Ask the Author: Steven J. Pemberton

“Ask me a question about my books, my writing process, or anything you like.” Steven J. Pemberton

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Steven J. Pemberton Boring answer, I'm afraid... I don't think of myself as having any difficulties to overcome that are peculiar to me or to fantasy writers. I sometimes wish I could write faster, but I know that's mainly down to laziness on my part. More sales would be nice, of course, but that's a problem for any writer who isn't selling enough that they could afford to stop writing for a few years.

I think I'm fortunate that I can spend as much time writing as I do, without having to feel guilty about not spending the time on something else. I'm glad that I can self-publish and not have to worry about whether a book fits with the marketing department's idea of what will be popular in two years. Though I'm also glad it wasn't a viable option until a few years ago, because I would probably have jumped into it before I was ready.
Steven J. Pemberton I normally struggle to answer this question, because often years pass between my getting the idea and starting to write the book. In that time, the idea gets extended and modified so much that I often don't remember what it was to begin with.

But with my latest novel, The Mirrors of Elangir, I distinctly recall the inspiration as being a TV documentary about the early history of photography. It mentioned that daguerreotypes were once known as "mirrors with memories", because they were printed on silvered metal plates, so the parts that would be white in a modern photograph were reflective.

This set me wondering what a mirror with a memory would be like in a fantasy context. The "memory" part would presumably have to be something magical. I thought about the mirror functioning like a camera or a video recorder, but couldn't see how I could get a story out of that. Then I thought that instead of recording what was happening in front of it, a mirror could send that picture to another mirror. After some more brainstorming, I decided the mirrors would be made in matched pairs, so that each mirror could send pictures to only one other mirror. That means one mirror by itself is of little worth, but both mirrors of a pair, taken together, are quite valuable. This fitted well with the "treasure hunt" story I'd decided I wanted to tell.

Of course, there are all sorts of other aspects to the world, the plot and the characters, which had countless other inspirations, but that's where it all started.

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