Although relatively unknown in England, Greek born Mario
Routi has been writing from an early age. He completed his
first short story by the age of ten and his first theatrical
script by thirteen. Whilst he has previously published short
stories and articles, Orizon:
The Flame of the White Sun is his first full
length novel. The book has garnered many favourable reviews.
Routi recently spoke to Charles Packer about some of the background
to his new novel, from his new home in London...
When you were growing up was literature an important part
of your family background?
Routi: Definitely! I can remember kids in the neighbourhood
playing soccer, and me there sitting in a corner under the
shadow, with a book in my hands.
Who were your earliest influences and why?
Julius Verne influenced me deeply when I was a child. He enriched
Who or what fuelled your desire to put pen to paper?
From authors it was none other than JRR Tolkien and Stephen
King. My dad however was very supporting in this too.
What made you decide to embark on a project the size of a
It's something I wanted to do since I started to understand
life. I always knew I'd do it, I just didn't know when that
The demographic for fantasy and science fiction would appear
to be young males. Was there any meaning behind you choosing
a young woman as your central character?
I believe young males will love to read a novel with a woman
heroine for a change. At the same time, I want to attract
more women into reading fantasy novels too.
Given the age of your main protagonist, where you aiming for
a predominantly young adult audience?
When I first starting the novel, I aimed at kids, meaning
10 to 14-15 years of age. As the story grew bigger, so did
the average age of my potential readers. When I finally finished
the book, I realised I had written a novel suitable for all
ages besides the kids I first aimed at, so I rewrote some
parts and changed a few things to make it readable for younger
ages too. However, the book still isn't the most appropriate
reading for a child under 13-14 and I think that - although
older people will probably enjoy it too - its targeted best
to young readership and adults, meaning 15 to 40.
The book highlights many modern problems without offering
pat answers. Was it your intention to follow the Orizon's
advice on child rearing and provide information, not solutions,
as a personal intellectual jumping off point?
Only partly. If you read carefully the letter from Turgoth
to Felicia, during the battle, it gives all the solutions
to what should happen and how. It sounds rough, but it's the
only way. Due to the circumstances though, something like
that would be impossible to achieve, unless people like Turgoth
could really existed. On the other hand, if you see how the
Orizons leave in the Land of the White Sun, besides of course
the war part, one can realise how life should be.
I got the feeling from Orizon that you are uncomfortable
with absolute solutions in matters of truth and morality;
would you say that is so?
Through truth and ethics, one can find the best solution,
absolute or not. As long as the cause is for good, then the
correct path will be revealed, one way or another, sooner
Do you see the novel closely resembling our current world
situation with the haves and have nots fighting over resources
that could just as easily be shared?
Yes! Things could be much more simple for everyone, if there
was the will to do so.
Is the Flame supposed to be representative of anything other
than a giver of eternal life?
The Flame represents the internal power we all have. Our will
to be good and do good. The Flame is our own soul!
King Turgoth and Lord Light are very similar in character,
in that, they both feel that they are doing the right thing
by their respective peoples. How important was it to you that
the lines between these two characters should remain blurred?
That's an important part of the story. Turgoth is a rebel,
while he wants to search for everything. Lord Life is a peaceful
man and doesn't like to enter things that might be beyond
his powers to explain. However, they both are ethical leaders
who try their best for their people. They are bright and brilliant,
each on his own way, although they are so different. And they
seem to have a bond that connects them, that connects these
two characters, these two great leaders, that can be no other
than the struggle to do the right thing.
The mythical creatures in the book come from differing cultures,
did the choice of creatures come from a personal preference
or did you feel that you needed a cast of characters which
your audience might be familiar with?
Actually, most of the creatures and characters aren't familiar
to the readers. The Minotaur is presented to be good and not
evil, like it is in the Greek mythology. The Gorgons are ugly
creatures and not beautiful women like most ancient scripts
want to present them. Also, I have a completely different
image given for the Sphinx. As for the Porths, they are completely
creatures of my imagination. My Cyclopes with the Greek Mythology
Cyclopes, have in common the one eye, but nothing else further
to that. Finally, the Centaurs are described the same, but
like the Minotaur, they are good and not evil. It is only
the Amazons that could match a very similar description to
the late Mythology.
Talking of myths, the idea of a young adult discovering that
they have a secret destiny is very popular in most societies,
why do you think that is the case?
Because we all see that things are going from bad to the worse
and worst, so we are all hoping that the miracle will happen
and the Knight in the shiny armour will come and save the
Things are left very much in the air at the end of Orizon:
The Flame of the White Sun. Does this mean that you are intending
on working on a sequel?
Actually, if you think about it, most things come to an end.
The battles, the Flame, the main War, who lives and how dies,
what the characters do, Good and Evil, and many others. Only
this one thing with Felicia is in the air, and yes, its made
on purpose. An author could of course end the story here and
let his readers think what might have happened. The letter
of Leiko gives plenty of hints on that and so does his dream.
However, I wont do that and I will present a second book,
a sequel. I'm already on it!
Do you still believe that history is one of the most distorted
of disciplines and if so how are we ever going to tell fact
Yes, I'm absolutely convinced that history is being modified,
and as the years go by, it'll be more and more difficult to
tell fact from fiction. For the moment, we can only study
the historians, compare them and make our own judgements.
The book is very visual. Do you think that the story could
translate to film without loosing its philosophical core?
It can translate into film and it probably will, but I'm very
curious to see how will the director manage to keep at least
the basic philosophical core.
Do you find the process of writing easy or arduous?
To me, writing is like swimming to a swimmer. I enjoy it and
it's usually easy. But times come when the sea is upset and
the swimmer can get tired to get out to the sour, or even
CP: Do you still get the same pleasure,
from the publication of your newest work, as you did from
the publication of your first work?
Yes I do, and actually bigger, if you consider that what I've
published till now where just articles and sort stories, but
no big novel.
Would you have any advice for any young budding authors?
Write a lot, read more. Don't give up. Use your imagination,
then put it to paper and let it flow. Most important to me:
While you are writing a story, you mustn't know where it'll
go and how it'll end. You must feel the suspense and agony
to see what will happen next, till the very last moment. That
will make you write more, in order to find that out. If you
have the agony for that, then probably your readers will too.
If you don't, then why should they!
Thank you very much for your time
Thanks for yours.
The Flame of the White Sun is available to buy from 06
July 2006, and is released by Livani Publishing.
to buy this book for £7.19 (RRP: £8.99)