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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Same World, New Story

How easy is it to go back to a world you've created?  Lots of authors do it.  Sometimes with sequels, sometimes with prequels.  Sometimes with time jumps.  Often with wholly a wholly new cast of characters.  When I finished the novels of the Collegia Magica, I realized that I had created five fairly complete worlds, all of which I loved.

I try very hard to make my series have a good resolution.  I want readers to believe that the mysteries and dilemmas of the plot have been untangled and finished off in a satisfactory - and believable - way.  And that the characters live on in the new directions they've taken, with love, magic, companionship, hope, grief, whatever I've left with them. I have always sworn not to go back to a previous cast of characters or world unless I had a new story to tell.

That's why I picked Navronne - the world of the Lighthouse Duet, Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone.  Not only was the world - with its mythic underpinnings and rich history - one I enjoyed, I felt a nagging sense that I had left a lot of interesting story on the table.  Valen, the hero of the Lighthouse books, was a rebel, a wanderer, and the path of his life took him to a most unexpected place.  While the part of the world that he had spent his life running from - the families of pureblood sorcerers with their strange culture, their strict discipline, and their unique position in the world - was left almost entirely unexplored.  Valen hated the life his birth condemned him to - and he discovered the life he was meant to have.  What would life be like for a man of similar age and similar status who embraced the role he was born to?  Who had a family that appreciated his talents and loved him dearly.  That man is Lucian de Remeni-Masson, a very wealthy, privileged sorcerer, born not with one, but two strong magical talents - most unusual, as it happens - and who believes that his magic is a divine gift.  Lucian embraces the strict life that Valen abhorred.   And then, of course, because he is my hero...

  ...everything goes wrong.

That is the story begun in Dust and Light (Roc Books, August 2014). More next time on the peculiar difficulties of going back - not only to the world but to a parallel timeframe, so that the civil war, the environmental collapse, and the rampaging Harrowers that were so much fun in the first series, could set up problems for Lucian as well.  Just very different problems. Read more of this post!