Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Bookish Conversation with Fantasy Author Benjamin Mester

Benjamin Mester is native of San Diego but can often be found wandering the woods of northern Minnesota. He fell in love with language at an early age – the eloquence of poetry or the grandeur of an epic story. Fantasy is his favorite genre, crafting new and magical places of heroism and adventure. When he isn’t writing, he’s often taking long walks through nature or wondering about his place in the wide world.

Benjamin is the author of The Banished Lands series.

You can visit him on Goodreads.

Can we begin by having you tell us how you got started writing fantasies?

Benjamin: I’ve always been a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings. The idea that you can create a completely new kind of world was always really exciting to me.

I am loving the premise of the Banished Lands series. Can you tell us a little about each book in the series?

Benjamin: Book one starts off with a kindom in distress. War against the barbarians in the north is going ill. But no one is watching the uninhabited places of the west. The ancient enemy, long banished is starting to stir. But others have come from the Banished Lands as well to warn the rest of the coming threat. Book two begins with a fractured continent. The leader of the resistance seeks to unite every people under a common banner against the enemy, but many resist. Book three begins full of hope. But the plans of the enemy are devious, threatening to undo all the progress made thus far.

Which of the books took more time to write and why is that so?

Benjamin: The first book took the longest by far. I must have rewritten it a half a dozen times. With a series like this, there’s so much backstory and history to deliver. Doing it in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the reader is quite a challenge. So I had to rewrite it again and again until I got it right.

I love cliffhangers. Do you have any cliffhangers in your books?

Benjamin: Definitely but I don’t want to spoil anything. What’s a book without a few cliffhangers?

Can you give us a short excerpt?

Benjamin: Absolutely! Here is an excerpt from the main character the night before he and his friends set off for an adventure that will change their lives forever:

Durian felt a swell of pride. Though life had taken a hard turn, he had met its course in stride. But what would he find in Thob Forest? An intense feeling of mystery filled him. The townsfolk had spoken of much concerning Thob Forest these past months – of beasts and ghosts, and old things long forgotten.
Durian returned to his main room, to his chair in front of the fire, laying the axe down beside him. As he sat, Durian took a moment to drink in the night – the firelight dancing and casting deep shadows on the recesses of his home. And something rarely felt these past years began to rise in his heart: a longing to live his life to the full and find his true purpose – to do heroic deeds and make his life matter.
He opened his book and began flipping slowly through, perusing stories of the lost House of Cavanah, who according to legend disappeared at the end of the Great War, twelve centuries ago. Suriya belonged to one of the two remaining Houses, the House Forthura, which occupied the southern peninsula of the continent. To the north were the scattered tribes of the Horctura, the barbarians. And to the northwest, over a thousand leagues away was the House of Kester.
Durian turned the pages until coming to the story of the last great king of Cavanah, who reigned until the time of the Great War that ended the Prosperous Age. King Euthor was one of the Builders – those who could mold stone as though clay in their hands, and create new forms of stone with stronger properties – even magical ones. He had wrought great works in the latter days of the Prosperous Age, but had tragically lost his wife, Sheyla, just before the last battle that changed their world, over twelve centuries ago. After her death, he disappeared along with the rest of the House of Cavanah, never to be seen again.
Durian recalled the dream he had had this morning and slowly read the poem before him:
Dismissing hours as they pass
Soft upon the windswept grass.
The hopes of men have come to naught.
Nothing fair for eyes or thought.
For Sheyla lies on golden plain,
Of Cavanah, the fairest slain;
Who met her last and final day
When all was brought to disarray.
Of gladful things now nevermore –
Now bitter wind, now salty shore.
The peaceful world bound to unrest
And darkness looming in the west.
The world and all its light shall fade.
I’ll stay with her beneath the shade
And wait until the world’s remade…
Durian closed the book and laid it down for the night. But something suddenly tugged on the strings of memory and he took the book back up again, not quite sure what he was looking for. But the pages came to rest on a picture he had forgotten about until just now – a simple sketch of a cloaked and featureless figure standing atop a windswept hill. Nothing of his face could be seen, like an other-worldly specter. In his hand was an ornately decorated walking stick with an iron cap, and behind him, dark storm clouds were gathering. Below the picture was a single description: Windbearer.

What’s next for you, Benjamin? Will there be a 5th in the series?

Benjamin: There definitely could be but for now, I’m taking a break. As you can imagine, writing a four book series is quite an endeavor, so I’m enjoying a long needed hiatus.

About the Book:

The Banished Lands
Author: Benjamin Mester
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy
A kingdom in danger. A prophecy that will change everything. But will they understand it in time? The old world is gone, and barely even histories remain. But something from that time is returning. The closing lines of a farewell poem, written centuries ago by the last great king of the age to his slain wife, might be more than just a poem:
The world and all its light shall fade,
I’ll stay with her beneath the shade
And wait until the world’s remade…
Join us in this epic fantasy adventure as three friends plunge into the great mystery of their age, twelve centuries in the making. A mysterious fog blankets the forest just outside the sleepy town of Suriya. A dark plot unfolds as Durian and his friends discover ties between a strange wanderer and the warlike barbarian kingdom far to the north. Are the mysterious things happening in the forest a prelude to invasion? What happens next will propel Durian and his curious friends into the middle of the oldest riddle in the history of their kingdom, a dozen centuries old.


Other Books in The Banished Lands Series

The Banished Lands series

No comments:

Post a Comment