Historical fiction author, Antony Barone Kolenc, is a guest on my blog with some very exciting news:
Please join Tony live with Loyola Press for the official virtual book launch of Shadow in the Dark at 7pm EST on July 13, at the following link https://www.facebook.com/events/193469388721918/.
-What inspired you to become an author? Tell us about your journey so far. -I’ve always enjoyed reading, writing, and telling stories. I have reams of unfinished (and pretty horrible) loose-leaf stories I attempted to write as a teenager, as well as unfinished (and slightly less bad) word-processed stories I wrote as a young adult. As I grew older and realized more fully that my writing could be used to entertain and help others, and even be a ministry to readers, it inspired me to write a book series that would be suspenseful and engaging while also dealing with deeper issues. “The Harwood Mysteries” does that by dealing with questions such as, “Who am I? What am I supposed to do with my life? Why do bad things happen to good people?” I wanted this series to address these questions in a context of faith, but also in a way that was also spooky and exciting and relatable to younger readers.
-What is your favorite genre and what drew you to it? –I’d say historical fiction, though I enjoy reading all types of books. I recently finished two books from Amor Towles: “A Gentleman in Moscow” and “Rules of Civility.” I also love Christian books, such as Tim Tebow’s latest. And, of course, I enjoy books written by my colleagues in the Catholic Writers Guild. But I grew up reading fantasy and science fiction, especially “The Lord of the Rings” and Star Trek novels. I think I enjoyed the stories in different settings and the escape from the everyday reality in my life.
-Do you consider it more difficult than other genres? (If so why?)-Historical fiction is exciting but tough to write because you have to conform your story to the historical realities and events of the time in which you are writing. But I’ve found that discovering the historical events going on at that time have actually been the main feature in developing my story plots. There is so much interesting history that can be developed and explored and built around in historical fiction novels.
-How do you develop your characters?-I try to make sure that they need development. We’re all works in progress, and my characters are no different. They have problems and histories. They’ve made bad decisions and have quirks in their personalities and belief systems that need improvement. I like to let my protagonist start in a bad place and then face life’s real problems. Usually, they eventually come around to improving themselves in the process.
-Which character from any of your books means the most to you and why?– I would have to say that my main character in “The Harwood Mysteries,” Xan, means the most to me because he’s been with me the longest. I just finished writing Book IV, and that poor kid has been through a lot in his young life. I’ve been writing Xan for a decade now, so I think I know him the best. And I can identify a bit with the loss in his life.
-Which of your books did you enjoy writing most and why?-I liked writing all of the installments in “The Harwood Mysteries,” but I particularly enjoyed writing Book II, “The Haunted Cathedral,” as well as Book IV (untitled and not yet under contract). The stories in those two books especially connected with me personally. And this last one was just a blast to write because I finally am in a groove with the series.
-For what age group would you recommend your books?-“The Harwood Mysteries” are great for kids aged 8-18. It’s billed as middle-school fiction, but there’s enough action, mystery, history, and real-world struggle to keep older kids reading. The writing is accessible to younger readers, and there is no objectionable content for parents to worry about.
-Is there a particular author that has inspired you?-I grew up loving J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels, especially “The Lord of the Rings.” I still read that trilogy every few years. The writing is beautiful. The characters are genuine. And the stories are particularly real and identifiable to me, even though they take place in a fictitious world.
– Do you have a specific writing method or ritual? How many hours do you devote to writing every day?-I get my most and best writing done in the early morning, between 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM. After that, I’m mostly shot for the day. I find that writing a chapter, or slightly less than a chapter, is all I have in me before I run out of steam.
-What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most? Which do you not care for at all?-I love all parts of the writing process, especially the editing and re-editing (and re-re-editing). I don’t like having to worry about how to sell books, however. I’d much rather spend my time writing them.
-What are your aspirations as a writer and where do you see yourself in five years time?-My aspirations are to be as successful as God wants me to be. If that meant super-successful, I wouldn’t complain about it at all. In five years, I would love to be an established enough author that my books would be accepted by publishers with ease, and my marketing of the books would not take all of the time out of my life.
-Which author has influenced your writing the most?-Once again, J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve had to break some of his habits for the modern writing age, however, such as keeping my sentences a bit shorter and cutting back on descriptions.
–What would you like to say to your readers?-I hope you enjoy the series and find it both exciting and personally beneficial. I want the series to do more than just entertain you, but also to encourage you to discover who you are and who you want to be as you grow older.
For those readers who have dealt with loss in their lives, whether it be the death of a parent or a divorce or the loss of friends, I hope the series will help you process dealing with loss—something I experienced myself at Xan’s age when my father died of a heart attack when I was in the seventh grade.
-What can we expect from you in 2020/2021?-The great news is that Book II (The Haunted Cathedral) is due out in early 2021, and Book II (The Fire of Eden) is due out a bit later in the year. So I’m looking for it to be a big year!
A colour– Green
A day of the year– Christmas Eve
A favorite recipe– Shrimp Scampi
A movie– The Lord of the Rings
A song– He’ll Always Be Faithful, by Sara Groves
A city– Jacksonville, Florida
A quote that inspires you– “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Your favorite saint– Saint Francis of Assisi
A daily prayer– The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
A book you have read over and over again– The Lord of the Rings
I would love to tick-off—from my bucket-list – A long and personal tour of Europe, especially the UK and Italy
Loyola Press – https://store.loyolapress.com/shadow-in-the-dark