As promised, here is the follow-up to the segment I did with Author Bryan Alaspa and his new book The Lord of Winter (The Elementals Book 2). Last time Bryan appeared as a guest and contributed a thoughtful perspective on why a writer writes. For this segment, I interview Bryan Alaspa. Together we discuss The Elemental series in general and the Lord of Winter specifically. So put your reading glasses on and settle on in. You are in for a treat!
Daniel W Cheely – To clarify, the Elemental series belongs in the YA fantasy genre and is about youth with special powers, is that correct?
Bryan W. Alaspa – Yes, the Elementals series is meant for young adults. They are about an offshoot of humanity known as Elementals that can control one of the four elements that make up the universe. They are very long-lived, generally stronger than regular humans and have vast powers.
Daniel W Cheely – The heroes of the series – they are youth?
Bryan W. Alaspa – Well, most of them are. There are older folks in there, adults. One main adult, Christopher, is going around recruiting these young Elementals, youths, to be part of his team to ward off a great evil.
Daniel W Cheely – I want to come back to the ancient race of elementals in a bit. But for now let me ask this: These youth that manipulate the elements, are they normal, average kids that one day realize they have this magic?
Bryan W. Alaspa – Most of them, yes. Most of them are offspring of other Elementals. Similar in some ways to the mutants in the comic book world of the X-Men. The Organization, the villainous conglomerate at the heart of the story, has ways of finding Elementals when they are young and recruiting them to teach them how to use their abilities.
Daniel W Cheely – The themes in your book do remind me of the X-men series, I was going to mention that. But I’m also reminded of Harry Potter and even Spider-Man in that both of these characters were normal kids until they suddenly realize that have special powers.
For many, the teen years are filled with anxiety and low self-esteem. Teens are trapped in a moratorium, not knowing who they are in relation to the larger world. Maybe they take to characters that suddenly break out of the “teen trap” and become somebody fantastic. Do you think this is why younger kids/teens are attracted to novels such as yours?
Bryan W. Alaspa – I know that is why I was always attracted to these kinds of stories. I loved Spider-Man because he was a teenager who had powers. It’s why I loved the X-Men. I think that most teens want something that makes them cooler- to stand out from the others around them.
Daniel W Cheely – Also teens want to belong. Often they aren’t allowed in certain cliques. They are shunned, etc. To one day discover that you belong to a race of Elementals – that can be a major ego boost in that you belong to a group that is way cooler than, say, jocks.
OR…is it the opposite? Do they feel as if they are misfits for belonging to this race? Or is it a little of both?
Bryan W. Alaspa – They are generally feared by the public and for the new recruits, suddenly finding out they are not “normal” or like anyone else is a little disconcerting.
Daniel W Cheely –Now in regards to the newest novel Lord of Winter – I have to ask, does the Lord of Winter = Bryan Alaspa? I know of your loathing for hot and humid weather and I can picture you, if you had the ability, smothering the heat with snowstorms to spite the summer.
Bryan W. Alaspa – Well, the name sure did come from there. In some ways, Robin Frost is a little based on me and my love of the colder months. It’s not a perfect match, but pretty close. If I did have his abilities, the summer months would be much more bearable for me.
Daniel W Cheely –In other words, you would be a responsible Lord and not whip up blizzards on the 4th of July.
Bryan W. Alaspa –
Daniel W Cheely – I’ll take that as a “yes.” How about the young man in the story, is he responsible with his powers?
Bryan W. Alaspa – In the story, Robin Frost has had an accident earlier in his life that has damaged the part of his brain that would allow him to control his abilities. He has now lost control and threatens the entire city of Miami.
Daniel W Cheely – Yikes for Miami! Now, if The Elementals are an ancient race, could it be that such a calamity or near-calamity has happened before? Was there any tragedy or near tragedy that might have happened, say hundreds or thousands of years ago on account of their powers, or is it best to read the books for this answer?
Bryan W. Alaspa – I have yet to explore that, but in the third novel my intention was to delve a bit deeper into the history of some of the main characters and explore more Elementals history, so it may come up then.
Daniel W Cheely – Ah – the third novel. First there was The Lightning Weaver , second The Lord of Winter. What powers might the third character have?
Bryan W. Alaspa – The third novel is called The Water Witch, which I think gives you an idea. The fourth novel will be The Firedrake.
Daniel W Cheely – So, if I recall, the four elements are Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. The third novel is water, the fourth is fire. How about The Lightning Weaver and The Lord of Winter? The remaining elements are earth and air. Does The Lord of Winter = air while The Lightning Weaver = earth?
Bryan W. Alaspa – The Lightning Weaver draws her power from the earth’s electrical and magnetic field, making her an earth elemental. The Lord of Winter manipulates the air to create the intense cold, snow and ice. I have also added a fifth element, dark matter, but only the villain can manipulate that
Daniel W Cheely – That is awesome – having a villain manipulate dark matter! I wouldn’t have thought of that. Kind of like Star Wars and The Dark side of the Force, where only The Sith use the red lava elements or whatever it is that they use to make red lightsabers. Or how only The Sith making lightning.
What can the villain do with the dark matter?
Bryan W. Alaspa – Well dark matter is what scientists believe is pushing the planets away from each other. At the start, he mostly just gestures and causes people to blow apart. He gets a boost during the first novel and dark matter becomes a kind of primordial substance that was there before the humans or Elementals. Now he can teleport, create powerful blasts of energy, shapes, all kinds of things.
Daniel W Cheely –I don’t think I would want to mess with that dude!
I have found the four-element myth/philosophy interesting, although I must confess I don’t know how the belief system came about regarding people finding healing, power, insight, etc. from the four elements. I know astrology uses the theme as do some martial arts and various eastern philosophies. Do you have any insight into the history of this myth/philosophy?
Bryan W. Alaspa – I don’t really. I just always bought into the idea that everything was made up of the four elements. I think that’s true of our bodies, the things around us. Controlling one of the four elements would make someone extremely powerful
Daniel W Cheely – These are all the questions that I have. Is there anything you want to mention that we haven’t covered?
Bryan W. Alaspa – This was one of the more thought provoking interviews I’ve had. I think we’re good
Daniel W Cheely – Well thank you for taking part in this interview
Bryan W . Alaspa – You’re Welcome.