B2BCyCon SciFan & LitRPG Blog Hop—Stop #1: The Insider’s Guide to A Wizard’s Forge: Influences and Themes

Congratulations! You just stumbled across the next stop in the B2BCyCon SciFan & LitRPG Blog Hop. Thanks for stopping by my blog and checking out my novel A Wizard’s Forge.

a_wizards_forge_cover_smallerfilesize

A Wizard’s Forge is the first in a series called The Woern Saga, and it’s an onion, with a lot of layers of a plot that developed over a lot of years. The tone is dark; the story thought-provoking. If you read it in a book club, Vic’s troubles and how she deals with them should inspire some rousing debate. In fact, I hope you will read and discuss it with a group of friends. So go ahead and prepare the cheese plate and chill the wine, and to prepare yourself, here is some cool intel to drop on your friends.

Inspirations

  1. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern. Knownearth and Pern are a lot alike in terms of climate and ecology (minus the deadly Thread) as well as the way the spacefaring settlers lost all their advanced tech and now live in a quasi-Medieval society. Victoria (or Vic, as she prefers) and Lessa share a lot of personality traits, and the structure of Latha’s Minstrels Guild owes a lot to Pern’s Harpers Hall. The main difference between the worlds (beside the absence of Thread and dragons) is that gender equality prevails on Knownearth.
  2. Star Wars. Vic’s telekinetic and Geram’s and Wineyll’s telepathic powers are straight out of the Jedi Knighthood. A key difference is that everyone on Knownearth is capable of telepathy, or mindspeech as they call it. Geram and Wineyll just have a strong talent for it. Meanwhile Vic gains her telekinetic powers (called wizardry by Knownearthers) after drinking a mysterious concoction given to her by Knownearth’s native intelligent insect species, the Kragnashians. To learn more, check out my other B2BCyCon blog post on the Powers and Politics of Knownearth.
  3. Rapunzel. The story is littered with allusions to the Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel,” from long hair to a sexual awakening to imprisonment in a tower (and elsewhere) to someone being blinded. The Rapunzel underpinings continue in the next book, A Wizard’s Sacrifice.
  4. Star Trek. There’s a transporter device…which is called the Device. And it’s tech, not magic.
  5. Star Wars again. One line: “Luke, I am your Father.”
  6. Lord of the Rings. There’s a quest. There’s a talisman. There’s an evil guy with global ambitions who’s obsessed with the one person who holds the power to defeat him. (OK, this is basically every epic fantasy every written…so yeah, there’s that.)
  7. Dangerous Liaisons. Valmont of Les Liaisons dangereuses and Lornk (the villain of A Wizard’s Forge, and the evil guy from #6 with the global ambitions) both like to use seduction—aka sexual abuse of minors—to control their victims, and Lornk employs this technique to devastating effect against Vic.

Themes

  1. Grimdark tone. One of the Wikipedia definitions of “grimdark” perfectly describes my approach:

Grimdark fantasy has three key components: a grim and dark tone, a sense of realism (for example, heroes are flawed), and the agency of the protagonists: characters have to choose between good and evil, and are “just as lost as we are.”

Vic is as flawed as they come. Her experiences with Lornk break her, and as she remakes herself, she becomes fixated on achieving her goals at any price—much like him. She makes some questionable choices, some of which will haunt her throughout the series.

  1. Feminism. Vic is a badass action hero who lives in a world where gender equality is the norm. This has allowed me to let my female and male protagonists swap roles: Vic (short for Victoria, so if you hadn’t noticed, she’s a she) is the hero of A Wizard’s Forge, and Prince Ashel (a guy) is the heroine in the sense of he’s the one who passively resists the villain rather than actively fights him. Confused? Outraged? Read more about my reasoning here.
  2. Female empowerment. Vic starts out as a victim of sex trafficking, and she struggles with the legacy of those experiences even after she becomes her nation’s most renowned warrior. Yet she also keeps moving forward, becoming stronger inside and out, and by the time she acquires her telekinetic abilities, she has nothing to fear from anyone—except herself.
  3. The forge process. The book is divided into four parts–Ore, Smelt, Forge, and Temper–and each section details Vic’s transformation from the raw material (the ore) of a smart but inexperienced teenager into the tempered steel (or in Vic’s case, bronze) of a strong woman with deadly power.

I hope these insights inspire you to take a closer look at A Wizard’s Forge. It’s available from Amazon and other major retailers.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! To continue along the blog hop, please head back to the B2BCyCon Blog Hop Hub.