Today we have one of my favorite fantasy romance authors, Pati Nagle here to talk to us about her fantasy worlds. Welcome Pati!
Thanks for inviting me to be a guest! I’m delighted to share some thoughts about writing fantasy with your readers.
My newest novel, Swords Over Fireshore, is the third book in the Blood of the Kindred series, which begins with the meeting of two young ælven, Eliani and Turisan. They discover they share the rare gift of mindspeech, and are called to use this talent in service of the ælven people. The morning after their handfasting, Eliani travels to the northernmost ælven realm of Fireshore to try to contact the governor there, while Turisan stays behind to deal with an invasion of kobalen (a lesser, but intelligent, species).
In Swords Over Fireshore, Eliani has found the governor but he has been taken prisoner by the alben, former ælven who were cast out thousands of years before as a result of the Bitter Wars. The alben drink the blood of the kobalen, a practice the ælven consider against their creed. After spending many centuries in exile, the alben have now returned to reclaim the capital of Fireshore, their former homeland.
Eliani’s cousin Luruthin is also a prisoner of the alben, and she is determined to rescue both him and the governor. While Turisan is racing to bring an ælven army to Fireshore, Eliani must effect this rescue without being captured herself. She and Turisan hope to be reunited despite the chaos of an approaching war with the alben.
All this grew out of a short story I wrote, “Kind Hunter,” which appeared in the anthology Elf Magic (now out of print, but “Kind Hunter” is available in my short story collection Coyote Ugly). The germ of that story was an elf hunting a vampire, and the idea came from my pondering the similarities between those two kinds of beings. When the story was finished, I wasn’t done with the idea, so I wound up writing The Betrayal which was the first book in the Blood of the Kindred series.
Approaching that novel, I wanted to make it a fantasy with strong female characters. I’m a big Tolkein fan, but Lord of the Rings is really a guy story and the females are mostly in the background. A lot of fantasy fiction is dominated by male characters. So I created a culture that’s based on merit rather than physical strength, where females could be equal players on all levels. There’s also less physical disparity between males and females in the ælven race than in the human race, so their culture isn’t dominated by the difference the way ours is.
Speaking of humans, they don’t yet appear in this fantasy world. I wanted to focus on the ælven, because I love elves and because they’re usually given supporting roles. In this series, they are the stars. The setting is many millennia in the past and humans haven’t come on the scene yet.
The ælven society is an honor-based culture so there’s a lot to live up to. While the ælven have social freedom, with that comes a lot of responsibility. Motives of greed and personal gain aren’t acceptable. It’s not all right to do something that harms someone else. The ælven have very little tolerance for misbehavior. They don’t have a penal system like ours, so serious misbehavior results in an attempt at mediation, and if that fails, ostracism: the misbehaver is cast out of the culture. Sort of like shunning except more extreme.
While at times the ælven world may seem grim, I want readers to come away with a sense of hope. No matter how awful things are and no matter how badly people behave, there is a lot that’s good and noble and beautiful in our world and its people, and the ælven world is meant to reflect this. The ælven culture reveres beauty, harmony and selflessness. In that respect, it’s a world I wish I could live in.
For readers who are interested in the ælven’s role in the modern world, I wrote Immortal and its forthcoming sequel, Eternal. These are geared a bit more toward young adult readers. I had a lot of fun exploring how the ælven cope with our crazy human world, and the difficulties faced by potential lovers from these two very different cultures. Unlike the earlier world of the Blood of the Kindred series, this world is dominated by humans and the ælven are pretty much just struggling to survive. And of course, the alben are still around making trouble.
Writing fantasy is a treat for me, almost as much as reading fantasy. I hope my books give readers a chance to enjoy a different world for a little while.
Pati Nagle was born and raised in the mountains of northern New Mexico. An avid student of music, history, and humans in general, she loves the outdoors but hides from the sun.
She writes in a variety of genres, but is most often drawn to fantasy or (as P.G. Nagle) historical fiction. Her stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and in various other magazines and anthologies.
Pati Nagle still lives in the mountains in New Mexico with her husband and furry feline muse, where she loves to walk in the woods and look up at the stars.
Pati has offered one ebook copy of Swords Over Fireshore to one lucky winner. Leave Pati a comment to be entered to win. Open internationally and ends April 11th. Good Luck!