Sorry everyone for skipping out last week. The last month has really been trying my sanity. But the good news is that my book Homestead Hunts (cover on the left) comes out next week!
For those who don’t know, Homestead is the eighth installment in the Earth’s Final Chapter graphic novella series, which is created by a dozen different writers and illustrators all around the world and published by Endless Ink Publishing House. It’s a mixture of futuristic sci-fi, dystopia, action/adventure, political intrigue, space exploration, etc. I asked one of those writers and the creator of the EFC universe, Julian Fernandes, to be interviewed on my blog.
Me: What cool and exciting things have been happening in your life recently?
Julian: In my personal life, I would say the coolest thing that has happened to me this year is my daughter was born last month (October). I have always wanted to be a father and it has been amazing to finally be one, even if my wife deserves most of the credit here.
For my career, the launch of the first ten books of Earth’s Final Chapter in paperback is huge. It has been over a year since we started Endless Ink Publishing House, having the retail product in-hand is surreal.
Congrats on being a dad! We demand baby pictures. Everyone knows you can’t claim to be a parent until you smother the internet with your kid’s cuteness.
Can you tell us about what you’re currently working on?
J: Currently I am working on a few things in tandem. I am almost finished with the eleventh book in the Earth’s Final Chapter series, titled "Sparrows."
A world building book that goes through the process of building an illustrated novella series with a spotlight on the first ten books of Earth’s Final Chapter. It will shed light on the business side along with the creative work. It will also show the concept design process for some of the characters, unreleased pages and a few things that haven’t made it into the series.
On top of that I have a biographic comedy about my time working as a gas-station manager, it will also be geared to adult reader.
I also have a few early stage projects.
Busy bee! I know we have a grand total of twenty-five EFC books either out or planned, and that’s just with volume one. Good thing none of us are working at a gas station anymore, huh?
Where did the idea of your story come from?
J: The idea of Earth’s Final Chapter had been following me since the early 2000’s. I always wanted to create a world that had the potential to be the next big universe. I wanted it to be a mix between some of the franchises I hold very dear, but with a richness that makes it hard to fit into a box.
I always wanted it to be an illustrated series, but not a comic, just comic/graphic novel influence. The idea to make it a collaboration didn’t really hit me until I started planning out the first volume of the series. The workload and story itself were overwhelming and I wanted to add another layer that the reader might like.
Initially Volume 1 was going to be 15 books, but now it is capped at 25 books with a few more that are collections of short stories. At the pace we are going Volume 2 will start to be released in the fall of 2019 and the authors involved could potentially be writing this series for many years. I have ten volumes planned loosely.
Well, good! Because I have many sinister plans involved for the poor schmucks at Homestead. *evil laugh*
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must-haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?
J: I am most productive in the morning, but that is usually doing publisher’s duties: marketing, conversations with authors and illustrators, work-checking, etc. But at night my creativity awakens and that is when I do my best writing, or at the wee hours of the morning when it is still dark out. Coffee can sometimes be my lifeline, especially during late night writing runs.
Ew, you actually do stuff in the morning? I’m lucky if half of my brain is online before noon. Though that might be because I regularly stay up until 3am…
Do you have complete control over your characters, or do they ever control you?
J: I always have a plan for my stories and points that I like to hit, but I leave everything up to the flow, nothing is set in stone. My characters can grow naturally this way and take me places I had not thought of previously. I take the same approach when building the future of Earth’s Final Chapter. It’s always fun to see where the other authors of the series take it that wasn’t planned.
That’s why we like playing in your sandbox! It’s like we’re kids playing a game that has only a handful of rules, which we end up breaking half the time, but the referee lets us do it until there’s, like, blood and screaming. Can’t say I envy you as the ref, but we’re having a blast!
Who in your life has truly inspired you?
J: I would say currently my wife is my biggest inspiration. She is amazing, not only the lead editor of Earth’s Final Chapter, but one of the most compassionate people I have ever known. Every day I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. She has made my work better as well as me as a person. We are also a great partnership/team. She will be trying her hand at writing in Earth’s Final Chapter for Book 17 of the series and I couldn’t be prouder as a husband, or more grateful.
A family of writers? Hey, that’s like my parents! Your kid’s either going to jump head-first into spec-fic writing (like me), or run away from it screaming (like my brother).
What impact do you want your books to have on the readers?
J: I want the readers of Earth’s Final Chapter to have a fun place to escape their day, go on an adventure within a rich world, giving them an experience that helps them connect with my characters or the other authors’ characters. Also, an underlining push for diversity. It is a global story and that makes it special.
I don’t know if I’d call our vicious, post-apocalyptic world a “fun place,” anymore than I think Westeros is a prime vacation spot. But hey, to each their own.
Speaking of worlds, if you could go to any fictional world, where would you go?
J: I would love to be inserted into the world of Krynn (Dragonlance) or in my world of Earth’s Final Chapter. Both are very colorful worlds with wonders and magic, but a third choice would be the Never Ending Story, the book is fantastic, and the first movie is one of my favorites of all time.
Really? I wouldn’t touch our world with a ten-foot pole. I agree it’s a colorful, fascinating thing, but so is a tiger. I don't plan on getting close to either.
What about if you could have any meal with a fiction character? Who would you invite to dinner?
J: If I could have a meal with a fictional character it would probably be someone from the Dragonlance companions. Raistlin is one of my favorite characters of all time. Dragonlance was my favorite series growing up and I love these characters. I don’t think I would be an author if it weren’t for that series. I am currently reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight to my newborn.
That’s so cool that you're reading these books to your baby! My dad read J. R. R. Tolkien to me when I was little. Fairytales are overrated.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
J: A surprise about me would probably be the theatrical and film career I had for a short time. From ages 15-23 I was a professional actor and did stage shows in Colorado and Arizona, as well as indie films and even a spot on Animal Planet at one point. It was my first passion.
Well, heck! If EFC ever gets a movie deal, we’ll know who to call.
Any advice you have for new authors?
J: New authors should always keep in mind that you need more eyes. You can’t make a book without help. Seek help from those that like what you are trying to do and feed off your excitement, but find people that will be honest about the quality. This will save you on many levels in the long run. Don’t be afraid. Also, as you grow as a writer, don’t lament your initial work. It won’t be as good and that’s okay, it shows your growth.
Last question. Which creature is better: dragons, zombies, or aliens?
J: Personally, I love aliens. There are countless reasons, but primarily because of the possibility and the unlimited potential of an extraterrestrial. Dragons are the most popular items in stories though, hands-down, they have been a fascination throughout history, and we have them in Earth’s Final Chapter!
Wait, we have dragons?!
I take it back. I totally want to go into the world of Earth’s Final Chapter.
You can find Julian at the Endless Ink Publishing House's website. He's also on Twitter.
The next wave of Earth's Final Chapter books--including Homestead Hunts--will be released on November 16th! Available at Endless Ink.
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!