Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Writing non-fiction

Writing fiction, especially fantasy, is the lifeblood of my creativity, but lately I find myself writing more and more non-fiction - articles, DIY instructions, blog posts. While sometimes the need to write "technical" stuff feels like a hindrance that is taking away precious time from working on my books, writing non-fiction does have its benefits:

1. It helps achieve a clear, concise style that enables you to say what you want to say quickly and efficiently, without a lot of embellishment (which you get in the habit of using when writing novels).

2. It helps put your thoughts in order, for example when writing a clearly outlined plan or article.

3. It's a lot easier to make some money writing non-fiction than fiction. Getting my books published is a lofty goal, one I'm constantly working towards, but I realize it's a long, slow uphill walk. Writing website content or articles, and getting them published, read and liked - which is much easier to do than publishing a book - can give you some immediate gratification and a moral boost while you still do what you do best - writing.

Last week, I got a letter from the editors of a magazine where I submitted an article for publishing. The editing team was unable to use my article, for various reasons, but I got a very kind message from the editing coordinator, complimenting me on my writing style and inviting me to submit more articles. It was a more personal, more encouraging message by far than I ever got from a literary agent, and gave me a great deal of motivation.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Let's talk about Thadorn

When I was working on Quest of the Messenger, I did not expect Thadorn to become such a controversial figure. I mean, he's a good guy, right? However, Thadorn has been accused of being a humongous blockhead who won't take the time to understand other people's feelings and motivations.

Warning: spoilers ahead!

I do have to say I don't envy Thadorn. He falls in love with someone who proves to be untrustworthy and sends him on an emotional roller-coaster. He ends up heartbroken and the single parent of three young children, a position he is remarkably ill-suited for. His wife left him, his friends left him, and all that he has to support him by the end of the first book of the trilogy is his sense of duty.

It is this sense of duty, however, that prevents him from sinking into an abyss of despair. He rallies up and just does what has to be done, as always. Because with Thadorn, it's always about duty; when he stops a host of terrified refugees from crossing the border, he is sorry for them because he realizes they will probably die. But it never occurs to him to act against a royal decree.

I would like to have a friend or a business partner like Thadorn. He is loyal, dependable, honest, and solid as a rock. Being married to someone like that, however, is an entirely different matter. His union with Jadine was, I fear, doomed from the start.

However, those who love Thadorn need not despair. A brighter hour does come for him in the next book of the trilogy, Warriors of the Realm. 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Some Shadowy Facts

Starting from last week, things have kind of snowballed for Paths of the Shadow. Being Featured gave me more reads and comments in a very short span of time than I ever thought possible. So thanks to all the new readers who have given me a high-five by following the book!

I thought I'd share some fun, little-known facts about PotS this week.

1. Jadine, Thadorn, Dr. Nicholas Swift and other beloved characters of Paths of the Shadow were initially meant to be no more than backdrop to the second part of the trilogy, Warriors of the Realm, which was originally written as a stand-alone novel. It was not until later that I decided to write a full-blown prequel. Guardians of the Gates (soon to be released), the third part of the trilogy, naturally followed.

2. Though the setting of the story is medieval, the political conflicts are inspired by contemporary, rather than historical events.

3. Spoiler alert! A question often asked by those who finish reading PotS is, predictably, is Jadine really dead? Though I will refrain from giving a clear-cut answer right now, I can say that there is more to her death/suicide/disappearance at the end of the first book than meets the eye. Those who continue to follow the series will learn more about Jadine in time.