Interview with Randolph Lalonde, Author of NEM: Awakening
08 Dec 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, NEM: Awakening?
NEM: Awakening is about Grant, a weekend Dungeon Master who runs fantasy campaigns for his friends, who gets tossed into his own fantasy world. Literally. There’s a lot more to it, including a Goddess who he thought he made up but turns out to be real, a greedy High Priest, a Demon, treasure caches, irritating Princes, and a confrontation involving a desperate goblin tribe. You’ll have to give it a read to learn more.
There’s a backstory behind this book, too. I started writing NEM at the beginning of the COVID crisis in Canada, when my government asked that everyone who could stay at home do so. I work at home, so that wasn’t an issue for me. Sadly, this meant that the tabletop role-playing session that I had planned in the coming week would have to be cancelled. In fact, the whole campaign I was going to run for my friends, who are all enthusiastic tabletop gamers, would be put on hold indefinitely. Sure, this wasn’t a tragedy in the grander sense, but I was really looking forward to having a good game with them. A few weeks later, I started writing NEM, which is about a Dungeon Master who gets pulled into his own game world, and I used some of the materials I had developed for the game I was going to play with my friends as a foundation. NEM: Awakening is a fun escape for me that allows me to flex the side of my brain that I would be using as a Dungeon Master, especially since some major decisions about the main character’s actions are made by people who follow along with the serialized version on Patreon, and the success or failure of some other actions are determined by the throw of a 20 sided die on my desk while I’m writing. The result is a rather unpredictable romp from reality into fantasy.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I can’t say anyone was my inspiration, because I started writing short stories before I was a teenager. I submitted my first story to Amazing Stories when I was about fourteen and still have the encouraging rejection letter somewhere. I love telling stories, so that kept me typing.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
It’s hard to narrow it down, but here are a few of my favourites across the genres. Cabal by Clive Barker, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Legend by David Gemmell, and The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
I’d probably invite Clive Barker. I’d ask him; “If you could switch places with any character in your stories, which one would it be, and why?”
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
That changes from time to time, but right now I’d have to say it’s the best kind of distraction. I love immersing myself in the surroundings and problems of a different world. Right now I’m focused on fantasy and science fiction.
What is a typical day like for you?
I get dressed, have breakfast (usually oatmeal with random nuts and dried stuff thrown in), then go to my in-home office. While listening to music, I check email, then start writing or editing. In the afternoon I work on the business side of my career. If that doesn’t take up the rest of my day, I often do a little more editing, writing, or I work on research for one of the projects I am, or will be writing. Most of the research is conducted online, but I love interviewing people when I can.
What scene from NEM: Awakening was your favorite to write?
It’s a tie! There are two that come to mind: The arrival of a full-grown drake, and the moment when Grant wakes up in an unexpected place.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
Habits are hard to master. The good ones are an uphill climb, the bad ones are a downhill fall. Keep climbing, and don’t look down.
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