Guest Post from Athanasios, cover artist and author - Sarah Woodbury

Guest Post from Athanasios, cover artist and author

You are both a cover artist and an author.  Does one art inform the other? 

Only with my own covers.  My own knowledge of the subject matter makes my own covers for Mad Gods, Commitment, I Am Eternal or any of the Predatory Ethics series richer with symbolism and content.

I’ve been working as a graphic artist for half my life so the visual comes much easier than the literary.  Graphics, from broadcast for video or television, web for online viewing or print, is my bread and butter.  I’m very comfortable in it.  Writing is getting easier but still doesn’t come as easily as graphics does.

How did you get started designing covers?

A friend from IWU got me started after I gave my opinion once too many times to indie writers who wanted their covers critiqued.  My points were valid enough that it began my work with many other very talented indie authors.

You designed one of my covers, a boxed set for Mark Williams International Publishing.  Could you talk a little bit about what goes into designing a cover?

With your Welsh History set it was based on a lot of medieval armor and weaponry.  I thought it would be interesting to put the existing covers on shields and make them look like they are part of the heraldry adorning said shields.

What goes into designing a cover is as diverse as the books themselves. Many people want their covers redone for a variety or reasons, the most common being to make it look more professional, have approached me. I always ask for a synopsis, a title, the author name, an existing cover if available and any input they would like to impart.  I then do a quick mockUP of what I think they want and they’ll agree if it’s going in the right direction.  With the mockUP I can also give them a realistic estimate of time and how much the cover will cost them.  If we come to an understanding in direction and price I finish and hand it in to the author within a few days of the mock up.

Can you tell us a little bit about your book?

Currently I have three separate books, though they’re all part of a wider series titled Predatory Ethics.  In the widest definition the series illustrates that though we like to think we all live by morals where we treat others, as we would like to be treated, the Golden Rule we in fact do not.  We live by the Iron Rule, Predatory Ethics; do onto others because you can.

Mad Gods introduces Adam, a very controversial main character, who is destined to destroy the world.  He is born to follow and champion those Predatory Ethics but he chooses not to and becomes the Messiah to both Good & Evil.

Commitment continues Adam’s story with him putting further distance between himself and his destiny.  His continued denial of it attracts more unwanted attention from other faithful both good and evil.

I Am Eternal is a departure for me in that it isn’t about religion or ethics as much as it is about Simeon, a two thousand year old vampire.  Yeah I know a vampire book, everybody and their in-laws is getting in on the fang-wagon but Simeon is a lesser character in both Mad Gods and Commitment so I wanted to explore his life because I wanted to get away from Mad Gods.  My main literary focus was Adam and his life but it had become very ponderous and deep so I wanted to lighten it up with something much more accessible.

What about this story made you have to write it?

This is going to show how off kilter my mind is but what the heck.

I wanted to write it to impart what I’ve been learning about the nature of reality and how we perceive it.  We live our lives with the expectation and desires for milestones and experiences within our allotted time.  I took that to the dramatic and over the top destiny of the Antichrist.  His fate isn’t as rosy or pleasant as growing up, going to school, falling in love, marrying, having kids and waiting to die, with the hope that you’ve lived your life to its fullest.

I wanted to show that the simple thinking and exploration of one’s fate is universal.  That in some beliefs we are one collective desire, fate, call it what you will and that we are all experiencing everything at once.

I’m quite taken with the idea of different beliefs, not necessarily religion, and beliefs all being correct and I wanted to explore that.  I wanted to retell our supposed Christian End of All Days.  Why would anyone want to destroy the world?

What was one of the most surprising things you learned during the creation of this book?

One of the most surprising things was how much I enjoyed finding out where the story would lead me.  I’m as much a reader as anyone else would be, I just happen to be the Alpha reader if you will.

What was the hardest part to write?

The hardest part is always the last part.  I don’t mean the final chapter, but whatever part of whatever work I’m writing because I could always go back and tinker with it to no end.  I’ll always find some way to say it better or a specific sentence, or paragraph that could read better.  It’s not that I’m a perfectionist it’s just that I like to see what else it might lead to.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I like to watch television or movies.  I’m especially into anything that isn’t the run of the mill fare like Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Being Human, Sherlock BBC, Shameless BBC. I could go on and on.

Can you share a little of what you are working on now?

I’m working on the sequel to I Am Eternal: Cowboys & Vampires.  The working title to that is I Am Eternal: Vampires & Indians.  It just continues Simeon’s story as he goes after the long feared Vatican Slayers and he tells the story of his days on the plains of America in the turn of the 19th century.  What he saw of the vanished way of life of the Native Americans and how he enlists the help of a lost love.

What advice would you give a new writer?

Write what you enjoy, and be brutally honest with yourself.  You can either be brutal or sooner or later the world will.