Never far from a pen and a pad, Trey McIntosh keeps his mind working and his hands going even faster. Enthralled by epic fantasies, amazing adventures and stellar mysteries, Trey strives to show his inspiration in his work, both literary and comic-related. Novelist, Mangaka, freelancer – all could describe Trey, but he does his best to abide by the title of “Creator.” He’s now working on Grimmoire, his first epic fantasy series, along with Azure Epoch, an initial foray into the world of indie comics.
Trey, thank you for agreeing to this interview. You have had a hand in several awesome projects over the past several years. Let’s start the interview by introducing folks to Azure Epoch. Please tell us a bit about its development and what we should expect.
First off, thanks for allowing me to participate in this! I’m glad you think my works are awesome! Azure Epoch has been in development since I was thirteen – I came up with the idea after I read the first chapter of the manga One Piece in Weekly Shonen Jump. I was a big adventure movie fan back then – Indiana Jones, King Solomon’s Mines, The Seventh & Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Arabian Nights – all were my bread and butter. That, as well as JRPGs like Final Fantasy VI and Skies of Arcadia went into my idea for an epic fantasy revolving around Sky Pirates. And so, Azure Epoch was born.
Azure Epoch revolves around the Venture Corps, a small group of Seekers who all bring something unique to the table. They’ve joined forces to explore the blue, to seek what shouldn’t be found, and to solve the energy crisis their world is currently facing. What’s to be expected is a pulp adventure in the vein of The Mummy and Uncharted as the Venture Corps explore and deduce a mystery revolving around a set of enigmatic but powerful stones that could change the world.
Not only are you a fan of Hong Kong and Samurai films, but you are also a diehard fan of manga. What have been some of your major influences that have inspired your own stories and comics?
Well, my biggest influence has been Dragon Ball. Without Dragon Ball, I doubt I’d be a writer. It kept my mind wondering, dreaming about if I could have a manga like that. Another influence is a manga called The Seven Deadly Sins; it’s helping me think of ideas for my current project, Grimmoire.
You have been open about publishing No Peace Under Heaven under the pen name Satoshi Takagi. Give us an overview of the story? Why did you choose to use an alternate name for this story?
To put it bluntly, it was a test to see if I could write it. I didn’t have the best support group back then; in fact, I was told that I was playing at being an author. Rather than sit and gripe about it, I started writing. I came up with No Peace Under Heaven.
No Peace Under Heaven is about a former assassin turned bounty hunter constantly running from his past. He’s good at what he does, and a simple act of unwarranted heroism leads to his past – and his own literal dark side – coming back to haunt him in more ways than one.
I chose to use that alternate name because I was trying to emulate a mindset that I saw from a manga series called Bakuman, which is, ironically, a series about being a manga creator. The name was inspired by the pen name the two protagonists created, and I thought if I did something similar, I’d generate some of their creative enthusiasm. Well, writing this book was a really tough time for me.
I do my best to write whenever I can – at work, before bed, during times when I’m clearly supposed to be resting – and I usually try to write a chapter before I stop. My chapters average about 3k words, so I feel that’s enough done for the day.
While looking through your many works, I came across Black Rune – Heaven or Hell on Wattpad. What features of the website intrigued you to write on Wattpad? Have you found the experience helpful in building an audience or sharpening your craft?
Writing on Wattpad was pretty sobering. From what I see, people on Wattpad only want to read fanfiction, romance novels, or Cell Phone Novels. My experience in building an audience came when I started building my Instagram account. I wrote poetry and posted a piece a day, and soon enough, I had a following. But writing on Wattpad didn’t really net much experience, other than what NOT to do.
Recently, you launched a GoFundMe to help launch your latest project, Grimmoire. I have been excited to see how crowdfunding campaigns have helped many creators share their art with the world. Give us some insight into Grimmoire and what you hope to achieve with this story.
Unfortunately, the GoFundMe didn’t go through for Grimmoire, but I’m still going to write it. Grimmoire is the story of Rowena “Pumpkin” Oaksgourd and her trials of becoming a powerful mage. She’s a Witch Hunter and she’s staggeringly good at it to where she’s considered sadistic when it’s time to burn a witch. Grimmoire is my attempt at writing an epic fantasy starring a person of color that’s not centered in some African or Biblical theming or region. What I hope to achieve with it is to show readers that black people have a place in fantasy outside of being slaves, hired help, cannon fodder soldiers, or characters designated to die.
What can we expect from you in 2019? Anything you would like to add?
I’m going to be working on Grimmoire, a short project called “Lo-Fi: Living Beatitude” with my girlfriend, and I’d like to do something comic related with Grimmoire. I’m also working on finishing Azure Epoch as a light novel series.
It has been a pleasure, Trey! Please tell us where fans can find you online or in the upcoming year at events.