Where Ideas Come From by Andrew Anzur Clement – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Andrew Anzur Clement will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Where Ideas Come From

My ideas come from my characters. While in the process of writing Keepers of the Stone, it was as if the story wasn’t being concocted by me. My fingers typed the words, of course. But, those words were dictated to me from the ether of their voices.

There are certain situations that make one more open to hearing his or her characters in their head. In my case, it was plain simple discontent that allowed their voices to be heard. I wasn’t even expecting to write these books. But, they had other ideas. I was living in Coventry, England at the time. I didn’t know anyone there and was utterly miserable after only a few months. That was when Malka first spoke to me. The inspiration for Keepers of the Stone exploded into my head while I was standing in front of the Lady Godiva Statue in Coventry’s main square. Almost as if in a moment of total clarity, the image of that girl on a horse seemed to ‘download’ the entire opening situation for Keepers into my head. Once it was there I couldn’t unsee it. Before the evening was over, I opened up a new project file and allowed my fingers to type the ‘infamous’ words: “She galloped away from them, studiously refusing to look back.”

That was how the process went. Many of the place descriptions came from my own travels. Mostly, though, my characters spoke to me and my fingers put the words on the computer screen. When starting out, I knew that there were going to be certain broad plot points. These were partially inspired by current events, or real historical elements that occurred during the late 19th century, when the books are set. However my characters’ reactions to them resulted in developments that surprised even me. This was especially the case with Stas, a courageous youth born into exile with no country of his own. Liza, a mysterious felinoid (a shapeshifter that can turn into a cat), who turned out to have a longer history with Stas and Nell, his best friend, than I could have even guessed at when I began writing. And with Bozhena: an unwilling servant of the evil Order of the Urumi, who’s unwavering belief in the birthright of her own aristocratic bloodlines ended up changing the entire endgame of the books, from what I was expecting it would be. The secrets that became apparent in their own back stories ended up having a determining influence on the course the Keepers took in the end.

While finishing up the manuscripts, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t myself who’d written these books. Because my characters become so real to me during the writing process, it’s almost like the adult equivalent of having imaginary friends. To the point, weird as it may sound, that I felt funny putting my own name on what became Keepers of the Stone.

It wasn’t until I was visiting family back in California that I realized why. It came from another apparition of Malka, the same character who’d been the girl on the horse back in Coventry. I was attending a performance of a play about Shakespeare’s supposed process of writing Macbeth. In the final soliloquy the character of the Bard’s daughter speaks about stories; the ones we tell when we think that nobody is looking, relating that the entire play had been her own. Yet, it was as if my own character simultaneously stepped out of the one on stage and imparted the following: “This was never your story. It is mine. You did not tell it. I did.”

As I finished writing Keepers, this is basically what happened. There’s a frame for the main action that gets the audience up to speed on the back-story a bit faster (the books open in the middle of the action). Maybe this is a slight spoiler, but here goes: It turns out that these books are a chronicle. One conjured by one of the characters as a gift for the others as a memento of their unwitting adventures together. The girl on the horse was right. These books were never mine. This is their story. I’m glad I had the privilege of being the one to finally tell it.

Keepers of the Stone. Book One: The Outcasts

In a far corner of the British Empire, a mysterious girl gallops away on a horse, fleeing for her life. Malka has sacrificed everything to protect an all-powerful stone from falling into the hands of the malevolent Urumi. The last in a Sect of thieves, the girl is a trained killer. But will her lethal skills be enough to defeat the Shadow Warriors and their superhuman abilities?

The fate of the stone may depend on Stas, a courageous youth born into exile from a country that is not on any map. Nell, his friend since childhood, has been caught up in the Dark Order’s evil designs. The young outcasts must confront demons, real and imagined, with the help of mystical new allies. Their journey will take them to distant lands and change their lives forever.

 

Keepers of the Stone. Book Two: Exile

Stranded on the American frontier, Malka must stop at nothing to safeguard the all-powerful stone. She has come under the protection of a snarky felinoid – a shape-shifting girl who traces her lineage back to the court of Vlad Dracula. They must rescue with Henry, the American orphan whose thirst for knowledge could help decipher the clues to the next
leg of their journey – if the Urumi don’t kill them first.
Alone in yet another strange land, Stas mourns the unthinkable loss of his friend, Nell. Cryptic messages offer new hope. But the Dark Order has devised another strategy to outwit the band of misfits. Plans are betrayed and alliances are formed as history points to the final objective of their quest.

Keepers of the Stone Book Three: Homecoming
Stas and his companions have made their way to the partitioned homeland he has never visited. He dares to hope that Nell may be alive. The doomed princess Bozhena vows revenge on the Shadow Warriors, who have enlisted Malka’s most bitter enemy in their latest plot to control the powerful stone.
With the help of a streetwise gypsy girl, the unlikely travelers must outwit the Urumi and deliver the stone to its final destination. All they have to do is put aside the differences that threaten to tear them apart. The secrets of the past hold the key to the history of the future.

Enjoy an Excerpt from Book One: The Outcasts

“The firearms,” Malka whispered. “We still have them from the bank.”

“Do you even know how to fire a gun?”

The Thag shook her head.

The felinoid harrumphed. “Figures.” Then she began thinking out loud.

“So, we’re low on ammunition. Only six shots per gun, assuming they’re completely loaded. Okay. They’re in the open. We can use the wagon as cover. Target what shots we have. I’m not very good at aiming, but maybe if Mister Bunny Burglar over there takes….”

She stopped. Looking behind her, to the empty space off to the right side of the wagon’s seating area.

“Where is Henry?”

Malka and Liza looked around. Both of them spotted their erstwhile captive at the same moment.

“Ugh! He’s in front of the wagon running away with one of the cages,” Liza said, as if the situation needed any clarification. “I told you we should have killed that little….”

The gunfire ceased abruptly, replaced in short order with the quick screams of men and horses. Then silence. The escaping youth was forgotten for the moment. Liza quickly poked her head just over the stack of cages.

“Oh, no! Oh, please, no!” For the first time since Malka had known the felinoid, she seemed more genuinely worried than annoyed at their situation; she knew what Liza had seen.

“The Urumi,” she confirmed in a quiet voice.

“All three of them. And they’re moving towards us.”

Malka untied the sash from around her waist and inserted the brass knob into one of its ends. She listened for one of the dark forms, as it approached her side of the wagon.

About the Author:Andrew Anzur Clement departed his native Los Angeles at the age of nineteen, with a curiosity for far-off lands. He quickly discovered an insatiable wonderlust that has led him to live, work and study in many fascinating places around the globe. Now in his late-twenties the unabashed opera fan is based in Europe. He continues to travel and read widely, finding new inspiration in the places he discovers. In his ‘other’ life Andrew is an academic researcher, focusing on nationalism and identity formation. He enjoys including insights from his research in his books and the characters he inhabits.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thanks for Hosting!
    Get a FREE copy of Keepers of the Stone: Book One HERE!

  3. Lisa Brown says:

    congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  4. It’s always interesting to hear about how the writing process works for different authors. Thank you for giving us a peek into your mind.

  5. I have enjoyed the tour, thank you.

  6. Thanks for the great tour!

  7. I have enjoyed following this tour and look forward to checking out this book!

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