Today I talk to Tito Martinez Barberi, author of The Pinnacle of Power, Book 1 in the Keeper of the Balance saga.
Tito was born in Mexico City, in 1970. He spent many years working as a translator and copyrighter, and his experience in these fields, added to what Tito himself calls his “hyperactive imagination” led him to write the fantasy series The Keeper of the Balance.
Tito is a passionate lover of fantasy and sci-fi. Although he lives in Puebla, Mexico with Dani, his cat, Tito’s mind spends most of his time in planet Akaladia, working on the next books in The Keeper of the Balance saga.
What made you decide to publish a novel?
I wanted to write my own take on the Hero’s Journey, trying to tell it from a fresh, novel, original point of view, set in what I like to describe as an alternate, futuristic version of Earth in a parallel universe. I took writing this as a challenge that I thought would be lots of fun, and so it’s been
Where do you get you inspiration to write?
I get inspiration from everyday life, from people I’ve met who’ve left a mark on me (be it positive or negative), from major events happening across the world, historical and current both, from spirituality, from books and films I love, even from conspiracy theories . . . in short, my influences are so wide and varied that there’s just too many to put here.
“All in its due time.”
Where did the idea for the The Keeper of the Balance come from?
Again, this story was shaped by many ideas, influences, and sources of inspiration. I just sat down one day and decided to write this take on the classic Hero’s Journey, using more modern, current themes, but trying to keep the classic archetypes found in fantasy literature intact.
Different authors have differing approaches to writing. Some prepare very detailed plot outlines before they begin on their first draft, while others have a much looser outline and like to see where the story leads them. What was your approach with The Pinnacle of Power?
I had a pretty clear idea of where this story would go since I sat down to write the first rough draft. Some other things I added, changed or modified as I went, based on the potential that some characters or subplots offered. So it’s a little bit of both, I think.
Was there any part of the story that surprised you as it appeared on the screen in front of you? If so, can you tell us about it (without giving away any spoilers!)?
Yes, there was, and not in a positive way, lol. I had to go back and make changes to this particular part of the story, though I couldn’t tell what it was without giving away some spoilers!
What part of The Pinnacle of Power did you find most difficult to write and why?
Chapters told from Kériel Mattis, my main female character, and from my villains’ point of view. It was hard for me to get inside a young woman’s head, as well as inside a bad guy’s head, without making them appear cartoonish.
First books in series can go one of two ways. Can you tell whether The Pinnacle of Power ends on a cliff-hanger or whether the story resolves itself sufficiently to be standalone?
The book ends in a cliff-hanger, though I believe several issues are resolved, just not as many for me to honestly say that the book can be a standalone novel.
Some readers of fantasy like end-to-end action, while others prefer a greater emphasis on the personal journey of the main character(s). Where would the Pinnacle of Power sit between these two types of story?
I really wanted to explore the growing pains that my main characters experience throughout the book, but I also added some action, of course. I think that the book has a little bit of both, though it leans towards the latter.
Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little about how the story will develop in the next books in the series?
The Pinnacle of Power is a broad introduction to the characters, events, settings and magic system of fictional planet Akaladia, covering a period of 25 years. The next books are told at a much faster pace, with everything happening in a matter of weeks or months, at the most. The idea is that by then the reader should be familiar with everything revolving around the story.
Are there any underlying messages hidden within the story (e.g. life lessons, commentary on society, religion, etc) that you’d like to share?
As implied in the title of the series itself, the message in the books is balance and how important it is in all things. If the reader gets another positive message out of the books that would be great, though the main idea is to entertain only.
Authors can grow quite attached to some of their characters, and sometimes that attachment can be with minor characters who maybe don’t have a big part to play in the novel. Is there a character from The Pinnacle of Power who you’d like to explore in more depth – if not in a subsequent book in the series, maybe in a spin-off or maybe short story?
General Kusloff Maenard, a character inspired by Spartacus and General Maximus from the film Gladiator. I’d also like to explore the possibility of writing a prequel series based on the back story that I developed for this series set in a Roman Empire type atmosphere. The contents would be much more adult and mature, a la A Song of Ice and Fire, for instance.
And finally, what are you expecting to accomplish with your book?
In my case, I have to say that I believe I’ve written a story good enough to make a flawless transition to other media (comic books, movie), and I’d love to find huge success with it, of course!
Well, that’s ambitious! Thanks very much for your time Tito. I wish you all the best with your novel.
If you’re interested in getting yourself a copy of The Pinnacle of Power, the paperback version is available now here through CreateSpace, with the Kindle version due soon on Amazon.