- You have a transgender character in Elizabeth A. Schechter . What parallels do you see in his treatment by the characters and society surrounding him and current transgender politics?
Current events, which in this case would have been the events that were current between six months and a year ago when I was writing that character’s narrative, were probably in the back of my mind while I was writing, but I wasn’t consciously trying to make a statement. Watching the world now, though… Can I just say that I never intended to write political commentary?
- Did you always know who the final villain would be, from the start of your writing process?
Actually, no. My original outline has someone else entirely behind everything. While writing the book, it started pulling off outline, and I realized that my subconscious had been setting me up for a completely different villain from almost the very beginning. There were seriously hints dropped in book 2 that just seemed to be throwaway lines until I hit the “aha!” moment in book 3. Which actually was more of a “helluvacrap!” moment.
- Matthias is always cast into the role of the leader, even though he never wants it. By the end of Where Home Lies, do you think he has accepted the responsibility that comes with his gift? Do you think he might even want it?
I think he’s come to terms with it, but it’s not a role he’ll ever really want. What he always wanted was a place─he said that in the very first book. He wanted a place where he belonged, where he wouldn’t be alone. He just didn’t realize that there was no place in the existing world for him─he had to create his own. And in creating it, he’s now responsible for it.
- Is there more in store for these characters? Are you planning on writing any spin-offs?
There’s at least a short story─I want to write about the need for a larger bed. That’s not spoilery, is it?
There also might be a something set about twenty years in the future─there’s a young character that I’m curious about what they’ll be as a grown-up.
- How did the Gryphons come to be included in the series? Were they always a part of the narrative, or did you have an “aha” moment in which they just had to be involved?
The original outline for Counsel of the Wicked had dragons, not gryphons. And I think we decided that dragons were overdone, so we’d do gryphons instead. I can’t think that having a magical creature ever wasn’t a part of the narrative, but the extent of their involvement developed as the second two books developed.
I will say that there’s a scene in Where Home Lies in which I was sorely tempted to bring Hunter back as a gryphon made entirely of fire. I actually wrote the scene, let it stew overnight, then deleted it as being way too contrived.
- This series seems to sit on the border between science fiction and fantasy. Did you intend the series to lean more strongly one way or the other?
I think the original intent was more science-fiction dystopian, but it flirts pretty aggressively with being fantasy. It ended up being in the same vein as the Ralph Bakshi film Wizards, which is considered to be science fantasy. I think that describes it nicely.
- In a previous interview, you mention the recurring theme of truth (or really, lack of). Do you think this is the most prominent theme that shaped Matthias’ character, and his understanding of relationships? If not, then what did?
I do play a lot with truth and how subjective it can be, and that does mold Matthias a great deal─much of his growth comes from learning that everything he thought was true was a lie told to keep people under control. Once he knows that, he needs to know the real truth, and he needs to know why people are willing to either kill him or use him to control it.
In this book, he finds the truth behind everything. Or at least, he thinks he does. After all, what is truth? (insert evil author laugh here.)
- Which Rebel Mage character is your favorite and why?
Oh, ask me to pick a favorite child, why don’t you?
My absolute favorite seems to change depending on what scene I’m working on. But if I have to pick just one, it’s Tam─my snarky spear-carrier who absolutely refused to die in the first book! He was never supposed to be a major character, or related to Matthias. He was supposed to be in the background, and die when it was convenient. He had other ideas, and I love that he made it onto the cover of this book!
Thanks so much to Elizabeth A. Schechter for talking with us. Be sure to check out her guest blogs and online live chat as part of the Where Home Lies Blog Tour. You can also enter giveaways via the Blog Tour page.