I first encountered Nicholas Rossis about a year ago through the Facebook Group, Fantasy Sci-Fi Network News. He is a renaissance man, a diligent, cogent blogger and a best-selling fantasy author. If I were asked to describe him in as few words as possible, I would call him engaged, intelligent and pro-active.
When I asked him to describe himself, he did so as follows: Avid reader. Web developer. Architect by training, holder of a PhD in Digital Architecture from the University of Edinburgh. Most importantly, author.
Nicholas loves to write. He has published Runaway Smile, a children’s book, which you can read for free on his blog. He has also written the Amazon best-selling epic fantasy series, Pearseus. The final book in the series is currently penned and expected summer 2015.
Finally, he has published the Amazon best-seller The Power of Six, a collection of short sci-fi stories that includes his award-winning short story, I Come in Peace.
Nicholas lives in Athens, Greece, at a forest’s edge, with his wife, dog and two very silly cats, one of whom is always purring on his lap.
Nicholas, will you tell us about your most recent release?
What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?
I wanted to have it ready for Christmas, so the main challenge was to have everything ready by then.
You see, in the end I decided it was far more important to produce the best possible book, than to meet an arbitrary deadline. So, when the feedback from my beta readers came and I realized I needed to change a few things to improve on the story, I decided to release the book a month later, even if that meant missing the Christmas period.
I think that was wise. Producing the best book one can is a universal dictum and sound advice. Will you tell us about your other novels?
I have written another three Pearseus books, including a novelette-sized prequel. I have also written The Power of Six, a collection of short stories with a science fiction/fantasy twist.
About a month prior to Pearseus: Vigil, I had released my first children’s book, Runaway Smile. I’m especially fond of this one, particularly the great illustrations provided by the very talented Dimitris Fousekis.
Have there been any awards, productions, videos or anything else of interest associated with your work?
I’ve been lucky enough that four of my books have repeatedly reached #1 on Amazon in their respective genres. Also, one of the short stories in The Power of Six has won a competition here in Greece and was included in a traditionally-published anthology.
I haven’t made any videos, but it’s something I’ve been considering for a while now. I’ll let you know when I do.
What else are you working on?
I’ve already started working on the last Pearseus book (working title: Endgame – you heard it here first), but I’m also working on my next children’s book, Musiville. It’s currently illustrated by Dimitris, and I’m not helping by making changes to the text!
What would you say are the occupational hazards of being a novelist?
Too many to list here, from the obvious (square eyes from staring at a screen all day long) to the not-so-obvious (people think you’ve had a stroke because you spend half the day staring in empty space). Also, I should mention insomnia (from planning your next scene) and industrial-strength absent-mindedness (a natural consequence of your mind being light years away).
Hah! You’re as bad as I am. Will you share with us how you became a published author?
One could say I’ve always been writing in the form of essays, but also a dream journal, where I’ve kept my most memorable dreams since I was in my late teens. Then, in 2009, I dreamed that someone was urging me to write. I flicked through my dream journal and came across a potentially good tale, so I wrote it up as a short story and submitted it to 9, a Greek sci-fi journal. To my great surprise, it was published. Then, I entered a competition with my next story, and won an award – this was the one I mentioned earlier.
I felt I had found my calling, and started working on my novel, Pearseus, while writing further short stories, a children’s book series (currently being illustrated) and various blog posts in between. I tried sending my various manuscripts to maybe a dozen agents and publishers, but was rejected. It gradually dawned on me that things move at a glacial sleep in the world of traditional publishing. Being rather impatient, I decided to self-publish. To my astonishment, the second book of the Pearseus series reached #1 in its genre within two months of its launch.
I have now published traditionally my children’s book, Runaway Smile, in Greece, so I consider myself a hybrid author.
Fantasy authors frequently kill off their characters. If you were going to commit the perfect murder, how would you go about it?
I’m the kind of person who tries to resuscitate ants when he accidentally steps on one, so I think I’m the last person who would commit any kind of crime – let alone murder.
Except in my books, of course. I’ve been reading Sue Coletta’s free 50 ways to Murder your Fictional Character, and now have a pretty good idea of what to use: poison. There’s many a poisonous herbs in our gardens, so the easiest thing would be to slip a handful of those into the unsuspecting victim’s casserole and make sure they eat alone. This would make it the perfect crime, especially if they’re the kind of person to have a herb garden.
Hmm. I’ll have to file that away. Returning to something more serious, is there anything you want to make sure potential readers know?
Only that I love and cherish each and every one of them. If I knew where they lived, I’d bring them chocolate cookies. Unless they left a poor review of course, in which case they’d better not eat them.
I think that brings us back to the previous question. Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yes, I’ve been working on the Internet for the past 20 years, mainly in web design and web marketing. This proved to be a great help when I started self-publishing, as I’ve been using most of the things I’ve learned through my day job for promoting my books. The best thing about it is that I can do it from home, as we have turned the ground floor into a spacious office area, which means no commute. Plus, the tea is always excellent.
Before I share an excerpt from Vigil, I’d like to close with a Lightning Round. In as few words as possible, please answer the following:
My best friend would tell you I’m a…
strange kind of beast. But an affectionate one.
The one thing I cannot do without is…
The Internet. I’d feel mute and deaf without it.
The one thing I would change about my life:
Having children. Someone has to test-drive my children’s books.
My biggest peeve is…
The human capacity for self-delusion. I’m now convinced that it’s infinite.
The person/thing I’m most satisfied with is…
My wife, as she totally gets me!
As promised, here is an excerpt from Vigil, after which you will find links where to purchase Nicholas’s books, as well as how to connect with him.
In the Sewers
In the distance, they heard the grating of metal against cobbles as the soldiers opened the manhole to search for them inside the dirty sewers.
She lost track of time as they sped down one tunnel after another, each stinking a little more. She fought to push the image of Sophie’s bloodied body away from her mind, but it kept popping back to her head. The woman had been like a mother and a sister, helping raise the twins as if they were her own. And the priest; why would a priest of Themis be after them? What had they done to offend their goddess?
Elsie froze and her pretty face went white. Angel followed her eyes to a dozen red eyes peering at them from the darkness. She pulled her little sister by the hand. “Don’t look at it,” she whispered, but the little girl could not move. Angel leaned down to face her, trying to avoid the stinking waters. More red eyes blinked around them. “Honey, it’s just a rat. It’s more scared of you than you are of it.”
Elsie bobbed her head while craning it around Angel’s shoulder to stare at the animals splashing in the stinking water. Angel swallowed a sigh and lifted her into her arms. Themis, she’s heavier than she looks!
The girl burrowed in Angel’s arms, squirming with each new rat they encountered. Balancing the torch with one hand and holding Elsie with the other proved impossible. Angel handed the torch to Cook. Stumbling under the weight, she moved as fast as she could. She took one turn, then another, when the torch fell into the water with a loud hiss. It glowed for a second, then the light disappeared.
“I’m sorry,” Cook whispered with a strained voice. “It slipped.”
Angel stopped herself from screaming at him. “It’s all right. We’ll just follow…” Her voice trailed off. Where was the light from Xhi’s torch? He must have moved on, unaware that he had left them behind. She fought the urge to shout his name; she had no idea how close the soldiers might be. When was the last time she had seen the flame from his torch? Shit! It was back at the rats’ nest. She must have taken a wrong turn, and now they were lost. Swearing at herself, she wondered how to tell the children that they had to go back. She opened her mouth, then heard faraway voices. Soldiers!
“Follow me,” she whispered and raised one hand to feel the walls as she pressed forward in the darkness. In the distance, her straining eyes caught a light. She headed that way, hoping to find Xhi. Instead, they arrived at a grating that sliced the dim light from above into dirty squares flickering in the waters. She let Elsie down with a loud sigh. “Will you be all right now, honey?”
The girl nodded, holding back terrified tears.
She heard the voices again, this time accompanied by the sound of approaching feet splashing in the filthy waters. They must be getting closer! Her gaze jumped around, searching for a hiding place. She pushed the twins into a tight alcove, squirming behind them. I wish I had a knife! More splashing echoed in the narrow space, drawing nearer. She held her breath as she pressed their bodies to the wall, wishing to blend into the shadows.
“Angel?” Cyrus’ voice made her jump out of her skin, then she burst from her hiding place to jump into his arms.
“Thank Themis, I thought—”
Xhi did not let her finish her sentence. “They’re heading this way. Hurry.” He climbed a tight ladder before pushing a manhole cover to sneak a look outside. A few moments later, he motioned them up. With some loud, straining breaths, she raised Cook, then Elsie into his arms, and he lifted them out. Angel pushed Cyrus up, then followed them.
They had emerged in a confined alleyway, now covered in darkness. The derelict buildings could only be part of the Slums. She drank the evening air in deep gulps. The stained walls around them stank of mold, urine and moisture, but to Angel the stale air smelled of freedom. The twins stared at the unfamiliar surroundings. Elsie sniffed and wrinkled her nose in disgust. They must be so scared. Angel wished she had some sort of treat, aside from a half-eaten apple.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Nicholas!
Visitors can connect with Nicholas on the following links:
You may purchase his books at: