Check out this high fantasy... The Immortal Crown by Kieth Merrill (Interview & Giveaway)

I'm excited to have Kieth Merrill stopping by today for an interview to discuss his new high fantasy. The publisher is also giving away a copy, so if you like fantasy, definitely check it out...

The Immortal Crown (Saga of Kings, #1)The Immortal Crown
(Saga of Kings #1)
by Kieth Merrill
Adult Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 544 Pages
May 3rd 2016 by Shadow Mountain


A thousand years ago, the Navigator possessed thirteen stones touched by Oum’ilah, the God of gods. Over time, these power-ful stones of light were scattered and a prophecy arose declaring that a “child of no man” would gather them again, and he would be given immortality and reign forever as god and king of Kandelaar.

Now, in an age of chaos, the time has come for the prophecy to be fulfilled. Light and darkness have each chosen a champion to claim the legendary stones:
The sorceress of the cult of she-dragon has chosen Drakkor, a warrior and mercenary who travels with bandits and a corrupt stone of darkness.

The Oracle of Oum’ilah has placed his faith in Ashar, a young postulant who is unsure the stones of light even exist.

Meanwhile, miles away, a slave named Ereon Qhuin dreams of freedom. Abandoned at birth, his only possession is a strange stone that he believes is the key to his destiny and freedom.

A mercenary, a postulant, and a slave—which one is truly the child of prophecy? Who will wear the immortal crown?

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I'd like to welcome you to my blog today to answer a few questions about your new high fantasy and to find out a little bit more about the author behind the book. What was your inspiration for The Immortal Crown?

As a writer and director of motion pictures, I’ve learned there are two ways to answer questions in an interview. 
               One is the clever sound bite. 
               The other is the always more complicated truth. 
               Let’s skip the clever sound bite and tell the truth. 
It started with the core of the idea itself.  Not a story per se’ but a context. An archaic history,  written sometime around 2200 BC with the classic elements of epic fiction. The fight between good and evil, the struggle for power, treachery, betrayals, battles, seduction and murder. The rise and fall of kings and  kingdoms, and in the midst of it — drum roll please — reference to mysterious stones that shined in the dark. The stories of such stones, the Pyrophilus, are legendary and found throughout the ancient history of the world and were reportedly possessed by  such legendary characters as Gilgamesh, such historical luminaries as Noah Solomon and Alexander the Great. 
               But the shining stones of the archaic writings that were the spark of inspiration for The Immortal Crown were different and added a fascinating dimension to the legends of Pyrophilus. The stones in this story were made luminous by touch of the finger of God.
               That single idea triggered my imagination and sent me in search of the story that took me to the Kingdom of Kandelaar. It was there I discovered the quest and conflict for the 13 shining stones — which as epic fantasy would have it — are endowed with the power of renewal, immortality and endless life.

I do have to say that I have found the stones to be definitely a unique part of the story and something that I'm curious about as the story unfolds. Would you give us general character descriptions for Drakkor, Asher, and Ereon?
               Drakkor is a sympathetic villain. The epitome of evil and yet, we find ourselves understanding and even sympathizing with him from time to time.
               We meet him as an orphan from the slums of Blackflower . Under the strangest of circumstances, he is given one of the 13 stones by the Sorceress of Dragonfell. She believes he is the child of prophecy who can gather the rest of the stones and make her immortal and grant her endless life. 
               When he discovers the power of the stone of fire, as it is known to the cult of the dragon, he betrays the sorceress and goes in search of the missing stones and his own immortality. The legend says whoever gathers them in one hand shall have the power of endless life. To achieve his end, he beguiles the king and becomes the puppet master of Kandelaar.
               Ashar is a postulant of the holy order of the priests of Oum’ilah, God of all gods and Creator of All Things. He discovers he is the blood of the Navigator — the first man who brought the stones of light from the ancient world. 
               When evil comes to the holy mountain of God, Asher is sent by the Oracle to find the stones and gather them before they fall into the hands of evil. He is entrusted with the four stones of light from the temple, with charge to protect them with his life, learn to use their power and gather the stones that were lost and return them to the Immortal Crown so the Kingdom of Light may come again. Asher escapes the mountain with the help of Rorekk, a giant and Celestine, a virgin of the temple.

               Ereon Qhuin is a man of unknown blood, a slave in the stables of Blackthorn and master horseman.  He wants to be free. It is a spark of destiny.
               When he leaves Blackthorn with Prince of the North to capture horses on the Tallgrass Prairie,  he is given a stone of light by his mentor, Rusthammer. It was the old blacksmith who found the child abandoned as a new born on the stone steps of his cottage. The mysterious stone was with the child in the basket. It is the secret to his past.
               Qhuin collides with the Princeling Sargon, but is spared by the Prince and his squire.  He agrees to go to Oodanga Wilds to capture the legendary Equus for the prince of the north in exchange for his freedom.  It is an unknown place of monsters and myth and fraught with grave danger. “Whether I return or die, I shall be free.” Qhuin concludes.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Qhuin's path changes as well. Do you have a favorite line from the book and, if so, why is it your favorite?

               Each of the characters are powerful and profound from time to time. It is hard to pick a favorite, lest I offend any of the marvelous folks who people this world.
          Rather than one, perhaps I can offer a couple. I like the teachers of Master Doyan to the postulants. 
                              “Fear and faith cannot abide”
               I like Ashar’s recitation of his faith.
                              “There is but one God of gods and Creator of All Things.” 
               I like Ashar’s recitation of the second canon of the brotherhood,
                              “All that is, has always been and will forever be, and who we are and were before will continue through endless time.” 
               Why is it my favorite:  Epic fantasy is about the struggle between good and evil and these are the profound truths of good. Moreover, it is said, ‘you cannot take the artist from the art or the writer from his words.’

So very true. :) What was your favorite part of writing the story?

               The perpetual surprises my characters have waiting for me every day. I see the map we are following as if I am flying over it in an airplane. The road of our story is a thin white line. When I walk side by side or follow my characters on the road itself, I feel the gravel under my feet, I smell the flowers and hear the birds and I am astounded by what they do and say and what we discover on the detours that I did not imagine away from my keyboard at ten thousand feet.

That is a good lead-in to mention that I love having maps in books, I know you're not really talking about the physical map per se, but just had to note that. And this one has two! Was it a different writing experience with this being your second published work with Shadow Mountain than the first time around?

               I have been writing movies my whole life. Writing novels is very different, but was not such a challenging transition because I always tended to overwrite my screenplays. I enjoy language and the chew of words. 
               It is all story telling — who is it about, what do they want, who wants to stop them, why does it matter, why is it urgent, etc. etc. 
               The biggest difference of course between Evolution of Thomas Hall (my first novel) and The Immortal Crown was writing a story set in a real and familiar world (San Francisco Bay Area for Evolution of Thomas Hall where I have lived since 1964) and creating a place and time and entirely fanciful world with all the attendant elements that did not exist until seeds took root in my head and it grew into a jungle from imagination, thin air and a refrigerator full of Red Bull. 

Lol! I can only imagine. What are some of your favorite books or authors?
               One has to acknowledge the chasm between fiction and non-fiction when citing “favorite books and authors”. 
               My favorites tend to be the ones I am reading at the moment. I am always on the lookout for new authors and bounce back and forth from fiction to non-fiction with no particular pattern.               A few of the classics deserve to be on the list of course, but it has been SO long since I curled up with J.R.R. Tolkien,  James Fenimore Cooper or Charles Dickens I hope they’ll forgive me for leaving them off the list

There are a few books I keep close at hand.          
               Story by Robert McKee
               An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton
               Against the Idols of the Age - The Essays of David Stove edited by Roger Kimball
               Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock
               As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

               Now I reveal my low brow enjoyment and escape into pulp fiction and confess I’m one of the readers who keep these guys on the New York Times Best Seller list for week after week.
               I’ve listed authors rather than books  because once I find one I like I buy all of their books and read everything they’ve written. My wife  is a voracious reader also, she loves books and has collected a huge library of hardback fiction.  One Click purchasing at Amazon is a blessing and a curse.
               Lee Childs
               Brad Thor
               Vince Flynn
               Daniel Silva
               Dean Koontz
               Clive Cussler (Before he hired ghost writers and stopped writing himself)
               Robert McCammon
                              I’ve read Gone South, three times and want to make it into a movie.
               Dan Brown  (He fell out of favor with his last one)
               George R. R. Martin
                              A grateful nod of course for his 25 year masterwork, Song of Ice and Fire, 

               Oh and of course, The Evolution of Thomas Hall, a truly excellent novel which I have read many times.
:) That's a great list! What are you most looking forward to reading this year?
               The Last Mile by David Baldacci  - Currently reading
               The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg - Currently reading
               The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock
               Playing to the Edge by Michael V. Hayden
               Increase in Learning by David Bednar
               …and when I wander through Barnes and Noble those unknown treasures that are yet to be added

I obviously need to broaden my reading. Where is your favorite place to read or to write and why?

To write:
               My writer’s cottage. No phones. No emails. No interruptions. French doors that open to a rose garden. 

To read:
               I like to read by the pool, in my big leather chair or in bed. Reading myself to sleep is habitual! Actually, I love to read so the ‘where’ doesn’t really matter much.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Kieth! I'm looking forward to book two!

About the Author

Kieth Merrill is an American filmmaker. He won an Oscar for his documentary "The Great American Cowboy" (1973). He has also made feature films for the LDS chuch, including "Legacy" (1990) and "The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd" (2000).

"The Evolution of Thomas Hall" is his debut novel.


Hardcover of The Immortal Crown
US only
Provided by the publisher
Ends May 30th

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Shadow Mountain Publishing -

Any thoughts on Keith's interview? Have you read any of his favorite books or do you have a favorite fantasy novel or author?

1 comment

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