As I mentioned in my interview with Steve Crompton, I contributed a story to the City of the Gods anthology that is being released this month. In addition to all of the obvious benefits and bits of coolness that you would normally perceive to be attached to such an event it also gave me a chance to work with M. Scott Verne. And of course a chance to interview him about the creative process.
M. Scott Verne is the co-creator of the City of the Gods world. He has co-written the CotG novels, the CotG Map Pack, and this anthology. He spends a lot of his time researching the Knights Templar and regularly posting at Deadline Hollywood, with opinions on the latest Fantasy and Science-Fiction movies and TV shows.
Randy: First off, are you related to M of MI6? And if so, can you get me James Bond’s autograph?
M: Ha ha… No Afraid I can’t – State secret as to where they are at any given time… I can’t even tell you what “M” stands for…
Randy: Where did you come up with the idea for City of the Gods?
M: I’ve always been into speculating about history (both real and imagined) and I’ve always be fascinated about the fall of empires like Egypt, Rome or the Aztecs (for example) One thing that’s always sort of hovered in the back of my mind was the idea that what if these civilizations fell because their gods left them? Then the question becomes “Ok if the gods left Earth, where did they go? And why did they leave?” So that’s the beginnings of the whole concept that eventually led to the novels. As we wrote it though, we tried to NOT write a standard fantasy novel where there’s a magic item to find on a quest; the hero always does the right thing and they fall in love at the end. Its not like that. There are times when you are reading it and you think “oh, I know what happens next”… and then it doesn’t. It keeps you reading to see what DOES happen. Then there’s the whole mystery of the girl; Who is she? Where did she come from? What to all these clues mean? Its almost like a Fantasy/Mystery novel in some respects.
Randy: What kind of reaction to the City of the Gods novel are you getting so far?
M: Everyone who had read the book has loved it and wants us to write the sequel. We’ve gotten some great reviews so far! See some of them at our Amazon page…
Randy: How was it to work with a group of writers to do the upcoming anthology?
M: I love working with other creators, and they came up with some great ideas for stories using characters and the “City of the Gods Universe.” The whole idea of doing an Anthology emerged when some writers asked if they could participate in some way, so we opened up our short story project to anyone that could do a good job writing a CoG (City of the Gods) story. Sometimes we assigned characters to specific people; other times, they would suggest an idea they had for a story and we worked out a way to make it fit into CoG. We did have a few story ideas that were suggested that didn’t fit. For example, someone had a story idea about playing cards applying for membership to live in the City of the Gods – It was too whimsical for our universe, (though it might make a very funny story)
Randy: Tell me about some of the authors in the anthology.
M: It’s a great cross-section of the new and experienced authors including Tunnels & Trolls creator, Ken St. Andre. Published novelist Jefferson Swycaffer; Jay Allen Sanford who has written for Twilight Zone Magazine and works as a biographer; Wendall Brown who’s written screenplays and game designs and of course YOU, who has also designed many games and written many stories! You all did great stories for us in a variety of styles and tones. We also have a mythic story by Bram Stoker and one by Edgar Allan Poe! It’s uncanny how well their stories fit right into the CoG Universe!
Randy: What else can you tell me about the upcoming anthology?
M: Its a collection of new illustrated stories featuring many of the gods of myth and legend. Each story has a least one character from the first novel. Some of the stories me and Wynn did, are scenes that could have appeared in the novel, but we didn’t put it in., Travel to
Olympus, the Celtic Realm, the Grand Pyramid of Horus and walk the streets of the City of the Gods. With tales of dark fantasy, touching pathos, swashbuckling adventure and humorous hijinx, you'll experience the many moods of the gods. Perfect or for anyone who just wants to read new tales about the classic deities of our past or as an introduction to the City of the Gods universe. 152 pages with 60 illustrations.
Randy: Will you be doing another anthology for City of the Gods?
M: Yes and we’ll be looking to see who else wants to write for it. Its open to anyone who is familiar with City of the Gods, so other than reading the novel, (or at least skimming it) anyone can enter. Details will be posted at www.CityoftheGods.com
(Part 2 of the interview will be posted next Saturday, and then I'm afraid I'm taking a week off to move. However, I have an especially delightful interview after that. Delightful to me anyway.)