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Andy Peloquin, author of "The Last Bucelarii: Gateway to the Past"

The Open Book

Andy Peloquin, author of "The Last Bucelarii: Gateway to the Past"

Stephen H. Provost

Andy Peloquin is the author of Gateway to the Past, the third installment of The Last Bucelarii series, which he describes as "dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature." Peloquin's latest novel, it was published March 31 and focuses on The Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis, whose mission is to protect a boy he rescued from a demon. The author sat down and answered a series of questions via email for this installment of The Open Book.

The Author

Name, age and occupation: Andy Peloquin, 29, author/freelance writer.

Where and with whom do you live? I live in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico (south of the U.S. border) with my wife and four kids.

If you could co-write a book with any author, living or dead, whom would you choose? Brandon Sanderson or Scott Lynch. Being able to work with those authors (even just be in the same room with them and talking with them) would be a dream come true!

Why do you write? Because I MUST. I come from an artistic family, but have no artistic skills of my own. When I discovered writing, it was like finding a part of myself I was missing. Writing gives me a way to communicate, an outlet for my innate creativity, and a way to connect with people.

Where do you write? I love the safe, comfortable environment of my office desk, where I do most of my writing. However, some of my best chapters have been hammered out at the airport, on a bus, at a coffee shop, or sitting by the beach.

What imaginary land would you choose as your home, and why? There's something wonderful about Narnia that makes it a wonderful place to be. It's that "home away from home" I discovered as a child, and even now live to read.

Your superhero alter-ego: I wish I could be one of the more bad-ass superheroes (the Punisher, Captain America, etc.), but I think I'd be like Hawkeye — just a normal guy with a skill that makes him exceptional. The fact that he can go toe to toe with gods and super-beings is something I highly respect.

Historical period you’d like to visit: I think I would have made an AMAZING Viking (6' 6" is a pretty good height for a Norse raider).

Favorite board, card or video game: I've recently discovered Settlers of Catan and have fallen in love with it. Of course, what's life without a bit of tabletop role-playing a la D&D/Pathfinders?

Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark...fantasy addicts will love it!
— Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates -

The Book

Title, genre and length? The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past — the latest in the dark fantasy series. Length: 120,000 words.

When and where does it take place? The setting is medieval-era in an alternate world known as Einan. It starts off in a French/German-style village, but transitions to a Saharan Africa-esque setting. The Hunter ends up in a Marrakech/Cairo-style city with hints of Saudi Arabian/Turkish/Moroccan architecture and culture.

How did you come up with the title? The idea behind the title is that "memories are the gateway to the past". Especially for this character, who has had his memories erased (for reasons explained in this book) up to 40-50 years before. So by accessing his memories, he literally sees into the life/lives he once lived.

What inspired you to write it? The first book introduced the character and his drive to kill, as well as showing him at the peak of his powers (inhuman strength/speed/stamina, healing ability). The second book showed what happened when he tried to fight the urge to kill, as well as lost his powers. In this book, he has recovered his powers and come to terms with the fact that he needs to kill to remain sane. He's no longer trying to fight it. However, at the end of Book 2, he saves the life of a child, who happens to have abilities to hunt down demons. When he's near the Hunter, the voices in his head fall silent. The Hunter brings him along — out of guilt for his actions, and out of a necessity to remain sane. But the life of an assassin is a dangerous one, and no place for an innocent child. A great contrast — cynical, violent assassin meets extremely naïve (the result of Williams Syndrome) child. 

Is there a sequel in the works?  This is Book 3 of 6. Book 4 is already written, and it introduces the "big bad" of the series. Books 5 and 6 are on their way as soon as I can sit down and write them.

Where, how can you get it? All the books are available on Amazon, as well as Barnes & Noble.

Describe your book in one word that most people don’t normally use. Deep. On the face of it, it's an action/adventure story with a bad-ass assassin as the protagonist, but once you look a bit deeper, you realize it's the story of a lonely person trying to find a sense of belonging in a world where he doesn't belong. That's something we can all relate to. And it takes a look at emotional/mental/neurological/psychological disorders — sociopathy, psychopathy, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, paranoid disorders, schizoaffective disorder, Williams' Syndrome, and many more.

What would you select as your book’s theme song? Who would you choose to write the musical score? The perfect song to describe this book is one by Five Finger Death Punch. The song says, "I'm on the wrong side of Heaven, and the righteous side of Hell." As a half-demon assassin who hunts demons, that's the perfect way to describe the character.

The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you.
— Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut

The hero

Name, age and occupation: The Hunter of Voramis. Age unknown. Occupation: assassin.

Where and with whom does he/she live? When first we meet him in Blade of the Destroyer, he lives in fancy apartments concealed in the heart of a run-down warehouse. He has brought beggars, lepers, and outcasts into the building to live with him. Initially, they were meant only a camouflage. But eventually they've become the closest thing he has to family — his only link to the world. He is an outcast like them.

Who would play your protagonist in a movie? I'd love to see Thomas Jane or Jason Momoa play this role. Both are bad-ass in their own right, and would make one heck of a half-demon assassin!

What real-life person would be your protagonist’s hero, mentor or role model? The Hunter is a bit of a loner, so he wouldn't have a mentor, role model, or hero. He's far too cynical and sees the worst in everyone.

What’s her biggest fear/phobia? Though he isn't self-aware or emotionally mature enough to realize it, it's the fear of being alone. He has lived a long life and been on his own for most of it. Being alone makes him depressed and allows his mind to wander toward dark thoughts.

What’s his/her favorite quote or motto? "May the Long Keeper take your body; your soul is forfeit." This is the ritual he was taught to remind him of his humanity.

Weapon of choice: Soul-stealing dagger named Soulhunger that feeds him power and is an incessant voice in his head that drives him to kill

At the beginning of the book, our hero is … A ruthless killer with a very limited sense of morality. He has only one thing he holds true: the innocent should be protected.

Worst habit? Killing people who could identify him. If they see his true face, they must die.

Best feature? His desire to protect those that matter to him, and his unyielding stubbornness. He won't quit, no matter how bad things are going for him.

From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished … his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!
— Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine