Page 1 of 3
This Interview has been provided by Orbit, and is printed with their permission.
Maggie Furey's debut fantasy series, The Artefacts of Power, rapidly established her as one of the most exciting new fantasy writers to emerge in recent years. Heralded as 'a true classic' by Locus magazine, 'truly compelling' by SFX and 'infinitely enchanting' by David Gemmell the series has now sold over 250,000 copies.
We caught up with her at her home in County Wicklow, Ireland. As Maggie has embarked on a brand new series with THE HEART OF MYRIAL, this seemed the perfect place to start…
Was it difficult to leave the Artefacts of Power and begin a new series set in an entirely new world?
Yes, it was a wrench, but I didn't want to be limited to just one world and one set of characters. It was a real eye-opener, too! Aurian's world had become so complete and complex and familiar over the years that I had quite forgotten the amount of sheer work and detail that goes into world-building and the creation of leading characters. It's fun to begin with a new, blank canvas, but it's also an enormous leap of faith. So many readers knew and loved Aurian and her companions - would they take to these new kids on the block? Would the new characters attract new readers?
Technically, the Shadowleague books were a big leap. There was a wide sweep of time in The Artefacts of Power, whereas in THE HEART OF MYRIAL, all the action took place in just three days. Also, I wanted to try a departure from the traditional fantasy Good vs. Evil formula, so I planned the Shadowleague series to be without an actual villain, which made things a great deal more complicated. The real threat in this series is environmental rather than human, and the characters themselves - though some are more dark and ruthless than others - are not black or white but vary through all shades in between.
Where did you get your inspiration for the new world and the characters and creatures within it?
I've had the idea for the actual world for many years - long before The Artefacts of Power, in fact - so there was a long incubation period involved. There were so many possibilities inherent in this idea of a world that was a sanctuary for endangered species from other worlds that it took a long time to settle on a particular plot. Several of the characters came into my mind when I was writing The Artefacts, but there was no place for them in that series, so they had to bide their time. Toulac, in particular, has been waiting in the wings for a long time. For some reason I started thinking "What happens to warriors who survive long enough to become old?" Toulac was the result. Kazairl the Firedrake, my other favourite character, came from the little bronze sculpture of a dragon who sits in my office, though he was so vivid and fully formed when he leapt into my mind that he probably does exist somewhere, in some other reality beyond mere human ken! I would like to think so, at any rate.
When you start a new series, do you already have the story mapped out from beginning to end?
I wish! It must make life a lot easier to be able to do it that way, but my characters drive the story, which makes things a lot less predictable. I start out with the world, the key characters and the concept of the story. I know the beginning, and what I want to achieve in the end. In a sense the actual writing is as much of a quest as the story itself. The journey from start to finish takes many strange twists and turns - not to mention the occasional detour! Of course, there must be certain rules and structure, or the result would be anarchy and nonsense.
Copyright© 2002 Orbit
. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. The interview has been provided by Orbit
and is printed with their permission.