Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of The Lords of Invention! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Trenor Rapkins: This is a difficult question to answer, because I am not sure how it started. Everything happened naturally. I was aware of steam-punk, so that must have had something to do with it, although I am not sure that what I have done is true steam-punk. I must have been influenced by the non-fiction books and documentaries about inventors who lived during the previous turn of the century and the rivalry that occurred between Edison and Tesla. What interests me is the mental drama between people. My story is not only a battle of strength but a battle of minds. When I watch a boxing match or a mixed martial arts fight, I am not only paying attention to the fight itself but the psychological warfare that occurs between two opponents. I watch to the weigh-ins and the face-offs, and what they say during the interviews, and how they deal with the pressure. This is fascinating to me because this is where most of the internal drama occurs.
BD: What can you tell us about your creative process in bringing this story to life, and what (or who) have been some of your creative influences?
TR: There have been so many. I am influenced by everything. Both the good and the bad. In terms of writing, I grew up reading Stephen King and Clive Barker. Those were my two guys, especially Clive. In more recent years, it has been Cormac Mccarthy. He has inspired me to dig a deeper and not to settle for ordinary writing. In terms of visual art, my primary influence is Frank Frazetta. You will not see much of his style in my own, because I had to eventually find my own style. But he is the guy who inspired me to paint when I was a kid. Even now when I look at his work, I am still impressed. He is a guy who had all of the bases covered. It was Alan Moore and Frank Miller who got me into graphic novels. They were the guys who helped me to realize that the comic-book format could be more than just for superheroes. Regarding my own creative process, all I do is let things happen naturally. My best ideas come to me when I am not trying to think of ideas. All that I need to do is to pay attention to everything in life, which includes non-fiction books and documentaries, as well as my own personal experiences. When I was in my twenties, I devoted myself to experiencing as much of life as possible. I learned a lot about the world and about human nature. All of this informs my creative process.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that this story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
TR: Although when I wrote the story I did not have any agenda in terms of attaching a deeper meaning to it, I believe that there may be some insights in it that pertain to human nature—especially the foibles of human nature. It is a cautionary tale. Perhaps the reader will think twice before behaving like the antagonist in this story. I can’t say too much without spoiling it, but let’s just say some mistakes were made and some karma that had to be dealt with. There is also an art for art’s sake element that I also think has value. Sometimes, simple escapist entertainment can also be important. It can be healthy to take a time out from this world and go somewhere else for awhile.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
TR: Yes. I have three more books on the way. One of which will most likely be another graphic novel. The other two will be prose novellas. One of them, titled The Philosopher Kings, is already available for pre-order on Amazon. It is the true story of the struggle for enlightenment and democracy in ancient Athens. It is going to be both an action-adventure as well as a thought-provoking philosophical journey. I am excited to share this important true story with the world. The Lords of Invention is a sort of prelude for everything that is coming next.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Lords of Invention?
TR: Everything is happening on my website. Check me out my web-log and get on my mailing list at trenorart.webs.com.