So, keep in mind, this is the first time I have attempted an interview... and I was kind of spit-balling it with the questions. I tried for stuff that sounded interesting, and not too terribly boring. So, here it is, my interview with Hal Greenberg creator of "The Awakened" and one of the 16 authors involved in the project!
Me - How would you describe your style to someone who has never read your work?
Hal -This book would best be described as a fantasy setting that is suitable for young adults. The Awakened setting is fun, it is all human and no magic items (at the moment), so spells and the animal companions are what set it apart.
Me - This book represents a shared universe; would you be tempted to revisit it in a longer format?
Hal - Originally it was going to be a novel, but with all of the projects I have going I knew it would be a long time to complete so I asked if it could be an anthology, and got the approval. Looking back it was the right choice seeing so many different views on the setting really lets people feel like they know the world.
Me - On the Kickstarter page, you are listed as a creator of this setting, what were your inspirations?
Hal - Robert Adams Horseclans series was a huge influence on my youth, the Ken Kelly cover with Billi the Axe and his cat was inspirational to me. The way those stories talk about the relationship between animal and man, not just the person giving orders but an actual partnership.... that was what made me want to make sure the animals are equalcharacters not just a neat add on.
Me - What books are you currently reading? Any authors in the fantasy genre that you would say most influenced you?
Hal - I am currently reading Michael Crichton's Micro and GRRM's Storm of Swords. I would say Moorcock, Adams, Brooks, Dumas, and all of the D&D books so I have to give a nod to Gygax as well.
Me - If you could work in any other genre of literature, what would most interest you?
Hal - Modern suspense (I have had an idea for years) and I am currently working on a children's book about Hanukkah.
Me - So, play favorites for a moment… Which of the authors in this book did you most enjoy reading?
Hal - Ouch, that is tough, what I will say is I felt my story was not as good as others the more I read the stories BUT I love my characters and have some great ideas of where I will take them.
Me - Do you foresee “The Awakened” being a long-lasting universe? Spanning multiple collections like this, and perhaps eventually venturing into novel format?
Hal - Yes, yes and yes. We already have planned if approved by a publisher we have at least 2 more anthologies and a spin off I am calling The Awakened: Modern. As far as novels go I do not have any planned right now but I would love for it to get popular enough where we would have some written for the setting,
Me - What were the biggest challenges of writing this book?
Hal - Finding quality authors to come and visit my world. Once I found them it was amazing to see my world that has been in my head for years coming to life in so many wonderful ways. That was one of the most moving things I have done, was to read someone else's words set in my world and just enjoy it as a fan. I love this book.
Me - Working in a fantasy setting, are there any of the standard fantasy tropes that just annoy you to no ends?
Hal - Annoy me to no end, no. A little tired of, sure, I find it more important to give me a good character driven story. I need to feel engaged, I want to think about the world and what I would do in that setting given the chance, if you can do that you have me hooked!
Me - Any advice for aspiring authors?
Hal - Write, write anything you can, I always tell people to write daily, I fail at that but I try, even if is a project that I am writing for not a short story, I do try and write every day. Writing up new worlds and new people is such a cool thing, I love it.
Me - Last chance, anything you’d like to say to any readers of this interview?
Hal - Well keep a look out for our post apocolyptic RPG setting Fall of Man soon as well as my childrens book Sam the Hanukkah Man in Winter 2013 both projects on Kickstarter!
I'd like to thank Hal Greenberg for taking the time to answer my questions. I encourage you to click HERE and donate to this campaign. All pictures above are from the Kickstarter campaign. Used with permission.