Thursday, May 5, 2011

Interview with Travis Perry & Mike Lynch, authors of The Crystal Portal

Please join me today for an interview of Travis Perry & Mike Lynch, authors of The Crystal Portal.

Who do you think would like your book? (Or alternately: Please tell prospective readers why they’d like your book.)

TP: Well, I’d like to think this story will have universal appeal, but I did have a certain type of reader in mind—a young enthusiastic fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy, who is open to Christian message in a story—a stereotypical Chronicles of Narnia reader. That’s the kind of person I was from perhaps age 12 through 20…well, I’m over twice twenty anymore, but as a matter of fact I still am that sort of person.

ML: I think Travis pretty much hit the demographic we're shooting for. The only thing I would disagree with him is that a person without a Christian background wouldn't like the story. Yes, there are those elements in the book, but it's not an in-your-face kind of thing. This is a fun adventure story that takes the reader on an exciting journey of discovery into a crystal world, filled with all sorts of interesting characters. I believe people with all kinds of background will find something to enjoy in it.

What is your favorite thing about your story?

TP: Other than it blows my mind that it’s actually in print? Hmmm, it’s hard to say. I think I like my characters more than anything else. I’ve thought about them for so long that they seem like real people to me, especially Zachariah, Lehkahn, 9.06, and Agata.

ML: Piggy-backing on what Travis said, it comes down to the characters for me. The mark of a good story is that the main characters all come from very different backgrounds, but they also have very distinct personalities. Sometimes they are able to overcome their differences, other times they are the source of their problems. Whenever you have compelling characters, which I believe is the foundation of The Crystal Portal, it always makes for an engaging story in my opinion.

Do you remember how long it took you to write? How about to edit and find a publisher?

ML: Since Travis is the one who actually wrote The Crystal Portal, I'll give this one to him.

TP: I started the story back in 2006. About a third of it I wrote in a few months, but then I got stuck in a big way and didn’t know how to move forward. I kept writing bits and pieces, but progress was painfully slow until 2009, when I realized my problem with the story was I was focusing mainly on the actions of the heroes and not paying enough attention to the villain, Sargon, and his plans. Once I started thinking of the plot in terms of the villain’s actions, the rest of the writing went pretty quickly after that.

At the beginning of 2010, once the story was finished, I realized the writing was not doing a good enough job of matching the way I’d imagined the tale to be. I had self-edited, but it wasn’t good enough. So I looked for a co-author to help me get it into shape.

Mike Lynch volunteered for the job. It took us about a year of e-mailing back and forth (plenty of life events interrupting in the meantime) for us to finish. I’ll let Mike talk about finding a publisher.

ML: Okay, I'm back. After Travis and I finished retooling the entire story, we wanted to send it to some people we know who are authors themselves. I have published a few books of my own, and I have found that you always need an objective pair of eyes to help you point out problems in the story we may have missed, things like inconsistencies in the narrative, extraneous elements that really need to go, or sentences that need tightening. One of the people I sent a copy of the manuscript to was Grace Bridges. She absolutely loved the story, and offered to publish it on the spot. I had forgotten that she started her own publishing company, Splashdown Books, a couple of years back, and thought it was perfect for her audience. I was utterly amazed at how easy this was. In my previous publishing efforts, I was accustomed to months and months of rejection letters, working on re-writes, and slowly accepting the possibility we may never find a publisher for the book. I am happy to say this wasn't the case for us.

What is your favorite type of book to read? Do you have any favorite books or authors?

TP: I enjoy reading history, science fiction, and fantasy more than anything else, probably in that order. As I get older I’m more and more interested in classic works of all kinds—within the last year or two I read a collection of writings about Socrates, some John Milton, and Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography. I think all these works have in common a window into people who think and act in a way fundamentally different from the way I am—I find that fascinating.

Growing up my favorite authors were “the big three” of classic Science Fiction, Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke. I still read those guys from time to time. Citizen of the Galaxy was my favorite Heinlein novel. To a lesser extent I enjoyed Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and I have a strong desire to have the effect as a writer that C.S. Lewis had.

ML: This might surprise you to hear, but I was not much of a reader growing up. Movies and television were more my genres of choice. Since I am a visual learner, I have always been drawn towards that medium. With that said, I would have to say my favorite writer of all time is Rod Serling when he did The Twilight Zone. The stories he told were very compelling, especially when he took the hot button issues of his day and masked them under the guise of science fiction. The original Star Trek series did the same thing in some episodes.

Anything interesting in your past you’d care to share? Like have you ever worked as a rodeo clown, for instance? :)

ML: I've actually lived a pretty mundane life, not many exciting stories to tell. I learned how to ride a unicycle when I was in high school. I was also placed under arrest for camping on private property, but nothing came of it except a warning from the police officer never to do that again. I haven't. When I was on a missions trip in the former republic of Yugoslavia, I almost drowned. It was my fault for going out too far from the beach and exhausted myself swimming back. If a couple of people didn't pull me out, I wouldn't have made it. A friend of mine is producing a movie through Warner Brothers, and I was able to go onto the movie lot a few weeks back watch a pre-screening of the film. One the actors I got to meet was Stephen Baldwin. Other than that, just the usual boring life stuff. Travis, on the other hand, has experienced some things most of us could never imagine.

TP: From most people’s point of view I’ve had a pretty colorful past. I’ve lived in a log cabin, been trampled by horses and was dragged on my face with a foot caught in a stirrup, lost a finger in a childhood woodcutting accident, witnessed first-hand a gruesome firearms accident (my sister survived), been in dozens of smaller accidents, including an extremely hard landing on my fifth jump at US Army Airborne school (was on crutches for months), was the lead witness at a murder trial, have deployed to United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and now Afghanistan as an Army Reservist, have hunkered down in a bunker under rocket fire, was arrested due to a clerical error and thrown into the Denver county jail for twelve hours, interrupted a church robbery, used a gun to stop a man from beating his wife (she was a neighbor screaming at the top of her lungs and the police didn’t show up until long after I did), have calmly defended my faith before an abusive college professor, helped capture a man wanted for interstate drug trafficking, am a proud father of six, and I speak at least a little of eight or nine languages—depending on if something counts as a language or a dialect.

What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

TP: The Lord of the Rings movies are some of my favorite movies, but Apollo 13 is another I’d say I adored. My favorite TV series was Star Trek Deep Space 9, even though some of the episodes I admit were not very good. My favorite characters in the series were all Bajoran or Cardassian and I really enjoyed the interactions between these two races.

ML: I'm actually something of a movie buff, and have so many favorites. It would be impossible for me to narrow down the field below fifty. For TV, I would say the original Star Trek, Lost, Babylon 5, The Twilight Zone, Speed Racer and Gilligan's Island.

Can readers contact you?

TP: Sure.

ML: My e-mail address is:

If you were alive in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc., did you have any hairstyles that now make you cringe?

TP: In the early 80’s I had a bowl cut and my hair was thick—it was pretty close to the “Dorothy Hamill” look. Wouldn’t want to return to that…

ML: My hair was pretty bushy when I was in high school, but hey, it was back in the 80s. Everyone wore their hair on the long side then. Now, I keep it pretty short, but not quite at the level as Travis'.

Is there anything else you’d like your prospective readers to know? (If not, I’ll just delete this question.)

TP: I hope to make a whole series of “Portal” books. The next one I’d like to call “The Dragon Portal.”

ML: As I mentioned before, I have some other novels I've written. If anyone is curious about those, the best place to check them out is on my website (

Please share a synopsis or blurb, and a brief excerpt from your book.


A time-travelling warrior elf on a manhunt for an evil genius.

A state-of-the-art robot from New Los Angeles.

And a carpenter's son from first-century Israel.

Entering the Portal, they join forces with a princess of the Sapphire Monarchy

to defy their power-mad adversary.


"This is how it should be," Sargon said, a sinister grin pushing against the corners of this mouth. "How it should have been from the beginning, just you and me." He extended his arm holding the canterole and passed it in front of the portal. A bolt of lightning shot out of the arched opening and struck Lehkahn in the chest.

Zachariah jumped back when the bolt blinded him momentarily, as though all the energy of the sun and been released in a single, massive burst. "Lehkahn!" he called out at the same instant. When no answer came, his fear seized control of him and he dropped down to the ground, his face planted against the stony surface. If Sargon had any intention of finishing him off, he would at least make it as difficult as possible.

It didn't take long for his eyes to re-adjust to the dark. Between his panic-fueled breaths, his eyes darted about, looking for any sign of movement. A dozen cubits away from him, he watched as the Lord of Balal lowered the now-glowing canterole to eye level. His piercing glare was illuminated by the shining blue gemstone as it crackled with power. A look of satisfaction spilled out of his gaze, one that brought a chill to Zachariah.

“This place is pulsing with power,” he said to no one in particular. "Can you feel it?" The Lord of Balal then raised his hand again, and from the portal lightning leapt forth once more toward Lehkahn.

He had dropped to his knees after the last jolt, but recovered just in time and thrust his golden sword forward. The blade somehow absorbed the dazzling bolt of power, though Lehkahn still cried out in pain—maybe from the earlier wound to the chest.

Sargon stood above him, triumphant. “There has always been just one possible outcome to the conflict that has defined us for so long. It is the only one there will ever be." He raised the canterole a third time, as if to strike.

Thank you for your time, and best of luck with your book! :)

Thank you for giving us chance to share our story with you and those who follow your website.


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