Friday, October 26, 2012

Interview with Anton Strout, author of Alchemystic, and Giveaway - October 25, 2012

Please welcome Anton Strout to The Qwillery. Anton is the author of the Simon Canderous series and Alchemystic (The Spellmason Chronicles 1) which was published on September 25, 2012.

TQ:  Welcome back to the Qwillery!

Anton:  Thanks for inviting me back, especially after I broke that vase last time I was here. In my defense, though, that think was HIDEOUS!

TQ:  The first novel in your new Spellmason Chronicles, Alchemystic, was recently published. Tell us something about Alchemystic that is not in the book description.

Anton:  While the jacket talks about family secrets, an ancient gargoyle that watches over the Belarus clan, there are what I would call some classic Dungeons & Dragons archetypes at work here. Marshall Blackmoore, a close friend of Lexi and Rory, thinks in terms of games and gaming in his approach to solving modern day dungeon crawling problems. I think people familiar with gaming and RPGs will see the nod to them throughout the Spellmason Chronicles.

TQ:  There aren't many urban fantasy authors writing about gargoyles. Why gargoyles?

Anton:  Watching too many Gargoyles cartoon viewings? No, actually, I’m always fascinated about characters who are makers. I love hearing about the creation of the Rings in The Lord of the Rings, and who made them, and I loved the idea of those type of secrets having been lost in our modern world. There is a magic in the world of Alchemystic, but it is hidden, its secrets lost and I loved the thought of an artist helping to bring it back into the world. I’m a fan of the art and architecture of New York, and the idea of working with these grotesque yet beautiful gargoyles just called out to me.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Alchemystic?

Anton:  Well, the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual came in handy! And I researched a bit about gargoyles and architecture, but I’ve had a good working knowledge of them ever since my 1989 History of Art class. A lot of my research went into reading other books to see how they handled magic in their world. I needed to create something that would fit the modern world, where magic and science might meet to form alchemy. Much as it pains me to admit it, my frenemy Patrick Rothfuss and his Kingkiller Chronicles had a hand in helping me sort out what I wanted for my world, magically speaking. It’s an art, AND a science!

TQ:  In Alchemystic who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult and why?

Anton:  I think Marshall Blackmoore is probably the easiest to write. I imagine him as sort of a Jason Segal/ Michael Cera nice guy who loves games and gaming and is unflappable in his pursuit of asking women out despite his nerd trappings. I’m many ways, Marshall is who I’d want to be. He certainly shares a lot of the same interests I do—games, women, who fifty feet of rope while adventuring is ALWAYS important.

I think my main character, Alexandra Belarus, was hardest to write. Creating a believable first person 23-year old female artist took awhile because I wanted to get her right. There’s always the risk that a guy writing a female first person is going to “overgirlify” it, and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted her to be fleshed out and not fall into any sort of stereotypes.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Alchemystic?

Anton:  Hmm… I think it’s a tie- first, would when readers are introduced to the character of Bricksley. The other takes place in one of the old subway stations that sits unused under New York. It’s based on a real place, but is far more creepier and fun than the real one.

TQ:  Both the Simon Canderous series and the Spellmason Chronicles are set in New York City. Why have you set both your series there?

Anton:  I moved to New York in 1994 because I thought it was the most exciting city, through and through. Compact, full of life, rich with history and art. I can’t stop writing about it. Even though I live in New Jersey now (insert your own joke here… I’m as surprised as you, believe me!), I’m still in Manhattan five days a week and find something new to love about it all the time. Someday I’ll write about another city, promise!

TQ:  Are there any other genres in which you'd like to write?

Anton:  Writing urban fantasy, I’m already doing it all! I get to write fiction, romance, mystery and fantasy all balled up into one. I suppose I’d like to try my hand at regular ole fiction, but I worry about having to keep it realistic. Reality and I are not quite the closest of friends….

TQ:  What's next?

Anton:  Right now I’m trying to finish up The Spellmason Chronicles 2 by New Year’s Eve, which seems right on track. I’m also trying to find the time to wrap up an as yet unsold young adult Dickensian Voltron Iron Man Street Urchin Steampunk book. Yes, it’s kinda got all that in it. DON’T JUDGE!

About The Spellmason Chronicles

The Spellmason Chronicles 1
Ace, September 25, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure. A figure who knows the Belarus name…

Lexi’s great-great-grandfather was a Spellmason—an artisan who could work magic on stone. But in his day, dark forces conspired against him and his, so he left a spell of protection on his family. Now that Lexi is in danger, the spell has awoken her ancestor’s most trusted and fearsome creation: a gargoyle named Stanis.

Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other. But as they learn to work together, they realize that only united can they save the city they both love…

The Simon Canderous Series

About Anton

Anton is the author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series and the just released Alchemystic, book one of the Spellmason Chronicles for Ace Books. The Once & Future Podcast is his latest project, where he endeavors as Curator of Content to bring authors and readers together through a weekly news show format.

The Once & Future Podcast


What:  One commenter will a copy of Alchemystic (The Spellmason Chronicles 1) from The Qwillery.

How:   Answer the following question:

A Spellmason can work magic on stone. On what would you like to work magic?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, November 2, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. I still think Alexandra on the cover looks a lot like Jennifer Connelly :)

    Comment, Followers, Twitter :)

  2. Wouldn't it be really awesome to do magic by cooking - like magical chocolate truffles or magical ravioli? :)

    impy80 at hotmail dot com

  3. i would like to work magic on plants

    tjhank you a lot for the giveaway, i don't know this author yet so this post was really interesting

    +1blog follower: gfc:miki


  4. I would love to work magic on the written word and make it come alive. Okay, I know awesome authors are already doing that, but cooking was already taken LOL Spellmason looks like a fun read and thank you so much for taking the time and effort to share with us today :)
    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted

  5. I'd like to work magic on technology, so I could always fix my computer.

    +1 comment

    +1 gfc follower

  6. What? No more Simon Canderous?! :(

    Would working with metal too similar to working with stone?

    GFC follower
    ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

  7. I've been waiting for this one to come out ever since I heard about it from Patrick Rothfuss (a portion of the preorders for Alchemystic went to the charity Worldbuilders, Ink. which benefits Heifer International).

    I like the idea of being able to work magic with plants but I think my dream would be to be able to work magic with laundry. You know, the neverending task? Maybe just a simple fold and put away spell?? Yes, I'd go for that!
    GFC: April V.
    april dot vrugtman at gmail dot com

  8. I like Anton's work. I've read some of his other series and this one sounds like my cup of tea!

    I think I'd like to work any kind of earth magic. Or plant magic. Not necessarily masonry type of magic, but using the power of the earth.

    (email is on the left bar, or shelf(at
    bearmountainBooks (dot) com

  9. I have a love for swords and it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out I made them or handled them in a past life so I would say metal is what I would like to work magic on.
    This book sounds like it is going to be a really good read!

    Posted a link on my FB page.

  10. I would like to work magic on plants and trees so I could grow beautiful things:)


    jwitt33 at live dot com

  11. I would like to work magic on paper.
    debby236at gmail dot com

  12. I would love to work magic on art. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me. I am a follower and email subscriber.

  13. I'd like to work magic on plants- I could grow fruits and veggies and slash my grocery bill.
    gfc follower


  14. music and writing


    student.caprino at gmail dot com

  15. I would love to work magic on air - so I'd be able to float and fly and bring things to me! :-)

    GFC Follower: Mel S

  16. I'd like to work magic on water. That would be incredible.

    GFC: Mary Preston


  17. I'd love to be able to work magic on the elements.

    +3: comment, follower, tweeted

  18. I would love to have magic cooking and time travel.

    GFC as Filia Oktarina
    Share in Fb :

    TsukiSelene at yahoo dot co dot id

  19. i would love to be able to work on paper. So what ever I write or draw it happens.
    +1 Comment
    +1 Follow GFC :Rogue484
    +1 tweet :
    email :

  20. Oooh... I would like to work magic on plants :) All sneaky-like...

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower: Jo

    jochibi AT yahoo DOT com

  21. I'd like to work magic on buildings.

    I follow the blog.