Questions from Readers – Spring 2023
**Do not read until you have finished World's END**
Why did you kill off so many key characters?
Along with redemption, the theme of self-sacrifice is an important thread woven throughout the Magelands. Sometimes, in the Magelands Universe, sacrifice is essential to achieve a higher purpose, and that means that the ‘good’ and the ‘great’ occasionally give their lives so that everyone else gets to live. That does not mean it is easy for me as an author! I grow attached to many of the characters, and it is painful to see them die. I still pine for Keira, and have yet to fully digest the deaths of Belinda and Daphne.
Have you ever killed off a character and regretted it? (and/or reversed it before publication?)
I always regret the deaths of characters that I have grown fond of, but I have never reversed a decision to bring a character’s arc to a close. (I have reversed a few other decisions, usually when Lisa points out an inconsistency or a plot hole, or when she makes a suggestion. For example, in the original draft of Holdfast Imperium, Edmond destroyed Implacatus as soon as he seized the Sextant; whereas it made more sense to delay this to allow the gods time to migrate to the Star Continent.)
Why did you kill ********?
Why did you kill Badblood?
Sometimes, Sable forgot that she didn’t have the same blocking powers as Kelsey. She could protect herself, but not the dragon she was riding upon; and this led her to take one risk too many.
What are the voices in the Quadrant and Sextant?
This is a puzzle that will revealed over the next few books. I had considered adding some of the detail about this into the end of Eternal Siege, but felt that it would be too distracting from the main storyline. The voices have specific purposes and separate identities relating to their original construction.
Why are Quadrants so fragile when the Sextant is indestructible?
The short answer is that the Sextant is much, much older than the Quadrants, and Theodora had access to a greater level of technology when she constructed the Sextant. By the time the Quadrants were made, most of that technology had been (deliberately) lost. The first world to be created by the Sextant was Implacatus, and the gods destroyed (or left behind) their technology when they migrated.
Can ******* now **** ******?
Can Karalyn now time travel?
No. The Sextant’s power over time is limited to the creation of new worlds. Once that new world has been aligned to the rest of the universe, time moves normally. In theory, one could move forward in time, by remaining in the abyss of the Sextant for years, and then re-emerging into the ‘real’ world, but this process is irreversible.
How did the Ascendants lose the ability to make Sextants/Quadrants?
Out of the twelve Ascendants who migrated from the ‘original’ world to Implacatus, only Theodora knew how to construct a Sextant, and only Nathaniel knew how to build Quadrants. Others understood certain aspects (For example, Simon knew how to use the Sextant to build worlds; and Leksandr learned how to create greenhides), but none of the others had the requisite skills or intelligence to build these devices from scratch. The Ascendants didn’t become immortal because of any great wisdom or inherent talent; it was due to their wealth and status.
How did Theodora create the Sextant (and the Quadrants)?
She used technology that no longer exists (all of it was lost when Theodora destroyed the ‘original’ world). She did not create the Quadrants, which came much later.
What is the source of the Sextant’s power?
To be revealed later.
Were the Ascendants always disdainful of mortals?
Immortality slowly eroded their sense of compassion. Compare what young gods are like. Older gods have seen so many generations of mortals come and go that they no longer feel any empathy towards them. There are a few exceptions (for example, Princess Yendra, but even she was comparatively ‘young’ next to an Ascendant).
Kolai mentioned a War of Power & Theodora’s Ascension – could you expand on this?
The war being referred to by Kolai is the conflict between mortals and immortals that broke out on the ‘original’ world before the surviving twelve Ascendants migrated to Implacatus. The ‘original’ world was then destroyed by Theodora by means of the Sextant. The humans of Implacatus were ‘rescued’ from the ‘original’ world, which explains why they are not sub-created (i.e. they weren’t created by the Sextant).
Are all of the children of dream mages and demigods immortal?
It is probable that most will be immortal, but not all (cf. one of Prince Isra’s children was mortal). The genetics are in place, but allowances must be made for random mutations.
Why didn’t you make Naxor and Sable a couple?
Because she doesn’t like him!
What happened to Liberton?
Nothing – it is still there, struggling to survive. The destruction of the Army of Pyre left it depopulated, but as no more children are being taken away, it may recover (or Empress Thorn may send marines into Rahain to rescue them…).
What did Shella mean in World’s End when she said Bridget made her kill and intimidate?
Shella was referring to the earliest days of Empress Bridget’s reign. Bridget’s immediate priority was to pacify and retake Rainsby to open up the trade routes across the Inner Sea, and, without an established army under her control, she decided to send Shella to eliminate any opposition. Shella also used the threat of force to settle the conflict in Sanang between Agang and the Matriarch before it could escalate into a full-blown war. The point Shella is making is that Bridget did not use her for her wealth of administrative and organisational experience.
What became of Rosie Jackdaw? (and Kagan/Maxwell?)
Rosie is still living in the City, probably designing and building catapults or something like that. Jade and Dawnflame would have welcomed her to their home by the salve mine in the mountains, but Rosie did not want to leave the City behind forever. Kagan and Maxwell remain in their villa in Roser territory.
Why was Blackrose’s name (not Mela) used on Dragon Eyre?
The dragon’s true names are only used among dragons themselves, and all POVs in the books are human.
Is Naxor a hero or a villain? Did he change as the stories developed?
Naxor’s character has remained consistent. He is selfish, but not evil; greedy, but not completely lacking in empathy. In short, in many ways, he is a typical demigod. The only judgement he cares about is Aila’s. Was he a coward when Simon came to the City – yes, most definitely. Thorn will have to keep a close eye on him.
How did the mortals of the Star Continent get their powers?
Nathaniel programmed them into his creation. This was not the first attempt at bestowing powers on sub-created mortals, as the Fourth Ascendant was copying earlier work carried out by Theodora. It was Nathaniel’s ‘breaking of the rules’ by creating dream mages that caused him to become trapped within the world of the Star Continent.
Was Kalayne manipulating Daphne/Killop to push them together?
He had no need to interfere – he saw the vision of them together and knew it would take place. The language used in Epic regarding this is coincidental.
Why did Daphne mentor Thorn?
Daphne always looks to the future, and she wanted to ensure that she had a say in the next ruler of the Empire (and perhaps some influence over the victorious candidate). She considered her own children first, but each was unsuitable in their own way. Karalyn was unwilling, Keir was too capricious, Kelsey wasn’t up to the job (in Daphne’s view), and Corthie was unavailable (and unwilling!). And then Thorn comes along – a young woman who openly admits to her ambitions. Daphne dislikes Thorn at first – especially after she and Keir get married; but when Thorn has to care for Karalyn’s twins, Daphne comes to see the potential in her. Daphne wants to mould Thorn, and she thinks she has plenty of time to do this, as she believes Bridget will enjoy many more years on the throne.
What is the origin of the metal lighter?
The forges of Serene crafted the lighter. As an expensive luxury item, it would have been previously owned by a high-ranking Banner officer on Dragon Eyre before passing to the merchants who sold it to Meader.
Was Kalayne Daimon’s father?
No. Daimon would have had to have been much older if that were the case. I did consider it for a while when initially planning the last four books, but the idea was discarded for two reasons – first, I knew Daimon had to be younger; and second, I didn’t want to fall into a ‘small-world’ hole of my own making. The people of the KLBD and the Holdings hold the potential for a new dream mage to arise at any time.
Did you always have a clear plan and pathway when starting?
Yes and no. Certain aspects of the Magelands have been embedded since the very beginning, particularly Karalyn, Corthie and Sable’s arcs. In my view, one needs to know the destination before setting out, although the points upon the route may vary.
Why did you decide to make the MC a POC?
This was not a pre-planned decision. The attributes (powers, species, government etc.) of each of the five peoples of the Star Continent were distributed randomly (as was the sex of the main characters). It just so happened that humans with vision powers were on the sub-continent that drifted down from the equator.
What inspired you to write about the Star Continent?
My wife told me to start writing a book, as she knew this was something I had always wanted to do. One evening, at the beginning of October 2015, while one of her friends was visiting, I sat down with an empty notebook and no preconceptions, and got to work.
Are there any characters based on real people?
Keira was very loosely based on a few women I knew when I was younger, but, in general, no. I have had a couple of friends ask me if a character is based on them, but I think they are reading too much into it!
Who was your favourite character to write?
I have a few – Keira, Thorn, Sable, Corthie, Kelsey, Lahnos (who?!). Usually, I will prefer writing one POV over the others in any given book. Some are a struggle to write, while others flow easily. Daphne was always easy to write, while Karalyn was more difficult. If I absolutely had to pick one, it would have to be Sable.
Will there be an Ascendants’ Prequel?
No. The tale of their Ascension will be told, but not in prequel form. Any prequel would suffer from the pre-knowledge of who survives, and would lack any tension. However, there is a story to tell, and it will be told by immortal eye-witnesses who survived World’s End. Other worlds exist (recall Caelius Logos, for example, saying that he had travelled to ‘many’ worlds). Those worlds are still in existence.
Are you tempted to do an Ascendants’ Prequel?
No. I wrote Magelands Origins and Divine Retribution prior to drafting Epic and Eternal Siege (i.e. in the right chronological order), and I don’t want to have to go back in time.
Would you be willing to have Magelands televised (and which actors would you cast)?
The possibility is so remote that I never give it any serious thought. I am very bad at picturing (and recognising) faces, and so I wouldn’t have the first idea about a potential cast!
What mage powers would you like to have?
Do you get any benefit if I pre-order a book?
I get the same benefit from a pre-order as from any book purchased after the release date – the date of the purchase makes no difference.
Are Hard-covers/Printed Box Sets/Audio-books available?
Eternal Siege is available in hardback. There will be no printed box sets (the books are too big to fit); and the audio is dependent upon sales, and the company (Tantor) has not yet committed to producing more than books one-six of Eternal Siege. If you want them to do so, please email them and request it!
How do you interpret ********* *********?
How do you interpret Karalyn’s ‘ascension’?
Karalyn’s ascension has a very specific form and meaning, and is not the same as that possessed by the Ascendants. The nature of Karalyn’s ascension will become clearer over time.
What happens to ******* next?
What happens to Karalyn next?
We shall see!
Magelands Dominion shall follow Eternal Siege. Dominion is a seven-book series with a new setting and new characters, but there will be some overlap with what has gone before. Book one of Dominion starts on the same day as Epilogue 1 of World’s End.
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