Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my readers and other internet folk!
Here’s a special holiday treat for all of you. I was able to send some interview questions to Joshua Khan, author of the 2016 debut Shadow Magic, which I reviewed earlier this year. I loved everything about this book, so I knew that I had to let the author know and find out about a sequel. Luckily for us, he was willing to answer my questions and now I’m sharing them with you. And he has some juicy tidbits strewn throughout, so make sure you read through all of them!
Oh, and he was super awesome and had his publisher send me two copies of Dream Magic, so one is up in a Rafflecopter giveaway as are signed book covers of books 1 and 2, located at the bottom of this post 🙂 As soon as I’m finished reading the two books I’ve got going right now, Dream Magic is my next read. But my review won’t post until closer to the April release date.
- What inspired the world of Shadow Magic?
So many things! Okay, starting at the beginning, and getting my ultra-geek hat on, I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons growing up. A LOT. So, I knew I wanted to do a great big fantasy, cause that’s probably what I read most, alongside historical fiction.
One thing I notice is that even in fantasy, the main characters are the warriors. The wizards usually get supporting roles. But, if you can bend reality to your wishes, surely you’d rise to the top? I always thought it was weird figures like Gandalf and Merlin let others do the errands when they could have done it themselves, with less fuss.
So, Shadow Magic was about the sorcerers taking centre-stage. But if magic was going to be central, then we needed rules about what wizards could and could not do. That’s where I got the idea of the six Great Houses. One for water, another for fire, then earth, wind and light and darkness. Each house specializes in one field only.
I love the whole gothic look, so naturally I chose to write about the sorcerers of darkness, House Shadow.
- Your naming convention really works to convey subtle hints and clues to the reader. (It was one of my favorite aspects actually!) Do you do that on purpose?
Yup. I wanted to present a multi-cultural world from a different angle, especially with House Shadow. Lilith is Hebrew, but her father’s name is Arabic, then you’ve got common names like Mary and Rose. Tyburn is an infamous execution ground in London, it’s now Marble Arch but there’s a plaque where the gallows, the ‘Tyburn Tree’, used to stand. So when I needed a name for my executioner, Tyburn just popped up.
Like I said, I’m mad on history, so I wanted the world of Shadow Magic to reflect that. Cultures have come, overlapped, left remnants. Most places are named after a feature, the names have a reason, they’re not just a collection of stuck-together syllables. Hence every place has a name that meant something.
And I like the sound words make. The Prism Palace just rolls.
- How did you decide on the names of both characters and places?
Since Thorn comes from near Herne’s Forest, his name had to connect to the natural world. Like the French name their kids after saints, so the locals of Herne’s Forest name their children after the growing world. His dad’s Vyne, his mom’s Blossom, etc. This conventions are very common in our world, so it made sense to use in in the New Kingdoms. But since Herne’s Forest is somewhat isolated, there isn’t the same variety as there is in Gehenna, where names have come from all sorts of places. Much like you’d get a greater range in London that you would in some rural village.
- Why did you choose to include POV from both a male character and a female character?
Both Thorn and Lily arrived, very vivid, and very clear. There was never a point where I thought it should be one voice, it was always two. On a practical level it helped show the contrast between Lily, who accepts her world of undead and necromancy and sees it as very normal, to Thorn, the outsider who’s still a bit freaked out about living amongst the tombstones.
- Did you know the storyline of Dream Magic while writing Shadow Magic?
When we submitted SM, we needed to give an outline for book two, Dream Magic. Nothing more than a few paragraphs but a few key points were in place. I needed to hit the ground running with book two, so I had given it a lot of thought as I was writing SM. Of course it’s evolved, but it helped me having a rough outline.
- Did that affect how you wrote each?
Yes, I needed to set things into SM, very small subtle things, that would then pay off in DM. But a lot of that went back to the world building I’d already done. There’s a lot of material, backstory, that the reader doesn’t have access to, but as a writer you know where all the pieces are, so you can grab a character, or a situation or location, and know it works as part of a whole world.
I purposefully kept SM (and to a degree DM) local and intimate. There’s a lot of fine detail over a relatively small area. That lets me save the bigger world for later on.
- Will there be more stories after Dream Magic?
Oh yes! BURNING MAGIC comes out April 2018. Just finished the first draft.
- Are you working on any other projects right now?
Yes, but my agent would kill me if I told you about it.
- What are your plans for the newsletter?
I have so much extra material dealing with Shadow Magic I thought it would be cool to reveal it to any fans. The monthly newsletter’s a bit of an experiment, really. So, expect short stories, background in the world, a few writing tips and a few reveals! Do sign up if you’re interested!
Here’s the promised giveaway! I hope you enjoyed this interview!