As seen in the March issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
Uncaged: How much planning and research did it take for Antiquity’s Gate: Sanctuary? To me this seemed like a large undertaking – how long did it take to write? Is this your debut novel?
The characters of Antiquity’s Gate have lived in my head for a lot longer than the story itself. What began as a short story—a fast-paced, wild ride exploring a tiny moment in time—quickly outgrew that framework when I realized that there was so much more I wanted to tell. After that, a lot of time went into mapping out the different arcs to make certain that they would flow seamlessly through the whole series. I wanted my readers to be surprised—not me!
Because of the setting and events of Antiquity’s Gate, I had to do a lot of research on aspects of geography, history, and scientific areas in which my knowledge was somewhat lacking. I didn’t want to risk ruining a wonderful story with a shoddy backdrop! But when I sat down to write, my main goal was to create a science fiction novel that was approachable for everyone. I wanted fans of any genre to find within its pages characters that were relatable, rich, and worth investing in. I hope that I’ve succeeded in that. Although I have written stories in the past, this is the first novel I have written as a full-time author. The initial draft only took two months to complete, but we all know that that’s only the beginning! From start to finish, the process of rewriting, editing, and going back and forth with beta readers took just as long…okay, longer…than just getting the idea down on paper to begin with.
Uncaged: How many books are you planning for this series and can you tell readers more about the series?
The series is spread across six books. I have just recently started work on the third one, and am so excited for the world and characters to continue to grow. Together, the readers and I start our adventure at the edge of the world…and then we step off into the vast unknown!
There are still so many secrets to reveal, and so many aspects to explore. Although it’s separated into six parts, Antiquity’s Gate is ultimately one continuous story. I think this approach has its pros and cons. You can’t really pick up one of the middle stories and have a firm grasp of what’s happening, because there are so many subtle allusions to what’s come before. But the anticipation from book to book is one of pleasurable pain, and the closure for the reader at the series’ end will be that much sweeter for having taken the journey with me!
Uncaged: Are you planning on attending any conventions or in-person signings this year?
When my second novel, Antiquity’s Gate: Memoirs of the Forgotten, is closer to release, I am really looking forward to attending events. Because I’m not certain of the timeline, however, I haven’t committed to anything at this time. I will say that it is in the final editing stages, and I certainly hope to be updating my blog soon to reflect any future planned events!
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them?
I really love reading my reviews. I set out to write a story that people can feel passionate about and invested in. If they are, then I’ve accomplished my goal. If they aren’t, I am excited to find out why. That kind of constructive feedback helps me grow as a writer, and reach out to a larger audience. I’m always excited to hear from a reader, because ultimately all I’ve ever wanted was to share my stories with others. Even if they disagree with me on something, the fact that they took the time to not only read it, but also critique it, is a huge honor.
Uncaged: Can you tell us what you have coming up next?
I believe that my foreseeable future will be devoted to this series. When finished, I have a vision for a set of prequels. There are aspects of Antiquity’s Gate that, right from the beginning, I’ve hinted at. History and lore that just doesn’t fit into this particular story arc. Characters whose lives and motivations might not be fully realized until I take the time to tell their stories, too. After that, I’m not sure what direction I will head in—but I guarantee I will continue writing!
Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books?
Like a proud parent, I find myself happy whenever someone wants to talk about Antiquity’s Gate. However, one of the things that made me really happy was a comment from one of the beta readers I used. We began as internet strangers, but we ended as friends. She wrote, “I have loved science fiction for a very long time (my dad introduced me to the genre), and I did not expect this story to be so original and fresh. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before.” It really felt amazing to have someone with absolutely no vested interest in my feelings or my book tell me something like that for the first time.
Uncaged: What are your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite?
I think that the most exhilarating part of being an author is bringing something into existence that previously resided only in the dark recesses of my mind. I have always loved to read. Exploring the worlds within the pages of a book is thrilling. I am blessed to have the opportunity to potentially offer that experience to others. I also love the rich layers that can be woven into a story. Antiquity’s Gate has many subtle points that people may miss all together on a first read. But if they enjoy it enough to go back later, perhaps they’ll catch these “Easter Eggs,” adding even more enjoyment and understanding to the story.
My least favorite part of being an author is the intense moment of second guessing that occurred when I finally felt that I had produced the best possible version of Antiquity’s Gate. Submitting the final product was an anxiety-inducing act, filled with worries. Was it really ready to share with the world? Would it ever be? But it didn’t take long to get over that dreadful moment.
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
I have five young kids, so they keep me pretty busy when I’m not writing. I enjoy drinking copious amounts of coffee, trying new things, and hanging out with friends. My husband and I love doing projects together, too. At the moment, we’re building a home office for me in the basement. I’m particularly excited as I’ll be able to write in my slippers with access to unlimited coffee.
Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book?
The hardest part for me is the beginning. It’s not that I don’t know what will happen. I certainly know how it will end! It’s just that sitting down and looking at a blank canvas, the possibilities and adventures ahead can seem completely overwhelming. However, once I’ve reached my third or fourth cup of coffee and finally found the courage to start, the words just start flowing.
The easiest part is the dialogue. I love dialogue, and I can see my characters in my mind as they speak. Their expressions, actions, subtle body language. It feels so real to me that more often than not I end up needing to go back in and add description. The conversation gets away from me and I temporarily forget that the reader cannot see inside my head, no matter how convenient that might be!
From start to finish, Antiquity’s Gate: Sanctuary took about five months to produce. I expect that the next installment will take just slightly longer, as I am now juggling promoting the first book, editing the second, and writing the third. However, I’m confident that those excited to continue the story won’t have to wait too long!
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
Thanks so much for taking a chance on a new author. Time is precious, books are many, and the fact that you’ve chosen to pick up Antiquity’s Gate is both humbling and thrilling for me. Please check out my blog at https://antiquitysgate.com, and/or follow me on Facebook (facebook.com/antiquitysgate) or Twitter (@rfhurteau). I’d love to hear from you!