I know of only one way to write, which is to create a something
that I want to read. Some time ago I noticed that my favorite books: Watership
Down, Lord of the Rings, The Stand, and the Harry Potter series all have
certain things in common. In particular, they contain characters I would want
to have as friends, take place in a world I would like to visit, and when faced
with a challenge they rise to the occasion.
There is much talk these days about the dark and gritty side
of fantasy. The worlds are bleak, the main characters hardened, and the readers
shocked by reprehensible acts. I understand why this is. For many years fantasy
was filled with pages of shiny paladins, predictable and perfect. The fact that
the pendulum has swung is a good thing. I applaud diversity, in all its forms,
and some amazing stories have been created by the likes of Martin, Abercrombie,
and Lynch. The genre is better because of their contributions.
I’d like to say that I created The Riyria Revelations to go
against the prevailing trend. It would make me seem daring and rouge-like, much
like my main characters. But the truth is I didn’t even realize that fantasy
had changed until after I wrote my books and started reading in the genre once
again. Without knowing it, I created a throwback to traditional classic fantasy
simply because I wrote books that I wanted to read.
I created Royce and Hadrian far from the ideal of what most heroes
are molded after. Royce is cynical,
ruthless killer, and knows full well the dark side of the human condition.
Hadrian provides the pair with its conscience. As an ex-mercenary, he also has
more than his fair share of needless blood on his hands, but he strives to be
better man. Given their pasts, and their present profession as
thieves-for-hire, my challenge was to give them the opportunities to do “what
is right” while still remaining true to who they are. Fortunately, I love a
My experiment seems to have worked out and apparently I’m
not the only one looking for heroes. To my surprise readers clamored for more,
and I was delighted to oblige. Apparently there is plenty of room for stories
like mine alongside those filled with grit and darkness. Hence the Riyria
Chronicles were born. Fully satisfied with the transition made by my two rogues
in Revelations, I gave myself a new challenge. To show the pair before their
bonds of friendships had been so strongly forged. It occurred to me that upon
first meeting, they probably wouldn’t have liked one another...or more
accurately would have hated each other. The first book, The Crown Tower, released in early August, followed by The Rose and the Thorn in mid September. I’ve
really enjoyed returning to more adventures with my pair of unlikely heroes. I
hope others will continue to feel similarly.