Mortals kill for lavish thrones and golden crowns … the Gods are no different...
The sun is setting on the old guard - the Sentinels of the Gods, the Rulers of Serenity. As a new millennia dawns the succession to the throne, and the Sentinels that keep the peace must be decided from the royal bloodline.
But with succession comes bitter betrayal, heartbreaking tragedy and a war that threatens to tear apart the ruling bloodline and the fragile peace that unites the peoples of Serenity.
Arian, the honourable God of Water, must band together with his siblings in order to fight the darkness, survive the challenges to their birthright and protect the kingdom and their people.
As the land plummets into war, will the Gods of Serenity prevail?
With sword in hand and vengeance on the wind, Arian must prove himself, one way or the other.
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4 out of 5 (very good)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
When it's time for Philla and Deminious to move on, they must choose their successors. Their daughter will be queen and they have 3 sons to choose from whom all have good qualities and would rule well. It's a hard choice but they make it. After the wedding, they ascend to the celestial plain. All is well; they are happy. What could possibly go wrong?
This is a good story and I did enjoy it. There just seemed to be a lot going on. There were sections where it was one part of the story, then the next paragraph was with somebody and something completely different, and it took a couple of sentences to catch up with what was happening. It was a bit of a shame as it did take away from the story as the flow that should have been there wasn't.
I did enjoy the story when I was able to decipher what was what and I would recommend it. You may just need some patience.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Alex and I write under the pen name of A D Bollen. I am the author of A Succession of Swords, Book One in the Chronicles of Serenity series. I am lucky to live in a truly beautiful part of the world, South East Queensland, Australia.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I am not writing, or working in my tiling business, I enjoy spending quality time with my beautiful wife and children. I have four sons of various ages, who are deep into their studies of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and anything with superheroes. My wife deserves a medal. As a young Queensland family, we also love the beach and all that comes with it.
Do you have a day job as well?
I own a residential tiling business, where I am lucky to work with some great people.
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe, is fantastic and I still revisit it often.
When was that point in your life that you realised that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
I have always been a very driven person and for me the choice to publish was simple. The choice to start writing, The Chronicles of Serenity took the suggestion of a close friend and me looking for a creative challenge.
What book do you wish you had written?
The beauty of books is that there are countless brilliant stories, told by countless brilliant people. A Song of Ice and Fire series, by George RR Martin, for me is the measuring stick for writing. However, I prefer that he wrote the saga as I believe it's perfect the way it is.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Life is pretty good. So, hopefully not too far from where I am today. It would be nice to have the series complete within the next decade.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I chose to write Dark fantasy/Grimdark because it is what I enjoy reading the most. I am definitely drawn to darker stories. However, I do love a good mystery novel as well, so maybe something like that lies in my future.
Where do you get your ideas?
I have always been fascinated with mythology, whether it be Greek, Roman, Egyption or Nordic. The old stories of Gods and heroes are the basis for a lot of my inspiration.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I can’t say I do, I am very fortunate in that regard. I am a slow writer and try to experience the thoughts and emotions of my characters before I write a scene.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
I am a total pantser! A Succession of Swords started from the idea of a single scene, ironically it was a scene I decided to cut, and go in a different direction. I originally planned to end a character’s story, but by the time the scene came up I felt there was too much story left to tell. It doesn’t say much for my planning ability, however, I feel the story benefited from the variation.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
The publishing process is certainly an experience, there are a few things I would have done differently in hindsight. However I had the privilege of working with a fantastic illustrator (Moreno Paissan) and a cover art company (Etheric tales) who I cannot speak highly enough of. How do you market your work?
What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I primarily advertise A Succession of Swords on my social media. I have set up “The Chronicles of Serenity” Facebook page, which receives weekly character bios and updates on book two in the series. Alternatively people can find me at www.adbollen.com. Other than that I am still testing the marketing waters.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I am very excited to tell you that at the time of this interview, I have written the first four chapters of the second instalment and hope to release book two in late 2024.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I find working too close to real life experiences can act as an anchor and while I use pieces of places and personality traits I try to keep a divide between the two.
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Much to my surprise, there is a romance that takes place about half way through the book that I have a personal soft spot for. Other than that, I would have to say the dialogue between a handful of characters to be great fun to write.
How did you come up with the title?
I believe it was a bottle of gin, and an afternoon with my mother.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back too, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Yes! I can confirm that a spin off story I have started playing with in my head, will be about Ser Bently Tide the Adventurer Knight of Blackbutt. When we meet him in a Succession of Swords he is an old man with a legendary reputation. I would love to tell the story of how he gained his prestige.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
KEEP GOING! It is so easy to lose motivation and never finish. However, once you do there are few better feelings.
What is your least favourite part of the writing or publishing process?
Editing! It’s a rough time.
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?
I have been very lucky in the short time my book has been released and people have been very kind. But I am aware that tough reviews will be inevitable.
What has been the best compliment?
People tend to enjoy the development of my characters, which I find very flattering as they are my main focus when writing. Someone used the word masterpiece which is a bit mind blowing and very humbling.
Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?
Laquis the God of Storms. He was great fun to write, and constantly held my focus when planning out the story.
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee or some complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Irish coffee, they always seem to be drinking alcohol, it can’t be good for them.
What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
I write on a laptop, normally surrounded by kids asking me questions, my baby yelling at nursery rhymes on the tv and my phone ringing. I find I thrive in chaos.
Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than others? Racy? Love? Action?
Definitely, I can’t write sex scenes. A Succession of Swords is an adult book. I tried writing sex scenes multiple times into the story and failed miserably at all of them. To the point where it became a running joke between my friends and I decided to cut them from the finished product. The world is a better place for those scenes never seeing the light of day.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I hope you enjoyed the story, book two is coming and your time and support is much appreciated and humbling. Thank you!
If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation – who would you choose for which character?
This is exactly what I did to fill my world up. I created the characters, then did a false casting to build a full visual in my mind.
Arian = Jake Gyllenhaal
Laquis = Adrian Grenier
Raptis = Jared Leto
Aroha = Jessica Alba
Deminious = Brad Pitt
Phillia = Hale Beri
Thone = Charles Dance
Riddix = Joe Magliano
How important are the names in your book?
Three of the characters are very special to me and book two will have the addition of a fourth. I won’t say anymore to avoid spoilers.
Did you choose them based on how they sounded or looked, or was it completely random?
The majority of characters I chose whatever came to mind. But there are a few meaningful names, as mentioned above.
Do you read your reviews?
I said when writing the book, I would not read reviews. So far, I am failing miserably and have read everyone. My new found logic is any constructive reviews can only make me a better writer, and the thoughtful reviews I have received truly make my day.
Do you respond to them, good or bad?
I don’t comment. If someone would like to reach out to me personally, I would love to discuss the story and characters with them. However, I believe the consumer should be able share their experience without concern of backlash from authors. www.adbollen.com has a direct email to get in touch, if anyone would like to reach out to me.
What is your best marketing tip?
I have found social media book clubs to be a fantastic place to promote and reach your target audience.
I would like to thank you for allowing me the opportunity of doing this interview with you.
A D Bollen is a Dark fantasy Australasian Author, who is currently working on The Chronicles of Serenity series. Book one "A Succession of Swords" is currently available on amazon, in ebook, paperback and hardcover. Book two is coming!!!