Your first book, The Scarlet Curse just came out a few months ago, how does it feel? Tell us a bit about it.
Toneye: It feels surreal. It was a long process from submitting it to JEA, to holding the actual book in my hands, and an even longer journey from the day eye first put pen to paper (Eye initially wrote The Scarlett Curse for the most part, the “oldskool” way haha). Eye have several shorts, flash and poetry published in various antho’s, which is a good feeling, but to have my own work with my name on the cover is still a little unbelievable. There were periods in the time it took for me to write T.S.C. that eye thought eye would never get around to finishing it. It was kind of like a lifelong dream that kept dropping off into the nightmare realm haha.
How did the idea come about for it? How long did it take to write? Was it darker than you had expected?
Toneye: Eye have had a few friends tell me over the years, “You should write a book”. It has always been a goal of mine to someday write a book, but eye never really got the inspiration or motivation to do it. It just floated around for years in my ‘that would be a good idea’ compartment. Eye have been writing lyrics though, for the past 25 years, and eye write 99% of those lyrics in a poetic, rhyming kind of way. Eye had been “friends” for a long time on fb with someone named Scarlett, but we had never interacted or become acquainted. Eye saw a short poem of hers in my newsfeed, liked it and left a comment. We got to talking and she read my lyrics that eye had in my notes. Scarlett asked me the age old question, “why haven’t you written a book?” but she also began talking about ideas, and eye began to get excited about doing it. Eye took a song eye wrote for my band, Chaotic Impurity. The Sacred Blade Of Profanity became the theme that the story was loosely based around. Eye then asked her if eye could name the main character after her, to which she happily agreed and The Scarlett Curse was conjured up.
As far as T.S.C. being darker than eye expected; eye feel that eye held back some. Don’t get me wrong. It is dark. There are a few gruesome scenes, and the overall feeling of the story is certainly dark and exceedingly dismal. The only happy moments are when Dera is interacting with her friends unseen, who have come to her through the Mirror. The rest of the time, especially for Scarlett, is a constant struggle, as The Sacred Blade Of Profanity begins to become ‘unstable’. Book 2, Joshua’s Folly is ten times darker. Much more violent and “Profane”.
What is the Sacred Blade of Profanity? What does it require those possessed by it to do? What does it give in return?
Toneye: The Blade, The Blade Of Power, The Sacred Blade… The Sacred Blade Of Profanity has a few ‘nicknames’. It was created 8,000 years ago by a lineage of Sorcerers known as the Kirlt’th lineage, who went to war against a rival faction known as the Harrilluin. The Harrilluin created The Mirror in response to The Blade; to defend against the Kirlt’th, and keep The Blade Of Power in check. Throughout its existence, The Sacred Blade has passed through many hands, and Scarlett has carried it for nearly 300 years. Whoever possesses The Sacred Blade Of Profanity is untouched by the cruelty of time, and mostly unhindered by the confines of space. In order to retain this Power, The Blade must feed, but only on the blood of those who have forfeited their right to life. The profane and despicable, who would never seek rehabilitation or atonement. Every 100 years, The Ritual Of Cleansing must be performed, where the Host (in this case, Scarlett) makes a small cut on the palm of the hand, and then enters into a battle of wills with The Blade Of Power. The blood of the Host is like a drug to The Blade, sweeter than any other blood. If it were to feed on the Host exclusively, the host would inevitably die, and The Blade would be left to fend for itself. This is held unknown as yet, but potentially catastrophic results for the entire ‘agreed upon’ Time and Space, throwing both into a chaotic mayhem. That time is imminent and The Sacred Blade is beginning to be erratic. Scarlett is starting to lose control over the whims of The Blade. It has a voice, but it speaks within, so only the chosen target hears what it has to say. It has a sick charm and is very manipulative and persuasive. The scene in the cottage, where the darkness washes over Dera like a wave of putrid blood, is a perfect example of the insidious, vampiric nature of The Sacred Blade Of Profanity. Sorry… Eye got to rambling. hahaha
Who was your favorite character in The Scarlet Curse and why? Favorite scene?
Toneye: Dera is my favourite character. She has a strong spirit and powerful teachers. Her adventures in book 3 are going to be legendary in the world eye am creating there. Her only spoken words are in The Scarlett Curse. She still has internal conversations with The Prii (her friends and teachers from The Mirror), but they communicate to Dera with colour and musical sounds. Dera goes through an absolutely Hellish time in T.S.C., with the death of her mother, and The Sacred Blade trying to convince Scarlett to kill her, when they escape into the forest. My favourite scene is where the insidious Blade Of Power first speaks to Dera… “Chiiiild” and convinces her to kill Phenoluh, after she hears her child speak for the first time in her life. That whole scene eye think is among the darkest and most brutal things eye have written. The cries of Dera mingled with hysterical laughter bit was pretty disturbing to write. Eye think that’s my favourite scene.
The second book, Joshua's Folly, is also on the way, when is it set? What might we find in this chapter of the Sacred Blade of Profanity?
Toneye: Joshua’s Folly is a prequel, covering events in the week leading to the scene in the Mills Wall marketplace. You learn a little more about the history surrounding The Blade and Mirror. The sorceress who appears at the end of T.S.C., Astra Kirltth, is always watching Scarlett and The Blade, and makes several table turning appearances throughout the story, though she remains shrouded in mystery. There is a chapter where we learn a little of Astra’s history with the Kirlt’th lineage. Joshua spends the entire time, fluking his way just out of Scarlett’s reach. He also has a problem; he’s losing all his kids, and Jahl-Rin is not going to be happy. Jahl-Rin is the most evil man eye could conjure. The chief of a growing army of bandits, he’s a cannibal, child-trafficker, kidnapper, murderer, rapist. Jahl-Rin runs amok through Joshua’s Folly and has plans on taking over a town across the Lake of Solace, south of Mills Wall and on the other side of Mellowood Forest. There is also a mysterious coachman, Tummel. He is an enigmatic, cheerful fellow who has motives for helping Joshua that are unknown to anyone but Tummel. Eye like this guy. There is a helluva lot more to him than meets the eye. Then there’s 19 yr old Marnard (or Marnaaard, as Jahl-Rin likes to address him). A farmhand who witnessed his parents’ death at the hands of Jahl-Rin, is taken as the bandit chief’s ‘pet’. He is growing into one of my favourite characters. He’s a smart, resourceful, strong kid, and he’s a survivor.
You've also taken part in several anthos, some published, like Rejected for Content:Splattergore and Rejected for Content: Aberrant Menagerie, and others yet to come. What will we find in your anthology submissions? Which one(s) was your favorite to write? Favorite antho theme?
Toneye: Eye love the Rejected For Content series! In the first 2 books, eye have several poems. They were a part of my catalogue of lyrics that eye have written over the years, and eye used those to submit to the first RFC, which introduced me to the JEA family and the writing world at large. Eye am looking forward to RFC3. Eye have a short story in that one, as well as a demented little poem. The RFC series is symbolic to me as my beginnings in the published world. Eye have a couple of short stories and a few poems in the upcoming Doorway To Death antho. Splat 2 will have my most disgusting story to date. ‘What Are Turds Worth?’ is about a nine year old boy who has had a lifelong shit fetish, after a toilet accident as an infant with his drunk father. That’s all eye will say about that one hahaha.
Your love of the darkest written word also led you to both music and poetry, where can we find your music and poems? What sort of songs and poems do you write? Care to show us a small sample?
Toneye: Sure! Eye wrote this ‘poem’ for one of my bands, Crazed Death Metal band, Chaotic Impurity.
THE DARK STANDS ALOOF
Challenge your reason by means of a season,
Of pleasing your soul as you relinquish control.
The darkness waits patiently, silently, formless;
Devoid of all light… An infinite midnight.
The darkness is soothing and moving you far,
From the life you have left. You begin to forget.
So deep is the sleep and immense is the leap,
To get back here somehow,
But where is here and when is now?
Thoughts and senses are barely your own,
The mind snaps under psychic attack.
You’re swallowed, engulfed in a nightmare of
Concealing your feelings, the dark leaves you reeling.
It’s peeling away at your lifelong decay.
Intrusion? Confusion! The Dark stands aloof,
As you try to reclaim what you thought you could name.
Anger, Love, Fear. They have no credence here.
Tho they were part of you, everything here is new.
As you dwell in your wonder, your life torn asunder.
You’re Home; you don’t want to go back.
You’re happy right here in your fortress of infinite black.
Chaotic Impurity are working on a live desk recording from our last gig. Aside from that, we have never released anything over our 14 year history. It’s the curse of Chaotic Impurity hahaha. We do have a facebook page, and some live antics on youtube to check out. Another band eye am in, Infinite Black have two recordings released and available on Bandcamp. We’re also on facebook and on youtube. Then there’s my punk outfit, where eye get to pretend to be a bass player, Rock n Roll Detectives. We have 2 songs on Triple J Unearthed, plus we’re on facebook and have a stack of vids on youtube. Chaotic Impurity is the only band in which eye am the sole writer. Snr. Detective writes the lyrics for RnRD, and Infinite Black is a collaborate effort. C.I. is where the bulk of my song writing came from. Here’s where you can find my music…
InfiniteBlack: http://infiniteblack616.bandcamp.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Infinite-Black/234313873248790
Chaotic Impurity: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chaotic-Impurity/176956532324131
What bands have you worked with over the years? How long have you been involved in the music scene?
Toneye: The three bands mentioned above have been my stable over the last 14 years. Eye joined Chaotic Impurity in 2001, after the drummer, Dark Legion, heard a demo from a band eye was in way back in ‘88. Eye was only 18 at the time. Infinite Black was around in the 90’s, before eye knew any of them. They were born out of the original Chaotic Impurity. Both bands went into long hibernation. About 7 years ago (eye think?), The Unnamed, guitarist and founder of C.I., brought Infinite Black back from the grave, so eye ended up singing in both. The Unnamed (aka Snr. Detective) is an old punk at heart. He loves all the old 70’s English punk stuff. He was jamming the songs with Desert Storms, the Infinite Black drummer. Confused yet? Haha. Anyway, that was around 2 years ago now and they asked me if eye wanted to try playing bass, so eye did. It’s a running joke when RnRD have played live, that eye am out of tune or keep asking at the beginning of most songs “how does it start?” hahaha.
Nomenclature Diablerie is the name of the band eye was in in ’88, and although eye didn’t write a word of lyrics for it, it became my inspiration to start writing my own lyrics.
How do writing fiction and writing for music compare? How about the process of completion and releasing the finished product? Do you find one easier than the other or just different?
Toneye: Writing fiction is a lot more challenging, and a lot more rewarding. Eye love watching a story form and grow. When the story starts to tell itself, and eye am just along for the ride. Eye also love the challenge of fitting an entire story into the several lines of a poem, or song. The process of getting a book to the finished product is a slow agonising one. The amount of times eye would get it back during edits and formats, only to find more mistakes eye had overlooked previously, it was starting to do my head in hahaha! The relief was massive when the book was released, and when my copies arrived in the mail, and eye pulled one out of the box, eye had to go make a coffee and sit down to read it. Even though at this point, eye have read the damn thing 723,008 times haha. It was a very satisfying moment.
Networking is a very important part of both businesses, do you think it's benefited you over the years? In what ways?
Toneye: In terms of sales? No, not so much. Not yet, anyway haha. We all gotta start somewhere, right? J On the other hand, it has helped greatly over the years, in forging some great friendships and learning so much about the industry eye have found myself in. Eye didn’t know the first thing about anything when eye first met all you people at JEA. Eye tend to stick to myself for the most part, so the online community of writers, as well as my Metal brothers and sisters out there, it’s good to have some contact with the outside world.
What new projects can we expect to see from you in the future?
Toneye: Eye am well into book 3 of The Sacred Blade Of Profanity series. Eye still don’t know at this point, if it will end as a trilogy, or continue as a series. That’s my main work. Eye have a Werewolf “tail” in the works. Eye may use it as a short story for an antho, but eye will be expanding on it. Also, eye plan to expand on a story eye have coming in RFC3. A story about a man taking revenge on a paedophile ring that had abused his boy. A very brutal short story of merciless torture on its own, but eye can see so much more to it. Not to mention, there are a few anthologies that are needing my attention as well. Eye think eye have my year cut out for me J
Thanks so much for talking to me, Amanda! It’s been a lot of fun!