The Games We Played

Bradley Blankenship
Bradley Blankenship Author Interview

In Lost Dreams the Four Were Bound is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, supernatural, and a little horror as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

It’s a bit of both for me, having been that way since its inception.

The story’s foundation started in childhood. My then best friend Clayton and I would daydream about adventuring in places with grand vistas, other planets, etcetera based upon the games we played and books we read. His mom still has the maps we made.

These ideas crystallized in my teenage years, growing around a repertoire of media experiences and creative endeavors: books like the Silmarillion for how it summed Tolkein’s immense mythos, movies like Event Horizon’s and stories by Edgar Allen Poe for the way they build tension, anime like Full Metal Alchemist and Ghost in the Shell for how they present intrigue and character, I could go on forever. This all culminated Dungeons and Dragons games with my brother Todd, allowing me to practice storytelling with an audience.

I began to fit it all together in college, writing dozens of short stories about the various characters while exploring my voice. I then decided to set the tone of the universe and grander plot in this first book. The final process of putting pen to paper flowed organically, organized around the extensive world-building from my youth and beyond.

Your characters were often compelling and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character development?

I should always be able to look back and say, “This character would have gotten to the end on their on their own” (within the constraint of minor contrivances that make up a plot). I start by asking myself, “What are the character’s motivations?” I then detour into understanding their history. That then feeds back into their motivations and often their hangups or flaws. If I can’t chart a path from where a character begins (strengths, weaknesses, etc.) to where they end up through their motivations, then I’ve done something very wrong.

Two examples of this are Neris and Elis. In the original draft of the book, the two were much more adversarial and spurned on by jealousy. Elis also was much more vindictive, not having much remorse or interest in the Hyunisti she had lived around or so long. In some ways, this made sense for Elis, as she came from a place where she embraced independence but lacked a lot of responsibility. But this made me ask a ton of questions, like, “Why wouldn’t Elis leave? Why does she care about Neris? What about Rais? Does it make sense why she cares for Davnian?” Many of the same questions could be asked of Neris as well.

None of this worked thematically or motivationally. Looking back to where each of these women came from, I realized that they were two halves of a very bitter pill. Both at their core are of the same medicine: independence, passion, and a need to control their worlds. But due to their circumstances, they donned different personas, expressing themselves in contrasting ways. Digging into their roles allowed both characters to reach the book’s finale without feeling forced or rushed.

The world you’ve created is rich and feels authentic and believable. What were some themes that were important for you to focus on when creating your world?

I don’t focus on themes at all initially. I concentrate on plots, character arcs, and how they tie into the bigger picture. After finishing the first draft of In Lost Dreams the Four Were Bound, my best friend Kat and girlfriend Ami brought my attention to the themes of “loss, grievance, dreams, being tied down.” Looking at how those played across the book from a more theatrical perspective, I deduced what enhanced and detracted those themes. I ended up expanding a few scenes, namely adding more from the perspective of some of the various Hyunisti.

As for the world itself, I would say a lot of that comes from being an optimistic realist with a somber, romantic demeanor. Melancholy and sentiment drive both what I create and enjoy, which most people would probably find funny as I rarely seem that way. There are inspirations, including video game series like Final Fantasy, manga like Berserk, Yoko Taro’s Drakengard and Nier series, Lovecraft’s horror works, etcetera. I guess you could say there are broader themes about “striving against the inevitable” surrounded “by points of light and darkness in an otherwise grey world.” I’ll have to ponder it a bit more.

This is book one in the Genean Chronicles series. What can readers expect in book two?

If book one serves as the gateway of tone and setting for the world, then book two sets the stage for the primary conflict of the Genean Chronicles. The “bookends” and “intermissions” continue to hint at the expansive universe far beyond Genea, into the greater Remi’s Cross universe. Expect even more action as our heroes and heroines come face to face with gods and other abominable machinations. And of course, we will have more character drama and expanding roles as our cast grows. Anything else is spoilers, so please look forward to it.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In lost dreams the four were bound: the ancient friend lulled by comfortable melancholy, the jilted lover bent to sisterly duty, the prideful brother jailed in bloody ambition, all while Virage slept trapped in nightmare…

For over three hundred years, a tribe of elvish Hyunisti talvuo has lingered in somber isolation deep within the giant trees and briar trails of the Lorinian Witchwood. Within their treetop village, the burdens of four outsiders underscore a chain of catastrophes eyed by watchers from afar. These chains weigh upon them, each a strand of past friendship, starcrossed love, resentment, and tragedy.

While the outsiders toil beneath their ambitions, the rites of spring herald cascading changes for the forest folk. With four days remaining, suspense clings to the village. Yet beneath the anticipation, an abominable evil stirs. Its promise of freedom lures the cursed villagers to play to its manic tune. Its insatiable hunger threatens to devour all it touches.

Can the four dreamers weather the coming storm?

Or are they destined to be consumed by the horrific madness welling from the depths of the forest?

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on November 1, 2020, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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