what weird things they've discovered about my work that even I didn't know about.

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Dungeons & Dragons, and in building the framework of my characters I actually used four different D&D characters from four different periods of my life. As a teenager, I was shy and bookish like Simon; in college I bloomed into a self-absorbed and arrogant young man like Ash; in my 20s I became a dancer with a confused sense of identity like Ziggy; and in my mid-30s I've become a foul-mouthed barbarian with a psychotic devotion to family like Steed. Neil Gaiman said every character he's ever written is based on himself, and it's true. It's what you know best.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
Two pieces of advice. First, ignore 90% of what's out there about writing, because it's not about writing at all but about marketing. Sure, it's great to sell books and make a few bucks doing something you love, but if you're spending all your time marketing, you should really just join a PR firm. The idea that writers, or any creative person really, should become “rich” off their work is an extremely new idea, just a few decades old. Most of the authors you love and admire the most died penniless in the gutter. Write because you need to, not because you need a “fun job.”
Secondly, go as deep as you can. Don't hold back just because your grandma is going to read it. If you're worrying about what your boss is going to think when she reads the “drug scene” in your book, guess what? You've already lost. Great art breaks boundaries and shatters perceptions. Every single one of us has an easily-offended aunt: don't make your art mediocre just to accommodate what you think she's thinking. That's like serving salad with no dressing at a BBQ: your readers crave meat, and your job is to give it to them.

How do you react to a bad review of your book?
My first-ever review was the one and only bad review I got for Exmortus. The reviewer gave it one star, saying that it was the worst book he'd read all year. His main problem with it was that it left too many unresolved plotlines –nevermind that it was the first book in a series-- but several of his lesser concerns were perfectly valid criticisms. So you just suck it up, measure whether the critic has said anything valuable and use it as a “teaching moment.” Without criticism, you don't grow. Surrounding yourself with an army of yes-men will result in crappier and crappier works. It feels great to hear your book “rocked,” but guess what? You already knew that. Truly useful information comes in a form our egos are not equipped to handle, but that's how you improve from one book to the next.

What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
Going outside. Seriously, go outside. Talk to humans. Interact with them: love them, hate them, watch hockey with them, change their diapers. Don't lock yourself in a room every night until you get X number of words on the page. Inspiration happens in waves, and when it's not there go do something else.

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?
I've got a baby boy coming in the next few months and just finished Temples Diabolic, so I'm in-between projects right now. My next big one is finishing the third and final book in the trilogy, in which Ash builds a new life from scratch –while trying to survive amid an invasion of superpowered otherworldly creatures- in an emotional rollercoaster that will put the first two books of the series to shame. After that, I've got a number of other projects stewing around, including a sci-fi book about a scientist who goes back in time for philanthropic reasons, but becomes corrupted and uses his advanced knowledge to become a master criminal; and a long short story or short novella about a military-grade psychic, who does espionage on the astral plane for the Pentagon.

Read our First Interview HERE

I've had a lot of jobs in my life. After dropping out of the University of Chicago's Religion program twice for lack of funds, I held a variety of odd jobs: art preparator, armored car money counter, toy store janitor, security supervisor, treasure hunter, underground urban explorer, ballroom dance instructor, maintenance man, bass player, corporate shill, mediator, mambo dancer, journalist, dance studio owner and satirist.

But in December 2010, I read George R.R. Martin's 'Game of Thrones' and decided, "Hey, I can do this!" I took three dozen tired fantasy cliches, disemboweled, flayed and beheaded them, then sloppily devoured their delicious brains …

EXMORTUS is not your typical fantasy novel with pole-up-their-arse elves, stilted dialogue and a works-whenever-the-plot-needs-it magical system. I have memorable characters struggling to survive and grow in extreme situations. It's a fun, easy read, with a sense of mystery, lost civilizations coming back from the grave, rediscovered arcana and truly despicable (and/or lovable) villains.
Read more……..

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