Name Meriweather and Lillian Asterios
Age 33, 37
Where are you from: The Ozarks, Arkansas
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I am a married transgender man with three step children. I write fantasy books with my wife, Lillian. I am also an artist! I work in watercolor, ink, and oil. I studied at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just finished a book called “Terminus.” It is in the editing stage right now, and will be out in the spring. I am currently working on the second act of “Terminus,” I see it coming in three parts. It is about the apocalyptic end of the world, as seen through several perspectives– including what happens ‘on the other side,’ in the afterlife as a result of the world ending. I am also working on a blog that details my struggles with PTSD and depression, Signals to Saturn. https://merrisasterios.wordpress.com/
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing
I began writing when I was very young. I liked to illustrate/draw, and had stories in my head that went along with the art. I loved creating people and characters, and wanted to give them a world to play in.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I feel that I was born a writer, so always!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote a few novels when I was younger, but those just felt like warming up. My first official novel, I guess you could say, was inspired by my wife. We began roleplaying together online, and we decided to take those stories and weave them into a fantasy novel. That’s how the Dog and the Serpent came to be.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I enjoy fantasy and science fiction.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Dog and the Serpent are sort of totem animals, symbols, for the two main characters that the novel is centered around. Kia Sin’del is the dog, and Lillandyr Shadowglade being the serpent.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a lot of messages that can be taken from the Books of Belshalara. The city of Belshalara acts as an analogy to today’s society. Corruption, inequality, suppression of the working class. Mistreatment of sex workers. Sexual identity. All of these things are important to us and touched on in our novels.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of the characters and events are pulled from our real lives. My wife and I have had many difficult struggles, the least of which– believe it or not– was me being transgender. We have both suffered from abusive relationships and have had a long, had road to draw from.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The books that influenced me the most growing up was Neil Gaiman’s the Sandman. For my wife, she would say Cormac McCarthy and Kurt Vonnegut. The only mentor I can say is my wife, Lillian. I’ve not really had much support until recently.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
That is a tough question for me. Since coming out as a transgender person, I have lost just about all family support. So, my community, especially the LGBT community, has really stepped up and help me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do, and it is a lifestyle. Even if I couldn’t make a dime I would always be writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so. I know nothing is perfect, but it is in those flaws that the real beauty shines.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I had a tough childhood, and I used writing and drawing as an escape from my situation. That’s where it all started.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sometimes it is hard, and sometimes it is easy. Whenever it is particularly personal, it is hard. Writing about my depression in my blog is always a challenge.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not currently, but that’s something I’d like to do someday, for sure.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Currently, my wife designs the covers. Lillian is a very talented digital artist.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Some of the characters in the Books of Belshalara face similar struggles that I do. Even though it is in a fantasy world, my wife and I really tried hard in making the characters real. We have gay and lesbian characters in our world, as well as characters that struggle with PTSD, depression, autism, and other things that we can personally relate to.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot of things from writing our books! One of the main characters helped me identify myself as transgender. I feel as if I found myself through him. The more I wrote about him, the more I realized I was writing about myself. It helped me discover what the problem was– who I really am. I knew I wanted to be a man, I knew I was a man on the inside, I just didn’t realize how deep it went.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
If our books were made into a movie, I think Josh Brolin would play Kia Sin’del, and maybe Tom Hiddleston would play Merris.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never give up. Believe in yourself. Even if no one is reading and it feels like you’re writing into an empty void, keep going. Eventually, someone will listen.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please check out our books!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Since I write fiction, I like to take a break and read non-fiction books. I am currently reading “Them,” by Jon Ronson.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I am sure it was some children’s book… but the one I remember most and reading it over and over was The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Just about everything makes me cry, I am a very emotional person. And I have a very dry sense of humor. I just don’t like anything mean, I don’t like laughing at other people’s expense.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I’d love to meet Kurt Vonnegut and Mark Twain. That’d be amazing.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
That’s such a hard question, I am not sure. The thing is, I think it is up to the people who are remembering me to make that decision. I try to live a good life, to be a good person. Maybe something like, “He loved until the end.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Painting, drawing, being a step-parent. My other hobby would be working out.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like trashy television, because when I need to unwind I try to unwind really hard. I am sort of ashamed to admit that I love reality TV, especially ghost hunting shows.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Sushi, yellow, and classical. My favorite composer is Debussy.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
An artist, but I want to be both!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
You can find the Books of Belshalara at:
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00DTW5CUY
Find my art page here: https://www.facebook.com/MAAsteriosArt/