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May CSR Discussion Day: Deeds of Their Past by mcarss



Did you read Deeds of Their Past by @mcarss for our Can't Stop Reading, or CSR, Blog Feature for May? This story has magic, foul deeds, and a few twists and turns to keep readers guessing. What did you think? Share your thoughts in a comment below the author interview! 

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Most certainly a bird. I love all birds, but especially hold a deep affection for corvids. More than once, I've considered befriending a murder of crows. The idea of having them follow me around on my morning walks brings a mischievous smile to my face, but I've no doubt the noise would anger my neighbours.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Creating music is a lifelong passion (I've released 70+ albums) and recently became my full-time career. Working for oneself without dealing with clients has been remarkably freeing. It's also provided me with ample free time to write stories on a regular basis. Bonus!

Gaming fills my free time as well. Currently, I'm playing Baldur's Gate 3 (fantasy RPGs are my favourite), Helldivers 2 and Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (shoot the baddies with friends online), and Watch Dogs: Legion (generic Ubisoft fare that some people dislike, but I enjoy its simplicity.)

What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story?

Given my love of the medieval European fantasy trope, I've always wanted to visit Scotland, especially the northern highlands. The rugged beauty of Scotland and the ancient architecture of its castles fascinate me to no end. With so many having been converted to hotels and B&Bs, the idea of sleeping within the walls of a place with such a long and rich history provokes a thrill I struggle to express in words. I know visiting these places would inspire me greatly.

What brought you to GA?

Despite being a member since 2011, my account lay dormant until early this year (2024). When I originally discovered GA, I was amazed by the depth and breadth of the stories shared, as well as the active community. I'd tucked the link into my favourites, and then forgot about it entirely. Oops.

Upon discovering the link again years later, I realized it could be a perfect place to post my novels. Sure, they'd been available on Amazon and all the other platforms, but being an unknown, amateur author meant my stories had fallen into obscurity. In any case, I'd never written a word with the prospect of making money. All I hoped was to find an audience that would enjoy what I'd written.

The GA community has left me humbled by their enthusiasm for my work. No amount of thanks can express how accepted I feel here, but thank you all the same.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Oh boy, where do I start?

As I mentioned earlier, I'm a musician. For me, it's easier to express emotion and mood with music rather than prose. Countless times, I find myself grasping for the right word or phrase to express what's in my head. I think setting a scene is the most difficult task for me—having descriptions sweep across the page, painting an image in the reader's mind. On a technical level, sentence structure and flow are other aspects that always need attention.

What is your favorite genre to write?

In case it wasn't obvious by this point, the fantasy genre is my favourite for reading and writing.

Do you prefer to avoid tropes in fantasy or lean into one or more to make it easier for readers to sink into the story?

Tropes exist for a reason. People, myself included, enjoy them. I don't consider myself clever enough to put an original spin on a common theme, so I'll leave that to more creative authors to tackle. I certainly appreciate readers who are tired of hackneyed plot devices, thirsty for something original. In that case, I'm not the author for them.

How did you come up with the names for the characters and places in Deeds of their Past (imagination, generator website, writing books)?

Brohm's name was inspired by a piece of art I liked from the mid 00s. The title was: Brom the Butcher (I added the 'h' to Brohm's name) and features a surly bugbear/hobgoblin wielding a giant cleaver. Unfortunately, I can't find the source anywhere, nor do I know the artist's name. It's been over a decade since writing Deeds, so I can't recall everything clearly, but I know I used name generators to help in the creation of other characters.

Locations were gleaned from lists of old towns and hamlets in Europe.

Early in the writing process, I needed a map to keep track of Nathan and Brohm's travels. I found some royalty-free map assets and built one in Photoshop. It's viewable on the story's main page.

Do you have a favorite scene in the story?

Not a scene per se, but a segment of the story where, for the first time, the two protagonists (Nathan and Brohm) have a moment to breathe. Chapters nine and ten give them time to discover each other, and in turn, the reader learns more about them.

Can you share a little of your current or upcoming work with readers?

I'm very close to completing the first draft of The Roaming Sea.

The story follows a young army medic, Callum, doing his part in a century's long war between humans and pactrids (giant elephantmen.) He finds himself tossed behind enemy lines, captured, and interrogated. His captor, however, tells a very different story as to why they're warring. Callum can't decide if it's the truth, or deceit to turn him against his own kind.

I hope to have it available by the end of the year, and you can be sure that it'll be available on GA first before I publish it elsewhere.

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Excellent interview. Thanks, @mcarss and @Cia. Appreciate this work and author being brought to our attention. I will try my best to check this story out, and the new one sounds fascinating. Cheers!

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