A Wizard's Forge by A.M. Justice. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found her blend of fantasy and scifi unique and immersive. Here today she's sharing with us some of her techniques and inspirations.
What inspired your world building process?
Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books inspired the lost space colony setting of the Woern Saga. I loved the idea of the space colony where the settlers lose their technology after communication and supplies cease from the home world. On Knownearth, this process was hastened by a relative lack of metal ores.
Once I had that setting in mind, the rest of the world building was driven by the narrative, starting with the forge theme. That process is a metaphor for Vic’s transformation, and the book is divided four parts—ore, smelt, forge, and temper—to symbolize Vic’s transformation from a naïve girl (the raw ore) to a fierce woman who must figure out how to control (temper) her rage and power.
The telepathy in the book began as a simple “universal translator” solution to permit Vic to communicate with people as she visits new lands. However, I couldn’t just leave a plot element like that lying around unused. Geram’s storyline grew out of the implications of having a really powerful telepath around to help you through difficult times—and what that means for the telepathic helper as well as the one being helped.
I’m also a scientifically oriented person, so with the science fiction setting I had to have a pseudo-scientific explanation for the supernatural occurrences in the book. Wizardry, for example, has a biological cause that will be explained in the next book. The cerrenils, which are indeed sentient and mobile, were partly inspired by Tolkien’s Ents and Baum’s Talking Trees, but also by evidence that real trees can communicate with each other, and real plants can move in response to sunlight.
The idea for the Kragnashians comes straight from 1950s scifi movies such as Them! They’re also inspired by nature, as they look like a giant praying mantis with the legs of a centipede and the tail of an earwig.
Who are you writing for and why?
I write the stories I’d like to read, so I write first and foremost for myself. I certainly hope other people enjoy the work and find it as thought-provoking as well as entertaining.
What do you do to recharge your creative energy?
Solo walks are best, because they take you away from all distractions: family, the Internet, email, work, pets, etc., and you can really dwell on problems and come up with solutions.
What reactions do you hope to inspire in others?
Like every author, naturally I hope every reader will love Vic’s story of self-reliance and empowerment as much as I do. I also hope people will really think about what’s going on beneath the surface of the plot and characters. A Wizard’s Forge has a number of literary elements that I hope people will notice and appreciate.
Where is your writing taking you?
I’d like it to take me to a place where I’m earning both a living and some laurels from my fiction, but that place is very far off. Although I do write professionally, the income stream comes from my work in the healthcare field, not my fiction.
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