Hey there! Welcome to RELEASE DAY for TRIALS! WOOOOO! To celebrate, I've answered some questions for fans of Faith Hunter and her Rogue Mage series, what it was like writing in that world...you know, other than just saying it was freaking awesome, LOL! :)
1. What was it like to play in the Rogue Mage World?
I’ve never done fan-fiction so I’ve never had to play by another writer’s world-rules before. I found it both fun and challenging (in a good way). What I loved was that when I had an idea for something different that I’d not seen done before in the books, I could come to Faith with it and say, “Hey, what about this?” and she was open to the idea and we could talk about it. That rang true for both magic and working with the map over in the southeastern hemisphere and then up into Jerusalem. With land/water masses having changed, that affected where my boat could and couldn’t go.
2. Was it hard to develop your character within the confines of the Rogue Mage world?
I didn’t think so, which surprised me, actually.
We were given a copy of the Rogue Mage Players Handbook (aka an RPG handbook) to read, and I think that set us all up to succeed. Unlike reading a novel and jotting down notes of what the world rules are, they are all in one place when you have an RPG book. I’ve gamed before, both table-top and live action role play (LARP), so I’ve read these types of books before and built characters from them, so my main character leaped off the page for me, loud and proud and in my face. Which, for me, is normal. I always start with character on anything I write. After I have a good idea of who they are and what their issue is, I move on to, “where are they?”
They say write what you know or do a ton of research…but with this world being Post Apocalyptic, we don’t know ANY of it, so that opened it up for me/us. I knew two things from the start. 1) I did NOT want to be in America, or my main character to be pale skinned, so that was my starting point. 2) I wanted a female protagonist since the novel I’ve been crafting for the past year is historical fiction with mostly men and a change for me would be helpful, for both stories.
In order to not be in America, I started with reading page 18 of the RPG Handbook, where it gives info about what the Post-Apocalyptic Earth looks and runs like. It tells you where the Enclaves are, where the Realms of Light are, and where the problem spots were. I was looking for those problem spots...for I wanted to use specifics that Faith had come up with as the basis for the conflict in my short. Once I found one that interested me (two, actually), I saw how they could intertwine and had my starting point...the hints to which are in the first 3 pics on this post.
3. Tell us about your character (species, etc.).
What’s funny is that I didn’t realize until now that I never considered writing anything except a mage. LOL! I could’ve too…but maybe Chopra was just too loud in my head. As far as picking what kind of mage she was….well, that depended on choosing where my story would take place and what the allergies were for the different types of mages.
I knew I needed her to be a scrappy fighter. I wanted to explore writing a young person who was rash, impulsive, who had good intentions, but held a level of courage that got her into trouble. She had to be someone who saw herself as a protector as well as being honorable, only to learn that not only was she was neither; that staying true to her word wasn’t always possible or her choice. Learning those things about yourself are hard lessons and it changes you. I wanted it to change her. Loss leaves its mark…even more so when that loss is both external and internal.
The early version of the story, when I just started doing some free-writing, Chopra was the same age she is at the top of our story, but she was returning home to find all of her family gone…taken to the Enclave without her, and she was going to have to find them and “save” them…in reality needing to save herself from dangers from where she was to where they were. But once I understood the Enclave creation more, I realized that might not work like I wished.
In the end, I still separated her from her family…but instead of them being taken from her, she was taken from them…and that when it came down to it, she must decide between herself and getting to see them again or choosing to sacrifice her own happiness for the good of others…and the cost of that choice.
4. When your story was finished, how did you feel about your character and story?
This has two parts to its answer:
First and foremost, I’m not a short story writer, proved here by the length of my answers to these questions! LOL! But seriously, I’m a world builder, a novelist. I write 120K books on my phone with one thumb over 5 months. I’m THAT annoying person. HA! So, though I was humbled, honored, and elated that Faith asked me to do this project, I wondered why on earth she’d choose me, of all people, to write a short for her. No one had bought one of my shorts yet at that time (though I have another one out at this point) and I suspect I won’t be doing another for a while. That said, the beauty of writing here is that the world has already been built. Faith Hunter fans already know the world…so that saves me some words…kind of.
Secondly, I am very proud of the work I’ve done on this story. Faith is who I want to be when I grow up. I learn from her every day, even when she doesn’t know she’s teaching me things, she is. To get to write a story with her tutelage has made me a better writer. My fight scenes in this story alone are some of the best I’ve ever done, and the characters are ones that I wish I could watch a TV show about each week…even after editing this 100 times. Usually, when you have to re-read your own work a lot, you get sick of your characters and are like, “I need a break from you people!” I don’t feel that way with this one. I could sit down tomorrow and pick up where this story left off…or pick up before this story happened, and have a blast hanging out with Chopra some more. I feel there’s a lot more she has to say, and I hope I eventually get that opportunity.
5. Tell us about your other projects!
As mentioned above, I have a short that just came out in an anthology where proceeds benefit the LGBTQ Community of North Carolina called, We Are Not This. My short is called, “The Color of Love” and you can learn a bit about that project and see links to buy it by going HERE.
I also have a web series that I did a few years ago that has some activity going on right now. Skye of the Damned is releasing the show’s soundtrack on December 2nd and the DVD of Season One on December 25th. That’s really exciting! Plus, I’m in talks with someone about taking the concept of the SKYE world and doing something more with it…so that’s a big thing in my world. Head on over to the website I've linked for more info on the show...or just visit the music page if that's your jam.
But mostly, I’ve been working for the past year on a Historical Fantasy novel called, The Curse of Billy the Kid. This stems from the popularity and feedback I received on my short story, The Curse of Scáthach. We all have heard of Billy the Kid. I know I had. But I’d never known why he became so famous or what started it all. When I started researching this for a short, I thought, “There’s a full novel here.” Those that I submitted the short too agreed as well. So that’s what I’ve been doing: researching the Lincoln County War of 1878 and writing a fantasy book about it where I keep the history as close as possible. In fact, I’ve been to New Mexico for research 3 times in the past year and a half and have bought enough books that my Amazon account now recommends wild west books to me more than fantasy novels. LOL!
I finished the first draft of the book in July and am currently doing the second draft. My hope is to, now that Mettilwynd is finally off to the presses, so to speak, that I can finish the Billy novel soon, send it to my editor, then do another draft or two and begin to submit it to agents and publishing houses. You can follow my journey with history, pictures, and videos on the book’s Facebook page if you want by going HERE. I often find when I write the story of Billy Bonney, Dick Brewer, and the Regulators that I am super nit-picky about facts and struggle to get those down in order properly, but when it comes to writing the characters…they just are there, in my head, telling me where to go and what to say. I hope I do them justice. I pray I honor them well.
That all said, I also have other Urban Fantasy books out…head on over to the home page of my site, www.tamsinsilver.com, and see if any of them tickle your fancy. For if you like Mettilwynd, you’ll enjoy the Windfire series and the Sabrina Grayson novels as well, I think.
I hope you made it all the way to the end here…thanks for reading and remember, write hard, bathe in imagination, and enjoy Chopra’s story, Mettilwynd, out TODAY (Nov. 28, 2016) on both AMAZON and Barnes and Noble.
If you enjoy Chopra's tale...please comment on this post or message me! I'd love to hear from you!