iUniverse’s Michael Eging tells us about The Silver Horn Echoes, a work of historical fiction set in medieval Europe.
Please briefly describe your book . . .
The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland was inspired by La Chanson de Roland, the great medieval French epic. It is a story about a young knight who must defend the Frank kingdom from enemies that are intent on conquering territory, as well as those who stalk the halls of power within the palace at Aachen. These struggles against implacable foes culminate at a lonely mountain pass called Roncevaux.
And can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up on a small farm in Ohio where my parents encouraged me to explore myths and legends, surrounded by old books. That was where I also met my co-author, Steve Arnold, in the sixth grade at a small country elementary school. He lived on a farm as well nearby.
Currently, I live and work in Northern Virginia. Over the past ten years, I’ve focused heavily on writing screenplays. The Silver Horn Echoes is actually based on my first Hollywood optioned script. When I’m not working or writing, I enjoy activities with my wife and children and our Bernese Mountain dogs. Steve and I have a horror script in development with a small production company, Filibuster Filmworks.
Do you have any particular literary influences?
This book is the product of a very long journey. I’ve loved La Chanson de Roland and stories of Charlemagne and his paladin knights since I was very young. When in college, I took an early Middle Ages course from Dr. Paul Pixton at BYU. He mentioned how he thought Song of Roland would make a fantastic movie. Before I graduated from college, I had completed an outline for a feature film. However, it wasn’t until years later that I wrote that script, The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland (now simply called Song of Roland). After successful outings on the awards circuit, the script remained a calling card for me. But epics are a difficult sell in Hollywood. After a few years, I knew I would revisit the world of Roland.
I love the works of Robert E. Howard, Roger Zelazny, Tad Williams, and Michael Moorcock, as well as Edward Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire). Some of my earliest influences included Men of Iron, by Howard Pyle as well as Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. I also have quite quirky interests. In college I was a member of the fencing team, and later began practicing Historical European Martial Arts. In my earliest draft of Song of Roland, I included numerous references to medieval wards, guards and cuts. However, as the story developed, these references became more practical descriptions of movement and action for general readers.
But, my hunger for fantasy was sparked at a roadside gas station on a family trip to Florida. We were standing together at the cash register, and my dad noticed a rotating book tree within arm’s reach. He glanced at the books for a moment then grabbed one and handed it to me. It was Sailor on the Seas of Fate by Michael Moorcock. Dad had no idea what the book was about, but Elric, the doomed albino prince, was on the cover with Stormbringer in his hands and I was hooked.
What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?
The tale of Roland opens up a world that not many modern readers have visited before. He was a product of a belief system that is very foreign to us—honor and duty come before anything else. Further, as the champion of the Frank king, he became the embodiment of earthly power or the Sword of God. These beliefs make him a complex character because he doesn’t feel worthy to hold such responsibility. His hero arc becomes a tale of redemption.
Further, three major empires in his day (the Frank kingdom, the Caliphate of Spain, and the Byzantine East Roman Empire) fought and squabbled over vast territories, creating a rich canvas for the events of The Silver Horn Echoes.
Are you working on a sequel to your book?
Yes. I’ve begun the outline for the next novel, tentatively titled Honorius, Agent of Byzantium: The Quest for Prester John. Imagine a Dark Ages James Bond tale, full of treachery, adventure and an anti-hero trained to kill for the empire.
Are there any events, marketing ideas, or promotions planned for your book?
My 18-year-old daughter, Gwen, is our acting publicist. She is leading the charge with me in scheduling author events. Our first book signings will be in Northern Virginia, November 3-4, 2017. She has ambitious plans that could keep us busy through the holidays! You can find out more about these events on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PaladinofShadows/ . Also, you can tune in to our author page at https://www.silverhornechoes.com .
Jordan Raskin, who is a fantastic artist with comic book and graphic novel experience, created our cover. If you take a close look at it, you can see an amazing amount of detail. He hand painted sections then assembled the whole when he digitized it. We’ve had a tremendous response from comic book shops to the cover and in scheduling author events. In fact, as part of those events, we are giving away artist signed posters of the cover! They are simply gorgeous.
What was your favorite part of your publishing experience, overall and with iUniverse?
My favorite part of this experience has been the editing process. We had some very good editors that helped us bring out elements of our work and brought a higher level of polish to the entire work.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
If you have a completed work, don’t let it sit on the shelf. Get yourself out there. Take the risk and put it in the hands of readers.