In todays interview, we are happy to introduce you to Jamie Maltman, one of the authors in the upcoming anthology Beyond the Gate. He provided advice throughout the project and has been out on social media beating the anthology drum. Jamie has been an avid reader and storyteller ever since he was a child, and he have done a lot of travelling. In this interview we talk about his love for Doctor Who, his books and future plans, and of course his story in the the anthology.
Thank you for taking your time to answer our questions. Start out by telling us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Jamie Maltman, father, reader, writer, gamer, Whovian, basketball fan, Canadian world traveler… lots of things. I’m also the co-host of the To Be Read Podcast, where every Tuesday night we chat about what we’re currently reading along with some reading-related topic.
Have you written anything for publication before?
I’ve published two novels so far this year, and an individual short story, all in my Arts Reborn historically-inspired fantasy series. I just finished the first draft of a novella 2.5 in the series, which will come out this fall.
What are your biggest creative influences?
History and fantasy. I love historical fiction, with my very favorite being Colleen McCullough’s Rome series. I’ve read a ton of fantasy in my life, but love the rich historical worlds like you see with Tolkien, or Game of Thrones, or others like David Anthony Durham’s Acacia or R Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing. But I’m far more hopeful and less gritty than this new wave of darker fantasy. I also love how someone like Guy Gavriel Kay plays with actual historical events and themes but in his own fantastical playground. Non-fiction books are also a source of inspiration, reading about the sweep of history and all the cultural, socioeconomic, political and military factors that make that up. And many of the games I play are something in that vein. All of these mix together in what I write, but without ever becoming more important than the characters that I follow through these worlds.
You say you’re a Whovian and Who would guess from your picture. Which Doctor is your favorite so far and why?
That is an exceedingly difficult question to answer, because I love so much about so many of them. My first Doctor, who will always hold a special place in my heart, was Jon Pertwee, the 3rd Doctor. Which meant that my first backlash at not-my-Doctor colored my early opinion of Tom Baker. I watched all of 3, 4 and 5 as a child, most of 6, and some of 7 and the movie of 8. I’ve watched the new series from the beginning, and around the same time started watching the original series from the beginning with my wife and kids to introduce them, and we’re somewhere in 1976 with Tom Baker.
So with all that context, my very favorites would be Tom Baker for his quirky awesomeness and David Tennant overall, but Matt Smith and Patrick Troughton aren’t far behind, and I absolutely love what Peter Capaldi is doing with the Doctor this season and think he will go down as an all-time great.
What is your writing environment like and is there anything you’d change about it?
I have two general writing situations:
My office at home with lots of light, but where I am too easily sidetracked.
Wherever I am sitting with my MacBook, outside of my home. I love to write on park benches, when the weather is nice enough. The passenger seat of my car? A spare room at the in-laws house. Tried a library last week and that worked well too. As long as I have headphones, I’m training myself to write anywhere.
What made you decide to participate in Fiction Unboxed and write in this shared world?
I thought it would be a lot of fun, let me connect with other authors for accountability and to push each other forward, and I love their blend of fantasy and alternate history. If my story is well received, I have ideas for more stories that could become a series of connected shorts, novellas, or possibly a series set in my own corner of the Blunderbuss world.
Tell us about your story in the “Beyond the Gate” anthology
Since they told us things diverged from the real earth about 1000 years ago, and in story meetings they mentioned the idea of multiple Blunderbusses around the world, I thought… what could have happened around 1000 years ago in another part of the world to set off a similar divergence. How would it be similar, and how would it be very different based on that culture? So I picked China, and set off to answer that question… but through the eyes of an unwitting participant. But in the end it’s about the characters and how it impacts them.
What do you plan to write next?
Book III of my Arts Reborn series is calling me. I know the general plot, but have to start writing in earnest. I set it aside for a bit to finish a novella in my world that takes place between books 2 and 3, and that was a fun project.
Tell us about your Arts Reborn series
My Arts Reborn series mashes together several things I love: art, fantasy, and Rome in the time of the Republic. The Pazian Republic is ascendant, having conquered or suppressed all the neighboring cultures with the might of their legions. In this multicultural classical world with the potential for political intrigue, decadence and great epic military campaigns I throw in magic of two kinds. On one side, ancient evil elemental magic is returning to a world that has long been dominated by man, and on the other, creative magic that is expressed through the arts.
The series begins in Brush With Darkness by following the lives of the characters impacted by the return of this magic, first Simon Baroba, a green legionary with forgotten artistic talent who sees the legions as his ticket out of a life of mediocrity. But he gets far more than he bargained for when dark magic in hands of a barbarian chieftain poses the greatest threat the Republic has ever seen. With help from a sculptress he meets, Simon must explore his magical Talent while navigating a treacherous maelstrom of political intrigue and shifting allegiances, torn between ambition and curiosity, duty and love.
The series continues with many of the same characters in Book II: Blood of the Water, and will be five books in total, plus at least one novella between books II and III. Each book is its own story, but with arcs building behind the scenes, with more sides involved in a growing conflict that could engulf the entire world.
Thank you for participating in this interview.
We look forward to following you in the future.
Be sure to check out the Beyond the Gate anthology, and sign up for the newsletter to be notified when the book comes out. Also, check back soon. We’re publishing a new interview at least once a week. Next author we interview will be Cathy Pelham.