Today’s spotlight is Graeme Ing’s fantasy, Necromancer. The gorgeous cover alone entices me to open the book. I’m also drawn to the protagonist’s supernatural abilities as a necromancer and can just imagine all of the gruesome dark events that await readers. If you’re a fan of fantasy literature or an aspiring writer of this genre, then you don’t want to miss Ing’s featured guest post that discusses the importance of backdrops in fantasy literature. Before you go, be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 gift card!
Necromancer by Graeme Ing
Publication Date: August 23, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
A primeval fiend is loose in the ancient metropolis of Malkandrah, intent on burning it to a wasteland. The city’s leaders stand idly by and the sorcerers that once protected the people are long gone.
Maldren, a young necromancer, is the only person brave enough to stand against the creature. Instead of help from the Masters of his Guild, he is given a new apprentice. Why now, and why a girl? As they unravel the clues to defeating the fiend, they discover a secret society holding the future of the city in its grip. After betrayals and attempts on his life, Maldren has reason to suspect everyone he thought a friend, even the girl.
His last hope lies in an alliance with a depraved and murderous ghost, but how can he trust it? Its sinister past is intertwined in the lives of everyone he holds dear.
Can only evil defeat evil?
At the door, she dragged her heels. “I’ll wait out here until you’re done.”
I tugged her forward.
“It’s too dangerous and I don’t want you out of my sight. You’re my apprentice, so you have to obey.” I winked.
She rolled her eyes but followed me into the dark taproom. I separated our hands as we crossed the threshold. Necromancers don’t hold hands.
The dregs of society were already congregating, weaving drunkenly among stable boys scattering fresh straw. True to the inn’s name, the stench of old vomit mixed with that of stale beer. Arms reached out to paw at Ayla, but when they saw my robe they slunk away into dark corners. I stood tall. Yes, you lecherous mob, the necromancer just stepped into your sleazy world.
There was no sign of the Duke’s men, or anyone else trying to catch my attention. The back stairs creaked and bowed as we ascended, and I didn’t risk putting weight on the unsteady banister. The upstairs hallway was empty, so we strode past several doors that muffled ecstatic cries or snores, and I knocked on the rearmost door.
No answer. Kristach, he’d left.
I pushed it open and froze.
I tried to block Ayla’s view but she slipped past me into the room. She gasped and her hands flew to her mouth. Then she doubled over in a crouch and threw up, spraying her breakfast all over her feet. I hurried inside and shut the door. Thank Belaya she hadn’t screamed, but she uttered a low, haunting moan, at the same time clutching her abdomen and trembling.
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Graeme Ing engineers original fantasy worlds, both YA and adult, but hang around, and you’ll likely read tales of romance, sci-fi, paranormal, cyberpunk, steampunk or any blend of the above.
Born in England in 1965, Graeme moved to San Diego, California in 1996 and lives there still. His career as a software engineer and development manager spans 30 years, mostly in the computer games industry. He is also an armchair mountaineer, astronomer, mapmaker, pilot and general geek. He and his wife, Tamara, share their house with more cats than he can count.
Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Graeme-Ing/e/B00A1IOUD4
“The Backdrop of a Good Fantasy Novel”
Fantasy has a broad definition with subgenres being invented every year. So what should you consider when designing your own fantasy world:
- Scope: Do you want a world-spanning epic battle of good vs. evil akin to Lord of The Rings? Do you want to pit armies and nations against each other on a grandiose scale? Perhaps you prefer to focus on the plight of a single clan of people. If you are intimidated by the thought of bringing to life a cast of hundreds across a world-spanning empire, then you might want to concentrate upon the adventures of a tiny group or even one hero’s struggles. Nothing says you can’t do all of this in one book. Consider the Fellowship of the Ring, or the personal battles of Sam and Frodo, and how Tolkien expertly pulls back and describes the conflict on a greater scale too.
- Complex strategy vs. adventure: Do you dream of crafting tortuously complex political machinations like George R.R. Martin, the master of plot layered on subterfuge layered on betrayal? Draw your readers into your web of games and lies where everyone has a dozen agendas. Or, like Fritz Leiber’s Lankhar, do you want to write a fast-moving adventure romp, sword & sorcery style?
- Creatures & Races: Do you want elves, orcs and dwarves, giants and dragons or do you seek creatures from your own imagination? Readers can easily grasp the staples of classic fantasy (everyone knows how elves behave), but be wary of the stereotype. There’s no reason you can’t write a fresh take on a creature like a dragon, however, and Anne McCaffrey’s Pernese dragons are a spectacular example of innovation. Turning a creature trope on its head can lead to a great story, but so can something of your own invention that the reader has never seen before.
- Magic: The stuff of fantasy, but it’s definitely optional. If you want to use it in your world, think it through carefully. What prevents it being all-powerful? If wizards can destroy whole towns with a single spell, or teleport anywhere in the world, then why don’t they, and how is that going to mess up your plot? What type of magic do you want? You could go with classic wizards like Gandalf, or necromancers poring over dusty and forbidden books in a deep dungeon, or shamanic, tribal magic. Can only some races practice magic?
- Civilization: Much of classic fantasy is modeled on European feudalism with castles, Kings and knights. Consider seeking inspiration from other cultures like the Mayans, Egyptians or Japanese. Better yet, invent something, or fuse several into one. Are your civilizations gritty like the Middle Ages, or beacons of culture like the Ancient Greeks or the Roman Empire? Do sorcerers rule from the glimmering spires of spotless cities that float high in the skies?
- The physical world: Are your kingdoms spread out across vast agricultural plains abutted by snow mountains, with trade utilizing wide rivers and ocean ports? Are you writing about a nomadic tribe that treks endless deserts from one oasis to another? Perhaps your book is set in a mountainous kingdom that worships spirits of the snow and weather. Maybe your plot takes place entirely in an undersea city where dry land is but a distant rumour. What about parallel worlds with a means to cross between them like Feist’s Magician? Be as fantastic as you dare but be sure to bring consistency to your world. Deserts rarely butt up against pine forests. Rivers don’t flow uphill. Or do they?
- Detail: Get specific. Drawing a neat map or scribbling notes about fifty kingdoms at war is one thing, but your world comes alive through the details. What do people wear, drink and eat? What languages do they speak and how can you convey that? How do they travel? How does commerce work? Is there a universal currency? Why are towns and cities located where they are, and what do they import and export? Is caste and social standing important? Who rules and how? Are there guilds and organizations? Do people worship a single God, a pantheon or simply wild spirits? What taboos exist?
The next time you read a fantasy book see if you can spot how the author weaves all of these elements together. If you want to write a fantasy novel, you don’t need to know the answer to all of these questions, but do revisit them as you write. That game of dice in a dim back room is all the more memorable if the “dice” are shrunken heads and the cost of losing is to be cast adrift on the river from which no one has ever returned, and the players can’t even speak each other’s language coherently. Have fun with it!
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