Monday, August 20, 2012

Author Interview - Ted Mendelssohn, The Wrong Sword

I was lucky enough to get an interview with Ted Mendelssohn, author of The Wrong Sword, book one of a series. Ted is also offering a digital copy of his book to one lucky winner. Enter below to win.

"Ever since he arrived in Paris, Henry the Rat has made a pretty good living selling "magic" swords to gullible knights. But when Henry sells one to Geoffrey Plantagenet, brother to King Richard, his happy days are over for good. Geoffrey forces Henry into a dangerous, uncomfortable quest for the most famous magic sword of all time, Excalibur, even though Henry is certain that it's just a myth.
Then Henry actually finds Excalibur - and his troubles really start: For Excalibur is not just the sword of’s also the sword that won’t SHUT UP. It communicates with its owner, it knows what kind of owner it deserves, and Henry doesn’t even come close.
To keep Excalibur and the world safe from the appalling Geoffrey, Henry will have to masquerade as a knight, crash a royal wedding, rescue a princess, break a siege, penetrate the secrets of the Perilous Brotherhood, and find Excalibur’s rightful bearer, all while trying to reach an accommodation with a snotty, aristocratic hunk of steel that mocks him, takes over his body, and keeps trying to turn him into the one thing he hates most...a hero."

And now, an interview with Ted: 

What is your favorite sentence from your book and why?
Well, like my children, they're ALL my favorites. Just kidding. Of course I have favorite sentences. And children. Let's see…here's a good one, I think: Sometimes it sucked to be the king.

What has been your most rewarding experience since becoming published?
Surprisingly, being published wasn't in itself a big moment. When you start writing, you see being published as a sort of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. But writing a first novel is such a long process that the real reward is the knowledge that you've finished, and that it's fairly close to what you imagined it would be. Everything else is gravy.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Sure, in some ways. For instance, I grew up in a gritty neighborhood (what they call "gentrifying" these days) and saw enough to know that violence isn't glamorous or cool; so I can certainly understand Henry's attitude toward it. I can also identify with Mattie's intellectualism, and Brother Wiglaf's crazy enthusiasm – you know, embracing my inner geek.

What authors have influenced you?
I'd say the writers who influenced me most with The Wrong Sword are Robert Heinlein and Lois McMaster Bujold, who both taught me a lot about narrative voice.

Who are your favorite authors and why?
So many writers.
I love reading Roger Zelazny. The man was a genius poet in science fiction, on a par  with Ray Bradbury. If you're a writer, you have to be careful about reading something like his Lord of Light – it's so good, it will mess up your prose style for days.
Jack Vance is a fun author who never got his due. In a way, he's science fiction's dark, dark Jane Austen: so much of his work is an arch, sardonic dissection of human mores.
Tim Powers, George McDonald Fraser, Carl Hiaasen, Harper Lee, PG Wodehouse, George Orwell, and the list goes on. There aren't many classics on it. I've read the classics, and I respect them; but I'm suspicious of anyone who claims Ulysses is his favorite novel.

What are you currently reading?
The Eight Skilled Gentlemen, by Barry Hughart. Re-reading, actually. Hughart wrote a series of charming novels set in a mythical, medieval China: The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox. This is the third.

The Wrong Sword is Book One, when can we expect to see Book Two or others from you?
In about a year.

How long did it take you to write The Wrong Sword?
A lot longer than a year. But it was my first novel, so I was teaching myself to write in that form while I was doing it.

What inspired you to write The Wrong Sword?
I've always been fascinated by tests. If you think about it, Excalibur is the ultimate test – only the king can draw it from the stone. And then I thought But what if somebody cheats?

If you could live during any time period in history, what would it be and why?
I'm a huge fan of indoor plumbing, so I'd go with the Roaring '20s. Lots of money, short skirts and jazz you can understand. On the other hand, if it's a question of visiting, I'd go with Renaissance Florence or Persia under Cyrus the Great. Florence for the art, the food, and the crazy politics; Persia for the pomp and circumstance.

If you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be and why? What would you ask him/her?
Abraham Lincoln. I wouldn't ask him anything. I'd just say "thanks." Maybe we'd get a sandwich.

Thanks Ted for taking the time to give readers a chance to get to know you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jess @ The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow said...

Fun interview! I enjoy indoor plumbing as well : ) The Wrong Sword sounds interesting. Thanks! ~ Jess

Kelly Hashway said...

LOL Indoor plumbing would affect my decision of where to travel in history too!

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Nice interview! thanks, Lee