Friday, June 22, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Robert David MacNeil

I would like to welcome Robert David MacNeil to the Realm.  Thanks for joining us.  
To find all the parts of this interview follow the links
Part 4 is here with me

Robert David MacNeil is an author, wine-lover, and investigator of things supernatural.  Over the last twenty years he's traveled to 32 nations researching, writing, and teaching on angels, demons, and supernatural encounters.   His travels have taken him from the steppes of Mongolia to the jungles of Thailand, and from the Eskimo villages of Northwest Alaska to le fin del mundo, the "end of the world," at the tip of South America. 
Long a fan of science fiction and suspense thrillers, Robert also has a love for history–especially ancient Greece, Rome and medieval Europe.  He's particularly fascinated with Patrick, Columba, and the ancient Celts of Ireland and Scotland.  The Celtic monks had a special relationship with the angels.  They also loved beer and invented whiskey.  The Irish really did save civilization!
Robert and his wife, Linda, live near Dallas, Texas.  He has authored five non-fiction books under a different pen-name.  Iona Portal is his first novel.

Let's get into Your Current Work

BRoP:  Tell us about your new book and when it is out?
Robert:  My current book is Iona Portal, the first book in the Synaxis Chronicles series.  It's been out about eight months.

BRoP:  Where can people purchase it? 
 Robert:  It's on Amazon Kindle, and also available in paperback from Amazon.

BRoP:  Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?
Robert:  Iona Portal reads like a suspense thriller, but it's set in a "science fiction" universe of multiple parallel worlds.  The alternate versions of planet Earth are peopled by two races of intelligent humanoid aliens who shift between parallel worlds as easily as we move from sunlight to shadow.  They're locked in a war that's lasted thousands of years, with our world as the battleground. 
The Archons’ goal is to destroy the human race and seize our world for their own. Standing against them are the Irin, a benevolent race of winged aliens with great power but limited numbers. As our planet sinks rapidly toward apocalyptic doom, the only hope lies in the Synaxis, a group of ordinary men and women conscripted by the Irin and given supernormal powers.
Iona Portal describes the recruitment of the Synaxis members, and their struggle to work together to use their new abilities, in the midst of a rapidly disintegrating world.

BRoP:  What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Robert:  The hardest thing was learning to write dialogue.  I've written five non-fiction books, but never had to write dialogue.  Fortunately I had lots of help from writer friends who walked me through the process.  In the end, I'm very satisfied with how it turned out. 

BRoP:  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Robert: My favorite section is the account of Erin Vanderberg at Mount Kilauea in Hawaii--chapters two and three.  Erin was about to commit suicide by jumping into the 300 foot-deep Halema'uma'u crater when she had a life-changing encounter with a powerful winged alien.  My wife and I actually went to the place, experienced the location first-hand, then went to a beach resort on the west coast of the Big Island where I sat on the balcony for two days writing those chapters. 

BRoP:  Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
Robert:  I was surprised by how much fun writing fiction can be.  I've always loved to write, but fiction adds an extra dimension.  Writing fiction, to me, is like reading a good book.  It just takes longer.  I'd wake up in the morning with the next section of the book running through my mind.  I'd sit down and begin writing, eager to discover what happens next.

BRoP:  Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Robert:  I want people to come away from the book wondering how much of it is real.  I believe there really is a battle between good and evil.  If we don't see that, we're in trouble. 
The beings we've called angels and demons are real as well.  Every society in human history has reported contacts with them.  Ancient humans scrawled pictures of winged humanoids on the walls of caves.  They're carved in the monuments of Babylon and Persia and painted on the walls of villas in Pompeii.  The Hebrews called them ‘sons of God.’  Early Christians named them angelloi.  Vikings called them valkyries.  Even in the 21st century, reports of these beings are common.
A lot of people today toy with the paranormal, assuming it's not real.  Iona Portal gives a picture of a universe where these beings are very real, and very deadly.  Some of the events portrayed in Iona Portal are based on actual occurrences.

BRoP:  Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?
Robert:  My starting point for the cover was the portal itself… a glowing tunnel in the sky.  One early version just had the portal with the beam of light shining down on Iona, but it seemed too stark.  So I added Eliel, the watcher.  She's the Irin warror, hovering in the foreground.
I liked that look, but it didn't express the conflict of the book, so I added the Archon horde, led by Kareina, moving in behind Eliel.
Finally I added the volcano eruption, which is a key element in the latter chapters, and the Roman Coliseum.  There really is a replica of the Coliseum in the Scottish highlands, perched on a cliff above the town of Oban, where a key scene in the book takes place. 
The final cover seems a little busy, but I like the overall effect.

Here's where you can find and follow Robert

Twitter:  @RDavidMacNeil

What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?

Iona Portal is available in paperback and Kindle e-book at  Amazon Prime members can read Iona Portal free on their Kindle

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