The first book in his epic fantasy series, The Last Pantheon: Of Spiders and Falcons, due out in October, Jason R. Jones took a few minutes to answer some questions for us.
1. When did you begin writing The Last Pantheon… what inspired you?
I had taken notes and filled binders to the point of busting out the packed sides of an old green laundry basket. It was full of handwritten ideas and stories beginning in 1991 and full by 1998, and there it sat. From Wisconsin to Florida, over many years, it collected dust and spiderwebs. In late 2009, going through a very stressful and devastating part of my life, I went to the attic and broke out the basket. I was a single father, divorce looming again, and financially ruined in the process. Most men would have found the bottle, the nightclub, or anything else. I found the pull down ladder to the attic. I was greeted by yellowed pages, browned ink, and some of it was illegible. My inspiration was being at the end of a painful rope, and deciding what to do now, between self destruction or a new beginning. So, under the title of The Exodus Sagas, book one “of spiders and falcons” was born in about 5 months.
2. Did you intend to write a series from the beginning or was there a moment when you realized the tale had grown beyond one book?
After going through notes not even peered at for over a decade, I began to piece it all together upon the garage floor. Soon, I had a quartet, then another, then four. The ending to the series, well, it became a duet. I tried for a more achievable number, but realized that my current stroke of inspiration should not be taken lightly. Four quartets and a duet, eighteen novels, so it was laid out, so it was titled and outlined, and so it was and shall be.
3. Considering your interest in mythology, was a lot of research involved or did it “write itself”?
Actually, my passion for mythology, old religions, and language only pushed me ahead, on a creative note. The time periods from 500 bc and 300 ad hold a struggling time, a time of change and darkness, and of oppressed enlightenment. Those centuries saw the fall of many religions into myth, and the rise of conquering beliefs that eradicated entire histories. So, based upon what I love and sympathize with in our own past, I wrote a different past, in a different place, where there could be hope for the survival of the many in place of the one.
4. What is your favorite part in Of Spiders and Falcons?
I love destiny, the writing in the stars that pulls things together that a blind man may call coincidence. Everything happens for a reason, whether we are to know the why of it in this life or not. When James is near his end, Shinayne is lost in love and tragedy, Saberrak is running for his life, and the three come together, it is fate. When Azenairk and Gwenneth cross their path, it is destiny. Where there was nothing one of them could do, brought together, there is a chance at something beyond just them. I would say, aboard the ship on the Carisian Sea, faced with impossible odds, five beings brought together with the divine can bring about a miracle, and take a step to a greater beyond…that is my favorite scene. Now, the hidden recovery theme of James Andellis, well that hits a little closer to home.
5. What has been the most difficult part in writing The Last Pantheon series?
The most difficult part is getting into the spirit of each character individually while perpetually moving many others through the same timeline, and having its purpose remain on course, without giving it away. I would love to tell the reader more of Johnas Valhera, describe and show why he is so wicked, but there are seventeen more novels, and leaving the reader a bit in the dark is necessary at times. Every stroke of the sword brings realism, but sharing everything about every antagonist and protagonist would dull it all out early. Holding back to let things grow and reveal at a natural pace, without my forcing them, that is the hardest part for me.