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Ronald Coleborn Interview

Ronald Coleborn should be no stranger by now, having co-created two well-received TV book series for 711 Press, those being Age of the Sigil and Phoenix Earth. Now Ronald is stepping out on his own with a wonderful new fantasy entry, a series titled Legends of the Dread Realm. Book one, or Chronicles the First as he dubs it, is Knight’s Valor, which enjoyed a soft launch on Friday August 3, 2012 and will roll out everywhere else today, Friday, August 31, 2012. We had a great discussion with Ronald regarding the new series and writing in general. Below is the result of that conversation:

711 Press: We’re glad to have you onboard, Ronald. A lot of your ideas are right up our alley.

Ronald Coleborn: Much obliged. Granted, not all of the ideas are published as is. You two [Daniel Middleton and Jaime Vendera, the co-publishers] bring a lot of good things to the table as well.

711 Press: Thanks. It’s great to have a wonderful team that fosters creativity. Let’s get right down to it. What is the Legends of the Dread Realm exactly? We know it’s a fantasy series, but break it down for the uninitiated.

Ronald Coleborn: Well, Legends of the Dread Realm is about a pair of kingdoms, known as the Great Realms, Prybbia and Glyssia, named after twin regents of a bygone era. In the current scheme of things, a tyrant lord, the ruler of Prybbia, has risen in the east and he commands a vast army of powerful men given to dark sorcery, and others who are infamous mercenaries. War is threatened against the Glyssian Realm after their Outer Guard knights bring a fight to the throne of Prybbia. That initial fight
we’ll call it the Battle of Aklonends in disaster, wherein nearly an entire legion is lost. Things get worse when citizens of the Freelands, a region not under any direct rule, march against Glyssia, which is completely vulnerable at this point. I won’t give too much away, but essentially a band of warriors moves to defend the realm, despite the great loss recently suffered on the fields of Aklon. Throughout the series you’ll see characters grow and evolve, others die, and the story advanced like you’ve seen in no other fantasy series up to this point.

711 Press: What makes you say that?

Ronald Coleborn: Well, you know the answer to that, but for the sake of the uninitiated, as you say, I’ll spill the beans. 711 Press has created a unique formula with the movie-in-book-form concept. I mean you guys push that concept pretty hard, and I had to rethink my approach to fiction writing, but it really did pay off. I am able to tell a pretty fluid, organic story that unfolds quite naturally without me attempting to balloon it or stretch it out for the sake of word count. The plot just moves, and characters get to work out their issues and motivations without a lot of nudging on my part. This is one instance where the story really did tell much of itself. It wanted to be told.

711 Press: How many books are going to comprise the series

Ronald Coleborn: Right now I’d say six, but that can change. The overall plot stands at six, so we’ll go with that.

711 Press: And can you tell us how this series ties into the larger 711 Universe?

Ronald Coleborn: Ah, yes, yes. For those of you who don’t already know, 711 Press produces books that are tied into the same universe, sort of like Marvel Comics and DC Comics, or the films from Marvel Studios. James LaFleur and Gordon Massie did wonders with the Crisis Trilogy in my opinion, and they tied another thrilling series into their saga, that being Order of 5ive. Then that book refers to Roger Vallon’s Kill Factor series, which, with its second offering, Serpent Head, mentioned things we saw in Drusilla Winters’ third Moment of Death book (consequently of the same name).  Another 711 Press writer, Melvyn Riley, wrote a series titled Age of the Sigil, which I co-created and plotted with you gentlemen [Daniel and Jaime]. The Legends of the Dread Realm comes on the heels of that saga, being set in the age that follows. In fact, one of the characters in the first book, Knight’s Valor, refers back to Sigil, so we know it is the same universe. The same can be said for Jami Lynn Saunders’s Werecat Saga, which ties into another TV book series titled Phoenix Earth.

711 Press: That’s how we planned this thing from the outset. And you’re absolutely right. All of the books are in the same universe, and some in the same timeline in fact, a few of which you named already. So tell us a little more about Dread Realm, is it for youngsters, adults, or what?

Ronald Coleborn: I’d say anyone over 17 can dig in. Any younger than that and I’m not liable for any psychological damage they’ll suffer. [Ronald laughs]. Seriously though, there’s a bit of violence and adult situations, but nothing gratuitous, and, as per the 711 Press guidelines, no foul language. Fantasy fans on a whole will eat it up though. The plot is a literary onion, which will see its many layers peeled away over the course of the six-book series. But each book promises to thrill and delight. Not one of them will drag out and stall the story momentum, like the works of a few contemporary authors who will go unnamed.

711 Press: Yeah, let’s not ruffle any feathers there. We can’t wait to unleash the full series on the public.

Ronald Coleborn: Ditto to that. And I’m really excited about Melvyn Riley’s follow-up saga, SpitFire, which is set in the age that follows my Dread Realm series.

711 Press: We’ll come to that in another interview [Jaime laughs].

Ronald Coleborn: Right, sorry. Jumping the gun a bit there am I?

711 Press: Just a tad. But no worries. So what is your motivation going into a series like this? How do you prepare and what keeps you going?

Ronald Coleborn: Well I live by many of the things I’ve learned writing for this press, namely the things Daniel taught me. I live and breathe whatever genre I’m working in. In the case of Dread Realm, I was surviving on a steady diet of Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, and Elric of Melniboné. Tolkien, Martin, and Moorcock. How can you go wrong? But know that I merely gleaned inspiration from these gentlemen and not fodder for plots. My plot is set apart from the weighty tomes of those greats. I also watched a lot of fantasy and medieval period films, the recent Clash of the Titans, Centurion, HBO’s Rome and Game of Thrones, among many others. Doing this helped me to streamline my storytelling and present a neat package of action, character motivations, and fantasy lore. And for the latter alone, one must turn to the masters to see how it should be done.

711 Press: Good stuff. So, you dropped a few big names just then, but who would you say is your favorite fantasy author? 

Ronald Coleborn: That’s a tough question. I think it depends on the decade I’m in [more laughter]. I go through periods where I follow a set of writers and invest my heart and soul into their created worlds, and then, just like that, time passes and I find myself tuned in to a new set of writers. I just move on. Right now I’d say I’m into George R. R. Martin, who I’ve been reading well before the recent catapult to fame, and relative newcomer Patrick Rothfuss, the man behind the Kingkiller Chronicle. Really thrilling stuff.

711 Press: Nice. So we read the first book in your series, Knight’s Valor, which we loved, but the story was so engrossing and impacting, that we’re wondering how you’ll top it. Because, as you know, one of our hallmarks is to have each book in a series outdo the next.

Ronald Coleborn: Well that is the wish of all creative persons, I suppose. We want our new properties to exceed the old ones; the latest to surpass the last in every sense. Well, I see you’ve attempted that with Jami Lynn’s Werecat Saga, which evolved and expanded as the story unfolded, as did the Crisis Trilogy, which saw its set pieces and staging grounds balloon, even shifting to the past, etc. But those were three-book series. Mine is six books. If I were to do that I’d just about have a heart attack trying to top myself each time out. Pacing is the name of the game in this case, and while the stakes will be raised, and the story advanced via engaging dialogue and action, don’t expect a planet to crash into Urthe or something crazy like that simply to make the previous books seem tame by comparison. The impact will increase naturally, as the story allows. But everything will get deeper with each book. I’m all about exploring the characters as well, deepening them along with the overall story.

711 Press: That’s the kind of stuff we like to hear. It sounds like you’ve absorbed everything we’ve offered concerning our approach to fiction writing.

Ronald Coleborn: Of course I have, and I’m sure it will show in all of my books. I feel I’ve really grown as a writer since signing on with 711 Press. 

711 Press: We have to agree there.

Ronald Coleborn: Not to mention, I’m actually a fan of all the other 711 Press writers. And I’m not just saying that. I read everything you guys put out, and not just for the sake of building and expanded the universe. I just want to know what’s going on on the other side of things. What Jami Lynn is up to, and Drusilla. Roger Vallon’s Kill Factor series is really keeping me on the edge of my seat too.

711 Press: It’s interesting that you say that because a couple of the other authors expressed pretty much the same thing. It reminds me of the days I [Daniel] used to read comics. A lot of the artists and writers were really into one another’s books, and gushed about them more than many of the fans.

Ronald Coleborn: Exactly my point.

711 Press: Well, with that said, we’ll let you go. You’ve got a few more books to complete so we won’t keep you.

Ronald Coleborn: It’s been a pleasure, gentlemen.

711 Press: Indeed. So pick up Ronald Coleborn’s new fantasy book today by visiting the Knight’s Valor product page. And happy reading, folks!

(You can check out the Knight’s Valor page here.)