Interview: Chris S. Marks, Author of Elfhunter

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MarksElfhunterEveryone, please welcome Chris Marks to the blog. She was kind enough to let me probe into her life, and provide bonus picks of her pimped up ride! Enjoy, as I did!

1)   In Elfhunter, two heroines are the lead characters. Was it a conscious decision from the beginning to have 2 female leads or was it something that came about from a more nebulous idea?

I started out to write a short story, having conceived the idea of the villain and wanting to explore it. I needed protagonists, and wanted to have both male and female characters in leading roles, but I really wanted an understated heroine whose strengths could be revealed as the story progressed. Being female, it’s a natural choice. In 2000, when I first started writing the tale of the Elfhunter, there were far fewer “fantasy heroines” than heroes, and precious few worthy ones. I dislike weak female characters, and I wanted to portray my own vision of feminine strength. These books really aren’t about feminism or gender issues, but they are about being true to yourself–knowing who and what you are. Gender issues, when they happen, are a consequence of that.

MarksAuthorPhoto2)   You are a writer and an illustrator. Do you find taking a break from writing to do some illustrations recharges your writing mojo, and vice versa?

I play at being an illustrator, but I do enjoy making art. I have done a lot of sketches of the characters, and a few paintings of Gorgon which shall never be made public, as I don’t want to color the readers’ perception of what he looks like. The only one of my drawings of Gorgon appearing in the original Elfhunter is the one of his eyes. Once I am into a writing project, I rarely stop to do illustrations until I have finished it. If I wanted to make a living at my art, I’d do nothing but dog and horse portraits on agate. Dog show people and equestrians love them–I could be busy for the rest of the year. Then I guess I’d have a real “dog and pony show”, eh!

MarksElfhunterElfmobile13)   Being the biologist you are, what would be your top 5 creatures of fiction you would love to run into in the wild? What are the top 5 you would avoid at all costs?

Interesting question. Let me see–if the term “creatures” includes humanoids, my top five (six!) would include: Wood-elves, Wolfriders (from Elfquest), Dire Wolves (from Game of Thrones), Unicorns/Pegasi, friendly dragons, and the eagles from LOTR. Boring, I know. The ones I would avoid: Bodvari, Ulcas, Orcs, Ulfar (read Elfhunter to find out what those are–I outdid myself with them!), and those nasty earwig-things from The Wrath of Khan–you know, they burrow into your brain through your ears? In fact, let’s just include anything that burrows into your brain. 😛

 

MarksElfhunterEyes 4)   Do you really have custom decals of your cover art decorating your personal vehicle? What gave you the idea and what has been the response?

Yes, there is an Elfmobile. In fact, there are two. I have included photos of the old and the new–the older vehicle (original Elfmobile) is covered with my own art from the original covers; the new one is from newer covers by Hope Hoover. 🙂 The response–well, I’m lucky no one has been involved in a wreck while trying to photograph it on the interstate. I have come out of restaurants to find people having their photos taken with it. It’s like a rolling billboard–one of the best promotional ideas I’ve had. There are pictures of it on cell-phones across America!

5)   Having worked with horses (an intelligent animal species) for years, what are your thoughts on humans as the superior intelligent race on Earth?

Hmmm. Sometimes I wonder. I work really hard to earn money so I can feed my horses, build them a first-class stable, give them a warm, dry bed, take good care of their feet, provide heath care, and in general give them everything a horse could want. Granted, they do have to work for a few hours once in a while, but who’s the intelligent one? By this standard, the only being more intelligent than my horses would be my spoiled rotten Border Collie, Bob.

We humans are intelligent–no doubt about that–but sometimes I wonder whether we’re only intelligent enough to be dangerous. The human mind is a phenomenal thing, capable of creating incredible beauty, but also capable of ugliness unsurpassed by even the most savage of creatures.  I hope we can keep pace spiritually with our own technology, or we might be in trouble. We already are, in fact. We might need to remember that intelligence is nothing without loyalty, sacrifice, empathy, love…

MarksElfhunterElfmobile26)   Who were some of the authors you read as a kid that left a lasting impression on you? What modern-day books/authors do you recommend?

I love the classics such as Dickens and Shakespeare, and have always enjoyed mythology (my third grade book report was on The Iliad). As far as modern authors, I adore Tolkien (he introduced me to epic fantasy, and is the undisputed master of the genre in my opinion). I also enjoy Stephen King (as long as he’s not killing off the dog in the story), Larry McMurtry, and Richard Adams, but my real “comfort read” is James Herriot.

7)   Please let me pry and tell me what are some of your upcoming bookish projects and/or events?

As a fan of Blazing Saddles, I cannot resist the following:

Well, if you must pry…

(I must! I must!)

There’s so much happening in Alterra right now, I can hardly stand the excitement. Elfhunter will be available in print soon, The Fire King (first Alterra Histories novella) is already in print. Fire-heart is due for re-release this spring, a new novella (Fallen Embers) to follow shortly thereafter. Ravenshade re-release will come along later in the summer, and another new novella (Shadow-man), which I have started work on already. There’s a table-top RPG in the works for late summer. THEN there’s the graphic novel version of The Fire King (provided Hope can bear to do the artwork–she still can’t read the final scenes without getting emotional). And I haven’t even mentioned the NEW Alterra series, Undiscovered Realms. I wouldn’t look for the first one until 2014, though…it’s been written for a while, but we can’t release it until after Ravenshade. I’ve got a reasonably full convention schedule planned, as well. Comic Con, GenCon, DragonCon…(whew!)

This post is part of the Elfhunter blog tour organized by Nancy Roberts of 123Ion.com. Check out the schedule HERE to catch more interviews and reviews.

8 thoughts on “Interview: Chris S. Marks, Author of Elfhunter”

  1. What a fun interview. Love the cover art for the forthcoming book, and the art covered vehicles are a very clever idea for promoting the work. I imagine there are a lot of people who ask about it as well as look it up on the internet when they get home after seeing the vehicles out on the road. Both versions have really nice art.

    Wish you all the best, sounds like an exciting time with multiple releases/projects in the works.

  2. Hi! Thanks so much for visiting my blog today! I always love meeting new bloggers. There were so many things I enjoyed about this interview. I can certainly can see that Chris is serious about elves, that elf mobile is pimped out! Oh my gosh… thanks for putting that horrid scene of the earwig from Wrath of Kahn back in my head. I have been trying to forget it since the first time I saw it when I was nine. Yikes! Nasty. What is worse an earwig or a cockroach in your ear? I like that this book features to female elves, that isn’t something you often see so it is definitely different. Anyway thanks for sharing!

    1. Haha! I also saw the Trek Earwig scene when I was a kid and it was years before I could watch that movie again. Yet, today as an adult, it is one of my favorite Star Trek movies.

  3. Thanks so much for featuring me on your very entertaining blog today! I really enjoyed this, especially after your embellishments. If you need somebody to ride back and get a sh*tload of dimes, I’ll volunteer!

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