Interview with John Gorman

Author of The Heir Apparent

Before his words found their way into print, John snapped the Eyesore of the Week for the Queens Ledger. He is the author of From Here To Burmidia, The Heir Apparent (Orb Of Zorn #1), The Acolyte And The Amulet (Nebilon), Shades of Luz, Disposable Heroes, Quest For The Hope Box, and Beyond The Vicious Vortex. Return Of The Shadowlord is now available for Pre-Order. John received his MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University.

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Quick description of the book for a new reader - what should they expect?
  • This is a classic-style epic fantasy. Those familiar with the Forgotten Realms for D & D might enjoy this. A young lad from a small town is heard reciting a cantrip and gets in trouble. He's put on a trial by ordeal, and though he survives it, he runs away. Elcon learns an incredible truth about who he really is and goes on a quest to fulfill his destiny. This is the first book in a trilogy.
What was your inspiration for this book?
  • Love epic fantasy. This is something of a tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien, R.A. Salvatore, and Robert Jordan.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
  • Too many to name, but besides the ones I just mentioned in the previous question, I also enjoy the books of Ursula K. Le Guin, Terry Pratchett, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks, and Bernard Malamud
Why isn't the Orb whole? Why did you decide to leave it in pieces?
  • That's an awesome question. Thank you for asking! I wanted to add some complication into this quest. If the hero gets the magic orb, then what? I wanted Elcon to not only grapple with his identity, but also with his new burgeoning powers, which are somewhat pared down since he only has half of the orb. There's an additional wrinkle that comes about in Book 2.
    My love for puzzles also had something to do with this. There's a great satisfaction in completing them, but when you are missing a piece it can be frustrating. I wanted Elcon to have that burden weighing on him.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • To keep writing. Young writers are full of fresh ideas. I remember being flooded by a spate of ideas in my youth. Some of them paned out. Some didn't. I wrote a lot of short stories. Years later, I made the transition into writing novels, but I think writing short stories can be quite beneficial.
    Write every day whether you feel like it or not. It's how you will become a better writer.
Could you talk a little about your writing process?
  • I do a combination of planning and writing. I need to know where my story is going, so I start off my scene with my character trying to complete her objective. It can be as simple as refilling a waterskin. Maybe there is no river, no lake, no Seven Eleven nearby. My MC is thirsty and needs replenishment, and so begins the search.
    I still do some freewriting, but I find it more helpful to work from a previous or connecting scene. This has happened organically for me, but not when I first started out.
    I chart out my writing hours. It's essential to do so. When you play tennis or basketball you need to show up for practice, right? Same thing with writing. You cannot expect to get better unless you put in the time and effort.
Which character has had the greatest impact on readers?
  • I think the two characters that are most popular from my first book of the Orb Of Zorn trilogy are Elcon and Rowena Ravenwill. Recently, though, I think the gray elf has gained some ground on my Walszman.
It's quite unusual to have an orc teaming up with an elf. How did that happen?
  • It is, actually. Rowena Ravenwill is no ordinary elf and Borg Bearslayer is not a typical orc. I wanted a rogue elf to be part of this quest. The more I wrote, the more I realized that Rowena Ravenwill was an outlier. She spurned her heritage and went out on her own. She's fierce, yet compassionate. It's why her closet companion is a kobold and it's also why she eventually teams up with the orc, Borg Bearslayer.
How have readers responded ?
  • Quite favorably so far. Not everybody, of course, but most have enjoyed the first book.
Where next? What are you working on now?
  • Book Two, Return Of The Shadowlord has just been completed and will soon be available.
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When Elcon is heard reciting a cantrip in the magic-averse village of Walsz, he is put through a trial by ordeal. Plunged into the Nom River, he barely survives the swim. Leaving behind the angry mob on the shore, he then runs away from home. Out on his own for the first time in his young life, he meets a stranger who gifts him with a stone that has mystical powers. Accompanied by the mage, Dras, the young apprentice goes on a quest to save the world from the return of the Shadowlord.

A classic epic fantasy adventure with swords, sorcery, orcs, elves, and outcasts. The first book of the Orb of Zorn Trilogy. Grab a cloak and join the quest.