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New Series Pseudo-interview (or “Writer finally goes mad, talks to self in empty room”)

In March, the first book of my new four-book series, The Sunsurge Quartet, will be released. It’s called Empress of the Fall. By way of introducing it, I thought I’d interview myself!

What is the new book about?

First up, it’s a sequel series to The Moontide Quartet, set in the same world (Urte) where The Moontide Quartet was set. It begins immediately after the events of the earlier series, but has been written to be read as a stand-alone series.

Do the old gang of characters get back together for new adventures?

Er, no… In fact, the cast of The Sunsurge Quartet are almost entirely different. There’ll be new primary characters in other parts of the world in which it is set. What happened during the Moontide is highly relevant but the Sunsurge has an entirely new and different trajectory. A few characters from Moontide will be involved to some degree. Philosophically, I find it stretches credibility that the same bunch of people solve all the world’s problems, and I like exploring new character dynamics. To my way of thinking, the Moontide characters have had their fifteen minutes of fame, and this time the events will throw new protagonists into the limelight.

When does the story take place in the story-world then?

Empress of the Fall starts immediately after the Moontide, and sets up the main action, which then occurs five years after the Moontide, which is when the seas were low and the Leviathan Bridge was above the sea, to the Sunsurge, which is the twelve-year period of high tides and the Bridge is again well below the ocean.

Is it still going to be an East-meets-West story, which was the main theme of Moontide?

Yes, it is. But as the Bridge is closed, the dynamic will be quite different. Without throwing out spoilers, you’ll still see East and West on a collision course, with heroes and villains on both sides – and a new set of particularly vicious bad guys seeking power.

What have you learned writing from Moontide?

I think in Moontide, I treated the series as a symphony, and let it take it’s time to build up momentum. Therefore Book One (Mage’s Blood) started at a slower pace than the other three. This time around I’ve gone for a pacey opening, with a clear and present danger right from the off. The action stays close to a narrower core of protagonists, allowing us to get to know them better. It’s more like progressive rock than classical music, perhaps!

What can we look forward to then?

Without wanting to give away any spoilers… If you like imperfect but relatable heroes, cunning politics, swashbuckling sword-play, a tangled and imperfect romance and aerial jousting, there’s probably something in there for you. You can also expect more of the things that defined Moontide – strong but fallible characters, cross-cultural contact and understandings, devious intrigues and powerful action.

The magic system of Moontide is complex, but we thoroughly explored it. Are there any new gnostic revelations in Sunsurge?

Absolutely. While writing Moontide and Empress of the Fall I have been widening the concept of how magic works in the world of Urte. Sunsurge explores a rival type of magic, mostly forgotten, considered extinct and heretical, but secretly very much alive.

Any final thoughts?

Only that I’m really excited to get the chance to spend more time in this world, and very grateful to Jo Fletcher, the queen of fantasy publishing, for this opportunity. I’m very lucky to be a JFB/Quercus author, and I can assure everyone that I’m working very hard to make this series as exciting and enjoyable as I can.

Empress of the Fall (Book I of the Sunsurge Quarter), will be released on or about 9th March 2017.

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