Shadow Swarm is like a plastic dinosaur driving a fighter plane through Middle Earth while eating a delicious hamburger
What got you to click into this article? Was it the WTF title? I thought so… Well, I’ve known D. Robert Pease for a few years now, and I can honestly say that the title does summarize him pretty well. If you read the interview, then you’ll obviously understand much better. And don’t you want–nay, NEED–to understand? Go on, get your dragon-riding fantasy on, and learn more about a really cool guy who wrote a really cool book.
Let’s paint a picture of your novel. Please choose something from each of the following categories that best summarizes Shadow Swarm and explain why: color, animal, US city, and car.
Color: This one is quite easy. Red is woven throughout the story; the enemy is wrapped in red inky darkness. The soldiers wear red. There is symbolism of death, and sacrifice and atonement all wrapped up in the color of the blood.
Animal: Besides the obvious symbols from the book, dragons, battle-horses, lions, etc… I might go somewhere a bit less likely and say ants. As in the bugs. The original idea of the story was from a game idea I had with some friends of mine years and years ago. We developed a game concept called Crimson Swarm, about an ant that wakes in a tomb with no memory of how he got there. The “Swarm” aspect of Shadow Swarm comes from the fact that the bad-guys in the game were bees. The similarities leave off there, but that was the genesis.
US City: Hmm… I’m going to cheat here and say the whole US. Much of the terrain of the world in Shadow Swarm was inspired by my travels around the United States. There are lofty mountains, like the Rockies, vast plains like Kansas. Forests. Oceans. I absolutely love the grandeur of our country, and the immense variety one part from the other. Nuadaim (the name of the land in Shadow Swarm) is much the same way.
Car: Another tricky one… and I’ll cheat again and say World War I fighter plane. As a kid I loved playing games that involved WWI dogfights. We had board games, and even some early video games. In Shadow Swarm, when the main character, Aberthol, rides the dragon, Dwairomore, he definitely experiences flying in much the same way as I imagine flying in an open cockpit plane would be like. Fast, breathless, and able to twist and swoop almost like you have wings yourself.
Here’s a clichéd question: You’re wandering out in the desert and trip over a hard object lodged in the sand. It’s a magic genie’s lamp—OMG! Which three things do you wish for and why? Any chance you’ll regret these choices later?
Well, I’m totally sure I’d regret any decision I made later, that’s how a Genie’s Lamp works, isn’t it? The thing is, I’m not sure I have any idea what would be best for me, or the world, or anything for that matter. I’ve found that choices I’ve made that I thought were great, just didn’t turn out right, and paths I dreaded going down were really the best possible places to go. I don’t know, I think I’d just be frozen with indecision until I blurted out something silly like “I wish I had a great hamburger right about now.” Then chide myself and say “Man I wish I hadn’t said that.” Then the Genie would give me an impatient look and I’d yell, “I wish you’d quit looking at me like that!” Then I’d be stuck in the desert, with nothing to show for my efforts but a hamburger, and somehow the Genie would have figured out a way to make it not so great.
If there was one fictional character (either from literature, television, or movies) whose life and personality most resembled your own, who would it be and why?
I desperately wish to be a deep, thoughtful thinker like Saltheart Foamfollower in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Or a valiant leader of men like Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings, but I think I’m more closely akin to Rex in Toy Story. “I’m going for fearsome (witty, intelligent, clever, etc…) here, but I just don’t feel it! I’m think I’m just coming off as annoying.” This could be my life quote.
Now a different spin on the same question: If you could pick, which fictional character’s life would you most want to have and why?
This one’s easy because I’ve daydreamed about it on many occasion—Bilbo Baggins. There is nothing more appealing to me than the idea of sitting in a warm house in the middle of a beautiful countryside and enjoying a good cup of tea, along with a good book. And like him, I’m not sure I’d be up for any adventures, but if a certain wizard came calling, I might be up for one, as long as I had a cozy hobbit hole to look forward to upon my return.
Would you rather your writing remain obscure forever all the while knowing you had talent and stayed true to your creative vision OR would you prefer to write a book that achieves great commercial success but that you just aren’t proud of? Why did you choose the answer you chose?
I think I’d choose commercial success, but maybe not for the reasons you would think. I don’t really have any desire to be rich, but I would like to make enough money to pursue the important things in life. I guess I’m saying that writing isn’t the end goal. Being a great husband, father, member of my community, church, etc… is my goal. So writing books that mean something to me, but don’t really accomplish anything else, seems a bit self-centered. I want my life to be about others. It’s the same debate I had back in art school. Graphic design vs. fine arts. One was about using art to make a living; the other was living for the art. I chose the former. This does not mean I don’t strive for excellence, but it’s really about where I put my focus.
About the book: Aberthol Nauile doesn’t know that he once led legions in a war that raged since the dawn of time, against an enemy that cannot be killed. He doesn’t know that he rode on a dragon with his father, and saw his mother die while giving birth to him. He doesn’t know that the world thinks he is their savior. All he really wants to know is his name, and why he keeps hearing voices in his head.Get Shadow Swarm through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About the author: D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn’t been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer’s Sirens. It’s not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters he brings to life. Connect with D. Robert on his website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads.