I have a couple of fun extras this weekend and I’m excited to share them with you! To kick of this Saturday, welcome Robert Treskillard! He recently came out with Merlin’s Blade and as I mentioned in the review, after reading it, you’ll want to go on an adventure and wish you were back in time, seeing Merlin’s world for yourself! So please, enjoy not only the regular 4 Questions, but some extras!
Robert Treskillard is a Celtic enthusiast who holds a B.A. in Biblical & Theological Studies from Bethel University in Minnesota. Though he has been writing since he was a child, MERLIN’S BLADE is his first book. It was inspired by his love of the legends of King Arthur, blacksmithing and sword-making. Treskillard is also a software developer, graphic artist, and a bladesmith. He and his wife have three children and are homeschooling their youngest. They live in Catawissa, Missouri.
1. What was the idea behind Merlin’s blindness?
I actually didn’t want to make Merlin blind because writing the novel would have been so much easier without his handicap.
To fully understand why I made him blind, I have to take you back to the original question that was the foundation of the story—“why would someone shove a sword into a stone?” The only answer that made any real sense was “what if the stone itself were the enemy?”
So then, my enemy was a rock! Hmmm. What can a rock do? Well, I had to be creative and came up with the idea that it enchants people who see it. Therefore making Merlin mostly blind made him immune to it. This also added a lot of interest to his character because he had a disability that made it hard for him to be a hero.
2. Tell us more about how you got into sword making.
When my son was nine he wanted to learn blacksmithing and sword making. So I built a forge and bought an anvil, and we read a lot of books. We also talked with other blacksmiths and bladesmiths and set about learning the craft.
For the sword on the cover of Merlin’s Blade, I actually didn’t make the blade itself, but did bronze-cast the hilt and pommel. Our forge isn’t large enough to heat treat a blade of that size, so I was forced to purchase a blade without a handle. Bronze casting was a whole new craft to learn, and I almost made some dangerous mistakes that could have sent me to the hospital.
3. What are some things you hope readers will get from Merlin’s story?
I would hope that readers would come away with some courage to face their own problems despite whatever disadvantage they may have.
4. What was one of the most fun parts of creating young Merlin’s world?
Researching locations is always fun. Often I’ll envision the type of site that I need for a particular scene or chapter, and go looking on the maps and find something even more perfect than I could have imagined. One time I found an ancient tomb at this one location and it made the scene that much more spooky.
And now the lovely 4 Questions!
1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
Five years ago I had just finished writing my first draft of Merlin’s Blade. At the time, ripe with optimism, I never would have imagined that it would take this long to get published. On the other hand, having Zondervan as my publisher was only a dim dream, so that five year wait was well worth it!
2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
My mother was in the hospital last November, and I bought plane tickets to go see her. Sadly, she passed away before I could leave. If I had known I would have flown out immediately. Still … I did speak with her on the phone and we both said what needed to be said, so I’m content with that.
3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Marrying Robin. We just celebrated our 24th anniversary!
4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Turn off the TV and set down your smartphone. Read. Create. Write. Build. Talk. Make a difference!
“Treskillard delivers a sweeping, deeply detailed fantasy that re-imagines the adventures of figures from Arthurian legend in a battle between “new” Christian ideology and the ancient rites of the druids.”—Publishers Weekly
“Trekillard has achieved one of the most difficult feats to master in high fantasy epics like this – weaving together a handful of storylines into a cohesive, expertly-paced narrative.”—Crosswalk.com
“Did you ever care about something enough to risk your life for it?” asks Merlin.
That is the question that propels Merlin on a remarkable journey through fifth-century Britain as he attempts to lead his village away from the fantastic yet dangerous allure of a gorgeous stone with amazing powers. Inspired by the renowned Arthurian legends, MERLIN’S BLADE tells the story of Merlin’s battle to save his family, friends, and king from the druids’ treacherous plan to reclaim Britain by using a strange meteorite that has the power to ensnare anyone who looks at it.
Only young Merlin, who lost his vision in a wolf attack, can steer his friends and family away from the object’s dreadful influence, and back onto the path of truth. His lack of sight is his secret weapon.
While the villagers, including Merlin’s father and his best friend, Garth, are under the stone’s spell, Merlin takes on the evils that live beneath its surface, facing off against despicable creatures and fearless villains that aim to turn Britons against each other.
Surrounded by adversaries and armed only with a sword, Merlin must rid his country of this deadly evil, even if it means losing his own life. He sets out on his mission with the help of the beautiful Natalenya, who gives him the confidence—and assistance—he needs.
Will Merlin be able to help save the people of Britain?
With vivid scenery, touching flashbacks, and distinct characters, MERLIN’S BLADE is poised to catapult Treskillard to the top of the list of favorite fantasy fiction authors. Balancing tremendous medieval action scenes with a delicate Christian underscore, Treskillard pens a story both fans of YA and fantasy will enjoy.
Be sure to grab a copy of Merlin’s Blade today!