Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Zachary Hagen Interview - Eternity’s Well


Photo Content from Zachary Hagen 

Zachary Hagen is a New Mexico based fantasy author and teacher. He lives there with his wife, Claudia, and their dog, Flynn. When he isn't busy writing his next book or teaching, you can often find him walking around his neighbor hood or up hiking.

From a young age he was enthralled with the world of story. From the stories his parents read to him from his blue bedtime story books (if you know, you know) to the first two series that he read, The Chronicles of Narnia and A Series of Unfortunate Events, Zachary's tastes continued to develop throughout his years of reading.

The influences for his first series, The Eternal Chronicles, include Christopher Paolini, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and others.
    
  


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
I think the most rewarding thing I’ve done since being published is getting to interact with the reading and writing community in a brand new way. I’ve gotten to talk to people I otherwise would never have met. 

Greatest thing you learned in school? 
It wasn’t in a class, but I learned that boundaries and knowing where yours are are the single most important thing you can do for your success and overall health. 

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 
Currently, I’m writing the third book of The Eternal Chronicles and the second one is being edited by my editor, Carrie Jones. Eternal Chronicles will have 5 books. After that, I’d like to do a spin off series set before the events of Eternity’s Well. 

Why is storytelling so important for all of us? 
Stories are how we connect with the world. They are how we learn great lessons and learn how to connect with the world around us. They’re also just really fun! 

Can you tell us when you started ETERNITY’S WELL, how that came about? 
I started Eternity’s Well for an advanced creative writing class in college. I took elements from a lot of the stories I’d enjoyed and put them together. The story changed a lot from the first conception to now. Initially, the main character was going to be trying to be the most powerful sorcerer in Lux Terra, but that felt a little too villainous, so it evolved into what it is now.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I hope that readers find a character or a couple characters they can identify with and grow with them. I hope that they learn that there is so much beyond what they see and think about and that they are capable of great things by rising above adversity. 

What part of your characters did you enjoy writing the most? 
I loved getting to know my characters through their interactions. It’s amazing to me how unique the became over the course of the first book, and that trend has continued as I’ve continued writing. 

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
Honestly, life just got in the way. I took a big break and there was always something more important to do until there wasn’t. When I had the time and nothing else to do, the book became a priority and the other 55k words that needed to be written were written. I don’t think distractions are distractions when you prioritize writing. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I would love to introduce Katniss Everdeen to Elior BarVidania. They are so different and I think watching them interact would be hilarious. It probably would only be hilarious to me, but they would be just the most awkward match up. 

What was the last text message you received? 
My mother sent me a picture of some waffles she made for breakfast that tasted like eggos. My family shares a lot of recipes back and forth. We all LOVE food. 

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Quit a job. It is so liberating to do that. If you can find an alternative career or job and you’re at all uncomfortable or unhappy, quit. 

Best date you've ever had? 
My wife and I went to the mall and a movie and dinner shortly before we got engaged. Truthfully, anything I do with her could be the best date ever. 

What was the first job you had? 
I briefly tutored geometry in high school. 

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today? 
My best friend ended our friendship when his fiancé asked him to. It broke my heart and totally changed my life and approach to relationships from then on. 

First Heartbreak? 
I was in middle school. A girl I asked out told everyone about it and made fun of me for asking her out. 

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
I think it’s better to have loved. 

TEN FACTS ABOUT ETERNITY’S WELL 
  • 1. I came up with the beginnings of the idea while working as a summer camp counselor at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs, Florida 
  • 2. A few of the original inspirations for the story are The Last Airbender series, the Secret Circle, and the works of C. S. Lewis. 
  • 3. I used Passion Planners to plot out the initial character sketches and events of the first few chapters I wrote 
  • 4. I wrote two versions of the first chapter and sent them to friends and family to find out which direction was the best direction. They didn’t agree with what I wanted, but they were absolutely right, and I’m so glad I took their advice. 
  • 5. The Well of Eternity was not in the original idea for the story. It was added to turn the book from an anticlimactic stand-alone into a five book arc. 
  • 6. I based Nyx Cascata off Leo Valdez from The Heroes of Olympus because I love Rick Riordan’s work with mythology, and Leo was an awesome character. It doesn’t surprise me that people love Nyx. 
  • 7. Elior is a twin missing his brother because that has been my experience. I was conceived as a twin, but my mother lost the other baby in utero. That always stuck with me. 
  • 8. Opal Stronghand is based loosely off Princess Eleanor from E!’s The Royals. She evolved a lot from her original conception, though. 
  • 9. There is a clear dichotomy between fire and water in the books, and that is a direct choice to symbolize motivations. Uncontrolled fire destroyed while water generally brings life and helps things grow. 
  • 10. I stopped writing this book for a long time, but after a huge trauma, I lost my job and the book was all I had to work on, so I finished it. Now that I’ve done it once, it has been easier to keep writing up. 
Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from ETERNITY’S WELL  
There is a phenomenal moment in the last half of the book where Michael, the sort of wide professor/wizard, has a heart to heart with all the other main characters. When he has his conversation with Elior, he says “We don’t always have to be comfortable to be on the right path, and you need to learn that. An absence of pain is not the presence of goodness. Neither is the presence of pleasure an absence of evil. In fact, some of the best things involve a lot of pain, and many things that bring pleasure will kill you in the end.” 

I was grieving a loss when I wrote this. My best friend had decided he no longer wanted to be friends with me because his now wife didn’t like me. I had no idea why, and it was devastating. My wife and I lost our whole community and we had to move because of it. I got to put a lot of my frustration and hurt on the page, and it was so healing for me. 

That quote was something I wished I could say to him. I don’t know if he’ll ever read my book, but those words were for him. I didn’t write them out of anger but out of a heartfelt desire for him to grow and for healing to come to our friendship someday. 

In the context of the book, these conversations with Michael are fortifications for my characters. These are moments of raw emotion and growth, and I love the openness and vulnerability that the characters have in that chapter.


When you lose family, friends, and country, how far is too far?

Elior watched as his twin brother, the only real family he had left run into a building as it disappeared.

Nyx, a cursed merman, watched as his father and best friend were killed in front of him.

Opal’s father died leaving her with a legacy to live up to and a throne to protect.

When they join forces with a wise professor to find the Well of Eternity, can they find answers to their problems? Can the ancient evil lurking in the shadows of society be stopped before it’s too late, or will blood be spilled killing their hope and dooming Lux Terra forever?

Eternity’s Well will hook you from the very beginning and take you on a spellbinding, breathtaking journey through a new world where anything is possible.

You can purchase Eternity’s Well at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CREATIVE EDGE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

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10 comments:

  1. I haven't danced in so long its not even funny.

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  2. I rarely dance at all but it would have to have been my lovely wife. Thanks!

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  3. I don't really remember.. I always dance with my cat though.. yes sounds weird but fun. I might've danced with my mom last.

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  4. "Who was the last person you slow danced with?" This has never happened. Yuck. Icky-poo.

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  5. It was my husband at a friends wedding.

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  6. my husband, while cooking dinner!!!

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