Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hollywood Trivia Interview with R. Scot Johns author of Beowulf

How would you convince seven shipwrecked individuals on a deserted island to buy your book? If Rhett Butler, one of the characters from Gone With the Wind were to change his famous line from “Frankly, My Dear I don’t give a damn” to Frankly, My Dear I think you should read this paragraph from this bestselling novelist. What paragraph do you think he is referring to? Find out all this and more today when The Real Hollywood Book Chat welcomes author R. Scot Johns author of Beowulf, a heroic fantasy novel.

R. Scot Johns is a life-long student of ancient and medieval literature, with an enduring fascination for Norse mythology and epic fantasy. He first came to Beowulf through his love of J. R. R. Tolkien, a leading scholar on the subject. As an Honors Medieval Literature major he has given lectures on such topics as the historical King Arthur and the construction of Stonehenge. He owns and operates Fantasy Castle Books, his own publishing imprint, and writes the blog Adventures of an Independent Author, where you can follow his progress as he writes The Jester’s Quest, his second novel.

You can visit his website at

The Saga of Beowulf is the first complete and accurate novelization of the epic Old English poem Beowulf, chronicling the tragic wars of the rising Nordic nations, the endless blood-feuds of their clans, battles with mythic creatures in an ancient heroic age, and the final, futile struggle of one man against the will of Fate that made of him a Legend.

The story follows the young Norse warrior Beowulf as he embarks upon a fateful quest for vengeance against the creature that slew his father, setting in motion a sequence of events that will bring about the downfall of a nation, all the while fleeing from the woman he has sworn to love. Based on extensive historical research and steeped in Nordic myth and lore, the saga unfolds across the frozen fields of Sweden and the fetid fens of Denmark, ranging from the rocky heights of Geatland to the sprawling battlefields of ancient France, as our hero battles men and demons in a quest to conquer his own fears.

"An epic adventure 1500 years in the making," this classic tale now comes to life once more in a bold new retelling for a modern audience.

Hello R. Scot,

It is my pleasure to have you appear on The Real Hollywood blog. Let’s start with our trivia questions and see how much fun you can have.

1. Gilligan’s Island Trivia – Taking a three hour boat tour, you find yourself shipwrecked on this tiny little remote island where 7 people were also shipwrecked. How would you convince this varied audience to read your book? Remember on this island besides The Skipper, his little buddy Gilligan and MaryAnn, is the smart Professor, the rich Mr.& Mrs. Howell who have the money to make your book into a movie and Ginger the movie star who might have a starring role. Please talk to the audience not to me.

R. Scot: Great! We’re stranded! Way to go, Gilligan. At least we’ve got my novel to read. That should keep us busy for awhile. Except for the Professor, since he’s already read it twice. Now the rest of you can catch up! Skipper, you should love this story, with its sinking Viking ships and raging ocean storms! MaryAnn will love the tragic romance and Ginger, you could practice lines by reading the parts of the many strong and seductive female leads. Mr. & Mrs. Howell might like to invest in this epic action thriller which is sure to be a major hit in Hollywood! Or maybe you’ll just like to read of all the gold and jewels the Norsemen threw around, or the golden hoard the Dragon guards. Gilligan will like the comic roles of Groot and Snorri, or the ever-hopeful Otto with his dreams of owning pigs and sheep. There’s a little something here for each of you, but only this one copy, so you’ll have to share!

2. Wheel of Fortune – you have been asked by the Wheel of Fortune writers to create a word puzzle spelling one of the books characters his/her name. Which character name would you want on the Wheel of Fortune puzzle board and why?

R. Scot: Ongentheow. Just look at all those letters! And who ever chooses “w” anyway? Besides, they would have to have read my book to know the answer, so if they got it they would deserve to win.

3. Gone With the Wind – If Rhett Butler were to change his famous line from “Frankly, My Dear I don’t give a damn” to Frankly, My Dear I think you should read this paragraph from this bestselling novelist. What paragraph is Rhett referring to? Tell us how it fits into the novel?

R. Scott: “What good is honor to the dead?” she asked, the tears now welling in her eyes. “How will brave words protect me when you are no longer there? Will the fame of your great deeds keep me warm in the cold of winter night, or stave off the onslaught of invading nations? Your name means nothing to me, Beowulf. It is only your life that matters.”
But Beowulf only sighed with lowered eyes and turned away, his countenance weighed down with thought. “I cannot argue with you, Hæreth,” he said. “My strength is in my arms, not in my tongue, and you are far wiser than I.” He heaved a sigh. Then turning to her once again, he looked into her eyes, and there was confidence in his, as if a resolution had been made. “Still, I must lead my people in the way I am best suited to. I must rule as I must live, and as I live, so must I die, as all men must.”
“Then perhaps you are wiser than I, after all.”
“That I doubt,” he laughed. “Yet I do know what I am, and knowing that, I know what I must do.”
“As I knew you would,” she said, her soft voice breaking as the tears streamed down her cheek. “I love you, Beowulf.”
“Then believe in me,” he said, drawing her to him with his determination.
“I have never believed in anything more.”

This passage speaks to what Rhett Butler tried so often to express to Scarlet, of their mutual attraction even when they disagreed. Perhaps this is another way Rhett tries to get Scarlet to see his side, while still expressing his love for her. In the novel this scene occurs as Beowulf prepares to battle the fire-breathing dragon that has ravaged the land. The weight of his responsibility weighs heavy on them both, and she would have him stay while knowing he must go.

4. Hollywood Book Walk of Fame – A bookstore in Hollywood, California had decided that books should have their own walk of fame. So they have lined the sidewalk in front of their store with book molds in the sidewalk. Your name is to appear on one of these book molds. You give an acceptance speech at the ceremony. What would you say and who would you thank?

R. Scot: Right next to Dickens! Awesome. First I’d like to say that it’s an honor to become a part of someone’s life, if only for a week or a day. Writing is a shared experience, from the mind of the author to the reader’s heart. I am greatly thankful to every one of you who read my work and pleased beyond belief that it somehow spoke to you. Thanks to all who bore with me through the long and arduous process that often made me insufferable to live with. I’d like to thank my landlord for not evicting me, and my boss for not firing me! Thanks to everyone who gave me needed inspiration, and most of all thank goodness I finally finished it!

Thank you, Scot, for being a guest at The Real Hollywood blog today. I wish you continued success on your virtual book tour and who knows your book might just make it to the silver screen.


R. Scot Johns said...

Hello and welcome to Hollywood Trivia. This was quite a fun "interview" to do. Generally with interviews you get the standard questions as to how you came to write your book and what the process was like to get it into print, but not here! This was something entirely unexpected. So I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I. Feel free to shoot me any other peculiar questions you might have and I'll see if I can't answer. Cheers!

Dorothy Thompson said...

LOL, this was fun. Thanks for hosting Scot today, Becky!

Storyheart said...

This looks a real fun interview, and I agree a lot of places you get the standard questions, so it makes such a change to have something so different and enjoyable.
Across the Pond

R. Scot Johns said...

Hey there Storyheart, good to hear from you! I certainly don't mind the "standard" queue of questions - it's always enjoyable to discuss your own work! - but it's particularly entertaining to get a seemingly random set from out of left field. It makes you stop and rethink what you've been saying, which I suppose is the whole point. Anyway, I hope it was as fun for you as it was for me.

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Rebecca Camarena said...

Thanks to Scot for his great answers to Hollywood Trivia Questions and for all the commenters who stopped by.