Interview with Troy Young
Troy has been many things in his career. Shoe salesman, waiter, newspaper owner, children's performer, actor, elected official, policy advisor, CEO, and university lecturer. Now he wants to try his hand at writing.
His first attempt at writing is a novel called The (Extra)ordinary Life of Jimmie Mayfield. The genesis for The (Extra)ordinary Life of Jimmie Mayfield came while going for a walk in Placida, Florida where his parents have a winter home. While he navigates the waters of seeking a publisher for that series of books, he is writing short stories and working on a fantasy series, The Companions of the Stone; the first book "The Stone of Death" is out on September 1, 2020. Also published in September is a space western, "The Seeker of Solace". Currently, if you are a fan of Lovecraftian Horror, you can delve into his series, The Other. The first compilation is now available, as are the individual stories of book 2. Book two should be available this October, with book 3 available in 2021.
Troy lives in Toronto with his wife, daughter and dog.
Without spoilers, give my readers a sense of what The Stone of Death is about.
It’s a fun little romp if one can have a fun romp against a cult of assassins and a secret society, both of whom are chasing you to recover the missing piece of information that will allow them to recover an ancient artifact with the power to end all life. It’s a quest story, but different than most fantasy you’ll read.
Some people love a big heavy fantasy but I thought I’d go for something different. I find many fantasy tales take themselves so seriously. I wrote this to be more a Sunday afternoon matinee type story. The main characters are kind of useless: an ex-mercenary who can’t fight, a crippled Magus fresh out of the Academy, an older priest, and a mysterious woman who is the most capable of the bunch. Call them reluctant heroes. There are twists, secrets, double-crosses, deserts, mountains, sea voyages, lost tombs and temples, an underground city, and a love of coffee sprinkled throughout. It’s a fast-paced, fun read, a great break from some of the heavier fantasy novels out there.
There are four books to be written in the series, each from the perspective of one character. The Stone of Death is from the perspective of the ex-mercenary, and the next one will be from the Magus’ perspective. I think this will give the series an interesting twist.
You were once a children's performer. Will you try penning a children's book in the future?
The very first thing I wrote was a children’s book. I never published it, and frankly, I don’t know where the manuscript is but I might dust it off. Otherwise, I don’t have a children’s book in my plans, but you never know. I never thought I’d be an author at all. I also write horror stories, and that was something I definitely never thought I’d write.
When you are reading a book what is something that makes you cringe when you come across it?
I hate books that take themselves too seriously or hint at something that is supposed to be a big secret, but it is so obvious but you know the author thought they were being clever. Probably why I have yet to try writing a mystery; that seems really hard!
I can overlook things like the odd mistake; I’m reading the Percy Jackson series out loud to my daughter, and Disney professionally edited and printed this, and it still has errors in it. So, I don’t get fussed by that. Give me a good story with well-developed and interesting characters and I can overlook most things.
All writers have that one word they overuse and are usually taken out during editing for the most part. What word do you think you overuse in your work?
I tend to overuse the word 'so'. Like, starting a sentence with “So, I…” I also tend to throw in an extra “that” into sentences which do not require one. Basically, I will do a global search for “so” “that” “was” and “just”. Combining a “was” with an “-ing” word is something I’m working to eliminate.
Do you have a favorite among your work?
I think my latest work “The Seeker of Solace” was my favourite to write. It resided in my head for a long time, and I wrote it in only 12 days. It is about a career criminal, left behind to hang by the gang he ran with until a Frontier Marshal intervenes and gives him a choice; hunt down the gang or get back up on the gallows. Real western story, right? Except it is a hard sci-fi story using western themes. I consider it a mix of Red Dead Redemption, Firefly, and the Mandalorian.
Of my short stories, I think my favourite is called “It Came From The Sea”. It is the lead story in my cosmic horror series. It is my fav because I based it on an event from my childhood. My parents and I were visiting Cape Breton (where they grew up) and on the radio was an announcement that a sea monster had been washed ashore. I was maybe 6 at the time, so I had visions of Godzilla appearing over a hill at any moment. It turned out to be nothing, but I thought, “What if it wasn’t?” I tapped into my love of H. P. Lovecraft and wrote a short story. It was so well received and people wanted more it spawned the series. This one is personal.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
I tried to read The Hunt for Red October in high school, but couldn’t get into it so I stopped. Fast forward a year later and I am now in university, desperately looking for something to read other than the work assigned to me and I came back to it. I read it then and fell in love, and went out and bought everything Tom Clancy had written up until then.
What do you do for inspiration?
I play video games for a break from reality. But I find walks to be the best thing for coming up with ideas or working through writer’s block. The impetus for “It Came From The Sea” came to me on a walk. It was on a walk where I first got the idea for my first novel on a walk. So, I’d say walking gives me inspiration.
What can we look for in the future from you?
I will be publishing the first novel I wrote-a quirky coming-of-age story about a loveable loser living in a trailer park in Florida-this November. It is the first in a series of five, but how the election goes this November may shape how the last two books of the series go. Book 1 is ready to go, book 2 needs a major edit, book 3 needs a rewrite and I need to write books 4 & 5. I also have a historical romance I started a year ago on a trip to Scotland that has been languishing for a year and the sequel to “The Seeker of Solace” is set to come out in December.
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