Hidy-ho there, faeries and gargoyles! Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Julian Rosado-Machain, author of the Guardians Inc. series. Today, Julian is stopping by Oktopus Ink to talk about The Cypher, the first book in the series, and share some stories about his writing. Alrighty, let's get this interview started, shall we? (warning: here there be spoilers.)
Thank you very much Emi, for your review and this interview, two firsts for me!
No problem, Julian, and thanks for joining us. What inspired the Guardian series?
Oh wow, everything and anything that has ever caught my attention. I have ADD… So you can guess that a lot of things have caught my attention through the years. Conspiracy theories, History, Religion, Mythology, Sci-fi, Horror and Fantasy. The real world too. Engineering, Marketing, Biology, Archaeology and I’m especially attracted to Theoretical Physics. (Don’t know why because I understand very little.)
When I began the story it was more of a religious conspiracy theory theme for adults, but it just didn’t ring true to what I wanted to do with the Guardians which, in the end, is just to have fun and explore all those things that caught my attention and that are just floating around in my head.
I know… I sound like a crazy person… I get that a lot.
Haha, I get that a lot too. Is there a reason why you decided to have Thomas work in the Guardian headquarters library? (Which is awesome, by the way.)
Thank you! I think Pervagus Library is awesome too!
Because of his Cypher powers, Thomas can read any language and crack any code. The Pervagus Library is the heart of Guardians Inc. It is the depository of almost the sum total of human knowledge through history so it is the perfect place for a Cypher to work. He has access to everything and is exposed to all the knowledge that will help him make decisions on how to steer humanity once he finds The Book of Concord.That is the Guardians Inc. plan, at least, and they have to keep him close by.
I also find Libraries to be some of the most under appreciated buildings ever. A trip to the library is most of the time equated to boredom, and it is quite the opposite! There’s a reason why libraries were at the heart of all ancient civilizations. In the end, knowledge is the most important legacy we can leave to the next generation.
What would you do if you had access to some of the books that Thomas finds for clients at his job?
I would go crazy! Definitely nuts! Imagine getting to read Shakespeare’s first drafts, or Lord Byron’s love letters. You only need to do a quick “Lost books” search on the internet to check out all that has been lost, and not only in ancient times but also as recently as with Phillip K. Dick, Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. And there’s more than just literature!
What artist wouldn't study Mozart’s tuning exercises or Van Gogh’s dabbles? Notes passed between Napoleon and his generals during Waterloo? Einstein’s musings? Area 51’s diagrams and inventory lists?
Go a step further: I love Jules Verne works, especially Capt. Nemo. Well, Pervagus Library has the “unpublished” adventures there, along with four more musketeer books by Alexander Dumas.
You can imagine that it also contains all the things you would love to read. It’s all there, in Pervagus Library, along with your blogs and interviews and my outlines and grocery lists. Don’t worry though; Mrs. Pianova keeps all prying eyes away from those really personal and sensitive things.
EPIC. I wish I had access to Pervagus’ catalogue. I don’t think I’d ever leave. Anyway, how long have you been writing, and what is like writing in a language that isn’t your first?
I’ve been writing since I was 13. But in Mexico, Sci-fi and Fantasy weren’t really viable for new writers so I had to learn English in order to write to an audience. I’m 41. It took me long enough.
The actual writing process for me is very draining. I write down the first words that come to mind and then double check the meaning to see that what I wrote down makes sense. Then I use a dictionary, and then a thesaurus. Then I have very good friends that read and re-read the first, second and third drafts and point out the mistakes, especially in descriptions and meaning of the paragraphs. A single word sometimes changes what I wanted to say in a paragraph! It is frustrating sometimes.
After that, I send the best draft I believe I have to my editor Allison Itterly. You should see the notes she sends back! Even after all drafts, friends, and word processors, the corrections she sends me back almost require a complete rewrite.
Wow, sounds like a long process! You mentioned a few books already, but when you’re not writing what do you like to read?
Any and all from Jules Verne and Alexander Dumas. Les Pardaillan by Michel de Zevaco, Lord of the Rings, Dune, Harry Potter, Ender’s Game, Sherlock Holmes and H.P. Lovecraft stories.
I also read a lot of Mythology and History. The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant is one of the most entertaining series of books I’ve ever read. It was a great source of inspiration.
The Guardians website is just as entertaining to browse as it is to read the book. The artwork is gorgeous. How did you set that up? How long did it take?
I own a restaurant in San Diego, and if you allow a little cross marketing right here check it out at: www.Haciendadevega.com. But I also have a degree in graphic design. I left Mexico and all my friends back there 11 years ago, then Facebook came and I re-connected with my good friend, Francisco Trueba who owns a graphic design agency. He read the draft I had locked in a drawer and loved it, so he took over the image for Guardians Inc. and we are now partners in other upcoming books. For example, The Man in the Trench Coat is a character from Guardians Inc. that inspired an interactive children’s book for the Ipad, which is going to be released, hopefully, in the next few months.
Francisco’s website is www.trueba.com.mx should anyone want to check him out. All in all it took us about 8 months to plan the images and the website from mock-ups and sketches.
Did you do any research to support your story?
Tons and tons, because the nature of Guardians Inc. is about a company and secret society weaving itself through history. I made the decision to have as much of the story line, places, and characters based on real historical, geographical locales and figures as possible, and to make the effort of supporting it with as much technical and scientific fact as I could. Even the little details, for example: Jean Luc the grotesque tells Thomas that the Mage that created them was Phillibert Le Roy.Well, Phillibert Le Roy was an architect that lived in the 17th century and helped design Versailles. The book is full of details and allusions like that. Little tips of the hat to writers, artists and historical figures I admire. Another example: Tony is a descendant of Piero della Francesca, one of the great painters of the Renaissance, Doctor Franco is… someone that will be revealed in another book. Also, The Great A’tuin from Terry Pratchett’s wonderful Discworld series makes a little appearance in The Cypher, although not by name.
What are you working on right now?
Because of all the things I want to write about, like you’ve pointed out, a dash of science fiction, a dash of fantasy, I knew Guardians Inc. couldn’t be just one book. So I wrote an outline covering 7 years from beginning to end of the Guardians Inc. story. The Cypher is roughly the first year. There are things in it that set up the second and the third book of the series and so on.
At this moment, I’m fleshing out the second book (Guardians Inc.: Thundersword), and working on chapters of the third and fourth. I’m also finishing both The Man in the Trench Coat and Book of Beasts while grilling some beef fajitas and warming up tortillas for table 122.
Wonderful answers, Julian! Very entertaining. :) Thanks again for joining us here on Oktopus Ink.
In addition to stopping by the blog, Julian has given me an extra *signed* copy of his book, Guardians Inc.: The Cypher. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends September 4th. On Sunday, I'll pick the winners using Random.org and announce them here on my blog. Open to US residents only. (sorry international readers!)
For those of you who are interested in learning more about The Cypher and the Guardians Inc. series, please check out Julian's website at http://www.guardiansinc.com/. It's epic!