Local author celebrates publication of two novels
STATE COLLEGE — Local author Chet Gottfried is having a winter worth celebrating.
“The Gilded Basilisk,” his fantasy novel for adults, was released in print and e-book versions on Jan. 21 by ReAnimus Press. His young adult fantasy, “Einar and the Cursed City,” has an anticipated release date of March 2014, with Zetabella Publishing.
When asked why he decided to write fantasy, Gottfried said: “It’s just fun writing about anywhere that magic is possible.”
He enjoys combining suspense with humor, and giving cliffhanger endings to his chapters.
“A story should be fun and entertaining,” he said.
Gottfried and his wife Sue moved to State College from Long Island, N.Y. nine years ago. They planned to stay for one year then relocate to Utah.
“We fell in love with Centre County while we were living here,” he said. “We thought it was beautiful here, quite cosmopolitan in the center of town, with a relatively small ring of outlying suburbs, and beyond that, rural game lands and parks.”
They decided to stay.
In Gottfried’s novel, “The Gilded Basilisk,” the story begins with a mistaken theft. A stranger named Agnar promises Hugin a large reward if he retrieves a stolen magical creature, a basilisk, from the thieves. The reward will allow Hugin to fulfill his dream of becoming a co-owner of his favorite inn. He sends his friend Gier to snatch the basilisk from the two warriors who took it. However, Agnar has lied about the theft. When Gier returns with the creature, Hugin discovers it wasn’t stolen.
“As an argument is going on, the door’s kicked in, and in come the rightful owners of the basilisk,” Gottfried said. “It’s a recipe for disaster … Hugin has to talk fast, think fast, and act fast if he wants to survive … The theft leads to war between Farringdale and Loweswater and love between Hugin and the blind warrior Ratatoska.”
For his next novel, Gottfried decided to write “Einar and the Cursed City” as a young adult fantasy after an agent expressed interest in a young adult version of “The Gilded Basilisk.” Einar is a teenager who comes to the city seeking to win duels and tournaments, which will enable him to rise to higher positions in this culture. As he arrives in the city, he is swept into a rescue effort to save a kidnapped woman.
“With Einar it’s the whole thing of learning there’s a curse, finding out what it is, and then being responsible for ending it with the help of friends,” Gottfried said.
For the print version of The Gilded Basilisk, Gottfried also took on the added role of designing and typesetting the pages, drawing on his forty years of experience as a freelancer in book production.
“Anything like a novel requires a lot of time and effort, and you need the free time to develop the concentration to write while trying to maintain a living,” Gottfried said. “Learning to write is just learning to listen.”
He recommends that aspiring writers take drawing courses “to learn how to see what’s actually out there….It also involves experiences, going places, doing things, and meeting people.” He also says that writers’ conferences are beneficial.
Gottfried is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), with five professional sales, including his first novel, The Steel Eye, published by Space & Time in 1984. He has sold stories to Aboriginal Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jim Baen’s Universe, and to online and small press publications. Since moving to Pennsylvania, he said he has had “30 or so stories published here and there, including Town and Gown.”