I recently had the pleasure of interviewing author, C.G. Ayling, about the writing of his fascinating book, Beltamar’s War.

Beltamar’s War is the first novel in a series that takes place in Malmaxa where Mr. Ayling has created a rich, complex and well-thought-out fantasy world like no other.

If you’re a fantasy aficionado looking for your next great adventure, I think you’re going to love what you find in this book. Don’t take my word for it though, read the interview and decide for yourself.

And now, on with the questions.

Interview with C.G. Ayling

by Robin Svedi

Where did you get the idea for Beltamar’s War?

Almost too many years ago to remember I spent a significant amount of time traveling around rural Rhodesia with my Godfather. During our frequent trips we visited many indigenous African villages, of both the Shona and the Ndebele people. As a young teen I saw the richness of their extended family system and, frankly, I envied their unhurried, non-materialistic lifestyle. For that statement to have full impact you should bear in mind how my mother had been widowed when I was only six years old. She raised seven children on the salary of an entry level accounting clerk. Extrapolate that and you will realize I was by no means, "well off", yet my existence was far more material than that of the wealthiest rural tribesperson.

The root premise for "Beltamar's War", the first book in my series, Malmaxa, is a world stripped bare of most all that makes humanity act as poorly as we do. What does this mean? Imagine a world where there is no organized government, no hereditary hierarchy, no social cast system, no organized religion, and possibly most important of all, no money. With those conditions established, do you envisage chaos and anarchy, or nirvana?

The story takes place in Malmaxa, a very complex fantasy world “where little is as it first appears.” How long did it take you to work out all of the details for the novel?

Years. That is the simple answer, it is also less than the full truth. Perhaps the full truth might be decades, but even that seems too short. The real truth of it is that Malmaxa is my philosophy of life cast into the crucible that the Fantasy genre permits. How long does it take to fully develop our personal philosophy of life? The answer can only be, "a lifetime", for as we evolve as individuals our philosophy evolves with us. That is how long to work out the details, and believe me when I say that in Malmaxa the devil is within the details, of which there are many. Since that tale is far from complete, how long it has taken me to flesh out my fantasy world is a time that continues to grow.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Editing. Not even a question! Perhaps because Malmaxa has been living within my dreams and subconscious for so long the actual writing part is incredibly easy. The story seems to pour from me full-formed. Unfortunately that doesn't go for the editing. I am a real nitpicker, to whom the smallest details are crucial. Probably like most people I am a harsher critic of my own work than of anyone else. In a single word, editing is hell.

Are you planning to revisit Malmaxa in the future? And if so, when can we expect to visit there again?

Absolutely! I have long completed the second book in the series. Indeed, I have already released, "The Pilgrimage." However I am dissatisfied with the quality of… the editing! It is currently scheduled to be re-edited by the same fine folk who assisted me in the editing of Beltamar's War, namely Natalie and Ed Warneke of Warneke Reading. Provisional release of "The Pilgrimage" is scheduled for August 2014. By the way, I am running a promotion on my blog whereby readers can obtain a pre-release version of "The Pilgrimage" at zero cost. If you're interested read the sample on my blog, a link to the offer will appear at the top for as long as I continue to extend it.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Were they influential in your work?

My favorite authors are Dr. Seuss, J.R.R.Tolkien, Omar Khayyam, Frank Herbert, and Robert Jordan. Were they influential in my work? How could they not be? None of us is a pillar unto themselves. We are the creation of our interactions, and our interactions include our visits to the far away worlds and fantastic places introduced by every dream, and every word we've ever read. Of them all I think that the style I like the most is a close toss-up between Dr. Seuss, who embeds sophisticated concepts within apparent nonsense, and Omar Khayyam, who has a truly beautiful, lyrical writing style. My favorite translation of Omar Khayyam is by Edward FitzGerald.

Where did your love of storytelling/writing come from?

Once again, I must blame my Godfather. Or perhaps thank him as the case may be. We used to camp out in the middle of nowhere quite often. During those trips, he would insist I tell him made up stories about whatever topic he picked. Perhaps a fertile imagination is cultivated more than it is granted? For me, that is a difficult question. Indeed, for me every question is difficult because every question leads to more than a single conclusion, and usually at least one more question. My Godfather nurtured me is so many ways. He'd give me random topics, then question me ceaselessly on the most trivial of details. More than any other single person, I am who I am because of that man. I truly am eternally in his debt. Though that debt can never be repaid, my using his name as my writing pseudonym serves as a tiny down payment.

Discover more about C.G. Ayling by visiting:

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Have you read the novel? Are you planning to? Share your thoughts about this interview, C.G. Ayling and Beltamar’s War here.

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  • headayet May 18, 2014 @ 6:42 am
    Your topic is useful
  • poetvix May 15, 2014 @ 6:38 pm
    You got me. I love fantasy and the author here listed some of my favorites as his own inspiration. I'm looking forward to reading this.
  • rms May 15, 2014 @ 7:38 pm
    Sounds like a match made in Malmaxa. Enjoy!
  • Brite-Ideas May 15, 2014 @ 5:05 pm
    another wonderful interview, very interesting to hear from authors about their writing and this is no exception, enjoyed this!
  • rms May 15, 2014 @ 5:22 pm
    Thank you and I agree.
  • FreshStart7 May 15, 2014 @ 4:24 pm
    Very interesting interview Robin! I like the theme of the book and I have written it down to eventually read.
  • rms May 15, 2014 @ 4:30 pm
    I'm glad you enjoyed it! I think you'll like the book too.

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