Tom Tancin author of Hippocampus wanted to stop by so I could ask him some questions about his awesome book series. Here is a link to my review if you want to check it out. Hippocampus is now on sale this week as an eBook on B&N and Amazon, and also as a paperback on Lulu.com. Definitely go check it out. It is such a spectacular magical book that involves Atlantis. How much more could you ask for?
Without further ado, here is the interview:
1) What made you go into writing? Was it what you originally intended to do?
First of all, thank you for the raving review of Hippocampus and for hosting this interview. I greatly appreciate it. Now, let's get to the answer.
Writing is actually a side career for me. I’m a 7th grade science teacher full-time. That job keeps me pretty busy but I love being creative. I started writing when I was 13 years old (in 7th grade) because of a challenge from my English teacher. It was only after that challenge that I realized how much I loved writing. From there, I grew passionate about the publishing industry and also about other creative outlets(such as website, graphic, and cover design).
I started with independent publishing about five years ago with an adult mystery series (2 books to be exact). However, I was always drawn to young adult books, since I love to read them, so I knew that I had to focus my energy there. About three years ago, I started developing The Atlantis Revolution.
2) What was your inspiration for writing Hippocampus?
I wrote Hippocampus because I have a fascination with Atlantis but haven’t found anything that satisfies me interms of a story about the island. So I decided to write a story of my own. It grew into a series once I combined Atlantis with the idea of a teenager having to step up and basically “carry the world on his shoulders”, which is something that many teens have to do and something I had to do when I was younger.
3) What made you think of the concept of Atlantis? Have you always had this idea or did it develop over the years?
This will continue the answer from #2. I don’t know when my fascination with Atlantis started but I know that I’ve had it for at least 15 years. The very first book I wrote (I was in middle school) involved Atlantis to a smaller degree. I always knew I would write a story that focused on Atlantis, I just had to wait until I had the right components. Those components were developed separately over the years and eventually put together to form The Atlantis Revolution.
4) What did you base your description of Atlantis on? Did you completely just make it up or did you already have a picture in your head of what it looked like?
The island in my series is based on Plato’s description to some degree but it’s also the product of years of envisioning the island in my head. I combined many separate ideas and developed them over the three years to finally come up with a finished product. I’ll give you some insight into what I did and why.
I combined the look of ancient Greece with the modern world. I had to make sure the island had everything it needed to sustain itself (forests, farmland, business district, mines, etc). I made sure that it had the rings of water surrounding the city and palace. I also made sure that there were rivers running through the city and under buildings.
The walled city on higher ground was part of Plato’s description and also typical of ancient cities. The underground cavern system wassomething that popped into my head and I loved it so I worked to incorporate how it would work and why it would be crucial to the island and story.
Interms of the symbols and color palette, I created those because I always envisioned water when I thought of Atlantis. So that’s why you encounter symbols like the seahorse,jellyfish, and sea turtle. And it’s also why everything in the palace has colors like ocean blue, seaweed green, and sand.
5) How did you come up with the Atlantean language?
Since a Greek philosopher described Atlantis, I decided to use the Greek language as a basis. Most of the Atlantean words are actually from the Greek language. However, some of the Atlantean language was created in my own head or from combining multiple Greek words. It was a lot of work to design a language but it wasn’t as difficult as it would have been if I created the Atlantean language from scratch.
6) What made you introduce sorcery into your story? Will there be more sorcery in the next books? Will we find out more about Jocasta and the Knight of the Abyss?
I wanted The Atlantis Revolution to be an epic fantasy series. When I sat back and thought about “epic fantasy”, I immediately pictured parallel worlds, Knights, and sorcery. So Atlantis became a parallel world to our own, the Knights became the evil group threatening the island, and I added in the magic component. Having the sorcery in the story was important because it helped explain the Hippocampus Syndesi (the connections the royals have to the sorcerers and to the Mnemosunero). And the Mnemosunero was actually one of the first pieces of the story I developed—but it couldn’t be explained without the sorcery. Therefore, sorcery will continue to play a role in the series.
You will definitely learn a lot more about Jocasta and the Knights of the Abyss in future books. I plan to give you tidbits about their motives and their plans without taking time away from Trey and his royal court. I also want to keep the Knights mysterious. The Knights of the Abyss, even though they are a group of individuals, really function as one character in my mind. They all have the same goal, which is to destroy Atlantis, and they all want to go about it in the same way.
I’m not sure if you put Jocasta first in your question on purpose but, if you’re thinking like me, Jocasta is becoming the standout character on the evil side of the story. The interesting thing is, Jocasta was never supposed to be a main villain. The series was going to focus on the Knights of the Abyss and Jocasta was just going to play a supporting role to them. As it turns out, it’s becoming quite the opposite situation. Jocasta has a mind of her own and quite a back-story. In fact, she’s probably my favorite character in the series. The rest of the series will add some real dimension to her character, starting in the second book.
7) Will Trey learn how to control his sorcery abilities more?
Trey will learn to control his sorcery abilities as the series progresses. And, perhaps even more importantly, Trey will learn about his Atlantean heritage, which will explain why he has the ability.
8) Are you going to go into more detail about who Grandpa Atlas is and what is happening to him?
I’ll keep this one short—Yes.
9) Do you have somewhat of an idea of what is going to happen in the next books? Can you share some exciting tidbits with me and your readers?
I have the majority of the series mapped out in my head (and to some extent on paper). I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that the Knights of the Abyss will continue to be a problem for Atlantis—and therefore for Trey.
In general, the rest of the series will allow the reader to become more familiar with Atlantis. You’ll also learn all about Trey’s past, his biological family, and why he’s the boy in the prophecy. You’ll get to see how Trey deals with all of the new responsibilities of leading Atlantis, how the pressure is changing his relationships, and what being the Ruling Prince means for his future. And of course you’ll get all of the adventure, magic, sword fights, and good vs. evil that defined the Hippocampus.
Okay now I have some fun This or That Questions.
These are tough! I have a hard time making decisions.
Books or ebooks?
It depends on the book. I enjoy both for their advantages but I do really love my nook.
Cat or Dogs?
Both! And add birds.
Sorcerer or Soldier?
Sword Fights or Magic Fights?
Magic fights. Though I enjoy writing both.
Coke or Pepsi?
Thanks for stopping by and for an awesome interview Tom. I can not wait for book two to come out so I can read it. =]
If you guys have any questions for Tom he said he would stop by the blog to answer some of your questions so leave them in the comment section.