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A Sense Of Transcendence

Michael R. Schultheiss Author Interview

The Spiral of My Destiny continues the saga of Rosteval, where the characters are forming unusual alliances to stop the destruction of their world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

For me, the most important thing was to continue Rosteval’s story in a way that would feel fresh and exciting while also building on everything I’d established in book one, The Altar of My Fate.

By the time I finished Altar, I knew I wanted Rosteval to confront some kind of threat that would be connected to the past history of his world, but I didn’t have any clear specifics in mind.

So, one thought that I had was to try to come up with my own take on the whole concept of the “dark lord.”

Now, many years ago I read Milton’s Paradise Lost, and as anyone who has read it can attest, the character of Satan, or Lucifer, steals the show in the very first scene. He’s a fascinating anti-heroic character, and he’s far, far more interesting and relatable than Milton’s portrayals of God the Father, Christ, or Adam and Eve.

My character Soltapyral thus grew out of my own fascination with the idea of the arch-evil appearing as an angel of light.

He’s an immortal, effectively a god, who is trying to take over the world by seducing people with conjurations, visions that show them immersive, individualized fantasy worlds of pleasure and desire into which they can escape permanently.

Of course, since I set up Rosteval and his wife Ghaitta as enemies of this being who is trying to end all wars, all conflicts, all cruelty and oppression and suffering, and who has the means to do so, I had to explore human nature, good and evil, and the meaning of life.

Many aspects of modern life more or less reflect Soltapyral’s mindset: the idea that individual comfort and consumption should be the telos, that is to say the meaning, the end-all and be-all, of human existence.

Essentially the whole edifice of modern civilization is built on this idea, but it’s a lie.

We moderns have more cheap calories, more drugs, and more entertainments and distractions than any other group of humans in the whole of world history… but are we happy, fulfilled, and contented for it?

If the satisfaction of individual appetites and the pursuit of individual comfort, self-esteem, and validation was the key to human fulfillment—what Aristotle calls eudaimonia, in essence “the good life”—we wouldn’t have skyrocketing rates of obesity, drug abuse (prescription and illegal), and depression, anxiety, loneliness, and deaths of despair.

The thing of it is, and this is another key theme in Spiral, human beings need meaning, purpose, and identity, and that means we need to struggle toward meaningful goals, cultivate meaningful relationships with others, and find a sense of transcendence, a sense of something higher than ourselves.

Let me step off my soapbox and close by acknowledging another source of inspiration for this story: my amazing, incredibly supportive fiancée. I really could not have written the central relationship in this story, namely Rosteval and his wife Ghaitta, without having experienced the life we are building and have built together.

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the character’s personalities grow organically as you were writing?

I’m one of those people who writes with a mixture of the “architect” approach, which is heavy on outlining, and the “gardener” or “pantser” (as in “seat of my pants”) approach, which is all about seeing what happens as the story goes along.

What this means is that I created an outline with some story beats, and then started writing. I had a good grasp on Rosteval and Ghaitta since, after all, I had spent a whole book with them already, but some of the other characters surprised me.

A case in point is Kurjayak, a tribal chieftain who joined Rosteval in the first book. He’s a brave but ruthless warrior, and he has led his people on numerous raids against enemy tribes for the purpose of capturing slaves.

This is all very typical in this world. Kurjayak is not unusual in this regard among his people, and his people are not unusual among the other warring tribes and kingdoms of the world of the Rosteval Saga.

For that matter, there have been many times and places in our own world’s history in which Kurjayak would have fit in perfectly.

As I gave Kurjayak free rein to express himself, though, I found him expressing a view of life defined by responsibility, struggle, and achievement.

His warrior culture is preoccupied with courage, action, and a keen sense of personal honor that must be ruthlessly defended.

And in many ways, Kurjayak embodies those values and uses them to affirm his own life. I’ll say this: he was a lot of fun to write.

I also had to think about how Rosteval’s own mentality had shifted, or would shift, in this book.

He spends essentially the whole of Altar attempting to gain things: status, power, slave-girls, a place for his people.

There’s a certain mentality you need if you’re going to undertake an adventure like that, and a somewhat different mentality you need if you’re married and planning to defend your position of power.

How long did it take you to imagine, draft, and write the world your characters live in?

This is a challenging question to answer because in truth, I spent years working on Rosteval’s world, but I added things with this new book and am adding even more things with the one I’m working on now.

Basically, it took me three tries from 2013 to 2018 to come up with a complete draft of Altar, and I did a lot of worldbuilding during that period.

Then I set the whole thing aside until my now-fiancée talked me into picking it back up, which I did in 2020 during the pandemic. I did a lot more worldbuilding in 2020 and 2021, and the process continues today with the book I’m working on now (about which more below).

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

I’m working on Book Three, the working title being The Third Way of My God.

My goal right now is to complete it and publish it before my fiancée and I get married in early August, but we’ll see: I may need more time due to the size and complexity of this story.

Also, if any of my readers want to stay in touch, right now the best place to do it is my Facebook page. And please feel free to reach out, whether on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or through the website!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

“A marvelous continuation that asks the age old question: what is the meaning of life?” ~Reedsy Discovery
An enemy god ascends…
Ancient immortals scheme…
Who can they trust?

Rosteval faces a new peril: an old rival has unleashed an ancient immortal, a being who is now ascending to godhood.
A vanquished foe offers a questionable alliance, and a connection with otherworldly beings who may be able to help… but at what price?
Even as dangers mount from every quarter, Rosteval and Ghaitta embark on a journey to gain powers, win allies, and master a conflict between entities who see them as pawns.
Dangerous foes, revelations from the past, questionable allies, intrigue, suspense, and passion all abound in The Spiral of My Destiny, sequel to The Altar of My Fate. Get it now.

The Spiral of My Destiny

Rosteval is faced with many decisions as he is forced to partner with a former enemy to defeat their new nemesis. Soltapyral is a Rishvanti and is bent on destroying the world in an attempt to regain their lost glory. Ghaitta is Rosteval’s wife and is also a powerful sorceress. The two of them together must find a way to stop Soltapyral and his army of Rishvanti before they can destroy the world and a group of people known as the Shapers.

Rosteval knows that he must end Soltapyral’s plans before it’s too late. Rosteval and Ghaitta’s journey takes them across treacherous landscapes and on an epic adventure through deadly battles. Along the way, they meet colorful characters and make allies with some unlikely heroes. However, the world is at stake, and Rosteval and Ghaitta must discover the true nature of their destiny.

The Spiral of My Destiny is the second book in The Rosteval Saga, and it does not disappoint. The author Michael R. Schultheiss has written a fast-paced and exciting novel that makes this book extremely hard to put down. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. With exciting battles and a quest to answer the age-old question of the meaning of life, there is something for everyone in this book.

The author’s use of descriptive language immediately transports the reader into another world. His worldbuilding is unique and engaging. There is a wide range of characters that are as rich and complex as the stories they inhabit. I feel it would have been helpful if there was a list at the end of the book of the characters for readers to reference. I found the maps included at the beginning of the book that displays the realms and kingdoms most helpful. This is an excellent addition because readers can refer to the map to see where specific kingdoms are and where the characters are traveling.

The Spiral of My Destiny is a riveting epic fantasy adventure that will keep readers glued to the page from beginning to end. Readers will be transported to another world to follow the action and adventure as the saga continues.

Pages: 551 | ASIN : B09RMMX5FB

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