Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Release Day Blitz Memory War by Paul Anthony Shortt

Thanks for having me, it's great to be back to talk about my latest book, Memory War.

What inspired you to become an author?

I've been in love with stories since I was a little kid. I was always coming up with my own stories while playing with action figures, and would often play along when watching movies or tv shows, imagining my own characters having adventures alongside the characters on screen.

When I was about 12, my family went on a trip down to the country and we visited a heritage centre called Celtworld. It's since closed, but at the time it had this animatronic re-telling of stories of Irish mythology. That night I started writing down my first ideas for a book. I never finished that book, which is just as well because it was probably awful. But that sense of excitement at seeing a story that was all my own come together never left me.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I prefer to write in quite a close 3rd-person, past-tense, format. While 1st-person is wonderfully intimate, I like having the freedom to show the reader more than any one character can experience.

Do you write in different genres?

I'm beginning to. While Memory War and the books which came before it are firmly urban fantasy, I'm branching into steampunk fantasy next, and I have some ideas for dark fantasy, science fiction, and even space fantasy.

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

I'd have to say urban fantasy. I love being able to blend modern settings and narrative style with fantasy elements. It lets me have the impact of seeing a real-world city under threat, and provide a sweeping epic sense to the story.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

It was a tough one, really. I hate coming up with titles; I'm always worried they'll sound either too cheesy or just plain dull. It came down to taking into account the themes of the previous two books in the series, and where the story goes in this final instalment. The second book ends with a definite sense that war is coming for Nathan and the people of New York, and since the series deals with reincarnation and remembering past lives, and the fate of New York hinges on Nathan and Elena unlocking the secrets of their earliest incarnations, Memory War seemed like a fitting, and evocative, choice.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

Well as I said, I hate trying to decide on a title. But the weird thing is I find I can't get my teeth into a book I'm writing until it has a title. So I typically come up with a working title as early as possible. Not a descriptive one, but one that could actually serve as the final title. More often than not, my working titles wind up being the one that ends up on the cover.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

A common theme in my work is sacrifice. Specifically, what people will sacrifice to that others don't have to. But with Memory War things have changed up a bit. The series deals with reincarnation, the idea that even if you lose the people and things you love, you'll get another chance in another life. You mightn't remember everything, but then again you just might remember enough to be aware.

The message of the book is hope. Hope that no matter how bad things get, no matter how much we suffer or have to give up, we'll get that second chance, and maybe then, we can get it right.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

Memory War ends the story of Nathan Shepherd. It's sad to say goodbye to these characters, but I'm moving on to an exciting new series called Lady Raven. The first book in this steampunk fantasy series will see Cora Ravenell, the daughter of a noble, forced to become an outlaw after her mother is accused of treason against a patriarchal Empire. There'll be swordfights, mystery, magic, flying pirate ships, and more!

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Excerpt Chapter One

Tuxedos were the worst. At least in the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, even during the Renaissance, clothing, men’s especially, was designed to allow enough freedom of movement to fight or defend oneself. The 21st century had long seen the end of that. Nathan Shepherd’s feet blistered in polished shoes. He was sure they were too small, despite what the man in the rental store had said, and found himself longing for a practical form of battle dress which would also go with black tie events.

He scanned the ballroom as he descended the marble steps. The scent of expensive perfume drifted across the air, accompanied by the gentle sway of a string quartet on the stage. Tugging at his collar, Nathan walked to the buffet table and plucked a glass of champagne.

“Status?” Cynthia Keller’s voice crackled in his earpiece.

“Champagne’s not bad,” he said, softly. “Not sure about the caviar though.”

“You’re supposed to be watching the mayor.”

“I’m getting into character.”

“Well listen, 007, we’ve got four people who just went in through the kitchen door and one of them looks a lot like Lucius.”

Lucius was a vampire, one of the top-ranking enforcers for the Council of Chains. He’d been seen on the street a lot since Dorian went missing last year.

“Were they armed?” Nathan asked, sipping the champagne.

“Couldn’t see,” Cynthia replied. “Nothing big, at least. No heavy bags or boxes that could conceal large amounts of weaponry.”

“How are they going to do this?”

“Poison?” Cynthia said. “That’s how they got the chief of police.”

“Difficult,” Nathan said. So many people were taking hors d’oeuvres and drinks from tables and passing servers that it would be impossible to predict what the mayor would take. “Unless they poison something other than the food,” Nathan said. He frowned. It was something to watch for.
“What else is there?” Cynthia asked. “This is too big for a bomb or a shooter.”

“Keep me posted on anything suspicious entering or leaving the building,” Nathan said, sipping his drink and wandering along the dance floor. The crowd on the dance floor parted and he saw the mayor speaking to a group seated at a table.

“I have him,” Nathan said. “Tommy, what’s your status?” This was Tommy’s first time in the field, and he was doing everything he could not to seem nervous.

“Uh, restroom,” his voice came back through Nathan’s earpiece.

“You’re supposed to be by the stage.”

“Sorry boss,” Tommy said. “Must have been the crab meat crackers.”

“I’ve got Green,” Nathan said. “I need your eyes out here.”

“I’ll do my…” The sound of Tommy’s voice was replaced by retching and the splash of liquid hitting liquid. Nathan’s stomach turned a little.

“Just give me a minute,” Tommy said, coughing.

Movement caught Nathan’s eye. Four men moving through the crowd, shoulders set back and arms loose. They were ready to pounce. “I don’t have a minute.” Where was Lucius?

One of them nodded across the ballroom. Nathan turned to follow the gaze and spotted Lucius emerging from a staff door. Nathan set his glass down and started across the dance floor.
Then he saw her, flowing across the floor in a backless scarlet dress, split along the sides to reveal her sculpted calves and thighs. Three ebony hairpins held her long black hair in a coiled bun, leaving only a few tantalising locks framing her face. She turned and narrowed her eyes. He wondered how many other people would have been able to spot the marks on her arms and back where she’d used make-up to cover her scars. Marks earned in battle. Nathan’s gaze drifted of its own accord, up each curve from her hips to her neck, settling for a moment on her blood red lips and wide, practiced smile. Her sea green eyes fixed him and she advanced, sweeping toward him and locking her arms around his shoulders.

“Elena,” he said. “What are you doing here?”

“Making sure you get out alive,” she said. Her smile never faltered. She pulled Nathan into the crowd as the musicians started up a new piece.

“I don’t have time to dance.” He tried to pull away, but Elena held him firm. Nathan placed his hands on her hips and pushed, but she pressed herself against him. He shivered and inhaled her perfume.

“You have four behind you,” she said, “and another four coming from the staff entrance.”

“I know,” he said, leading her across the floor in time to the music. “Lucius is leading them. It’s a Council hit.” He glanced to the side. “Two more on your left, dancing.” They moved apart, keeping their steps in perfect rhythm.

Elena flicked her eyes around. “Three by the stairs. Just you?”

Nathan shook his head as they closed in together again. “Tommy’s inside. Cynthia and Cadence are watching from the next building. Sue’s got the truck waiting.”


“Watching the bar.”

“You should have Cadence in here,” she said.

“I can handle this,” he said.

“You need help.”

Nathan smirked and dipped Elena, gazing down at her.

“That’s the wrong step,” she said.

Nathan felt the energy in the crowd shift. A forgotten sense most mortals possessed, but which only those regularly exposed to the supernatural were aware of, allowed the detection of emotional energy and even the presence of supernatural creatures and magical effects. The crowd was nervous. Eyes moved to Nathan and Elena. People backed away. One of the men approaching from behind Elena flashed a grin, showing a pair of long fangs.

“It’s time to change the tempo,” Nathan said. “Allegro, perhaps?”

Elena nodded and reached for one of her hair pins. Nathan pulled her back up and she threw the pin. It flew straight into the heart of one of the Council agents. Nathan ignored the scream and delivered a side-kick to the sternum of the vampire behind Elena.

“Tommy,” Nathan yelled into his radio. “Where are you?”

Nathan spotted him pushing his way through the crowd as two more vampires moved in on him and Elena. They fought back to back. Elena kicked off her shoes and used another hair pin as a close-range stabbing weapon. Nathan blocked a wild punch and twisted the vampire’s arm, breaking it at the elbow joint. The vampire yelled and Nathan spun, hurling him against the buffet table.

A female vampire leaped onto Nathan’s back. Her hiss closed in on his ear as she reached for his throat. Nathan reached around to grab her, but another vampire kicked him in the stomach.
Tommy tried to push onto the dance floor, but the crowd was too thick and panicked.

“Cadence,” Nathan said, struggling to breathe as the woman on his back tried to strangle him. “Now.”

A window smashed inward as a rolled-up black wrap flew through the air. It landed close to Nathan and fell open, revealing the hilt of his sword.


The woman on Nathan’s back seized and shrieked. Her grip loosened. Nathan spun his hips and threw her off. One of Elena’s pins stuck out of her back. These vampires weren’t dying immediately upon wood piercing their hearts. That meant they were older; more powerful than the average street vampires. They’d need their heads cut off or their bodies burned to finish them off for good.

Nathan dove for his sword, snatching it and slashing the next vampire’s leg. He rolled to his feet and swung down as the vampire’s fingernails grew into long black claws. Its hands fell away and the vampire shrieked, running from Nathan.

Elena reached for the roll of weapons and took two small curved axes. Five vampires surrounded them. Nathan pointed for Tommy to get to the mayor and he nodded, running to the stage. The vampires pounced.

Nathan and Elena reacted as one, fighting off their attackers with precision and unity honed over a hundred lifetimes. Dark blood splattered the dance floor as they cut down the vampires one by one. With every heartbeat, Nathan felt Elena’s soul pulsing and his own respond in kind. They breathed in unison, feeling what the other felt, seeing what the other saw. It was in this, the work of performing death, that their last true bond remained. Nathan was almost used to the regret. It urged him on, giving him power, bringing forth memories of past-life battles to fuel his strength and speed. He reached into those memories now, plucking one from the chaos and taking his past-self’s adrenaline to keep his mind focused on the task at hand. There was no room for mistakes here.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. Even if you think you're getting nowhere and you worry you'll never succeed, keep writing. It's the one thing you can always do, no matter what, to improve your skills and spread awareness of your work. Keep your head up, because life will knock you down, hard, and it'll kick you while you're there. You're the only one who can keep picking yourself back up, and that's the only way to get ahead. Focus on the positive. Be grateful for the good things in your life. Trust in your ability. Learn everything you can about the industry, and make the decisions that are right for you. Do all that, and you'd be amazed just how much you can achieve.

Memory War
The Memory Wars Trilogy
Book 3
Paul Anthony Shortt

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: WiDo Publishing LLC
Date of Publication: September 2nd, 2014

ISBN: 978-1937178550
ASIN: 1937178552

Number of pages: 330
Word Count: 104,500
Cover Artist: Steven Novak

Book Description:

War is coming to New York. Nathan Shepherd's growing band of followers is dedicated to protecting the city, but they now face their greatest threat.

Athamar returns, plunging the city into chaos. Uniting the forces of darkness against Nathan and his allies, Athamar strives to discover a secret hidden for thousands of years. A secret lost to Nathan's memories. Something so dangerous, even the gods themselves fear it.

Nathan and Elena were once the greatest of heroes, champions against evil. Now, haunted by Nathan's past-life betrayal, they must work together and brave the pain of long-buried lifetimes. Somewhere, locked within their former incarnations, lies the key to stopping Athamar, an enemy who has hunted them from one incarnation to the next.

As the city burns and innocents suffer, as heroes fall and hope dies, Nathan and Elena face their final battle, a battle where legends will be reborn.

Available at Amazon

About the Author:

A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren't enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life.

Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group.

He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends.

The following year, Jen gave birth to twins, Amy and Erica. Their fourth child, Olivia, was born in January, 2014.


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Paul Anthony Shortt said...

Thanks for interviewing me :-D