The Next Big Thing

Okay, so apparently this is some kind of meme, which my friend Ingrid Jonach showed me. But it’s the non-annoying kind of meme, so I’ll do it! And since it’s been a while since The Shadow’s Heir came out, I’ve elected to write about its sequel. So some hopefully exciting teasers follow!

What is the title of your book?

The Shadowed Throne

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I honestly don’t remember if there actually was a big “zing” moment of inspiration for this one. The fact that it’s a sequel probably has something to do with that, since rather than being something completely new it’s a continuation of what went before. Working out what will happen in a sequel tends to be a more calculated affair than starting something completely new.

What genre does your book fall under?

Dark, faux-medieval high fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

A wonderfully self-indulgent question to answer, but unfortunately I don’t know! I came up with a few possibilities for earlier books, but here, I got nothing. However, I would specify that any actor portraying Kullervo should be genuinely ugly (of course, if there ever was a movie, the closest we’d get would be “Hollywood ugly” – ie. handsome but the other actors call him ugly. That’s Hollywood for you, I suppose).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Laela the half-breed is now Queen, and must contend with her cousin Saeddryn’s machinations with only her partner Oeka to help her, until the mysterious but sweet-hearted shapeshifter Kullervo comes into her life.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I wrote it a year or so ago so I don’t remember exactly, but it was probably somewhere in the ballpark of about six months all up.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I read almost no high fantasy at all, so I don’t know.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Nothing in particular; it was mostly inspired by its predecessor.

However, not wanting to make this quiz a string of non-answers, I will say one thing about my thinking while writing it, which may be of interest, and it’s to explain why I decided to introduce the new character of Kullervo.

In the previous book, The Shadow’s Heir, one of the things readers (and I) liked best was the central relationship between Arenadd and Laela. Here in the sequel Arenadd is no longer around, and I soon found that Laela works best as a character when she has another, more extreme personality than hers to co-star with her. She’s a rather stolid, straight up-and-down sort of girl, and therefore works very well as a straight (wo)man to someone whackier.

And secondly, now that she’s Queen, she couldn’t really go anywhere since she’s now busy governing. Therefore, after some hesitation, I introduced Kullervo to both be the weirder character to play off Laela, and to be someone who can go places. Despite my unintentional comparing of myself to George R R Martin in the past, I really didn’t want to write a book about nothing but court intrigues – I wanted to keep some adventure in the mix. Despite my being intially very hesitant over introducing him (for reasons which will become apparent if you read the book), Kullervo proved to be an excellent solution.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The Shadow’s Heir, for all its sterling qualities, did not have a huge amount of action in it – it was more of a character piece and a setup for the rest of the trilogy. But in The Shadowed Throne, sh*t is about to get very real indeed. Before now Laela had protection from the forces out there that want her dead, but now that protection is gone, she’s in very real danger from some very powerful enemies. Nobody stands against a god and lives – especially not if that god is the god of death.


The following other authors have also answered this neat little quiz:

My buddies Ingrid Jonach and Jack Heath, and also Tania McCartney, Nicole Murphy, A. E. Rought, and Gwenda Bond

Neato text ornament here