The Jane Doe Novel Experiment

Creating Two New Novels. Writing One Chapter Weekly. Podcasting As I Go. Welcome to The Experiment.

Up & Coming Author Review: Quick Silver

I have a strong belief that anything dead should stay dead. (Especially if it’s only reason for coming back to life is to kill me.) Sometimes, Disney and I don’t get along because of all of the magic. And don’t even get me started on anything that makes me scream.

Quick Silver has all of the above…and I loved it! New author Derek Mathias did a wonderful job mixing our modern world with old magic at a heart stopping pace with a love story at the heart of it all.

What does a reformed thief do when he has only months left to live? “Silver” decides to test his skills one last time, and pulls off the caper of his life by robbing the mansion of the mysterious Sherman Lord. But Lord has access to powers and resources far beyond anything Silver ever imagined. He kidnaps Silver’s wife and unleashes a worldwide manhunt against him.

Silver’s only hope is Morrigaine, an eccentric woman who unexpectedly appears in his home. She claims to be a sorceress, and she promises to help Silver rescue his wife if he helps her complete her murdered father’s quest to restore magic to the world.

Despite his skepticism that magic exists, and despite her doubts that high technology isn’t some form of magic, they form an unlikely partnership…and soon learn how much they need each other’s unique talents in order to face the technological and supernatural forces Lord arrays against them.

Derek’s novel pulls off all of the above and more. My interest was piqued early on, but my favorite line that sums up why came later. To paraphrase Silver:

“I wondered how history got it wrong and Hollywood got it right.”

I am a sucker for historical fiction. And wow! I’ve learned, thanks to Quick Silver, that a tale we all know is completely wrong. Derek has woven details familiar to us – both fact and fiction – into a pattern we would never recognize. And it is stunning!

So, my rating? Out of 5 stars, I want to give it a 5. It is great. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t mesh well with fantasy themes. But even something awesome isn’t perfect.

The bad guy. I had a hard time viewing Lord as bad. I don’t believe I was given a strong enough reason to really root against him.  A lot of what he was involved in underneath the surface wasn’t revealed until the end. Knowing this earlier would have given me a more compelling reason to want to see him defeated.

Second, Derek does a wonderful job connecting me with the main characters. There is one character, though, that I didn’t get too close to. Since this character was a motivating force in the story, I would have liked to have known her better so that I could feel more deeply for her plight.

Those two points, however, were two that I internalized at the end. During the story, they didn’t really manner. The narrative took me down so many twist and turns that I never saw coming, yet, I ended up exactly where I needed to be: at the end of a very entertaining story. And Silver, he is so perfectly flawed that he is lovable right from the word go.

My vote is a 4.25 stars. Give us a badder bad guy and – while Silver’s motivation is real – I would like to feel the same concern he does. This is easily fixed by letting me spend a few more paragraphs with his motivation before tragedy strikes.

I know we all have bookshelves and ebooks full of #1 best sellers, but make room for this up & coming fantasy writer as well! The best part, Quick Silver is available free on Podiobooks. Listen on your drive to work, during a workout, or while hanging around the house. You’ll get wrapped up in the “essence” of it all!

http://www.podiobooks.com/title/quick-silver

Talking with the author, Derek Mathias:

Jane:  How did you come up for the idea for Quick Silver?

Derek: I actually came up with the idea decades ago (yikes!) to write a story where a modern-day protagonist has to deal with ancient magic. I worked on the story on and off over the years, often as an exercise to teach myself how to write. The story changed dramatically along the way (in all senses of the word) as I added new thoughts and elements. But the novel was always too cumbersome..until I converted it into a screenplay, which helped me really get a grasp on what worked and what didn’t. “Quick Silver” (titled “The Death of Silver Haze” at the time) won Screenplay of the Month at triggerstreet.com, although it still needed further work. Once I had that down, I converted it back into a novel…and this is the result.

Jane: Was there a scene in the novel you were really excited to write?

Derek: There were actually many scenes I was excited to write…in fact, that’s my barometer for deciding whether or not to keep a scene! My favorite scenes, though–without giving too much away–are those where the protagonist has to figure out how to use his high-tech skills to deal with magical/fantasy obstacles. The scenes that surprised me how fun they were to write, though, were the ones involving the druid and the thief arguing about the existence of magic vs. technology.

Jane:  How many novels have you written and where does Quick Silver fall?

Derek: “Quick Silver” is my first novel.

Jane:  What are your stats? Single? Married? Kids?

Derek: I’m a lifelong bachelor (I learned that marriage is the #1 cause of divorce, so…), but my girlfriend, Robin, currently lives with me. No kids, since they’re time sinks and I understand they’re unnecessary for a writer. But cats are a requirement, thus I always have at least one. 😉

Jane:  Any words of wisdom to other up and coming writers?

Derek: Well, my best piece of advice to up and coming writers–although I’m sure it won’t work for everyone–is to read some books on screenwriting (Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat!” is one of my favorites) and try putting your novel into screenplay format. The process taught me how to develop both the “objective” and “subjective” stories and intertwine them, and it taught me to strip out everything that doesn’t advance the story. The result is a streamlined skeleton ready for fleshing out into a novel.

But for those who already have their writing process down, I’d suggest collecting experiences like a philatelist collects stamps. I myself have been a US Army infantry paratrooper, naturalist/guide in the Galapagos Islands, software instructor, martial arts student/instructor, lab rat handler, motorcyclist, artist, hunter/fisherman, science and technology buff, polemic vlogger, world traveler, geological field assistant, scuba divemaster and musician, among other things (some of which are best not mentioned here). They have all provided a rich source of ideas and added authenticity to my writing.

Jane:  Any words of wisdom for first time podcasters?

Derek: I HIGHLY recommend first-time podcasters do exactly what Podiobooks recommends: invest in a decent mic, use good recording software like Audacity, have mentors listen to sample files…and be prepared to take up to ten hours (of recording, editing, re-recording, re-editing) to produce each one hour of final audio. Also, try to find a really quiet place to record. That’s something I’m still working on. I can’t tell you how many times I had to redo a recording because some small plane flew overhead, a car honked or my cat yawned.

Jane:  What’s next?

Derek: I’m currently writing “Soulburner,” a time travel alien invasion novel that draws on my military experience. I alternate between writing and creating a unique art form I call embossed metal artwork, making YouTube videos and teaching computer applications. I also have a number of ideas percolating around in my head for the sequel to Quick Silver.

 Thanks to Derek Mathias for writing the delightfully entertaining fantasy, Quick Silver and for the interview. Don’t forget to support him with a listen!

If you’re an up & coming author, (not traditionally published…yet ^.^)  and would like me to consider your completed novel or screenplay for review, please contact me at: authorjanedoeblog@gmail.com .  Please do not send your work with the first email. Please send only the “back of the book” summary and page count. Thank you! I look forward to reading!

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2012 by in Up & Coming Author Reviews and tagged , , , .

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