Eighteen year old Ethan Adlar inherits a fountain pen and a destiny from his father, Thomas. Unknown to Ethan, Thomas led a secret alchemist league fighting an ancient war across the centuries to protect history from the future.
- THE FIVE PENS OF JOHANNES by Richard Hacker
In keeping with its mission to serve as an ongoing bridge between its aspiring
author members and professionals in the business, Author Salon has been actively reaching out
to major New York publishing editors as well as literary agents on both coasts to promote a
variety of projects each and every month. In other words, we've been querying on
behalf of our writers, providing them with the visibility and promotion
they need to become published. One
of our writers below, Richard Hacker, has received several requests for
fulls and partials from major literary agencies and New York
publishers. Below he talks to Author Salon.
A Dialogue With Fantasy Writer Richard Hacker
holds an MA and a Certificate in Genre Fiction from the University of
Washington. His novel won top awards in the Science Fiction category at
the 2011 Writer’s League of Texas (WLT) literary contest, and he is a
member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.
1. What inspired you to write your story? What do you love about the genre?
I woke up at three in the morning thinking about a pen that enables you
to write down the name of someone from the past, and by doing so, enter
person’s consciousness. What inspired the idea? I’m not altogether sure.
I do love fountain pens. In our high tech world a fountain pen offers a
visceral connection to the written word. The ritual of pulling ink into
a chamber, stains on the fingers, the flow of fluid onto a page feel
elemental to me. Not that I’d write a novel with a fountain pen. I’m
definitely a digital guy, but fountain pens do have a romance about
them. With a pen as a core idea, I did some research in alchemy,
fabricating a believable fantasy of an ink, when matched to a specific
alloy nib, moves a user’s consciousness into the name being written. I
love the notion that an Inker uses a person’s name to enter their
consciousness. Names have always been very powerful. In some religions,
believers may not say the name of their god because the very act of
naming assumes a power over that which has been named.
My love of the fantasy genre informs how I have conceived THE FIVE PENS
OF JOHANNES. I tend to gravitate toward a form of fantasy that holds
reality very close. For example, In ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE,
Gabriel Garcia Marquez weaves in the dead as if they are living in the
story’s present, creating a magical context to his storytelling. I love
stories like THE SIXTH SENSE, JACOB’S LADDER, INCEPTION, because they
play with our sense of what is real and what is imagined, what is
conscious awareness and what is a dream state. My characters shift from
present to past, but also from one time matrix reality to another in a
mix of past oriented historical fiction and future focused speculative
fiction. Where those worlds intersect and collide provide fertile ground
2. Prior to being included in the Author Salon Literary Showcase, how
did your project and your writing evolve here at Author Salon? What did
I came to Author Salon with a completed first draft of my novel and a
sense that I had a solid concept providing a foundation for my
storytelling. At first, I admit to some apprehension about getting
online with a group of strangers and entrusting my work with them. To my
great delight, I found a group of skilled, professional writers as
committed to their art as I am to mine. We initially had to work through
“being nice” which didn’t get us anywhere. I think we all recognize the
power of colleagues speaking their truth and the professionalism of
opening ourselves up to hear that truth. Now I’m confident my peers tell
it like it is and I know I do the same for them. We are committed to
the success of each other and not willing to let anything slide.
So what did I learn? Compliments are nice, but truth challenges you to
reach beyond yourself. Before I joined Author Salon I wanted to write
novels and be read. Now I want to write best best damn novel on the
planet and be read by everyone. I feel the challenge to push myself
beyond average, beyond good, reaching for a level of excellence in what
I’m creating. The critique process provides huge amounts of valuable,
usable feedback to refine the manuscript. And I’ve found critiquing the
work of others has heightened my own ability to evaluate plot,
structure and all of the many components making up a work of fiction.
Finally, I have found some kindred spirits in my peer group. People
whose opinions I highly value and who I sense want as much success for
me as I do for them.