The Key of Alanar (The Alanar Ascendant #1)
by Rory B. Mackay
Publisher: Blue Star Publishing
Publication date: August 15th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Lasandria: an ancient, advanced civilization, consigned to oblivion by the greed and power-lust of its own people. The coming apocalypse heralds the arrival of a new evil that will ravage the world of Alanar for an entire age. Yet on the eve of Lasandria’s destruction, the ethereal overseers of the mortal realm grant a dispensation—a promise of hope for the future.
That hope lies with an orphaned teenager named David, born some ten millennia later; a boy whose isolated and uncertain existence leads him on a journey upon which hinges the fate of not just his world, but countless others.
On the run from a brutal military force, David’s quest is one born of shattered dreams and tainted by the thirst for revenge. As an inter-dimensional war that has been waged since the beginning of time threatens to consume his world, the dark force that destroyed Lasandria lurks in the shadows, ready to take possession of the one thing that will either save Alanar or destroy it: David.
Q&A with the Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m a 30-something Scottish guy who lives along the coast of the North East of Scotland. I was creative from a young age and always loved immersing myself in my imagination and bringing it to life with stories, books, comic books and whatever else I could. Artistic and imaginative, I was a natural dreamer and a born philosopher. After studying Fine Art I graduated from college with a degree in Social Science.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
I knew I wanted to be writer from the time I was 5 or 6. As I grew up, I began working on a series of adventures which I initially wanted to take the form of a film or TV series. My stories have always been strongly cinematic and visual. As I went through school and college, life kept me busy although I did spend a lot of time devising the characters and plot of what would eventually become ‘The Key of Alanar’ and The Alanar Ascendant series. I amassed a huge volume of notes, scribbles and drawings as the world of Alanar took shape in my head. It wasn’t until a long period of ill health struck that I found myself with the time and space to get back to my true passion as a storyteller. I then spent many years writing my first two novels. ‘Eladria’, the prelude to the series was published in 2013, and ‘The Key of Alanar’ (which has the longest genesis of all) was published in September.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
I grew up inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Philip Pullman and also Herman Hesse, Aldous Huxley and Paulo Coelho; and others such writers who used stories to convey ideas. I always knew that I wanted to write books that would function as both page turners but also thoughtful meditations on the nature of life, the human condition and the nature of reality. That’s what I always loved about the science-fiction that I grew up with. Sci-fi stories often work as wonderful metaphors and allegories. That is the power of the genre, and I love it.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I write in the morning, when my mind is as fresh as it can be. Later in the day I can edit or work on blogs or any other writing jobs I have to do. But getting into a flow of writing is easiest for me in the morning or early afternoon.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
That is something I can’t quite pinpoint! The idea for ‘The Key of Alanar’ developed quite organically over many years. It started off as a story about a group of people displaced from their home due to some disaster (initially it was a terrible plague that precipitated their departure; then a horrific flood; and finally an invasion by a brutal military force). The story, entitled ‘The Journey’, followed their adventures as they set off in search of a new home. Over the years the story changed somewhat, becoming more complex with a great many twists and turns along the way, as I developed the mythology of Alanar and a plot involving an inter-dimensional invasion.
6) What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
I think what sets my work apart is the way I combine an action-packed blockbuster feel with an element of depth; a philosophical and metaphysical undertone. I see fiction as means of exploring ideas; of questioning and challenging the way we relate to each other and to life. Since the earliest recorded myths and legends, stories have been used as a means of exploring life, death and reality, and of expanding and elevating consciousness.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
David is my favourite character. There’s a lot more of me in him than I’d even like to admit. He’s a hero, but a flawed hero. Throughout the course of the story he struggles with some terrible ordeals and this sets him down a dark and dangerous path. He loses his way more than once, which I found fascinating to write. He has a good heart and good intentions, although he is often his own worst enemy, and his struggles with grief and self-doubt at times threaten to consume him. Essentially it’s a story about redemption; about finding that which is strongest and best in ourselves and learning to transcend the hardships and pain of life. David is a complex character who changes a lot over the course of the story, and I loved writing his journey.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
The grand climax was the most ambitious and challenging thing I’ve ever written, yet I’m immensely proud of it. I basically explode the universe open and see what happens! At times I had to actually restrain myself and tone things down a bit, just to make sure my grasp wasn’t exceeding my aim. I basically explore what it means to be human; what existence is and what the purpose behind life is.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
If there’s any message I’d like readers to take away it’s this: you are much more than you think you are. Life can take everything away from you and strip you bare; you can experience pain, confusion and hardship, but there’s an unfathomable power within you. This is the power to transcend, to exceed your limits, to heal your heart and to contribute to the world in ways you may never have even dreamt of.
10) What are your hopes for this novel?
Simply that people read it, enjoy it and get something from it. It’s my hope that this is a book that will stay with the reader long after they have read the final page.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
The second book in The Alanar Ascendant series, ‘Shattered Time’ will hopefully be released in the next year, followed by the third and final book, ‘War of the Gods’. After that, who knows! I certainly have a great many ideas for future books.
About the Author
A natural born writer, thinker and dreamer, Rory Mackay was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1979. As an ardent student of Vedanta, Zen and Taoism, one of Rory’s true passions is exploring the potential of fiction and art to elevate mood and expand consciousness.
Rory is the author of the visionary fantasy/sci-fi novels “Eladria” (2013) and “The Key of Alanar” (2015), as well as a translation and commentary of the Tao Te Ching (2014) and several short stories. He is in the process of writing a self help book and writes a regular blog at http://beyondthedream.co.uk. His website is http://www.dreamlight-fugitive.co.uk.