A Violent And Often Unpredictable World

Joshua Landeros Author Interview

Pantheon follows a farm girl and an orphan boy whose fates are intertwined as they set out on separate adventures a continent apart. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration came from a few different places. A lot of my inspiration came from The Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix, The Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura, and in large part the Monstress graphic novel series by Marjorie M. Liu. Garth Nix has a talent for deep dives with characters who live in worlds quite distinct from our own. Magic is both a source of power but also something toxic to the human body if handled incorrectly. Life and death share the same importance to the story which I wanted to impart in my series as well. 

Vinland Saga takes a youthful character and plunges him into a violent and often unpredictable world filled with schemers and the power hungry. There’s a great emphasis on the duality of men in the many chapters and that was something I definitely wanted to focus on in my story. Loss of innocence is there too and since my characters were going to be young, their teens and early twenties respectively, I wanted them to go through a similar journey.

Monstress does a stellar job at worldbuilding. Quite frankly I find it jaw dropping. The technology, the extensive history, even the multiple factions vying for power, it all comes together beautifully. That masterful level of storytelling was a goal of mine the entire time.

Athaliah and Yaphet both have life-altering experiences on this journey. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Going back to Vinland Saga, I wanted there to be an emphasis on the loss of innocence. In Atty’s case, she starts out as a close-minded hunter and farmer but slowly is drawn to the life of a soldier. Not only that, but she begins to see the world isn’t so black and white. Some of her naivete comes from being so young, but a lot of it also comes from her parents’ decision to hide the world from her. 

In Yaphet’s case, I wanted to have an Attack on Titan-style reveal of a conspiracy and a disastrous lie. Yaphet seeks acceptance and knowledge, but these very things lure him closer and closer to a very dark truth that threatens to shatter the world he knew. The truth is a hard thing to accept. For some it’s impossible, and that is the nature of Yaphet’s journey during the story. For Yaphet, his hardest trial will be self acceptance and forging his own path.

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

I tried to focus on a few different ones. Over time, I developed them and I hope to continue to do so in future Pantheon entries. For me one of the most important was discrimination. Discrimination is a heavy part of human history no matter what continent you’re on, and even in the modern era it’s still a touchy subject. I wanted to make sure this was an integral part of Pantheon whether it be the hate between the Jingsehi and the Sebelians or even the hatred that Yaphet and Atty experience from their own people. 

Just as important was the use of violence and fear to mold minds. Everyone has heard the theme of “people fear what they don’t understand.” In the world of Pantheon, not only is this still very much true, but in the unknown realms, there actually is great evil. The only thing is the characters often misinterpret where the danger truly stems from. Even though I’m building a fantasy world, I still wanted those connections to the world we all live in. As an avid history reader, there was a lot for me to draw on.

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

Great question! I actually have a lot going on. Recently I have been experimenting with Kindle Vella and releasing episodic stories. So far I have launched two, Law of Sacrilege and Pantheon: Genesis. Pantheon: Genesis is actually a continuation of Pantheon (Pantheon #1) and Pantheon: The Phantom (Pantheon #2). It mainly follows Yaphet’s storyline and later will be published as Pantheon: The Contact, the third book in the series. Law of Sacrilege season one will be the next book in the series and will be published as The Vision Prelude on December 7! This story is a prequel that takes place a hundred years before the events of Pantheon and actually explores the world of the Jingseh and beyond. Curious readers can get all the latest news on my website and social media!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Athaliah Sowell is accustomed to the harsh winters and gentle springs of Sebel. She may be just a young farmhand, but a fire burns within her heart. Her father served in the infamous Hollow Wars, a war that bathed their fields in blood. All for the price of freedom. Even with the newfound peace, smoke is on the horizon. The delicate truce with the other nations teeters on the edge of collapse. As the eldest child of the Sowell family, Athaliah must now take up the mantle. Sebel is a land filled with beauty as well as monsters, but Athaliah has always wanted more. Beyond the shore, her destiny awaits. In the South of Sebel, Yaphet stands on the edge of his clan. By divine law, he was forbidden to learn their sacred rights, cast aside for his abnormalities. However, a sign of providence could prove to be his steppingstone. For as long as he can remember, he’s wanted access to the vast knowledge of the Mystic Order. Before that dream can be grasped, he must be tested. The sacred hunt awaits. Though they are at opposite ends of the continent, the fate of these two are inextricably intertwined. Fans of the adventure, fantasy, and horror will rejoice with Pantheon.

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 13, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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