Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guest Post by Patrick W. Carr for A Cast of Stones Blog Tour & Giveaway

 Patrick W. Carr's newest book, A Cast of Stones, has a tagline that states it is An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love!  The synopsis certainly sounds good, but I found myself curious why the author chose to set his book in medieval times? He was kind enough to explain...

Why Medieval?

When I first started “A Cast of Stones” under a different title, I had actually toyed with the idea of approaching it as an alternative European history kind of work. There had never been any other choice but Medieval, which for me meant sometime between 500 – 1500. Prior to that and I was dealing with the vestiges of the Roman Empire and after that, I would have to take in to account the effects of the Renaissance. At last I settled on 14th century Europe. But at the same time, I also wanted to build a mythos that was unique to my world, which meant I had to drop in the back story here and there. One of my favorite chapters in the book, because it ends with a really high creep factor is “Conger’s Tale.” So, I guess the truth is there are certain inspirations that come from the real world, but it’s definitely not what you would call historical fiction in any way.

Now I started sweating the details so that I had a fantasy that was believable as well as fun. This might seem strange for a fantasy, after all, many authors have written great fantasy without a discernible time frame or even mixing time frames. For example, if you were to read “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” by Stephen R. Donaldson, you would be hard pressed to identify a matching period in history. There simply isn’t one. There’s one castle in the story, but it’s called a keep and it was carved, not built, out of solid rock by giants. On the other hand, if you read “The Belgariad” by David Eddings, he seems intent on mixing as many time periods as possible. There are equivalents to knights in armor, roman legions, Vikings, English longbows, and others. Yet he manages to blend them all into a ripping good story.

I placed my story in the medieval time period, not just because it fit the military aspects I needed, but because it lent itself to the religious aspects. I needed to depict a church that worked mechanistically, ergo, I needed to place my story sometime before the reformation. Once I had done that I chose a more exact time frame. My story had war in it, in both naval and land battles, but I didn’t want to deal with the complications posed by cannon. I wasn’t opposed to cannon, but with the recent popularity of “Pirates of the Caribbean” I wanted to ensure I avoided comparison.

So I chose the 13th – 14th century. It fit the bill and didn’t pose the plotting problems of later time frames. It’s important, I think, to keep from ascribing too much weight to this choice. After all, I was writing a fantasy. The purpose of the time period was to serve more as a receptacle for ideas of magic and setting and character. It would have been a mistake to allow the historical reality of 14th century Europe to dictate the book even though I tried to stay true as much as possible to that period.

I think the most important thing for a fantasy writer to remember is consistency within the story. Eddings and Donaldson taught me that almost anything would work, but I had to stay internally consistent. I’ve read stories where the author disobeys his own rules. The temptation is there for all of us, especially when we write ourselves into a corner, but fantasy readers are at once a forgiving and demanding bunch. We can handle dragons in New York City and time travel to King Arthur’s Court, but we won’t tolerate the author making up the rules on the fly.

About the author:

Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release date: February 1, 2013

Blog Tour Giveaway

$10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/31/13
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for arranging this tour!


  1. I love books set in medieval times. I think it is because I am so curious about it. The author answered the question really well. :)

    Book Reviews

    1. That time frame is fascinating, isn't it? I'm always curious how an author makes these decisions, so was very happy with his answer. :)

  2. Medieval times stories have always been sorta hit and miss for me. I think it's because I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction when the history takes over the story line....*ponders* Thanks for sharing this one though...first time hearing about it. ^_^

    1. I feel the same way about historical fiction, but think that this time period is pretty cool!