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An Interview with Robert Allen Ligon


Robert Allen Ligon has lived in the Pacific Northwest for the entirety of his life and currently resides in rural Western Washington, in the foothills of the Cascades. Writing is his passion, and he is currently working on a collection of poetry and a fantasy trilogy, the first book of which, Such is the Way, will be published in late 2024. Through his novels and his poetry, he aims to connect with his readers and share a part of himself with them.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I began writing short stories as a child as a way to connect with my classmates. I was an avid reader at a young age, and delved primarily into fantasy series like the Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings. At age eleven, I read Stephen King’s IT and was instantly hooked. I continued to read many of his novels throughout my teen years. I would say my work is most influenced by King and Tolkien, as I have read and reread many of their books several times. I like rereading books I’ve already read not only because it’s like visiting an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, but I always find that I discover bits and pieces that I may have passed over before.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I had recently left my long time job as an IT professional, and had made the decision to let the Universe, in its infinite wisdom, take me where it would. It guided me back to writing, which I hadn’t done seriously for years. The main character of the book, Fineous, was a player character that I had created for a D&D campaign that I had played in online during Covid, and I had spent a great deal of time working on his back story. I liked the back story and character arc that he went through during the campaign and decided to adapt that into my own world and setting. The story is very different from the campaign I participated in by necessity, but the whole process has been a great lesson in world building and plot structure.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The book title, Such is the Way, evolved after my manuscript was finished. There is a reoccurring phrase that is spoken throughout the series: “Such is the way of this world. For this world, and all worlds. As it has been, for time, unremembered.” The saying is ancient in origin, often used in an offhand way, as such common phrases often are. The first part of it, “Such is the Way,” tied in with the themes that the main character, Fineous, experienced through the story and it just felt right to me to have it be the title of the first book.

Describe your dream book cover.

For the first book in the series, I picture a motley fool, facing the reader and kneeling before a pool. Instead of his own reflection looking back at him, an image of a woman can be seen, looking back at the fool, her hand stretched out to the surface of the water as if she is suspended in the depths of the pool. The Fool is reaching out in kind, both of their hands barely touching. The Fool is a reoccurring character in the series, who will play a prominent role in the third book. The idea for the cover is similar to one that I used for my first published work, Explorer of the Soul (A Fool’s Hope), a poetry collection I wrote and published in 2023.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

As I was going through the editing process to tighten up my rough draft, I reread the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I have always enjoyed this series and the grand scope of the story as a whole. Those who are familiar with the series will know that it took King decades to complete. I didn’t actually realize he had completed the final book until years after it was released, so I went back and read all of the books in order. The first time I had come to the end of the final book, I ignored King’s warning, and read on until the end. I wasn’t happy with the ending, just as he had warned me. Being stubborn, I wasn’t happy with not being happy, and decided to reread the series again years later, because the story lingered in my mind constantly. I came to understand and accept the ending that King chose the second time around, and I enjoy that aspect of the series. It explores some very deep themes for me personally.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

One of the major themes of the series is exploring the concept of self acceptance. Fineous deals with a great deal of prejudice and racism because of his half-elven heritage and this causes him a degree of self doubt and insecurity throughout his journey. As readers will discover, he grows as an individual through his interactions with the few people that he allows himself to grow closer to. My perfect reader would be one with an open mind, who can recognize and relate to the struggles that Fineous faces, not only in his acceptance, but in his internal struggles with anger and anxiety that plague him throughout the story.

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