Monday, July 9, 2012

Interview with Todd Maternowski @ToddMaternowski

The Digital Ink Spot interviewed Todd Maternowski, Todd studied Ancient Near Eastern religion and early Judeo-Christianity at the University of Chicago before heading into the real world. He has since worked as a ballroom dance instructor, bass player, mediator, credit specialist, art preparator, janitor, journalist, copy editor, armored car money counter, mambo dancer and satirist. He lives in Dallas, Texas with his hyper-creative wife, baby girl and unborn son.

The Digital Ink Spot: Tell the readers a little about your books.
Todd Maternowski: The Exmortus series is about a young, self-absorbed and arrogant young man, Ash Xavier, whose entire meticulously-planned world is obliterated in a single night. Ash is left without food, weapons, armor or hope in a hostile world that actively tries to devour him at every turn. By the end of the first book, EXMORTUS: TOWERS OF DAWN, Ash has progressed to a certain point in his mental and spiritual development, despite overwhelming odds. By the end of the second book, EXMORTUS II: TEMPLES DIABOLIC, he is ready to move on from the power-obsessed adolescent fantasies that drove his youth, and instead use every power at his disposal to grow into a decent human being. Along the way, he must deal with a nightmarish terror from his childhood, the abandonment of his friends, and a hopeless romance with a woman that may well be entirely imaginary.

The Digital Ink Spot: How extensive is the world your books are based on?
Todd Maternowski: Extremely: all three books cover less than 10% of the world it occurs in. I love rich, detailed and painstakingly thought-out worlds, and have made a dozen or so maps that have no relevance whatsoever to the events in Exmortus. We live in a world of constant mystery and discovery, so why should our fantasy worlds be any different?

The Digital Ink Spot: Is it hard to write about grisly murders, sex magic and genocidal demons?
Todd Maternowski: Actually, it's very easy. I'm a huge fan of heavy metal, and have always loved how completely over-the-top it can get. 'Go big or go home.' That said, you first have to create a completely grounded, hyper-realistic setting first, or the flashier elements get lost in the shuffle and lose their potency.

The Digital Ink Spot: What do you enjoy reading?
Todd Maternowski: Anything that's well-written, especially if it has a dark sense of humor. I grew up on the bleak, soul-crushing Russian literature of Dostoevsky and Gogol, and have since learned to really love more contemporary authors like Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Umberto Eco, Cormac McCarthy and Gene Wolfe. 'Zorba the Greek' is probably my favorite book of the last century.

The Digital Ink Spot: What can readers expect from you in the near future?

Todd Maternowski: I'm about to have a baby boy, so the third and final installment of the Exmortus trilogy might be a little slow this time around, but I've got mountains of exquisitely-detailed notes and planned-out chapters for it already: just know in terms of emotional and literary catharsis, it will put the first two books in the series to shame. Following that, I've got about 15-20 projects I could work on next, starting with a sci-fi novel about a scientist who goes back in time for philanthropic reasons, only to use his advanced knowledge to become a master criminal; and a long short story about a military-grade psychic who does espionage on the astral plane for the Pentagon. I've got some other long-term projects, but they're top-secret. 

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