Words with Ernie Laurence Jr., Author of of "Islands of Loar: Sundered"

Can you tell us a little bit about "Islands of Loar: Sundered?"

The setting for Sundered is twenty chunks of a planet that exploded a couple of millennia in its past. These "Islands" are roughly the surface area of Oklahoma to Montana. In the world of Loar, the gods are said to have left before The Sundering, the great cataclysm that tore the planet apart, which is part of why it happened. The legend goes that they grew upset with the growing dependence on technology and left the mortals alone with it. Technology is alleged to be the direct cause of The Sundering.

Magic, specifically elemental magic, saved those Islands and life on them, though the raw energy from the cataclysm warped a lot of things, especially the flora and fauna. The Geomancers have disappeared after creating these gigantic gates called pulons that allow travel between the Islands. The Hydromancers are river rats and treated as third class citizens. After the War of Wind and Fire, the Aeromancers nearly wiped out the Pyromancers and enslaved the rest. Now the Aeromancers dominate and many fear to rebel against them since they still maintain the atmosphere around each Island.

There are a number of forces attempting to finish the destruction of Loar, from within and without. Three groups of heroes, unknown to one another, are set on paths to address these issues. In a world that is withering away in body and soul, crushed by despair, these heroes and a few others who will join them later, are all that stands between total annihilation for the world.

What's your background with writing?

I've been writing since the 6th grade. I have a lot of novels written, but never published. You can visit my wiki  to see more of them. While in college I was hired by a gaming company to help design a Lord of the Rings game. I was in charge of the design of Barad Dur, all of the romantic interests, and designing quests, layouts, and a host of other things. After the company had its funding pulled, I went to work for Sony Online on the Star Wars Galaxies MMORPG as a quest designer.

Through it all I've kept writing. Islands of Loar is the latest series I've written but will be the first published because it is the most mature and refined.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

Heh. That list is so incredibly long it's hard to mention here. I have a Goodreads page and anyone who wants can look at it. Tolkien, certainly. Madeline 'Lengle "A Wrinkle In Time" was my first science fiction/fantasy book ever. (I was into Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew before that.) Terry Brooks had a very large influence throughout my writing career.

Of course I would be remiss if I did not state that my biggest influence, especially in those earlier books, is the Bible. I do my best to be a devout Christian. One of the biggest inspirations for me in that vein is that I am what is known as a preterist with regard to eschatology. My earlier books are built directly from that belief.

Some of the newer authors that I have loved are Brent Weeks (Night Angel trilogy), Brandon Sanderson (Elantris, Mistborn), and George Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire). I've also been reading a number of indie authors that have some really good stuff.

What was it like working with "Hero's Guild Publications"?

The owner, chief editor, and staff are all a bit crabby and work too long. They are slave drivers and are on me constantly, 24/7 and never let up!

Hero's Guild Publications is my company, and I am sole proprietor, chief editor and dishwasher, marketing executive, etc. Though I will be considered self-published for a while, in a couple of years the plan is to begin publishing other authors as a full, small-time press. I want to make sure I work out the kinks of publishing on my own novels before I start working with others whose book's I'll be responsible for managing.

Who was responsible for the cover/book design?

A man named Alex Broca. I found him on Deviantart.com. I gave him the layout I wanted and he fulfilled it exactly. Also, a fellow author named Ray Mauritsen designed the title and author name parts and did a fantastic job. Alex will be doing all four covers for the series and possibly the rest of the novels as well if our relationship continues as well as it has so far.

What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity?

At the moment I'm doing the social media thing, Facebook ads, word of mouth and blog interviews like this one. As income flows, I'll be looking into other forms to reach a wider audience. I'm still learning like a lot of others. I'm not afraid to listen and learn if others have advice that has worked for them.

Where can people learn more about you?

I tend to post up a lot more information on my author page on Facebook. I also have a digital appendix for Sundered and all the other novels at the wiki.

I'm not as in to blogging yet as some might advise me to be. I imagine as time progresses and I learn more worth posting I'll post more. For now, I'm content to read others' blogs and stick with writing/editing novels. If some want to add me, I guarantee they won't get inbox spam from goodreads on my blog posts for the next few months. Here it is.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

I have three more books in this quartet to polish and publish. Then I will consider going back to my very first works and bringing them up to date and publishing those. I also have three more trilogies planned in various time settings in Loar that are as of yet unwritten. There is definitely no dearth of material for me, just the time needed to get them all out and done.

Is there anything else about you we should know?

I'm happily married to my wife, Heather, who is the one motivating me to publish instead of just write. I have twins that are two right now. Kade Auren is my son. He is named after one of the characters, well, maybe the character, in my novels. Gwynevere Anne is my daughter. I'm a Physics teacher. I suppose if one wants to know more than that, they can look me up on the wiki or like my author page on Facebook.

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