Interview with Morgan Rhodes

November, 2016
Morgan Rhodes
Fans of Morgan Rhodes's epic Falling Kingdoms series repeatedly liken the experience of reading the books to a roller coaster: a frantic, breath-snatching ride of unexpected twists and turns that you can't—and don't want to—get off.

The bestselling high fantasy saga, often described as Game of Thrones for teens, has been bewitching readers since the first book, Falling Kingdoms, was released in 2012. Rhodes's tautly plotted meld of war, romance, murder, politics, jealousy, betrayal, forbidden love, and magic centers on three divided kingdoms and four main characters: princess Cleo, peasant rebel Jonas, royal sorceress Lucia, and mysterious dark prince Magnus, whose stormy relationship with Cleo comes under threat in Crystal Storm, the eagerly awaited fifth—and likely penultimate—installment in the series.

The prolific Rhodes, who has also written more than 30 fantasy and paranormal titles as Michelle Rowan, will no doubt continue to elicit thrills and high emotion as "the craziness and epicness" of Crystal Storm exposes her trouble-plagued protagonists to ever greater trials of the heart, politics, and magic.

Here she answers your questions about her inspirations, favorite characters to write, and what Magnus and Cleo would be up to (it involves shopping, looking angsty, and hanging around the mall!) if they existed in our world.



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Oren: Which was your favorite book to write in the Falling Kingdoms series, and why?

Morgan Rhodes: Weirdly, I see Falling Kingdoms not as a series of books but as one gigantic story, so separating it into six parts is difficult. Each book, as I'm writing it, is my favorite. I suppose if I absolutely had to pick one, I'd say Gathering Darkness, since that seemed to come together the easiest in the writing, characters began stepping up and making some serious decisions, and the manuscript had the least amount of revision! However, so much craziness and epicness happens in Crystal Storm, both in itself and to set up the last book. I can't even tell you. I'm still recovering! Therefore, that's definitely a favorite as well!
Tiffany: Your characters in the Falling Kingdoms series are very easy to relate to, both in what they are thinking and feeling, along with their characteristics, yet there are still plenty of surprises in the story. Where do you find your inspiration for writing them? Thank you for writing such wonderful books!

MR: Thank you so much! The inspiration question is such a tough one to answer because there is really no specific place where I get inspiration. It comes from everywhere! From magazine articles to surfing the Internet to a movie I see, a conversation I overhear, or just daydreaming and asking "what if?" questions to myself (such as: What if the crystals aren't filled just with magic—what if they're filled with magical beings?). I just have to make sure I have a notebook nearby so I can write down my ideas before they manage to escape!

Shriya: Which characters do you think had the most character development from the beginning of the series to now?

MR: I feel like all of the characters in Falling Kingdoms have had huge character arcs over the course of four (and now five) books. Some have stuck to their moral codes (Jonas, for example), while some have definitely taken a stroll on the dark side (Lucia). But tied for most changed would have to be Cleo (who was a pampered princess and is now a young woman willing to do whatever it takes to reclaim her rightful throne) and Magnus (who changed from a sullen prince in love with his adopted sister to someone willing to go against his evil father even if it costs him his own future).

Chloe: My friend and I had a bet about the outcome of the fourth book involving the fire god. He thought that Lucia wouldn't kill him, and I thought she would. Did you ever expect people to get so excited over your books?

MR: Expect? Absolutely not. I've written many books in the past, and while reader response has been great, it's never been quite so passionate as what has been building with each subsequent release of the Falling Kingdoms series. To see readers so excited about the books and the characters is such an incredible thing to experience, and I feel so lucky to be a part of it all—and to be the one readers can blame for both the good and the bad stuff that happens!

Nick: What's the biggest lesson writing books has taught you? And how often are your characters inspired from real people in your life?

MR: Biggest lesson that writing books has taught me is that—OK, this might sound cheesy, but creating characters and having them play out on the page while I write down what I see in my imagination…. That has to be as close to magic as there is in this world (at least it feels that way). I know I'm darn lucky to be able to do this for a living! My characters are sometimes partially inspired by real people, or characters in other books, or TV shows, or movies. However, at this point, now writing book 6 of Falling Kingdoms, these characters are so alive in my head that they are almost like real people to me!


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Aufa: If you had a chance to bring one character from the Falling Kingdoms series to life, who would it be?

MR: I think I'd have to bring Magnus to life because he's by far the most popular character in the series, and I think many readers would like to meet him (and/or kiss/kill/marry him). ;)

Mia: In your books you write from multiple character points of view. Who is your favorite character to write as?

MR: It's definitely a challenge to get into the heads of each of these very different characters, and I love them all, but I will say that writing Magnus's POV is almost always a treat since he comes forth so strongly as a character and constantly surprises me with his choices and way of looking at the world!

Leonardo: I love your books! Do you identify with any of the characters in the series? Anyone that makes you stop and think, "This is me?!"

MR: Haha! I'd say there's a very small piece of me in everything I write and everyone I write about—from the heroes to the bad guys. Not one character is specifically like me; however, I do feel that Nic has my sense of humor and wry way of looking at the world (as well as a tendency to hold a grudge for longer than is probably healthy).

Nouf: If Cleo and Magnus were in our world, without the magic and kingdoms, what would their hobbies be?

MR: Wow, that's a good question! If Cleo was in our world, and life was happy and normal for her, I'm sure her favorite hobby would be shopping and hanging out at the mall with her friends. For Magnus, his secret hobby in the books (and probably in real life) is art, so I see him just being an angsty artist, wearing all black clothes (designer, of course), and glaring at pretty rich girls at the mall hanging out with their friends.

Miranda: Do you have any plans on continuing with this world in a different series? If not, when you're finished with the Falling Kingdoms and the Spirits and Thieves series, what are your plans for future books?

MR: So far there are no set plans for what's going to happen after the series is finished, since right now I'm firmly focused 100 percent on finishing the last book in both series. I have some exciting ideas for future books, but we'll have to see what happens!




Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay First off I loved both series ("Falling Kingdoms" and "A Book of Spirits and Thieves")! I was looking in the library for a good book when I saw the cover of "Rebel Spring," now I know people always say, "Don't judge a book by it's cover," but I couldn't help myself and picked it up right away to check out. I only later realized that it was the second book. I read both series as fast as I possibly could and loved every book! I love the way you can make the characters relatable and interesting to the reader. I just finished "The Darkest Magic" not even 20 minutes ago and am wishing for more. Got any idea when (what month) to expect the third book in 2017?? Please keep up the AMAZING work and know you have made it onto my favorite authors list (very exclusive)!!! ;)


Soumya ~CrazyAngelicVamp~ Ahhhh, I loved the new titbits about Magnus lol I love that guy so much


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