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This Interview has been provided by Orbit, and is printed with their permission.
On the eve of publication of her much anticipated fourth book of Einarinn, Orbit caught up with Juliet E. McKenna and askedů
How would you describe the world of Einarinn to readers who are new to your writing...?
It's a world on the cusp of change from a feudal age to a new era of exploration and discovery. Some countries are further along this path than others; some cultures are looking forward eagerly to new opportunities, others are clinging on to older certainties. Every society has its historical reasons for its outlook, often related to the existence of real and provable magic in this world. But those attitudes are also being challenged as another very different form of enchantment is emerging as a power to be reckoned with.
In a nutshell, what's THE WARRIOR'S BOND about?
It answers the key questions I saw facing Ryshad and Temar at the end of The Swordsman's Oath - which can be summed up as 'What by all that's holy do I do now?' Ryshad has to test the strength of his ties to the House of D' Olbriot when his own desires are pulling him in a different direction. Temar has to face up to the challenge of resurrecting the Kellarin colony - and picking his allies carefully.
Are there particular themes you wanted to explore?
I don't set out to explore themes; when my kids bring books home from school with a deliberate focus on some moral issue, I find them generally very dull. If there are any themes in my books, it's because they emerge naturally from the story - and the way I write tends to show an issue from several angles anyway. Questions of loyalty confront Ryshad and Temar in The Warrior's Bond and I had to consider very carefully how they would react - but that's not the same as setting out to write a book about loyalty.
Will we meet any new central characters?
People we've met in passing in previous books, or who've just been referred to, get their chance to come onto centre stage. We see the Sieur D'Olbriot and Esquire Camarl busy as leading citizens of Toremal while Livak's associate Charoleia sheds a little light into the darker corners for Ryshad and Temar. The mage Casuel is back as Planir's eyes and ears but does find himself looking over his shoulder trying to fathom the motives of Velindre, a magewoman who's invited herself along to the Festival.
Do you find the process of writing harder, or easier, now you are getting towards the latter stages of the series?
Both. It's easier in that plot lines are developing naturally from what's gone before and I've also learned a lot about the craft of writing over the past few years. On the other hand, the more I learn, the more I realise there is to learn. It's also harder in that I'm committed to what's already in print and that can cut off some options when I'm devising a plot or thinking about someone's actions and reactions. Trying to keep each book readable for someone coming new to the series is the hardest challenge - but I'm determined to keeping trying there.
Is the world you have built still full of surprises for you when you come to write, or is it comprehensively mapped in your mind?
Einarinn is mapped out in so far as lines on a big sheet of paper go but beyond that, it's mostly broad brushstrokes. I devise the detail for each new country and society as necessary for the plot and characters of the story in hand, so each book is as interesting for me to write as I hope it is to read. There's still plenty of the world waiting to be explored - and I'm looking forward to doing so. The only question is where do we go first?
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.