Thursday, August 23, 2012

Author Interview & Excerpt: Tom Bane, author of Masks of the Lost Kings

Today we have an interview with Tom Bane, author of Masks of the Lost Kings, and an excerpt from the book! It's about Suzy da Silva, and archaeologist on an adventure to discover hidden truths.  Here's a synopsis:

Following the sudden disappearance of treasure hunter Ben Sanders in Mexico, beautiful archaeologist Suzy da Silva is snatched from the cloistered environs of Oxford University and thrust into a deadly maelstrom of intrigue and discovery. Joining forces with astrophysicist Tom Brooking she crosses four continents, to unlock the dark secrets of Tutankhamun's tomb, the Holy Sepulchre and the mysterious Mayan Temple of Inscriptions to reveal a mysterious truth. Together they risk their lives, pursued by martial assassins and renegade special forces, fighting the forces of evil to discover hidden knowledge so precious that it has lain dormant for over a thousand years... ~ Courtesy of Goodreads

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a writer an novelist, when I was younger I was very different I studied Physical Chemistry at Manchester then at Oxford University, it was hard science like quantum physics, thermodynamics and cosmology. As I grew older I started trying my hand at creative pursuits like painting and writing, I’m a much better writer than a painter I just find it innately easier, trying to express yourself with just a paintbrush is a million times harder, like Horace said “A picture is a poem without words”.

How difficult was it getting published?

Nearly impossible I would say! I have not got any special tips for new authors to get published, other than be ultra-resilient and keep going.

Name one book that inspired you to start writing and how it inspired you?

The book I liked most as a child was an unusual but captivating story by Arthur C Clarke called the Fountains of Paradise. It is an idealistic story about life and death and the attempt by humans to achieve something worth living for- in this case to realize the construction of an elevator into space, to take humans outside of earth orbit and colonize the stars. I liked the combination of really thorough research, accompanied with a sense of philosophical purpose and human adventure. I try to aspire to use the same attributes in my own writing, although I don’t write science fiction, as it can be a bit too dry a genre sometimes.

Your novel, The Masks of the Lost Kings is about a female student, Suzy da Silva. Tell us what you think makes her a great character.

Suzy da Silva is the daughter of a Brazilian beauty queen and a distinguished Professor of Archaeology, Suzy is an unusual combination of poise and intelligence. Raised on the tough streets of Rio de Janeiro and educated at the prestigious Oxford University, she is working on her post-doctorate studies in Egyptology when she finds herself drawn into an adventure. She is a strong lady but not lacking in femininity, I wanted to portray a character that was bold and genuine, but at the same time believable and approachable, I thought that was best delineated through a female heroine. I think people are much less bothered about traditional stereotypes of male heroes these days, so there was no danger in using the character of Suzy da Silva.

What is your favorite line from one of your books and why?

I like the first line in the book.
They emerged from the black, dripping jungle night already bruised and drenched from the hot rain of the Tumbala Mountains. 

Excerpt from Masks of the Lost Kings:

They emerged from the black, dripping jungle night already bruised and drenched from the hot rain of the Tumbala Mountains. Ben and José, his tribal guide, were making progress, but it didn’t feel like it. In every direction unbroken jungle spread out around them in spirals of verdant green, impeding their every move, slowing down every step as it clutched at their limbs, trying to trip them up and hold them back. Something was following them in the trees above their heads. Ben guessed it was monkeys disturbed by the flames of José’s Cahune palm torch and made anxious by this intrusion into their nighttime privacy. Mosquitoes patrolled in jerky circles, mounting regular painful attacks on their sweating skins. All around, the buzz of cicadas crested and receded like tropical ocean waves, making it hard to listen for any sounds of impending danger. 
Just like the heat, a sense of menace cloaked the ancient Mayan rain forest like a deadly veil. The gods had been starved for over a thousand years. Now they wanted a sacrifice. They demanded blood. 
The temptation to turn and run was almost overwhelming, but Ben knew he couldn’t give up now. This search for a sacred truth was his chosen quest. If he could pull this off, his reputation as an archaeologist and astrophysicist would be assured. He would win his place in the history books forever. His hunger for the truth had led him inexorably toward this ancient prize, the captivating pyramidal Temple of Inscriptions. Beneath its stone interior lay the mysterious subterranean death crypt of King Pacal that Ben was risking everything to unveil. The tribal elders and survival experts he had consulted had all issued the same warning, telling him of the wet season's bloodthirsty mosquitoes, vicious horseflies and mud traps that could suck in a man up to his knees, or worse. Everyone said it would be best to wait until the place dried out in summer, but the lure was too great and Ben was too impatient. He couldn’t risk waiting even for a few months and losing out to a rival. Inside this jungle lay a giant Mayan lost city, with a secret concealed for a thousand years, a secret that he now had the code to unlock. 
The sweet smell of orchids filled the hot, wet air and brilliant blue butterflies floated randomly past, like musical notes, suspended in narrow beams of moonlight. 
Ben's shirt snagged on the spiky tropical leaves, making him twist awkwardly. His foot shot out from under him, toppling him sideways. Suddenly he was falling through the air as if the ground had opened up beneath him. Grab something, his mind shrieked. Anything! A jolt slammed through him as his hand caught a tree root, halting his fall, while his left knee smashed into hard stone. Dirt and rocks were falling around him. His muscles screamed in pain as he clung on in the dark. He must be hanging over the side of a ravine but he had no idea how deep it was beneath his flailing feet. The root shifted in his hands as the earth began to surrender its hold. He glanced up, and a fresh shower of dirt stung his face.

For more info on Tom Bane:

Website
Twitter
Facebook

Thanks so much for stopping by today, Tom. And thanks so much for sharing the excerpt from Masks of the Lost Kings with us!

For more about Masks of the Lost Kings check out these sites!


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