So this is the post in which I give props to Lindsay Buroker, and we go into double time with some questions!
1) What inspired you to begin writing?
My mom taught me to read at a very young age (I was an only child, and I think she was hoping I’d learn how to entertain myself with books), so I guess that’s where it began. I enjoyed making up stories in my head as much as reading those in books. I’d always figure out what happened next or between the pages with the characters I loved. At some point, I started writing those stories down.
It did take me a long time to “get serious” about writing, though, and to join a workshop and start completing things. Emperor’s Edge isn’t my first novel, but it’s the first I’ve thought was good enough to finish.
2) I’ve read The Emperor’s Edge and I’m curious as to your vision for the story, what did you want readers to take away from it?
Take away? Like a deep and lasting message? 😉
My main goal is to entertain folks. I don’t take myself too seriously, and most of my characters don’t either. Or, if they do, other characters will poke fun at them….
That said, I’m sure my stories are a reflection of the world we live in and the things about it that concern me. That the main antagonists are governments and big businesses isn’t a coincidence, and Forge will continue to be a problem going forward.
3) Your world building is seamless, I found myself following along with your descriptions and was quite engrossed in where this would be. It seems like an entirely other world, which mimicks ancient Egypt and Persia, and combines it with Russia. Can you explain more about Turgonia and Nuria and your ideas for the world Amaranthe is from?
First, thank you for the compliment. I think of world building as one of my weaknesses–it’s not nearly as fun for me as creating characters and writing dialogue. I’m perhaps a little weird (well, that’s a given) as a fantasy author in that I don’t model my nations after any particular country or culture from our world. I tend to pluck things out of history that interest me and smoosh them together, or I just do my own thing altogether.
I’ll do more with the Nurians in the future–maybe get us over on their continent–but essentially they’re the guys who chose magic over technology. I can’t remember if it comes out in the story, but the Nurians don’t have the resource-rich land that the Turgonians claimed, so it’d be hard for them to fuel their own industrial revolution. Their relationship with Turgonia has been antagonistic from the start, and these two major powers in the world have a Cold War mentality. Even when they’re not at war, they’re glowering at each other from across the ocean.
I chose a steam-age setting because I wanted to have a more modern world than you often get in high fantasy. I envisioned these guys living in a period of rapid change, similar to what we’ve been going through over the last couple centuries. Too, though it may be realistic, I get tired of reading about cultures where women are oppressed, so I decided Turgonia had evolved with women responsible for handling money and business matters while the men were off at war. That way, it made sense–I hope!–that women would be the ones driving some of the change and having an increasingly important role in society.
4) What inspired you to create a character like Amaranthe? Sicarius?
These guys have been kicking around in my head for a long time, so it’s hard to say where they first came from. I did realize at one point I was putting together a fantasy version of the A-team (my only defense is that I am a child of the 80s!). I knew I wanted a woman in the mix, and I realized it could be a lot of fun if I put Amaranthe in the Hannibal role.
She’s definitely the schemer, and I’ll be the first to admit some of her plans are far-fetched to the point of being foolish. I always meant for her main talent to be dealing with people, which–let me tell you!–isn’t as easy to show on the page as kicking butt with a sword or magic.
As for Sicarius, I’m surprised at how popular he’s been with my (female) crit buddies and early reviewers. He’s definitely the grayest hero I’ve done. You could argue that he’s more of a villain than a hero. He’s got the most fully developed backstory out of any of the characters, and I knew it wouldn’t make sense for him to have a heart of gold underneath the nails. Just more nails, heh. But at the same time, I didn’t want him to come across as a natural psychopath. He is who he is because of his training.
5) There are a couple of mentions of wards and wizards fire. What inspired you to include those references in your book?
Heh, convenience? Magic is almost science-fiction-y in this world (something that I developed a little more in my other novel, Encrypted), in that it comes from the mental powers rather than gods or spells or any such. I suppose I could have come up with more original terms, but I’m not big on making up new words if there’s already a word in the fantasy lexicon that means the same thing. My eyes cross a bit at novels that open with glossaries of made-up terms. 😉
6) If Amaranthe could be part of any other fantasy world (ie: middle earth), which would you choose and what do you think would happen to her?
Hm, I’m not sure. I imagine she’d have an interesting life anywhere she went. I think she’d make it to the end and win the million bucks if she was on Survivor.
7) Who is your favourite character from The Emperor’s Edge?
Well, I’ve blabbed enough about Amaranthe and Sicarius, so I’ll go with Maldynado. He’s a big goof, but he’s got a history that made him what he is, too, and I look forward to exploring it in a future story. He and Books are particularly fun to write together, and they’ll get some more page time in Book 2.
8) The end of the book hints at a continuation, will there be a second book to this series?
Oh, yes. I like to write novels that are complete stories, but I always saw this as the setup for more adventures with these characters.
9) What projects are planning on presenting in the future?
I’m about half way through the first draft of Book 2 in this series. I’ve started a sequel to Encrypted, and I have a rough draft done of my first Goblin Brothers novel–those are children’s fantasy stories. For me the hard part is deciding which project gets priority!
I’ll also be looking at getting print versions of my stories out there for the people who don’t do ebooks.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed my interview and if you haven’t already, go download her books!