Today marks the official kickoff of the A Hero’s Downfal Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour, and throughout the week we’ve got a great lineup helping us spotlight this incredible Epic Fantasy adventure! A Hero’s Downfall is the first installment in Tony Johnson’s The Story of Evil trilogy, a series I’m very much looking forward to diving into. Tony was kind enough to stop by to have a chat about his book, his inspirations for writing, and his experiences with SPFBO, so keep scrolling for the tour schedule, more info about the book, and the interview.
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature A Hero’s Downfall. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews, interviews, and more.
JULY 19TH–THE WELCOMING
Whispers & Wonder
Foals, Fiction & Filigree
Out of This World SFF Reviews
I Can Has Books?
Through Novel Time & Distance
Armed with A Book
JULY 25TH–THE ENCORE
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
During an entertaining jousting tournament, a mysterious villain attacks the capital with his army. Because of this disastrous event, Stephen Brightflame, a nineteen-year-old who aspires to become a knight, embarks on a quest to save the kingdom from further destruction. He joins up with a convicted felon, an arrogant warrior, and a Halfling woman, but quickly learns their pasts are just as dark and disturbing as his own. Experience the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy that’s been called, “fascinating and captivating” featuring “well-rounded, enjoyable characters, intense action scenes, and riveting twists” (The US Review of Books and Self-Publishing Review).
Meet The Author
FIND TONY ON:
Tony Johnson is the author of the epic fantasy series, The Story of Evil. He is an avid reader who enjoys fantasy, classic novels, Shakespeare, and Christian literature. He is also a fan of movies, television, videogames, and Tennessee Titans football. He graduated with a Bachelors in English Literature from SUNY Brockport with a certification to teach 7th-12th grade English and Special Education. Tony lives in Batavia, NY and is currently finishing up his Masters Degree and working on the final book in the Story of Evil trilogy.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Tony. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I’m a self-published author dreaming of making writing my career.
What’s a day of writing like in the shoes of Tony? Do you have any quirks, routines, or rituals?
Lately, it’s been tough to establish a writing routine since I work full-time and am going to college full-time to finish my Masters degree. This is problematic because I work best when I have consecutive days where I can focus solely on writing. I need to be in the headspace of the world and characters I’m writing about and not have any interruptions. School and work make that difficult. However, when I do have the time, I’ll sit down with a box of cereal to munch on, play some movie instrumental soundtracks in the background and easily pump out chapter after chapter.
Give us an idea of how A Hero’s Downfall came to fruition.
I shared this story with Lorri Moulton on her blog, Lavender Lass Books, about how my grandparents got me a Fisher Price castle as a kid and sparked my love for fantasy. I devoured any fantasy books, movies, and videogames I could find as I grew up. After experiencing The Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance, and a niche Playstation 1 videogame called The Legend of Dragoon, I wanted to create my own fantasy world and characters. Eventually, A Hero’s Downfall was born out of it and I place little nods to the works that inspired my writing throughout my series.
I see you’ve entered the nail-biting marathon of SPFBO! I know it’s still early in the competition, but how are you finding the experience so far?
SPFBO has been incredible. It’s only been a month and a half since it started, but in that time I’ve connected with so many authors, bloggers, and readers and feel that I’ve become a part of the fantasy fiction community. I’m constantly on the SPFBO Facebook page, commenting on posts, trying to encourage fellow participants and add to the sense of camaraderie that is already so clearly evident.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Although I outline the plot first, I place more importance on characters in terms of storytelling. If a reader can’t connect with characters or the world those characters inhabit, there’s very little chance that even the best of plots will keep them turning the page. My goal is to give the reader characters they love to love and love to hate and prevent them from putting the book down until it’s complete.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
Stephen Brightflame is my main protagonist and my favorite character in A Hero’s Downfall. He’s like me in that his character is a perfectionist in everything he does. He worked as a blacksmith for years to forge a perfect sword, he studied to ace his exams to become a warrior, and he trained hard to become an undefeatable jouster in the Warriors’ Tournaments. In doing all this, he believes he’ll achieve his dream of being promoted to a Guardian Knight, one of twelve sworn protectors of the king. Early on in the book however, Steve meets the leader of the knights, who tells him that rather than looking for the perfect warrior, he looks for those, “who’ve proven that no matter what happens, they’ll be able to persevere and not forsake the ideals and morals that are required of their position.” A Hero’s Downfall is about Steve being broken down physically and emotionally to the point where he learns whether or not he has what it takes to be a knight. I love his character arc.
What do you think makes a good story?
Personally, I enjoy a story that subverts my expectations of what’s to happen. If you can give me three-dimensional characters, interesting themes, and a surprising plot, I’m hooked no matter what genre.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Writing is stressful, but part of the fun is the challenge of it! My advice to aspiring authors is to immerse yourself in books on writing like Stephen King’s On Writing or Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Writing is a multi-faceted and difficult process, but books like these will help you to better grasp the many layers you need to be considering to ensure your book is working on all levels.Like anything else, writing is something you need to constantly be practicing to improve your craft. You’ll be amazed at the content you put out in year one versus year ten!
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
I don’t like either of these drinks!
Winter or Summer?
Physical books or Ebooks?
Mountains or Oceans?
Beer or Wine?
I don’t drink these either!
Books or Movies?
I may be an author, but I pick movies!
Cowboys or Aliens?
Aliens. Tough call, but Aliens offer more story possibilities.
Pie or Cake?
Cake all the way.
Rural or Urban?
Rural. I currently live in a small city. The constant amount of fighting outside gets old when its 2:00 am and I’m trying to sleep.
Work hard or Play hard?
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Zack. Do you have anything coming up in the future that you’d like the world to know about?
I’m working hard to complete The Story of Evil series. This has been a labor of love ten years in the making. It’ll be quite the celebration when the series is complete and I can’t wait to share it with you all. Stay tuned for details of its release…
Enter to win one of three paperback copies of A Hero’s Downfall!
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official A Hero’s Downfall tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://storytellersontour.online/2020/06/20/tour-schedule-the-story-of-evil-a-heros-downfall-by-tony-johnson/) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!