Interview – Matthew Berlin, author of Embark: Legends of Lustria
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Matthew Berlin, author of Embark: Book One in the The Legends of Lustria series. Welcome to our Showcase Lounge, Matthew.
Matthew Berlin: Thank you, I’m honored to be here.
SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
MB: Well, I’m 16, and a sophomore in high school…I love drawing and then of course writing….and of course a little bit of gaming.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
MB: I don’t have any specific conditions, I can and have written just about anywhere, and I try to write every day, even if it’s just a little bit.
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that at sixteen years of age you wanted to publish your work?
MB: Not really, didn’t think about publish honestly, but really wanted to get my story out there for people to enjoy, since I had enjoyed writing it so much.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have decided to write the first novel that you did, and do you see yourself ever writing in other genres?
MB: I’m a big fan of fantasy, Lord of the Rings, Skyrim, that kind of stuff, so that is what interests me at this point. I don’t see myself writing in another genre, but you never know, it’s a possibility.
SPS: So, tell us about your debut novel?
MB: It’s an introduction to the whole series, Legends of Lustria, which is a trilogy (followed by a prequel, and then a spinoff) It’s about teenagers that gain special super powers and basically are tasked with saving the world…of course there is lots of action and adventure.
SPS: How did you set about creating the fictional, medieval world of Brinith?
MB: I was inspired by similar medieval based settings like Middle Earth, Narnia, Fantasia, and the Elder Scrolls.
SPS: What did you find to be the hardest part about creating a whole, new world?
MB: Ummm, I couldn’t just focus on the main plot itself, I needed to expand on subplots and concepts related to Brinith that didn’t necessarily connect with the main storyline. I had to focus also on creating new religions, cities, lore, etc…
SPS: What character traits have you used to create your protagonist Elouan?
MB: Well, Elouan is very bold but also very cautious, he doesn’t just jump into action, he thinks decisions through before engaging. He is also very caring and intelligent.
SPS: Are any parts of his character based on how you see yourself?
MB: I would think yes…most of the inspiration for Elouan comes from what I think I am, or would like to be.
SPS: We have a potential love interest in Willow (an orphaned strider) can we expect quite a long will they/wont they in your books?
MB: Well, I think that Willow and Elouan will eventually become an item, their feelings will get stronger as the books progress, you see a bit of that in the first book…but they struggle with their feelings and their responsibilities with saving mankind.
SPS: Are there any other characters we should be on the lookout for?
MB: Brodick…he plays an important part in the trilogy and the outcome of this character will be pretty surprising to readers, also be on the lookout in Prevelance for Eisley, she’s a special and intriguing character.
SPS: You have 4 more books already planned for your created world. Do you have them all pretty much down as to what you want to happen, or is it all still to be decided?
MB: I have a really good idea for the plot line of each book as to the basics of what will happen, but I always leave room for an idea that pops in my head.
SPS: How have you found reader reaction so far to your work?
MB: So far it has been pretty positive…there of course is always criticism, but it has been constructive, so overall the reaction has been great for a first novel.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us how you came up with the cover for Legends of Lustria: Embark?
MB: Actually, I had many ideas in mind and had discussed and researched what I wanted the fantasy realm to look like, and my grandfather, who is an artist, came up with the cover image and it looked great.
SPS: It’s probably a good time to ask what we can expect next from the pen of Matthew Berlin?
MB: I’m already over half way thru Prevalence, the second book in the series. I’m also currently co-authoring a similar themed book with an author friend of mine.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
MB: I wasn’t really aware of the publishing routes, I had been so focused on the writing portion…always thought I had to go the agent/publishing house route to see my dream realized, but then discovered the Indie published route which is so much quicker to get your work out there.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
MB: It’s actually been better, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I wasn’t used to publicly speaking, but have had the opportunity to talk to students about writing and publishing.
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
MB: Never give up…the road ahead might seem long, but if you work hard enough and put in enough effort, your goals can be achieved.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
MB: I would thank my family….they all proofread, contributed thoughts and ideas, and supported me and my dream. Also, I’m currently reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, I figured it would be a boring book assigned in class, and have been surprised by how much I like it.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today Matthew, and all the best for the future.
MB: Thanks for having me, it was great answering your questions.
SPS: For more information on Matthew and his debut novel, please do visit his Author page here.