Welcome to Ink & Magick. I'm your friendly neighborhood witch. What kind of spell can I get for you (or your character) today?
Thanks so much for having me! What I'd really need is either a spell to make the day twice as long so I have all the time I need to get everything done or... a spell that will teleport me at will to a decent beach when I get burned out. So business or laziness, I'd be fine with either!
Messing with time and space is not advisable. However, I do have a suggestion that may help. You seem to have a lot to do, but you must remember to take time for yourself. Ensuring you get enough sleep and taking a little time to stretch or meditate can make all the difference between feeling overwhelmed or not. So you get a little bit of both business and laziness.
You seem to have had enough energy to write a book. Tell us about your fantasy, The Malakiad.
When an old friend approaches heroic-era Greeks Kopulus and Elenia about the possibility of attacking a horrible monster in a far-off land to retrieve a divine treasure, they exchange a look and ask the obvious question: “Where can we steal a magic chariot?”
The answer leads them to Mount Olympus and nearly gets them killed, so they decide to steal a fishing boat instead. In the course of sailing the seven seas (all right, just a small piece of the Aegean and perhaps a little bit of the Mediterranean), they learn that one should probably only steal fishing boats if one has at least a passing knowledge of how to navigate them. Plus, they should steal one with sails. Or perhaps one without a three-headed guard dog on it.
That's quite an introduction. Diving into Greek storytelling had to be an adventure. What sort of research did you do for this story?
A little bit of everything, really. For example, I needed to know what kind of sailors one would have been likely to encounter roaming the Mediterranean in the Heroic Age. Then a bit of geographical research to understand the location of African mountain ranges. Armed with that knowledge, I then went ahead and bent things out of realistic shape and into new shapes that definitely don't coincide with reality, but that fail to do so in plausible ways.
What is your favorite Greek story of old?
Definitely The Odyssey more than The Iliad. I like the fact that poor Ulysses is pretty much clueless to understand where he is and where he's going most of the time, tossed by the whim of the gods. Some of the characters of this book are obviously inspired by this behavior.
Intriguing! Your bio says your stories have been published into seven languages. Wow! Which languages? Did you write them in all these languages or have them translated?
They've been translated! I can only really write in English and Spanish. Apart from Spanish, the other languages are German, Czech, Galego, Romanian, Greek and Portuguese. I'll be making my French debut later this year, so exited about that, too!
That is exciting! Good luck! Which one of your characters surprised you?
I think Mansour ended up surprising me the most. I originally intended to use him as a one-scene joke, but then he invited himself along on the quest. Like the others he combines spectacular incompetence with amazing knowledge that is very limited in scope.
I love when characters take on a life all their own. Who is your favorite (or least favorite) character and why?
I actually think that my favorite character is Bertie the Pink Sea Serpent. For one thing, he's the smartest of the lot, but he also has a unique set of problems that, despite being a bit bizarre (he's a pink sea serpent, I think bizarre is kind of par for the course) are immediately relatable to most readers.
I'm also kind of partial to Kopulus, despite the fact that he is a) the dumbest character in the book, possibly the dumbest character in any book and b) a likely to be singled out as an example of everything that is wrong with alpha males. The reason I ended up liking him is that he isn't particularly sophisticated. He's utterly unaware of the way the world's wheels are spinning around him as he tries to muddle through complex situations by using the only tools at his disposal: a sword and a willingness to use it on anything.
They sound fun. I bet readers love them. If you could time-travel, would you travel to the future or the past? Where would you like to go, and why would you choose that time period?
I'd go into the future to see what wonderful things await us. There's a lot of doom and gloom both in the news and in science fiction, but I believe that humans with their back to the wall are pretty much capable of solving any problem that confronts them. So the future will continue to get better. The past few hundred years have seen a constant improvement in the lot of people born into this world (a great book recommendation to see that with numbers is The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker), and I'd like to know where the upward arrows end up in five hundred or a thousand years' time.
So nice to meet a fellow optimist. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Leave a review on Amazon - good or bad, all reviews help authors. Also, blog about us and recommend books to friends.
Excellent advice. What can we expect from you next?
I have a three books forthcoming, already sold and contracted, but only one is a genre book. First up should be Love and Death, a collection of linked short stories from Creator's Press. Next will likely be Timeless, a thriller from Gypsy Shadow Publishing. The genre book is a novel entitled Ice Station: Death from Severed Press. That last one is my third book with Severed, which means they bought it with my proposal... and now I'm two thirds of the way into writing the thing!
There are also a number of short stories forthcoming and some books that are sitting in editor's hands awaiting a final decision-but I can't talk about those until they sell!
And then things get complicated.
Wow, I can see why you asked for the day to be twice as long! You are obviously super busy, so I will let you go. But thank you so much for stopping in, and I wish you all the best.
Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine writer with over two hundred stories published in fourteen countries, in seven languages, and is a winner in the National Space Society’s “Return to Luna” Contest and the Marooned Award for Flash Fiction (2008).
His latest books are The Malakiad (2018) and Incursion (2017). He has also published two science fiction novels: Outside (2017) and Siege (2016) and an ebook novella entitled Branch. His short fiction is collected in Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).