Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome the author of The Grand Game (Dark Creatures #2), Tim Aherns, from Atmosphere Press, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.
About The Author
Tim Ahrens has been writing for more than forty years, and he is especially passionate about character creation. He has worked on a number of short stories and novels and has frequently collaborated with other writers. Dark Creatures: The Grand Game is his third book; his first was The Salvation of Tanlegalle with a foreword by Piers Anthony, followed by Dark Creatures: A Simple Game. Find more at www.thedarkcreatures.com.
You can connect with author Tim Aherns here:
Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin.
Hello, my name is Tim Ahrens and I have been writing or involved with writing since I turned 14 years old. I got started writing short stories and novels mainly because of one of my best friends. His name was Tim Atkinson. He got me hooked on a little-known game at the time called Dungeons & Dragons. As it turned out I would end up game mastering our group more than playing. In fact, the players loved the games I concocted so much that many of them, including Tim, pushed me to start writing my ideas down for future stories. This is how I started down the long path of a writer. I soon began incorporating my fantasy stories with my other passion: horror. I’d been in love with horror since I was ten. I used to sit with my father every Friday and Saturday night and watch horror movies with him. It was one of the tings that brought me closer to him. He started me off with the classic Universal monster movies. Then TV series like Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and One Step Beyond. To this day I still feel a pang of sadness for the Frankenstein monster, or Lawrence Talbot’s curse to become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the moon is full and bright.
Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?
The Dark Creatures series is a multi-level story. The first level is that of the ancient forgotten Gods that have been cast out of our reality and into a realm where they are forced to wait until the end of creation. In order to alleviate the boredom of eternal life they have been granted the power to play a Game they have dubbed Dark Creatures. In this game two Gods face off against one another in a god versus evil scenario. They are allowed to chose two mortals who have little or no connection with current history and use them as pawns. While they play an amphitheater full of Gods waiting their turn to play cheer, boo or bet on the outcome.
The second level deals with the human pawns chosen for the game. William J. Donovan and Doug Pimpkin have no idea that the events that are unfolding around them will alter their world forever.
The third level is that of the actual living world known to its inhabitants as the world of Dark Creatures. This is a dark world where every nightmare or horrifying creature you can ever dream up lives and roams. Humans also exist in this dark world, but they are in the minority. Into this world William and Doug create their own pawns, bringing to life their own avatars so that an even more complex game can be brought to life for all to enjoy. Dark Creatures: A Simple Game and Dark Creatures: The Grand Game follow these motley entities as they try to stop what was supposed to be a simple game of pawn against pawn from spiraling out of control and threating the very existence of the universe itself.
What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?
Stop every once in a while and look up from your busy lives at the world around you. You never know what or who may be watching you as you watch them.
Who is your favourite character in this book and why?
I love all of the characters in my books. All of them have a life and a flavor all their own. But if pressed for an answer I would have to say Llica Travilan. Why? Well, I get to write songs for her to sing. She’s a quick-tempered, good-hearted bard who loves Augury with all of her heart. She faces life with an adventurous gusto yet is never too busy to stop and play with a child or teach a dark-hearted individual manners. She’s just fun to write.
What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?
Believe it or not, I got the motivation to write the Dark Creatures Series from an anime I was watching at the time called Berserk. It’s about a swordsman who wanders a very dark world in search of his mortal enemy. After listening to the music along with the anime I suddenly began to see my story forming in my mind.
How long did it take you to write this particular book?
It took about a year to write The Grand Game. I had to keep starting and stopping because I have a full-time job that keeps the roof over my head lol.
What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?
I’d love to say that I’d be a full-time writer with a fan base and enough of a following that I can do this full-time. But until that happens I will continue to create the world of Dark Creatures and hold down my full-time job.
Are you working on any other stories presently?
Yes, Book Three in the series, called Dark Creatures: Worlds Without End. I hope to have it done sometime near the end of 2023.
Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?
I love the fusion of horror and fantasy, or dark fantasy, as it’s called. I can and have written short stories in sci-fi and modern settings, as well as Westerns and Gothic settings. Dark Creatures just happened to be set in a dark fantasy setting.
When did you decided to become a writer? Was it easy for you follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?
As I said above, I started writing when I was about fourteen. And I have to say, yes, it’s been easy to follow this passion because I can move it at my own pace. As far as sacrifices go, I really didn’t have to make many. I loved to dream and when I wrote I dreamed in 3D. Beside friends pushing me into spending the money to get published as well as giving me their endless goodwill when I flooded them with questions, like Is this any good? What do you think? Do you like this?
What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?
I sit down and get my bearing after I return home from work for about half an hour. Then I pour myself a cup of coffee, turn on my computer, and put on the soundtrack music that is most appropriate to the scene I am working on. Then I just begin to write, and the world opens up before me in my mind. Sometimes I only write for an hour. Sometimes for half the night. It all depends on how that world flows out before me.
How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?
I use a computer. Without Word my poor editor might pull their hair out lol.
What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)
Steven King’s Firestarter. Pers Anthony’s The Blue Adept. Elaine Cunningham’s Daughter of the Drow. Robert A. Heinlein’s Friday. And Brian Stableford’s The Werewolves of London.
How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
I take long walks. Try to clear my head. Listen to music. Take a nap 🙂
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up. All you need is time to hone your craft. Also, never throw anything away!! You never know when you might need that page!
Thank you, author Tim Aherns, for your insightful answers!
About the Book
The Grand Game
A Grand Game of Dark Creatures has Begun!
Three new Gods join the Janus’s in the madness that has become a Grand Game of Dark Creatures. Circe, Goddess of magic, Apophis, God of chaos, and I Am, Eder God of nightmares, add their human pawns to the game table that has become Millten, Wisconsin.
In turn two more souls join William J. Donovan and Doug Pimpkin, the Gods’ human pawns, as all are forced to craft slaves of their own with in the very fabric of yet another world. A world of real fantasy and nightmares. The true world of Dark Creatures.
What role will Augury Pars and Llica Travilan play? What other horrors may they encounter as they strive to survive as they do the bidding of their human masters? Does the town of Millten, it’s people, as well as the whole of creation, still rest on in their hands? Or is there another force at work that may tip the balance of power and doom all the worlds to darkness?
Come read, enjoy, participate in the greatest of all role playing games! Welcome to Dark Creatures: The Grand Game!
You can find The Grand Game here:
Amazon | Goodreads
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