James Islington


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James Islington

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Member Since
July 2014


James Islington was born and raised in southern Victoria, Australia. His influences growing up were the stories of Raymond E. Feist and Robert Jordan, but it wasn't until later, when he read Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series - followed soon after by Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind - that he was finally inspired to sit down and write something of his own. He now lives with his wife and daughter on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

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Popular Answered Questions

James Islington Sure! It wasn’t *quite* as abrupt as that – I absolutely loved creative writing as a teen, and the ambition to write a novel ‘one day’ was always ther…moreSure! It wasn’t *quite* as abrupt as that – I absolutely loved creative writing as a teen, and the ambition to write a novel ‘one day’ was always there. Most of my twenties, though, was spent running a startup with a friend of mine. It was pretty successful and a major learning experience, but also an insane amount of work and stress. I barely had time to read fiction, let alone write anything.

So when I finally got around to discovering Brandon’s and Patrick’s books, it wasn’t that they necessarily created my first ‘I want to be an author’ moment – I think everyone who enjoys writing has a little bit of that in them already anyway. It was more that they rekindled my *enthusiasm* for the idea, which to me is actually a much harder thing to inspire. Those books really got me excited about the genre again, and that in turn motivated me to give my own story a go.

In terms of finding the time, when I turned thirty I basically decided to scale back my involvement in the business so that it became a not-quite-full-time endeavour - less money, of course, but it allowed me both the opportunity and head space to write while still earning a paycheck. I'd already been working from home and on my own schedule for years, so self-discipline wasn't really an issue. From there it was just a case of being diligent about getting something down on the page every day. It took a couple of years and a fair amount of patience - a lot of drafts and a lot of edits based on feedback, especially early on - but eventually 'Shadow' got to the point where I was comfortable releasing it.

I think that about sums it up. Cheers for the question!(less)
James Islington Thanks! The origins of the story are actually a little tricky to explain, as they kind of give away the ending to 'The Shadow of What Was Lost'. So I'…moreThanks! The origins of the story are actually a little tricky to explain, as they kind of give away the ending to 'The Shadow of What Was Lost'. So I'm marking below as a spoiler - I'd advise holding off reading any further here until you've finished the book....


------SPOILER------

I've always loved stories about redemption, characters with dark pasts striving to change but struggling with who they've become. So I was interested in exploring the idea of an epic fantasy bad guy - the legendary enemy who everyone 'knows' is evil - in that situation. Looking at why he was on the wrong side in the first place, and then how he'd go about trying to make up for / escape the terrible things he'd done.

That led to me thinking about memories and how much they shape who a person is - how their past experiences, decisions and knowledge influence them and make them capable of things they might not be otherwise.

I also wanted to write a story where prophecies weren't so wishy-washy and open to interpretation ("and the seven eagles shall rise on wings of fire, and the crown of iron shall be shattered, and blah blah blah"). It's not that this never works in a story, but I think it's an area of fantasy that still tends to get away with little to no explanation of why it's like that. In most cases it seems to just fall into the 'because magic' category, which I'm personally not a big fan of.

Anyway, that line of thinking ultimately resulted in the Augurs, as well as (to some extent) the inclusion of time travel in the story.

------END SPOILER------


So, I guess I had a lot of disparate ideas/inspirations rattling around in my head over the years. Then when I started reading Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss a while back, I finally got inspired enough that I really knuckled down and gave writing a serious amount of my time. Thus, 'The Shadow of What Was Lost'.

Hope that answers your question!

Edit: Looks like spoiler tags don't work on answering questions, so I'm marking the whole thing as a spoiler.

Edit 2: Apparently I can't mark the whole thing as a spoiler after it's been submitted. I'll change the heading so it's nice and obvious instead. (less)
Average rating: 4.23 · 43,777 ratings · 3,527 reviews · 6 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Shadow of What Was Lost...

4.15 avg rating — 25,272 ratings — published 2014 — 25 editions
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An Echo of Things to Come (...

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The Light of All That Falls...

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Das Erbe der Seher: Die Lic...

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More books by James Islington…

Audible Daily Deal (22nd June, US) - The Shadow of What Was Lost

Hey everyone, just a heads up that The Shadow of What Was Lost - narrated by the excellent Michael Kramer - is Audible's Daily Deal! It's $5.95 for the day (22nd June), US only I believe.

- James
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Published on June 22, 2020 05:48 Tags: audible, daily-deal
The Shadow of What Was Lost An Echo of Things to Come The Light of All That Falls
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4.23 avg rating — 43,709 ratings

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Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
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Mageborn by Stephen Aryan
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[review by James's assistant Elisabeth]


Mageborn (2017) is the first book in Stephen Aryan’s second trilogy, The Age of Dread. Its story centres around Salem-esc magic testing performed by Seekers, and the anxieties and ‘accidents’ that are caused by
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All Systems Red by Martha Wells
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The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell
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More a quick recommendation than a proper review, but this is another debut I’ve enjoyed recently! I initially gave The Kingdom of Liars a shot because the core concept (memory as a cost for using magic) sounded fascinating, and while that didn’t pla ...more
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Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund
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I’ve been meaning to write a review of Blood of an Exile since I read it towards the end of last year, but… life’s been busy. Unfortunately, that means things aren’t quite as fresh in my mind as I’d like, but the fact I’m still motivated to do this a ...more
The Light of All That Falls by James Islington
" Review for The Light of All That Falls by James Islington

Thank you so much to Orbit for sending me a copy of this to read and review! All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warnings (TW): For violence, murder, cutting/mutilation, warfare. Stay safe, fri" Read more of this review »
The Light of All That Falls by James Islington
"Before I begin my review, I'd first like to mention how absolutely thrilled I was to finally have this book in my hands. The Licanius Trilogy is one of my top 10 all-time fantasy series and in my opinion is a masterwork that stands out among the majo" Read more of this review »
More of James's books…
“All that I wanted, I received
All that I dreamed, I achieved
All that I feared, I conquered
All that I hated, I destroyed
All that I loved, I saved
And so, I lay down my head weary with despair, for;
All that I needed, I lost”
James Islington, The Shadow of What Was Lost

“You can put your trust in something that’s obvious, that’s measurable or predictable - but that's not faith. Nor is believing in something that gives you no pause for doubt, no reason or desire to question. Faith is something more than that. By definition, it cannot have proof as its foundation.”
James Islington, The Shadow Of What Was Lost

“The lesser of two evils, or the greater good. Get a good man to utter either of those phrases, and there is no one more eager to begin perpetrating evil.”
James Islington, An Echo of Things to Come

Polls

May 2015 Fantasy Selection

 
  26 votes 32.1%

 
  18 votes 22.2%

 
  13 votes 16.0%

 
  12 votes 14.8%

 
  6 votes 7.4%

 
  6 votes 7.4%

81 total votes
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Comments (showing 1-2)    post a comment »
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message 2: by James

James Islington Mike wrote: "Beta reader, right here! Lol. Great story man."

Cheers Mike! :-) If you're interested in beta reading AEoTTC, just shoot me an e-mail (james@jamesislington.com) or message via http://jamesislington.com/contact.aspx, so I can add your e-mail address to the list. I'll only be picking a few people at random off what's already a very long list though, so definitely no guarantees. Thanks again!


Mike Beta reader, right here! Lol. Great story man.


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