Striving For Glory and Recognition

Author Interview Michael R. Schultheiss

The Altar of My Fate follows a warrior and his companion as they embark on a dangerous quest to defeat an ancient god. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

First of all, thank you for such thoughtful questions!

A big part of my inspiration came from history. After all, history is full of stories like Rosteval’s: an intrepid warrior and his band on a search for adventure and spoils.

In particular, I’ve really been gripped by the histories of the Middle East and South Asia. Proud city-states, warring kingdoms, migrating tribes, and rich bodies of mythology and lore – what’s not to love?

Sharp-eyed history buffs may also spot interesting parallels between the trade in slave-girls and war-horses across the Sebaiya Desert, and the real-world Trans-Saharan Slave Trade.

What was the inspiration for the relationship that develops between Ghaitta and Rosteval?

As in, warrior acquires slave-girl, and they subsequently fall in love?

I have to award much of the credit for that to my fiancée. She read an earlier draft of the book, one in which Ghaitta actually played a relatively minor role – Rosteval had a different love interest, believe it or not – and she really zeroed in on Rosteval and Ghaitta.

So, I rewrote Altar at her urging, which is another thing I have to credit her for (I was going to scrap it altogether) and gave Ghaitta a much more important role. It still took me one more draft and at least two more re-writes of the ending of the book to realize that the real love story here was Rosteval and Ghaitta!
All that to say, I have to thank my fiancée for talking sense into me. This book is far, far better for her influence.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Striving for glory and recognition is a key theme. Through the various drafts of this book, Rosteval has always had a passionate yearning to distinguish himself and make his mark on the world.

I think it’s why I like him so much: as a writer, I can relate!

Adventure is another theme, the allure of distant lands and peoples. I think a lot of the fun for me in writing this book came from watching Rosteval and his war-band as they rode in search of lands beyond the horizon.

There’s also, of course, themes having to do with history, culture, and geography. I love learning about people from different cultures, who lived in different places and times, and I hope to inspire others to take an interest in world cultures and history.

For me, looking at history and culture is an opportunity to learn how to view things from a different perspective than my own, and reflect on how the values of human societies change and evolve.

One of the things you notice when you study history is that people in many different places and times had ideas and attitudes about things like invasion, war, conquest, and yes, slavery, that are shocking to modern Westerners.

Altar has quite a bit of these things – as one reviewer noted, almost every aspect of Rosteval’s adventures revolves around slaves – but I’m confident when I say that I pulled my proverbial punches. Real history from practically every corner of the world is a much, much grimmer affair than anything you’ll read in my novels.

I think one of the tragedies of the human condition is our own repeated inability or unwillingness to see the perspectives of others: we tend to either presume that everyone thinks like we do, or else we think other people are simply Other, alien, incomprehensible at best if not downright “bad” or “evil.”

Seeing how other people view the world doesn’t mean changing our own values or perspectives, but it should, in my view, help us to be humbler. How much of our modern sensibilities are predicated on full bellies, warm houses, and being able to turn on the lights whenever we want?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Book 2, The Spiral of My Destiny, is out now! I am currently working on book 3 (title to be announced), and I expect it will be ready to go in June. I’m getting married in August, and I am completely adamant that it will be published before then!

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A warrior questing for glory…
A slave-girl with a secret…
Can they claim the ancient altar?
Trained to the warrior’s path, Rosteval yearns for glory and craves adventure in unknown lands.
Leading the war-band he created, he sets off on a quest to brave a formidable desert and the swords and arrows of a growing number of enemy tribes.
He expected the mounting dangers… but he didn’t expect Ghaitta, the beautiful slave-girl with a secret… and the power and peril of an ancient altar, an artifact of the vanished Shaper race.
As his enemies multiply, Rosteval is forced to confront an immortal adversary and the looming specter of defeat. Can Rosteval and Ghaitta avert disaster, and claim the fateful power of the ancient Shaper altar?
Brimming with fierce tribes, deadly perils, ancient powers, and sexy slave-girls, The Altar of My Fate is the epic fantasy adventure you’ve been craving. Get it now.

Posted on May 5, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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