I’d like to welcome Scott Douglas Prill today to talk with me about his book, Into the Realm of Time. Scott was born in Iowa and received a M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa in 1977. His subsequent career choices have reflected a strong interest in natural resources. Since graduating, Scott has held positions as a limnologist and environmental consultant. He also has a M.B.A. and is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager. For the previous twenty-six years, Scott has been an in-house environmental consultant for the law firm of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Scott resides in Bayside, Wisconsin, with his wife, Marcie. He enjoys spending time with their three adult children and writing. Into the Realm of Time is Scott’s debut novel.
Hello Scott! Thank you for chatting with me today. How did you discover indieBRAG?
Stephanie – thank you for the opportunity for me to be a part of the indieBRAG interview process. I am pleased to answer your questions.
I discovered indieBRAG through a work colleague who recommended I submit Into the Realm of Time to indieBRAG for review. I am pleased I listened to his recommendation. This is the first book I have written and I am learning about new literary groups such as indieBRAG and Goodreads and the positive ideas such groups offer to independent writers like me.
Tell me about your book, Into the Realm of Time.
The story takes place during 372-375 AD. The Roman Empire is on the brink of its great decline. The fierce Roman General Marcus Augustus Valerias contemplates his future. Though at the peak of his success and power, through victories against both external and internal enemies of Rome, the General is weary of the brutality of continual war and yearns for a different life away from his legions and battlefields. At the same time, Claire, the widowed queen of a kingdom in Britannia, risks everything to protect her children from a bloodthirsty usurper. A priest, named Joseph, tries to hide his dark past as he pursues salvation in the Christian faith. Flavius, a Roman officer who deserted his legion, seeks redemption for the cruel actions he has inflicted on behalf of a corrupt tyrant.
All the while, two Hun brothers, Uldric and Rao, are ruled by their ambitions to ruthlessly establish and expand a Hun empire. The story of these intertwined destinies unfolds against the backdrop of love, power, greed, religion, valor and sacrifice in this turbulent period. Fates are not foretold and events lead to a climactic epic battle. Each character must make choices and it is these crucial decisions that decide their ultimate fates.
Into the Realm of Time is a fictional narrative of timeless personal struggles set against an unsettled Roman Empire. Christianity had eclipsed paganism as the state religion and Britannia was an orphaned and wild Roman province. The Huns were emerging and pushing the panicked barbarian Goths into the eastern edge of the Empire. It is a tumultuous time as Rome tenuously clings to its status as a dominant power – the time of General Marcus Augustus Valerias.
What are the habits of your protagonist(s)?
I’m not sure if the book describes the habits of my characters as much as it does the character’s own qualities. I consider Into the Realm of Time to have one protagonist and several sub-protagonists and antagonists.
Marcus Augustus Valerias, the main protagonist, is a highly successful military general. He is the emperors’ enforcer and is counted on to defeat the emperors’ enemies both outside and inside the Empire. Valerias is strong willed, a brilliant military strategist, and a leader of men. He never lost a battle. He demands much of his men, but he maintains a strong bond of loyalty with his legions.
Yet, the military is all he has known in his life. Thus, even though he won’t admit it, he has doubts about the path he has taken in life and wonders if there is something more than serving in the army. He yearns for a new life and whatever that life offers. He retires from the army and searches for a new meaning. He finds that new life but also discovers he cannot leave his past behind him.
Self-image is important in characters, how is this important to your characters?
Developing the characters within the storyline was my most important aspect in writing Into the Realm of Time. I wanted to write a book where the characters were not super heroes and super villains; good versus evil. The main characters have positive characteristics as well as flaws. General Valerias, for example, is a complicated man. He is a highly successful Roman General. He is a brutal man in a brutal time. Yet he has a strong inner turmoil. He is searching for contentment and when he finds contentment, he learns it is only a fleeting feeling. He has never had children and yet children are drawn to him. Another character, Claire, puts aside her title as queen to save her children from a bloodthirsty usurper. Joseph, the Christian priest, has much to learn about the meaning of Christianity.
Into the Realm of Time is a book of character development. The interactions of characters with others and events defined their self-images.
What fascinates you most about the Roman Empire?
I have enjoyed watching movies and reading about the Roman Empire since boyhood. The Robe, Ben Hur, Spartacus and Gladiator and others have influenced my thinking of the Empire. On the other hand, the information (facts) in books I have read tends to bring the magic of movies to reality.
I think the fact that the Empire lasted several centuries is remarkable. Although the Western part of the Empire collapsed around 476 AD, the Eastern part lasted almost one thousand more years. The Empire was a dichotomy: the Empire provided culture, order, law and security for its habitants. Yet it could be very brutal to outsiders and even its own citizens. It is interesting to note that Christianity emerged during the Empire. Several times Christianity and Christians were persecuted by the Romans; however, eventually Christianity became the state religion.
Another item of note is that some historians have referred to the period after the fall of the Western Empire as the Dark Ages. Thus, despite its shortcomings, the Roman Empire provided a well-defined civilization for hundreds of years.
Describe the Hun Empire.
During the period of 372-375 AD there was little knowledge of the Huns. The Huns began to appear at this time from the steppes of central Asia. Their appearance westward caused a panic among the Goths who migrated into the eastern part of the Roman Empire. These events form the basis for the historical time frame for Into the Realm of Time.
The story in the book takes place well before the appearance of Attila the Hun by over half a century. In 372 AD the Huns were largely an emerging mystery force.
There were a lot of events happening during this period, did you face any challenges while writing about this?
When I prepared to write Into the Realm of Time, my first decision was to settle on a time frame on which to base the story. This decision was critical to me. I wanted to write a story that takes place towards the end of the Western Roman Empire, but not at its very end. I also wanted the time to be a period of the Empire that was not as well-known as other periods. I wanted to avoid having anything to do with Attila the Hun and King Arthur as there have been a multitude of books written about these men. Finally, like most periods towards the end of the Empire, 372-375 AD was a time of turmoil.
What was some of the research you needed to do for the story and what was your process?
I read several books that were based on the fall of the Roman Empire. Based on the information in these books, I settled on the time of 372 to 375 AD. The Roman Empire was still formidable and had two emperors. Christianity was the established religion of the empire. I also read Gore Vidal’s novel, Julian, to get a feel of the time that was different from the other books I read which were more fact based.
I list my reference sources at the end of the book.
Where can readers buy your book?
You can purchase the book on Amazon in either hard copy (paperback) or through Kindle. It is also sold at several bookstores in southern Wisconsin. I sell an occasional book myself, which I sign. I must also note that the book is at several libraries. Please check my website for sales/library locations.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the sequel to Into the Realm of Time. When I finished Into the Realm of Time, I knew there was more to the story and I wanted to complete the saga. This will be a two-book series. The sequel will hopefully be finished within two years – no guarantees!
I enjoy discussing Into the Realm of Time with anyone as that has been part of the “fun” of writing the book.
A message from indieBRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Scott Prill who is the author of, Into the Realm of Time, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Into the Realm of Time, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.