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Interview with Ron Hartman, author of 'The Prophecy Chronicles: Prophecy Foretold'

By T Gleichner
Posted May 9, 2013 in Entertainment
Ron Hartman has had a life-long passion for the written word and is an avid reader. The Prophecy Chronicles are his first written works. Ron graduated from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy in 2000 and lives in Ottumwa, Iowa with his wife and three children.
1. Why was writing The Prophecy Chronicles: Prophecy Foretold so important to you?
Initially when I first started writing Prophecy Foretold I just wanted to challenge myself and see if I really could write a novel. Several of the key elements of the story had been bouncing around in my mind for years, and over time I’d actually worked out most of an outline as well. Why was it important for me? I guess initially it was just important to see if I could do it, but the farther along the story progressed, the more invested into the characters I became. Ultimately I continued through the three books in the series because it was important to me to see where Daniel would end up…would he be the same man he was at the beginning? Would he be a better man? I wanted to see Daniel’s story in full, and that is why it was important to me.
2. What was the writing/creative process like?
As I mentioned, most of the initial story ideas I’d had for several years. The opening sequence came to me when I was in my teens, driving home from a night job at a grocery store in rural Iowa. It was snowing and as I came around a series of s-curves that I’d crossed hundreds of times I noticed a pond sitting not far from the road. At that moment I could see it, plain as day: The car would miss the turn, sliding through snow and ice. It’d hit the shoulder and roll a couple of times before coming to a stop on the pond, only for the ice to break and the car to sink. Thankfully that didn’t really happen, but the image stayed with me for years and became the opening sequence for Prophecy Foretold. A couple years later I was in a senior lit class in high school and I had to write a short “mystery” about one of a series of pictures. The one I chose was of a boy from behind. He was sitting on a flatbed railcar that had a mast and sail coming out of its center, and it rolled along a raised causeway with water lapping along both sides. I knew immediately it wasn’t a boy but a man, and the water was actually acid…I wouldn’t want to ruin the story for you, but that image became a pretty significant part of the closing sequence in Prophecy Foretold. The rest of the writing process that fit between those two bookends was an extensively considered outline which eventually became a book that was a lot of fun to write. I hope its fun to read, too!
3. How did you come up with the title?
All of the adventures Daniel goes through in the series relate to whether he is or isn’t the prophesied savior the people of Naphthali have been longing for. As such, The Prophecy Chronicles seemed to be a fitting title for the series. For Prophecy Foretold, Daniel is just learning about the prophecy, and he struggles to prove that it isn’t about him…or is it? Overall it had a nice ring to it, and I thought it fit the course of Daniel’s tale nicely.
4. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
For me there’s a difference between being a writer and an author. Anyone can be a writer; if you write a letter to a friend you’re a writer. But if someone sees value in what you’ve written and is willing to risk the expense to share it with the world, well, then you’re an author. Using my self-defined limitations of the words, I’d say I probably considered myself a writer when I first moved from working on the outline to actually writing Prophecy Foretold. As far as being an author, that didn’t come until a few years later when I found the wonderful publisher I’m working with on the series, Rogue Phoenix Press.
5. What books do you believe influenced you in your life?
Definitely the primary book that has influenced my life has been the Bible. Not only has it influenced how I’ve lived my life, but it’s also influenced some of the experiences Daniel has had. There are numerous references to the Bible in Prophecy Foretold, and those references continue in the later books. Another series that I remember really influencing me was the second Dragonlance trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. When they came out I was an overweight and overly shy young man. I know it sounds silly, but when Caramon Majere was transformed from an overweight innkeeper into a powerful warrior in those tales it motivated me to change my life as well. I found a passion for sports that has never left me, and a self-confidence that I never felt as a child.
6. How much influence did you have in the cover of your book? Did you initially have a different idea of how it would look?
Actually the cover is almost exactly as I’d envisioned it. When I first finished Prophecy Foretold I wanted to share it with my family at Christmas. Just using photo software on my computer I took a picture of myself, added a gray beard and a swirly scar on my cheek and voila! It was Daniel Marten. That admittedly amateurish cover art was actually the first image of my book on my website, only to be replaced by the much more handsome (and younger!) man that now graces the cover. I explained to Rogue Phoenix Press what I wanted and gave them some ideas of images that I thought would work and with the help of a graphic designer named Ms G. it became what it is! I still think of Daniel being a bit older than what the cover depicts, but otherwise I think it turned out quite well!
7. Can you describe a typical day for you?
I’m a pretty busy guy…on a typical day I get up in time to help get my kids out the door to school. Then I shower and head to my day job, which is as a pharmacist. I’m also the director of a program to train pharmacy technicians at a local community college, so frequently I will spend time after work grading assignments, teaching labs, that sort of thing. When I’m done with that it is dinner with the family, play with the kids some, help with homework, and then get everyone to bed. I will usually watch some TV or talk with my wife for a while, and then I’ll either exercise or work on my writing. I try to get in at least an hour writing most days, but sometimes with everything else I can miss quite a few days without getting back to the computer at all. I can always tell when it’s been too long—I start to get the itch…Anyway, I usually end up getting to my books, either working on the newest one or revising the older ones, somewhere around 10 or 11 at night. When I’m done I’m ready to drop into bed, only to do it all over again the next day. As I said, a busy life, but I find it very satisfying!
8. What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
My family is very important to me, and they are all very busy as well! I absolutely love hanging out with my wife and kids, so usually my free time is spent at soccer/football/tennis/swimming/boy scouts/orchestra/theater events. I also love to travel. There is nothing better than immersing yourself in a new culture, experiencing things for the first time with those you love!
9. What do your family and friends think of your writing?
They are all very supportive! A lot of them are my early readers, so they always get to be the first to give me feedback, and tell me if I’m on the right track or not. I love what they have to say, and they have really motivated me to keep going more times than they know.
10. What do you think is more important – a good plot, or good characters? Why did you choose the one you did?
That’s a hard one! I suppose I’d say good characters…I’ve read books before that didn’t really have a great plot but the characters were so compelling that they kept me reading. Of course I’d prefer a book with both…something of a dark fantasy maybe…maybe something with a prophecy, and a man trying to get back to his family…

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