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Reclaiming Norse Mythology from the Nazis by Ian Stuart Sharpe

It is one of the most iconic scenes in modern cinematic history:  Indiana Jones is in a desperate race against the Nazis, a lone hero battling against the entire German war machine to prevent an ancient artefact of immense power from falling into the wrong hands. Of...

Interview with Ian Stuart Sharpe, Author of The All Father Paradox!

Q: What made you write The All Father Paradox? Ian Stuart Sharpe: I think it was preordained. Not in a crazy way, you understand. You just learn to spot the signs, to realize that something is off-kilter. For example, in the year 793AD, according to the Anglo-Saxon...

Join the Outlanders!

ANNOUNCEMENTS Join Outland's Street Team, The Outlanders! Get sneak peeks at new releases, including fiction, games, and comics! Receive exclusive content, and be eligible to receive advance review copies of upcoming releases! If you like to help spread the word about...

THE ALL FATHER PARADOX Releases in October!

THE ALL FATHER PARADOX by Ian Stuart Sharpe Coming in October! What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves? Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard, hellbent on studying the...

HATH NO FURY Has Hit the Shelves and E-Readers!

Mother. Warrior. Caregiver. Wife. Lover. Survivor. Trickster. Heroine. Leader.   This anthology features 21 stories and six essays about women who defy genre stereotypes. Here, it’s not the hero who acts while the heroine waits to be rescued; Hath No Fury’s women are...

Announcement: VIKINGVERSE COVER ILLUSTRATION RELEASED!

ANNOUNCEMENT Official summary of ALL FATHER PARADOX along with color cover illustration! What if an ancient god escaped his fate…and history was thrown to the wolves? Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard,...

Announcement: New Comic Coming from Outland Entertainment!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Announcing Riddle of the Loremaster, an all new original comic series written by Melanie R. Meadors, with art by Nicolás Giacondino! Here is a sneak peek at some of the promo art: Riddle of the Loremaster is a comic for mature readers set in a fantasy...

Women in Dark Fantasy Have Changed by Linda Robertson

In doing a bit of research looking for a dark-fantasy-related topic for this article, I sought something that I knew at least a bit about, something I felt strongly about, and something where I could add meaningfully to the conversation. Many things were considered,...

Alethea Kontis on Imposter Syndrome

Earlier this year, I met the only student Katy Kellgren ever had. He told me he just about had to bully her into being his teacher. This amazing, multiple award-winning voice actress with hundreds of audiobooks under her belt truly didn’t believe she knew anything...

Announcements: HATH NO FURY Has Arrived in the US!

Backers of the paperback and hardcover editions of Hath No Fury will be happy to learn that the books have arrived at the printer's headquarters in Chicago! Now, they just need to be sent to our head honcho Jeremy Mohler, and then they will be sent out to backers...

Who is Matt Forbeck after all?

We know you as a man of all trades: from writer to game designer and entrepreneur. But let’s rewind a little bit and find some curiosities that might have escaped us.

What did you want to be when you grow up?

I always wanted to be either an astronaut or a writer. I had terrible asthma as a kid, though, and poor eyesight, and that took me out of the running for a job with NASA. Fortunately, I had writing to fall back on.

What was the first book you ever read (or was read to you)?

I’m sure I was too young to remember. My parents read to me from an early age and claim that I was reading on my own from age two or three. At that age, my favorites were Where the Wild Things Are, Go Dog Go!, and anything by Dr. Seuss.

I read all of those to my kids as well. Even though my youngest ones are now 12, I can still recite Where the Wild Things Are by heart.

Did you enjoy bedtime stories?

Of course! The bedtime stories we read to kids (or for ourselves) are the gateway toward bigger and more complex fantasy stories, and that deep connection to our childlike wonder is what makes them so magical for us.

And comics: which were your favorite ones?

I read all sorts of comics, both then and now. My favorite character has always been Spider-Man, and I often tell people I learned to read with the Spidey comics, a kids’ title made in conjunction with The Electric Company. That was a show that came on after Sesame Street in those days and featured Morgan Freeman playing Easy Reader!

Do you still read comics regularly or prefer novels now?

I read both and love them each for their own strengths. I wrote the 2009 and 2014 editions of The Marvel Encyclopedia and wrote the 1960s chapter of Batman: A Visual Encyclopedia, which hits stores on September 29. That gave me a good excuse to gorge myself on comics.

I also co-designed the WildStorms collectible card game for Jim Lee back when WildStorm was still a division of Image Comics. And I designed the Marvel Battle Dice and DC Battle Dice games for Playmates Toys. On top of that, I’ve written a number of comics over the years, including twelve issues of the Magic: The Gathering comic for IDW.

In the other direction, I’ve had twenty-seven novels published to date, including the Shotguns & Sorcery trilogy. I read voraciously, in many different genres and on all sorts of topics. It’s all grist for the creative mill, and it gives me the chance to tear apart the writing in my head and examine how it all ticks.

What are you reading right now?

I’m finally getting around to reading Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girl. I’ve known Lauren for years and loved her Moxyland and Zoo City, so I have every expectation it’ll be excellent.

Growing up were you outdoorsy or did always prefer reading/gaming?

My asthma kept me inside some days, but my parents liked to push us outside. They often took us camping and fishing too, and I played baseball, basketball, and soccer both in school and just for fun.

All that said, I loved games and played them a lot. When I six, I was hospitalized with pneumonia, and a priest came in to give me Last Rites, which isn’t nearly as serious as it sounds. Afterward, he taught me how to play chess while I lay there in bed.

What kind of games did you play?

I played anything I could get my hands on. When I was very young, there weren’t many great options, but I enjoyed anything from Trivial Pursuit to Stratego. When I was twelve, I started playing Dungeons & Dragons, and I got hooked good.

That broadened my horizons, and I dug into games like Squad Leader and Boot Hill and whatever else I could find. As I got older, it grew into a career.

And how about tv series and movies: are there any that had a deeply impact on you?

Lots.  Star Wars blew my mind. My parents took me to see it in a theater seven different times, which was the only way to manage it in the pre-home-video days. I also got a lot out of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Blade Runner and, later, Apocalypse Now.

And, yeah, there’s a Harrison Ford thread running through all of those—even Apocalypse Now if you know where to look.

Most TV from that era is forgettable, but it’s gotten much better over the years. I loved Twin Peaks back in the days, and I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation religiously.

Have you watched anything recently that you’d recommend?

For TV, be sure to check out Breaking Bad and True Detective. They’re fantastic from one end to the other, and they highlight the kind of excellent shows you can do when you have a strong story arc taking you from one end to the other.

For something more episodic, check out Leverage, which was co-created by my friend John Rogers. I helped set up a book deal for that show and even wrote the first novel, The Con Job, which is set at San Diego Comic-Con.

For film, I loved Guardians of the Galaxy. It was funny, fast, and fun. I also really enjoyed Her. It does a great job of tackling all sorts of intriguing issues, and I found myself thinking about it even weeks later.

Are you a person of idols?

Not really. I’ve met lots of famous people, and the one thing you learn is that we’re all human and fueled by many of the same hopes and fears. Some of us have fantastic talents that bring us to a wider audience, but that doesn’t change our basic humanity—just the tools we have for dealing with it.

Who were your childhood heroes?

Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Hank Aaron. Stan and Jack took comics and reinvented them for the latter half of the twentieth century. They gave me some of my favorite characters in stories so rich that Marvel and DC are still mining them to this day.

Hank was not only a fantastic athlete but also played baseball in a less-open era when becoming the home-run king as a black man brought him a unique set of challenges. He bore up through it all like a true hero and never lost his transcendent joy for the game.

And today? Who do you look up to? Why?

You wouldn’t know my heroes. They’re not famous. They’re people I deal with every day, the ones I can really watch struggle with and triumph over life: my parents, my wife, and my kids.

Seeing how they handle their lives with as much grace as they can muster inspires me. The fact that they also depend on me to be the best son, father, and husband I can manage keeps me going through even the darkest days. And sharing with them the joys I can find only makes them that much better. //

 

Thank you, Matt for letting us get to know you a little bit better!

 

(Psst!… Stay tuned for more interviews!)

 

S.G.