The Key of Alanar by Rory B. Mackay
(The Alanar Ascendant #1)
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.
Hi, Rory! Welcome to We Do Write. Tell us a bit about yourself.
It’s great to be here, thank you for hosting me! I’m a 36 year old guy from the North East of Scotland. I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life, and one day I figured I get to BE a writer by simply sitting my ass down and writing! It’s not rocket science really. But I did, however, spend a number of years learning the art and craft of writing. My studies led me to study technique, story structure, character development and perhaps most intriguingly of all, mythology. Comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell was a huge inspiration to me. I learned why human beings tell stories, and have done since as far back as time records. What I discovered was fascinating and fueled my passion and love of storytelling. It was also hard to divorce my compulsion to explore spirituality from my need to write. Fiction, I learned, can be a wonderful medium for sharing ideas, for making people think, and for challenging paradigms of thought. The best stories push boundaries and that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I began work on a series of fantasy/sci-fi books when I was still in high school, and that’s what I’m still working on to this very day. I’m slow, yes, but I wanted to do this right! My first novel, ‘Eladria’, was published by Cosmic Egg Books in 2013 to great critical acclaim and reviews. It’s the prelude to The Alanar Ascendant series, which kicks off with ‘The Key of Alanar’. I’ve also written my own version/commentary on the ancient Chinese philosophical text, The Tao Te Ching, and am an avid blogger, artist, photographer and sometimes musician.
Tell our readers a bit about KEY OF ALANAR.
‘The Key of Alanar’ starts with a bang. Literally. An ancient civilisation is wiped out when they make the mistake of opening a gateway to another dimension, letting in a dark and ravenous force of evil. This is actually oddly timely, because I’ve read some bizarre news reports lately about how scientists are supposedly using the Hadron collider to open gateway to other dimensions. Whether this is true or not, I don’t think it’s a very good idea, as my novel attests to. The story then skips ahead some ten millennia and follows a boy named David, who grows up to unearth some startling secrets about himself. An orphaned boy born with a unique power, he is being hunted by a powerful military force, who soon attack and destroy his home in an attempt to capture him. Although he escapes, he finds himself on a perilous quest to save his world from the same dark force that invaded millennia before. There are a great many twists as the story unfolds and a very epic and mind-bending climax. "The Key of Alanar" mixes fantasy, science-fiction with elements of a psychological thriller.
How did the idea of the story come to you?
The seeds began many years ago when I was still in school. Even when I was quite young I knew I had a book that I wanted to write. The story was about a group of people who lose their home and find themselves on the run from a powerful enemy while seeking a new home. Over the years this story began to develop and expand, until I ended up with a multi-layered adventure spanning ten millennia and featuring time travel, alien invasions, dark sorcerers, spaceships, dragons, cities in the sky and one character’s journey from loss, despair and a desperate search to find out who he is, to healing, peace, purpose and identity. I wanted to write something that said something about life; a story with a little philosophical and spiritual depth.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A plotter, most definitely. That makes me sound evil, but I’m not. Honest. I find that I need to have a clear idea of how the book is going to work; not just the beginning, middle and end, but everything in between. I have every chapter sussed before I write a word, enabling me to be sure the book has a coherent structure and is appropriately balanced and paced. If I didn’t do that I’d be terrified that I’d spend a year grueling away only to find that I’d written myself into a corner and that the basic plot didn’t work. That wouldn’t be good.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
For me, the hardest part is believing in myself. I have a reasonably clear vision of what I want to do, but it can be very hard having faith in my ability to actualize that vision. Writing is a solitary process. It’s just me and an empty screen, and trying to spill words onto that screen. There’s no one there to hold my hand and assure me that I’m doing a good job. I have to wrestle with a lot of self doubt; doubt about my skill as a writer and whether my stories are worth writing and sharing with the world. I read the book ‘The War of Art’ earlier in the year and was really rather relieved that these issues are common to many/most/all artists and not just me. Right now, I’m in the early stages of a new book and it really does require an immense leap of faith; faith that what I’m working on will work out in the end; that the initial sloppy draft can be polished into something that shines; that the book is worth spending so much time and effort on; and that someone, somewhere will actually want to read it. Oh, it can be tough being a writer sometimes!
What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
This is a cliche, but a cup of coffee. Or tea. I’m British, so tea is just as good as coffee.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
I’d like to be like the Guardians from my books, with the ability to exist outside of time; to move backwards or forwards and to understand the patterns that bind everything together. The Guardians are pretty darn cool. All my life I’ve wanted to transcend my limitations. I used to want to go back in time to change mistakes I might have made, although now I believe that even the greatest perceived mistakes have had some underlying purpose to them, or brought hidden blessings or lessons. The Guardians would be the first to agree with that, which is why they generally don’t interfere with the affairs of the mortal realm.
What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
My google search history is probably mind-boggling, I daren’t even look. I have quite a random mind and all kinds of bizarre questions tend to pop into my mind. I actually saw a photo of a pretty cool mug the other day, which read “don’t judge me based on my browser history - I’m a writer, not a serial killer’.
Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...
Eating or sleeping. Or drinking coffee or tea. Or Googling weird stuff.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
My mum and dad have been my biggest champions since I was a kid, helping me so much, and they genuinely love my books and vision. They are just the most awesome, amazing people. My sister is all kinds of wonderful, and a huge support. In the reasonably short time we’ve been together, my partner Hugh has been an amazing source of encouragement, inspiration and help to me. I have a number of super cool and supportive friends, as well, too many to mention here. And of course my readers — I genuinely appreciate every single sale, and the amazing feedback I have received. I also want to thank my dog Cosmo, who is lying by my side as I type these words. He’s my baby and writing companion.
Thanks for stopping by the blog.
Thank you for having me. It’s been fun!
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.