Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Author Interview: William Justus

Join us today as we interview William Justus, author of our newest book: The Wind from Faerie.

Thanks so much for talking with us today. Let’s go ahead and dive right in: What inspired you to write The Wind from Faerie?

I’ve always been a huge fan of fairy tales and mythology, and writing fantasy has been a natural extension of the love I have for the genre. Prior to writing The Wind from Faerie, I made an attempt to write an Arthurian novel but wasn’t able to handle the subject as well as I would have liked.
I originally invented the world of Purovus for a Dungeons & Dragons game and eventually reached a sort of critical mass of potential with the world. It was simply ripe for a story, and I thought it would be fun to tell the tale of a great mage from beginning to end. Kellan was born from that impulse.

That makes a lot of sense for the story. Would you say that Kellan is more of a Lawful Good or a Chaotic Good? 

I think I’d say Chaotic Good because Kellan is dissatisfied with the class system in the Empire, so he isn’t a perfect citizen. His whole journey flies in the face of the cultural norm, and he does sow a little chaos wherever he goes.

I was leaning toward Chaotic Good myself. Tell me, are there any themes, symbols, or motifs in your story? 

I could probably write a small book on this question alone, which would absolutely ruin the novel itself. I’ve tried to weave a lot of threads into my story, many of which are allusions to mythology. As far as themes go, the idea that knowledge is powerful and dangerous without wisdom is one that the reader will see recurring throughout the series. I turned to nature again and again for its potent symbolism. Not only do my descriptions of nature set the mood for a scene, but they often foreshadow things to come.

“Knowledge is powerful and dangerous without wisdom” is definitely a sentiment that more people should appreciate. Let’s switch gears a little bit: who is your favorite character?

Master Galan has to be my favorite. I based him loosely on Merlin from T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, made famous by the Disney movie The Sword in the Stone. He’s so cooky and overlooked but has so much wisdom if you look for it. Master Galan’s understanding of the world goes beyond conventional wisdom, so he’s ostracized, but he’s completely unfazed by other people’s opinions. He’s very loveable in my eyes.

Master Galan was definitely a fun character. How did you craft your world? 

I started off wanting these separate biomes, so I knew that I would have to design a map on a continental scale. In order for there to be desert, forest, and tundra, there has to be a lot of land and quite a few mountain ranges. Then all the different cultures I’d invented needed to be provided with a liveable space, so that modified the concept a bit.
The cultures I invented grew from my love for Antiquity. Most fantasy novels are set in a pseudo-Medieval time period, but I wanted to do something new. The Halystrian Empire was originally conceived as a late Republican Rome, though heavily modified. Still, the time period I chose meant that the weapons, amenities, and architecture were all going to be different than what I’ve typically read.

I agree—it was nice to see a fantasy set in those parameters. Was it difficult abiding by all the rules of magic in your work?

The magic system isn’t too complex, so I didn’t find abiding by its laws very difficult. The limitations to Kellan’s magic definitely forced me to be more creative with its applications but were never a sticking point. When in doubt, I found that acting out a scene was immensely helpful. I’m very practiced in living room magic by now, and my lamps have learned to be very afraid indeed.

They’re quivering in their shades, I’m sure. How did you decide on a setting? Is it based off of anywhere you’ve been in real life?

The Halystrian Empire certainly has a Mediterranean influence that was particularly influenced by Rome. I was lucky enough to visit Rome in 2013. The memories of that trip have helped me to form an image of Parthicum. The Rhegian countryside was based on the rolling Owyhee Mountains in Idaho, a range which I see every morning.

It sounds like that trip really made an impact on you. As a lover of fantasy myself, I’ve got to ask: who are your favorite authors? 

J.R.R. Tolkien is undoubtedly my favorite author, but I also very much enjoy Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, and C.S. Lewis.

Those are some great authors that everyone should read at least once. Thanks again for talking with us today, but before we let you go we have one last question: what can we expect next from you?

I’m currently writing the sequel to The Wind from Faerie, which I have tentatively titled The Many Antlered Crown. The legend of Kellan the Fey will continue to grow and spread across Purovus, following wherever his adventures take him. Events will be set into motion that will shake the very foundations of the world, and I can’t wait to get this next book into the hands of my readers.

The Wind from Faerie

By William Justus

Kellan can only dream of a life without servitude, a life beyond the woods. And magic? That’s just a legend. But after he discovers a book of magic in his master’s library and begins to summon the power of wind, it becomes his obsession. When the emperor offers to test serfs for magical ability, it’s everything Kellan could ask for: a chance for an education, a chance to see the world, a chance for freedom.

At the Lyceum, he finds not only that, but friends, enemies, and more danger than he bargained for. There, it doesn’t take long for tales to form about Kellan the Fey. Can he become worthy of such renown? First, he must contend with the Wind from Faerie…

The Wind from Faerie will be available on April 21st, 2019.

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