Author Danny Adams give soms great answers to my “famous”, or should I say “infamous” questions. In reading his responses he seemd to share much of the same love I had with the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He is the man behind “Lest Camelot Fall“. Readers will find that a check of his personal website he calls himself the Silver Fox. Beyond his personal site people can find him on Facebook and Goodreads. So with further comment below are the questions and his great answers.
Question 1: What inspired you to write Lest Camelot Fall?
I’ve been fascinated by Arthur and Camelot ever since I was a kid, and I always vaguely wondered whatever happened to the surviving Knights of the Round Table after Camelot fell. But I never got farther than wondering until I read Jack Whyte’s fantastic Chronicles of Camulod, and I found myself combing through the earliest medieval histories and stories – mostly Welsh and Cornish, written before Arthur was mixed in with later chivalry and the Grail. It turns out that those early writers were just as interested in the knights’ post-Camelot lives as me, and told tales about the survivors’ post-Camelot lives. I took some of the threads of those stories, invented a cousin for Arthur who returns (albeit too late), and the story formed itself from there until I couldn’t not write it.
Question 2: Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?
Some of the oldest stories give Aurelianus as the name of Arthur’s Roman family, so I gave it to Lucian, my protagonist. The others were either characters in the Arthurian stories already, or where invented, are more or less common to Late Roman Britain, at least as well as we know that period (which isn’t very well). But the underlying conflict between Roman and Celtic names — especially at the end of the book — was purposeful. The Celts were beginning to reclaim their land from their mostly-gone Roman masters by this point, before the Saxons ultimately moved in decades later, forcing them into Wales and deeper Cornwall.
Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?
I spent a lot of time thinking back to the past (and present) due to wondering what it was that intrigued me about Camelot’s story so much. The adventure aspect was part of it, though much of that came in later Arthurian tales, especially with the introduction of Lancelot. But their common thread, regardless of the era when they were written, was hope. Hope for peace, hope for something better than just a hardscrabble survival existence. So mostly what I wanted to bring to the story was that same feeling of hope. And this always brought me back to how I felt reading the stories (at any age) and what kept me linked to them over the years.
Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?
Besides Arthur…and British history in general…I was always enamored with anything containing an element of the fantastic. I don’t only mean fantasy, though there was plenty of that, from C.S. Lewis to Greek mythology. But by “fantastic” I mean where somebody rose up and did something extraordinary, whether it was in real history (particularly in ancient and medieval times) or fiction – Huckleberry Finn was one of my childhood heroes. (I have a family who supported and encouraged reading, so even as a kid, Mark Twain was a familiar companion.)
Magic, adventure, quests, where somebody did what was right and necessary no matter how difficult, and any story where the friends or family knew they could count on each other no matter what – those were my favorite books growing up, and to a large extent they still are.
Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?
I’ve started getting a small but steady stream of people telling me what they liked about it. Overwhelmingly they tend to enjoy the characters, especially their interactions; my take on familiar icons like Merlin (although some of that I can’t claim credit for – as I mentioned above, I pulled many of the old stories into the book); and what one reader called lush period detail. And those are the three things I always enjoy the most in any historical novel that I read, so I’ve been endlessly pleased about fans enjoying them in Camelot as well.
Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?
Honestly…shock. I’d been working with the book one way or another for a long time – research, writing, editing, more editing, still more editing. Then when I saw it as a real published book for the first time, I suddenly realized with an equal mix of pride and terror that the book was finished, out there…and I could no longer work on it. At all. It was well and truly Done. I love seeing it out and about in the world, but I’m still getting used to the fact that I can’t so much as tweak it anymore!
Question 7: Do you continue to write?
Oh, yes. Right now I’m working on a straight-up historical series about Arizona, following the generations of several families from the end of the Ice Age to the present day. I have family and other personal connections with Arizona and had wanted to write about it since my first trip out there at age 16. I fell in love with the place then, I still love it, and would likely be living out there if not for my family being where I am now (Virginia).
I write the occasional fantasy or science fiction poem. I’ve got one coming up in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine soon called “Picnic at the Trinity Test Site”.
And I imagine there will also be a sequel to Lest Camelot Fall if it continues selling well. I’ve already had people tell me they’re eager to know what happens to Lucian next.
Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?
The period I’m writing about is still colloquially known as “the Dark Ages” (though most historians nowadays hate that term). The truth is, they weren’t always so dark as we think – a lot of interesting and exciting stuff went on in those times, and they included people who were willing to fight if they must, but would just as soon settle down to have families, build, farm, and write. Who were hoping to leave life better than they found it. This is a universal message that runs through Lest Camelot Fall: Whatever else is going on around you, whatever you have to go through to get there, hope and the need to create are some of the most powerful forces we possess.
Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?
The problem isn’t if I can; it’s how many potential futures I can envision for him. By the end of Lest Camelot Fall, Lucian has all but offered a new rebirth and re-purposing to the Knights of the Round Table – so where would he go from there? There are a myriad of possibilities, limited only by history, and even that grants a wide swath of paths. But one way or another, he’s devoted his life to fighting for peace and civilization in that unsettled age between “Britannia” and “England”, and will be leading that charge from here on.
Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?
Lest Camelot Fall is dedicated to a group of friends – most of whom still are friends two decades later – I met at Roanoke College in 1990. Without going into a lot of boring detail, my life had gotten rather off-track from where I wanted it to be, I was looking for a new start…then I met these folks, the first time in years I’d encountered a group who accepted me for exactly who I was. It did turn out to be a new beginning for me, and a major turn in the direction of my life for the better. That’s another main theme running through Lest Camelot Fall, so the dedication seemed appropriate.
The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?
Southwest and central England, where the majority of Lest Camelot Fall takes place. I would love to take the book – one way or another – to the places in the book.