Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and seventy-ninth, is of travel fantasy novelist Anthony St. Clair. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
When he landed in Edinburgh, Scotland, Anthony St. Clair thought his first international trip was merely a semester abroad during his senior year of college. But in the midst of learning what a hostel is, drinking good beer for the first time in his life, and immersing himself in new people and culture, Anthony was, in fact, changing the very direction of his life.
Instead of moving back where he had grown up and getting a responsible job, indie travel had become a central part of Anthony’s life. After college Anthony crossed the Atlantic again and spent the next year living between Scotland and Ireland. A writer since he was 13, Anthony also knew that someday, when the right stories came, travel would also be a central part of his writing.
Now, three books in to his travel fantasy Rucksack Universe series, Anthony draws on the places he’s been to and the people he’s met to develop a rich cast of characters, with stories set all over an alternate version of our own world. (And it’s a doozy—Hong Kong and Scotland are independent countries; the US Civil War never happened; and the world still fears a repeat of the cataclysm The Blast). Readers will meet up again and again with these fascinating, ever-changing wanderers throughout the ongoing, non-sequential series.
College days long behind him, Anthony has since lugged his dusty backpack through India, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Tibet, Nepal, Australia, Canada, and various parts of the USA. Anthony writes, cooks, enjoys his family, and loves the rain in a forgotten part of the USA (also known as Oregon). Travel is still a big part of his life, too: Anthony and his wife gave their son a passport for his first birthday, and took him to Japan when he was 15 months old.
And now from the author himself:
In earlier years, connecting with other people was a challenge for me. Instead I connected with the rest of the world around me, trying to understand the dualities that seem to govern our existence: love and power, kindness and cruelty, what we say and what we do.
My travels are what made this awareness of connection so important to me. Through travel, I learned how to connect with people. Looking back at my life so far, I can confidently say that all the good things that have happened to me have come as a result of traveling and of being willing to open up myself and connect with someone else.
Nowadays connection is easier, but that sense of the importance of connection remains in the forefront of my mind. Why it is it so essential to connect with other people, with places, with our sense of past, present, and future?
As with travel, often with writing: sometimes the only way for an author to get somewhere is to take the roundabout way. All this is to say that, really, I just love writing stories about globetrotters who wear huge backpacks, drink beer, and sometimes have to save the world.
My stories are influenced heavily by my favorite books, shows, and movies: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, anything by Neil Gaiman, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Matrix. The works of Octavia Butler, Kevin Hearne, and Diana Gabaldon are currently filling up my must-read list, but you’ll also find various works about travel, different cultures, and Buddhist and Celtic mythology. You know, this and that. (And that’s along with books about parenting, cooking, and brewing beer.)
My books are fantasy stories—with healthy doses of the metaphysical, speculative fiction, magical realism, and alternate history elements—but so much of the usual fantasy stuff is absent.
In my latest Rucksack Universe book, Forever the Road, there are no vampires, werewolves, demons, mystical swords, fairies, leather pants, or other cliched fantasy tropes (or if there are, they’re rarely what they seem). But there are travelers, a lot of beer, one very misguided leap from a train, mysteries, a strange little object in a big backpack, Indian food, destiny-slinging bartenders, a night getting lucky that turns pretty yucky, and, above all, a whole lot of consideration of what makes life worth living and people worth connecting with.
For me, working on these stories is like one lifelong trip, and I’ll be writing these books as long as I can. Books 4 and 5 are underway right now. Just like the other Rucksack Universe stories, these books will stand on their own, but they build on other things presented in previous stories, while also introducing us to new characters and presenting others with new challenges.
It’s a fun time and a big adventure, with all the joys and challenges that brings. Working on my stories is like traveling—and I hope we’ll meet up somewhere along the way.
The three current books in the Rucksack Universe—The Martini of Destiny, Home Sweet Road, and the newest, Forever the Road, are available worldwide in e-book and trade paperback:
- The Martini of Destiny: http://www.anthonystclair.com/rucksack-universe/the-stories/the-martini-of-destiny
- Home Sweet Road: http://www.anthonystclair.com/rucksack-universe/the-stories/home-sweet-road
- Forever the Road: http://www.anthonystclair.com/rucksack-universe/the-stories/forever-the-road
You can find more about Anthony and his writing via…
- Website: http://www.anthonystclair.com
- Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/anthonystclair
- iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/forever-the-road/id886854826?mt=11&uo=4
- Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/forever-the-road
- Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/445292
- Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forever-the-road-anthony-st-clair/1119702584
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/anthonystclair
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anthony.stclair.author
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/anthonystclair
- Contact: http://www.anthonystclair.com/contact
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