Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Guest Post: Bruce Blake - Where did the idea for When Shadows Fall come from?

One of the most common questions asked of authors is 'where do your ideas come from?' If you read a few interviews, you'll find a wide variety of answers, many of which are pre-formulated to evoke laughter or feelings of inadequacy. Part of the problem with the question, I think, is that so much time has often passed since the author had the idea for the book, he or she likely doesn't even recall the impetus for the novel.

In the case of my book, When Shadows Fall, not too much time has passed, so perhaps I can give you a tour of the writer's mind (please tread carefully...there's a lot of darkness and it's a bit messy).

I had finished writing the third book in my Icarus Fell urban fantasy series and began work on another project which, I'm sorry to say, didn't go so well. It did, however, put me in the mood to write epic fantasy; it had been nearly six months since I completed the Khirro's Journey trilogy, so it was time.

Step one to story idea: choose your genre (or sub-genre).

Once I've settled on what kind of story I want to write, I try to think of ways to make it a little bit different from the norm. In the Khirro's Journey trilogy, I chose a non-traditional protagonist. For this series, I decided to have a prophecy discovered on an ancient scroll. Not so different, you say? How about a little confusion as to who the prophecy refers to, both on the good side and the evil side? I'm interested.

Step two to story idea: think of a twist.

The third thing that came to me as I pondered the nature of this prophecy was the term 'Small Gods', which then became the title for the series. Something about it captured my attention, possibly because when we think about gods, we don't think of small things, but big, all-powerful beings. This prompted me to sit down and really think about the Small Gods, their role in the story, and other details about my world in general.

Step three to story idea: build your world.

As the world came together, more characters and story ideas came to light. I started thinking about having two groups known as Small Gods to throw more uncertainty into the prophecy. When I began digging into the religion, which I decided to be Goddess-based, I wondered what it would look like if the devotees of the religion were all women. What would happen to the men? What if a sect of men broke off and were secretly in opposition to the women? The more I thought, the more possibilities screamed at me to get writing.

Step four to story idea: challenge yourself.

The last thing I decided on—which is something I hope most authors do when they set out to write a new book—was to challenge myself. Not only does When Shadows Fall follow four different story lines, but I was determined to make the voice of each different and distinct. But it gets worse...in the second book, being released on February the 16th, I am writing one story line from the POV of a blind character—no description based on sight—and another from the POV of a character who doesn't speak the same language as anyone else in the story. Fun stuff.

So there you have it...where a story idea comes from, at least in the case of When Shadows Fall. For me, it is rarely in a dream or a flash of light, fully-formed and ready to put pen to paper—it's work. Not as glamourous as thinking a muse sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear, but it gets the job done

The Blurb  

A hundred times a hundred seasons have turned since the Goddess banished the Small Gods to the sky, leaving the land to mankind alone.

For Prince Teryk, life behind the castle walls is boring and uneventful until he stumbles upon an arcane scroll in a long-forgotten chamber. The parchment speaks of Small Gods, the fall of man, and the kingdom's savior—the firstborn child of the rightful king. It's his opportunity to prove himself to his father, the king, and assure his place in history. All he needs to do is find the man from across the sea—a man who can't possibly exist—and save mankind.

But ancient magic has been put in motion by a mysterious cult determined to see the Small Gods reborn. Powerful forces clash, uncaring for the lives of mortals in their struggle to prevent the return of the banished ones, or aid in their rebirth.

Named in a prophecy or not, what chance does a cocky prince who barely understands the task laid before him stand in a battle with the gods?

Author bio

 Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don't take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

 Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn't really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the "u" out of words like "colour" and "neighbour" than he does shovelling (and watch out for those pesky double l's). The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of a burlesque diva.

 Bruce's first short story, "Another Man's Shoes" was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon. Another short, "Yardwork," was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod. Bruce's first Icarus Fell novel, "On Unfaithful Wings", was published in Dec., 2011 while the follow up, "All Who Wander Are Lost", came out in July, 2012. The third in the series, "Secrets of the Hanged Man", came out in July, 2013. The first part of his Khirro's Journey epic fantasy trilogy, "Blood of the King", was released Sept., 2012, book 2, "Spirit of the King," in Dec., 2012, and book 3, "Heart of the King," in Feb., 2013.The two books in the Small Gods series, "When Shadows Fall" and "The Darkness Comes", were released in 2013, after which Bruce took a year out to concentrate on his family and career. Book three in the Small Gods series is Bruce Blake's current project.

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