Dark Fate: The Gathering
Every now and again a story comes along that is so epic that it is easy to see it become a movie, a franchise, a phenomenon. Dark Fate: The Gathering is book one in that story. For those who love the fantasy genre this book is a must have for your collection. For those of you who have never read a fantasy book, well you are in for a treat! GeektheNews.com sits down with co-writers and creators Matt Howerter and Jon Reinke to discuss their process and delve more into the creation their book. Check out the full interview below!
GTN: Tell us a little about the story.
Matt: It’s an epic fantasy adventure focused around four characters, Sloane, Sacha, Kinsey, and Erik. They each have their own paths to follow but a powerful undead named Vinnicus seeks to manipulate the four into doing his bidding, which causes all kinds of problems for the unlikely heroines/heroes. The world is filled with dwarves and elves, men and mages, were-beasts and the undead, so there are a healthy variety of creatures within the setting.
Some character details below:
Princess Sloane is to become a queen. Her marriage will unite the last two human kingdoms of Orundal. As it is not a marriage of choice but of necessity, she struggles with the responsibility laid before her, not knowing that the sacrifice she makes for her homeland will be but the first that she must endure.
Her twin sister, Princess Sacha, has been called from her studies at the Monastery to support Sloane in her time of need. Sacha has begun to learn the ways of the arcane and deals with her own troubles concerning the loss of a family that has been taken from her.
Erik, an elf from Asynia, seeks only solace for himself and his adopted son, but soon learns that such a wish is impossible to attain as the events around them unfold.
Kinsey, orphaned at birth, wrestles with his newfound rage not realizing that its cause is tied to his unknown heritage.
Jon: One of our reviews calls it “A vivid tale of helplessness”, which isn’t something I would have ever thought of. At the heart of it, we have a classic hero’s journey through four primary characters who have a lot of discovering to do in terms of who they are and what their place in the world is. Anyone that’s ever had a ‘learning experience’ can probably attest to the ‘vivid tale’ commentary noted above.
GTN: How was the story conceived?
Matt: I ran an RPG back in the mid 90’s, during college. There were four of us altogether who played. The story stemmed from that game, each player representing one of the characters in the story. I was the DM but my personification in the game/story was Erik.
Jon: The baseline of the story was one that Matt had created for a role playing game back in college. Most weekends for the better part of almost three years we got together with our spouses and left the world behind for the mountains and plains of Orundal. You could have said that it was Shakespearian, in fact. All of Orundal was a stage, and the characters we breathed life into were the players.
GTN: What is your process when co-writing a book?
Matt: Well, in the instance of DARK FATE: THE GATHERING, the game notes we took during our sessions provided the skeleton for our plot. Jon and I sat down and reworked events and scenes so they would make more sense in a novel format, using a spreadsheet to organize our thoughts. Once the basics were down we broke our notes into chapters and scenes, taking a modular approach to the first book, and the story as a whole.
When we write each chapter of a book, one of us will write the first draft, and the other will write the second draft. A third pass is made by both of us together to tweak any issues that may have cropped up. Since Jon is in Texas and I am in Oklahoma we use Google docs and Skype to create files and communicate—Really amazing software and easy to use.
Jon: I edit what Matt writes, Matt edits what I write, then we collaboratively review the edits and then we give it one last review before sending it off to the professional editors.
GTN: Was it difficult to get published?
Matt: Yes and no. Knowledge is key to get started in the right direction. Then, of course, hard work makes it happen. I spent a year researching self-publishing before the book was started in earnest, and I am still learning things about publishing to this day. I have a page on our website (http://www.ideaforgepublishing.com/publishing.html) that contains resources for those who would like to know more about self-publishing.
Jon: All props to Matt on this one. I helped with the final decisions and the investment of time and money, but Matt took on the brunt of finding the path and getting the accounts set. My perspective on it was that the process has become fairly accessible, though there are a few things that it pays to know.
GTN: What was a lesson learned during your publishing process for book 1?
Matt: Be patient. It’s not a race but a marathon that takes commitment.
Jon: From what I recall, it pays to understand what the requirements are for the individual retailers. What works for Amazon, may not work for ITunes. When you have selected the market you want to pursue, then learn what the retailer that serves it requires and become an expert in delivering it. Your process will smooth out remarkably.
GTN: Where can people go to purchase the book?
Matt: There are direct links to the different distributors on our site: http://www.ideaforgepublishing.com/home.html
Jon: Amazon, I-Tunes, Barnes and Noble….Happily, just about “Anywhere that books are sold”. Since today’s market is moving daily to the electronic format this phrase applies. If you like the feel of paper in your hand (like I do), then the book is available at Amazon for print on demand.
GTN: When will Book 2 be available?
Matt: We are hoping by the end of the summer 2014.
Jon: As of this morning, we are shooting for a September 1 release.
GTN: Any insider information you can give us about the second book?
Matt: Book two is about Kinsey’s self-discovery, and It’s gonna be good!
Jon: That would depend on what the reader wants to know. We have gone in a little bit of a unique path by electing to introduce each character, then develop them all in their own books. The second book focuses on Kinsey’s story. If you want to know more about the sisters or Erik, then stay tuned, we will be spending a lot of time with your favorite character, no matter who it turns out to be (unless of course your favorite character is Bron. We don’t talk about him much.)
About the Authors
Born far too long ago in podunk Oklahoma City, Matt Howerter is one of those guys who grew up loving to draw, watching cartoons and playing RPGs (the kind where you sit at a table and the other players are generally in the same room with you).
During those difficult years of middle/high school he learned that people could actually make money from drawing (not much but it’s something). From that point on he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life… architecture. The magnitude of fail going forward to study architecture cannot be put into words. Let’s just say that Matt lost two years of his life and a ton of money to college courses he would never use again. Ultimately, through dedication, diligence and desperation he changed his major to Visual Communications and graduated having spent only six years in college.
Graduating from The University of Oklahoma in 1995 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Matt has worked in many different environments, taking on rolls as designer, illustrator and art director. His true loves have always been illustration and storytelling, which he hopes to continue for the rest of his days.
Born in Asmara, Ethiopia while his dad was making mouthwash for Haile Selassie, Jon was ever the adventurer wannabe.
Since graduating with almost two hundred undergrad hours from the University of Oklahoma, (yes, they miss him horribly. Professional students are a godsend to any University, particularly when the football team is in a slump as the Sooners were in the early 90’s). Jon has pursued moderately successful careers in construction, recycling, energy conservation, sustainable development and health care. Interestingly, he has found that he has a talent for pretty much all of them, but he has always been drawn to the stories that spark the imagination.
Jon cut his fantasy teeth on Tolkien, as did so many other fan boys, but has had the good fortune to cross genres into works of historical fiction, biography, business development and cooking. It really was only a matter of time before he embarked on a quest to get his own story on virtual paper.
Without doubt, this has been the most fun he has had in any career so far, and he fervently hopes that you find that same joy in the work.
And there you have it ladies and gents! Excited about the upcoming book 2? Tell us about it in the comments or hit us up on Facebook