Now here was a journey sometimes to savour and other times to endure on the way to an intensely satisfying outcome. This is the first of a trilogy about the Elves of Calaius, that being the southern continent of The Raven’s world. The first is set three thousand years before The Raven and the trilogy will tell the elves’ history up to and including the point where the spell, Dawnthief, is created by Septern.
There were two key problems to overcome to make this a believable book. Firstly, the Elves themselves. They had to be much more than humans with pointed ears and yet had also to be accessible enough not to be alien, impenetrable and hence impossible to identify with as a reader. It was a tricky path to follow.
Second, the shell of an elf that is Takaar. He’s battle-crazed, guilt-ridden and has been alone for ten years, just him and the voice in his head. He’s almost but not quite, entirely insane, just clinging onto the last vestiges of reason. He was a great character to write but insanity comes with problems because psychotic episodes cannot simply be used as plot devices, much as moments of lucidity cannot either. He was, and remains, a huge challenge because he has to be (and excuse the contradiction in terms) consistently inconsistent. But you still have to be sympathetic to him and believe in the possibility of his redemption.
Around these things came the plot, action, character and key narrative strands. The magnitude of the task was put into sharp focus the day I abandoned the first sixty thousand words and began all over again. And all because it just wasn’t working. A massive call and one I am so pleased I made because the end result is a book of which I am particularly proud.
And it’s my best-selling trade paperback to date so I must have done something right. Read an excerpt here