Fantasy Buddy Reads discussion

51 views
Berg - Various Series > Q&A with Carol Berg

Comments Showing 1-50 of 56 (56 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Jenna, I'd be free if not for Temper & Edgewalker (new)

Jenna Kathleen (jennakathleen) | 4379 comments Mod
Some of the group will be reading the Lighthouse Duet and Rai-Kirah by Carol Berg this summer and Carol Berg has been so kind to stop by FBR for a Q&A! Thank you so much to Ms. Berg for taking the time to join us here! We look forward to everything you have to share with us.

And thank you also to Laura for setting this up. :)


message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Thank you Jenna. :)


message 3: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Hi Carol,

Thank you for agreeing to join us here! :) We truly appreciate it.

I read Song of the Beast a while back and fell in love. Aidan's suffering broke my heart and his strength and ability to get back on his feet and carry on are a true inspiration.
Now, halfway through Transformation, I find Seyonne's suffering is affecting me just as much as Aidan's, if not more.

Should we expect the same kind of heartbreak in your other books also?

One of Kay's fans asked him this week on an AMA if he'll make his readers cry again with his new book. I'd like to ask you if you'll break our hearts again with Flesh and Spirit, the way you did with Song of the Beast and Transformation.


message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments I'd also like to ask you what the inspiration was behind the Rai-Kirah series. And in particular why such a character as Aleksander?
I can safely he this is THE ONLY character I have ever read that made me switch from absolute hate and disdain to tolerance, acceptance and then even like/root for. And the best part is that I never even realised when that really happened!!
He is brilliant!


message 5: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Yeah... The slavery aspect of the culture in the book had a very demoralizing effect on me.. I have been a political prisoner and was tortured, then left without medical care for moths... When I was reading about the beatings and degradations the main character went through, I had some of the same feelings of helplessness and despair, and I am not sure I could have survived a minute longer than I did. I actually think I might have been like that kid, who chose death, if I had have the chance... I guess my question is, what kept Seyonne motivated to keep living? You were very good at showing us he felt like he had nothing outside of his existence. What gave him the will to go on? Thank you for doing this with us:-)


message 6: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "Hi Carol,

Thank you for agreeing to join us here! :) We truly appreciate it.


I read Song of the Beast a while back and fell in love. Aidan's suffering broke my heart and his strengt..."


Thanks to all of you for having me here. There are few things I like better than to talk with readers.

I certainly don't start out to make my characters suffer. Honest. In Aidan's case, the story came to me in this order:
1. A hero who is not a warrior, not experienced in a life where he has to be brave or stalwart. Mmm...maybe musician? Traveling troubadour in a world at war. Mmm, war with dragons? But I never wanted to write a dragon story...but that could be awful. Dragons as the nuclear weapon of the age.

2. A person who has been imprisoned for a very long time and has no idea why. So the story would start on the day he got out. Musician...but he has to be silent. That would be bad... I mean I do have to make a story out of it.

So I had to figure out why someone would want a troubadour silenced. What was different about him? And what would make him hold out. It had to be something really big to make him hold out for so long. That's where he got in trouble - it was a god.

And there it went. I started writing, still not quite sure why he had to be silenced.

As for Seyonne, he was just stubborn. I'll talk more about him while answering Choko's question.

As for the Lighthouse books...there are some heartbreaks in the story. For certain. But they are something different. My protagonist brings a lot of stuff on his own head...but then again--

OK, I don't want to do spoilers. Let's just say, my books deal with big events, and people don't go through big events without paying a price before, during, or after -- sometimes all three. I like to think that they all end with a note of hope despite the hardships along the way.


message 7: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "I'd also like to ask you what the inspiration was behind the Rai-Kirah series. And in particular why such a character as Aleksander?
I can safely he this is THE ONLY character I have ever read tha..."


Aleksander was the inspiration. I had an idea about an unlikely hero -- this guy I envisioned riding his horse across the steppes of central Asia...or maybe a desert...and he was handsome and rich and believed he had the world laid out for him--which he did--and a great destiny. I thought it would be interesting if the destiny was entirely different than he believed and that he was totally UNworthy of it. The story would be how he changed and became worthy of his destiny, whatever it was. I decided that he couldn't tell his own story, because guys like him are just not the introspective type. So I needed someone close to him who would witness the change and THAT person would tell the story. And it would be SO much more interesting if the person telling the story had no reason to like him...so maybe a slave. The story would, of course, begin on the day the prince bought the slave. And then I started writing. The opening paragraph tells all...and I wrote it believing it was entirely metaphorical... and then ideas started flowing, and by the end of the chapter I realized that this was Seyonne's story every bit as much as it was Aleksander's.

Believe it or not, at first Aleksander was even harsher than he is...and after a few chapters I realized that I had Made him very nearly irredeemable, which violated the whole premise of the story. So I backed off a bit and rewrote him into what you see now. But always, I kept my mind on what I wanted him to be and the ways in which I wanted him to change, while still keeping the flavor of who he was. The book turned out to be quite different than I thought in so many ways - and it took me much longer to realize what Aleksander's "destiny" really was. I will say that their relationship is one of my favorite I've ever done...though there are a few others that give them a run for the money...


message 8: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Choko wrote: "Yeah... The slavery aspect of the culture in the book had a very demoralizing effect on me.. I have been a political prisoner and was tortured, then left without medical care for moths... When I wa..."

Choko, I am so sorry you had to live through such terrible things in your life. No one should have to suffer so.

What made Seyonne able to endure? I think it was a combination of a terrifically stubborn nature--the same dogged resilience that made him exceptional in his chosen profession (view spoiler) -- and the lessons he learned from his father. "Just go. Just do...." His father could have given up on life early on...but he didn't. Life...understanding...those things were always even more important than the "rules" and gave Seyonne a bit of flexibility in a culture that was inflexible. Llyr couldn't see that.


message 9: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Thank you so much for taking the time to answer us! I am just in awe of Seyonne's ability to control his internal monologue in a way which enhances his strength, rather than the lethargic depression which often comes with prolonged abuse...

As far as Alex goes, this was the first thing I thought while I was getting to know him as a character - Ms. Berg has some cajones to give us in such a devastating detail one very unlikable dude and then try to make us like him. :-):-):-):-)... Honestly, I have no idea how you did it, but by the end I was rooting for him, and I didn't even know how I got there! That is some masterful storytelling! This is the first book I am reading by you, but now I want to read them all! Thank you!


message 10: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Choko wrote: "Thank you so much for taking the time to answer us! I am just in awe of Seyonne's ability to control his internal monologue in a way which enhances his strength, rather than the lethargic depressio..."

I am honored to be awarded cojones. That's a first! I knew this would be fun.


message 11: by Veronica (last edited Jun 17, 2019 03:41PM) (new)

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 3328 comments Carol wrote: "Believe it or not, at first Aleksander was even harsher than he is...and after a few chapters I realized that I had Made him very nearly irredeemable, which violated the whole premise of the story. So I backed off a bit and rewrote him into what you see now. But always, I kept my mind on what I wanted him to be and the ways in which I wanted him to change, while still keeping the flavor of who he was. The book turned out to be quite different than I thought in so many ways - and it took me much longer to realize what Aleksander's "destiny" really was. I will say that their relationship is one of my favorite I've ever done...though there are a few others that give them a run for the money..."

First of all, thank you so much for taking time to answer our questions. Transformation was my first time reading a books of yours even though I've had several of your books on my "to-read" list for a while now. I'm so glad that Laura started a Buddy Read for this as it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to finally commit. I loved it! The story grabbed a hold of me pretty much from the first paragraph and it never let go.

Like Choko, I was in awe of Seyonne's ability to not only persevere but to do so with his ability to show sympathy and empathy for others - even those who can arguably be considered enemies - still intact.

I echo Laura and Choko regarding Aleksander. I hated him from the start and yet somewhere along the way that all changed. Bravo! It's hard to believe he was even more loathsome in earlier drafts though, lol. (view spoiler) Again, bravo!

I'm very excited to continue the trilogy. This book was a big hit in our Buddy Read group and we're all planning to continue with books two and three, though we'll be reading Flesh and Spirit first (love the color scheme on the cover by the way!).

And now for my question, lol.

I was very curious about the Ezzarian culture and hope that gets explored more in the next two books. (view spoiler)

**I'm not sure if we're doing spoiler tagging here but, just in case.Or is that too awkward for a Q&A thread? I can remove them if the majority feels it's okay. **


message 12: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Yes! The whole battle ground is so mind-blowing! The connection between the warden and the person who creates the gate and landscape... How did you ever come up with that? It is kind of funny, but I was so affected by the human condition aspect as I was reading, the rest of it felt just natural, so well crafted that I took it for a given:-)

And yes, you deserve a notice for the guts and hootspa it took to pen such a character and then make us like him:-):-):-)


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Thank you so much for replying Carol.

The best books for me are those that make me feel. And yours do! Seyonne's trials and suffering made me angry and sad at the same time and as the story evolved I came to feel with him and expect that dreaded worse to happen.
When (view spoiler) I loved it!!!

Just as Veronica already mentioned, I am also curious to learn more about the Ezzarian culture. And I was also wondering if you had a particular religion or cult in mind when writing it. The (view spoiler) are these rules based on something real?


message 14: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Regarding Aleksander - I picked up the book a bit later then my BR buddies here and kept seeing in their posts that they liked the guy. And I admit I was wondering "How the heck can these people LIKE him when all I want to do right now is roast the SOB alive on a spit?!"

And then I joined the "he's horrid but I LIKE HIM club" and couldn't help but wonder when that happened!? Because I honestly can't tell exactly when he got under my skin.

That was brilliant writing!!
I don't think I would have been able to like him if he had done worse.


message 15: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Veronica wrote: "Carol wrote: "Believe it or not, at first Aleksander was even harsher than he is...and after a few chapters I realized that I had Made him very nearly irredeemable, which violated the whole premise..."

I'm uncertain about spoiler tagging, too. Someone let me know how frank you want me to be!!

I don't know that this will give anything away. I mentioned above how I viewed the "shape" of this story. A man who had everything, but was unworthy of a great destiny that somehow he would come face-to-face with. The need for someone other than the man himself to tell the story. The slave. The slave market. I wanted it to be cold, because "character discomfort required" so I decided that the setting would be in the summer capital of this desert empire. The first scene would result in the prince getting the slave back to his house.

So I started writing. If you look at the first paragraph of the book, it has stood virtually untouched since I wrote it in January of 1999. In longhand, by the way. I was speaking in metaphor about the battle...until I started thinking, "oh my, what if...?" and realized that I had just encountered the fundamental magic of this world. Needless to say, I am an adherent of the belief that writing itself spurs the generation of new ideas.


message 16: by Carol (last edited Jun 17, 2019 03:24PM) (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "Regarding Aleksander - I picked up the book a bit later then my BR buddies here and kept seeing in their posts that they liked the guy. And I admit I was wondering "How the heck can these people LI..."

Once I thought about it, it was easy to see the places where I'd had him step beyond the line. Revision is a writer's best friend. I did it right away, as it was only a few places and I was only a few chapters in. Made me feel much better about him going forward.


message 17: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "Thank you so much for replying Carol.

The best books for me are those that make me feel. And yours do! Seyonne's trials and suffering made me angry and sad at the same time and as the story evolve..."


I am so happy to hear this. Books that raise emotions are also my favorites.

Revelation jumps right into the heart of Ezzarian culture and belief. I wanted Seyonne's devotion to his homeland and the ways of his people to be true - not just the product of sentimental memory of how life was before his captivity(view spoiler). The only real-life model for the Ezzarian way is any one of the worthy belief systems throughout history that have fallen into rote belief and ritual. "We do these certain things because we had very good reasons, grounded in truth and experience. We don't question."


message 18: by Veronica (new)

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 3328 comments Carol wrote: "Revelation jumps right into the heart of Ezzarian culture and belief. I wanted Seyonne's devotion to his homeland and the ways of his people to be true - not just the product of sentimental memory of how life was before his captivity(view spoiler). "

Ooh, excellent! I can't wait to read it! I'd really like to get a better feeling for Ysanne, specifically.

Lydia too, for that matter. She was awesome during her short appearances in this book.


message 19: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments I loved Lydia too. :)

And since you told you have revised the manuscript many times, I wanted to ask: how long did it take for Transformation to be finished?


message 20: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments You also wrote other series: Bridge of D'ArnathSon of Avonar and Collegica Magica The Spirit Lens.

Do they also feature a hero/heroine going through very harsh trials? Are they written in a similar style?

I am asking because I have recently read Jacqueline Carey's series and started Santa Olivia after reading the Kushiel series. I literally closed the book after the first chapter and checked to see if it's the same author there or I had a letter or two in the name wrong. Because the style was so very different. Santa Olivia was so light and easy and charming as compared to the serious punch-packed Kushiel.

Should we expect the same from your books also?
Especially since Janny told us you have recently published a bookAn Illusion of Thieves under the pen name Cate Glass. How does this one differ?


message 21: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "I loved Lydia too. :)

And since you told you have revised the manuscript many times, I wanted to ask: how long did it take for Transformation to be finished?"


Amazingly, it took me only nine months while I was working full time and had three kids still needed attention (though not toddlers or such!)


message 22: by Carol (last edited Jun 18, 2019 10:31PM) (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "You also wrote other series: Bridge of D'ArnathSon of Avonar and Collegica Magica The Spirit Lens.

Do they also feature a hero/heroine going through very harsh trials..."


In short, yes. But each series is something different. The Bridge of D'Arnath series (4 books) is a story that spans a period of eleven years and a world much like ours, as well as a world that is much different. All but the first book are told from multiple points of view.

The Collegia Magica books are a double-agent murder mystery set in a world much like our own Age of Reason (Newton, Galileo etc.) where magic is failing and science and exploration flourishing. The murder mystery of the first book develops into a political and metaphysical battle by the third book. Each of the three is told by a different person. The third one, by two people. And each spans a period of months.

The Lighthouse duet and the Sanctuary duet are both set in the realm of Navronne (roughly 14th century-like, but not strictly). Each duet is told by a single narrator, one very different from the other. The two series can be read in either order, as they occur over roughly the same time period and actually end on the same day, but I always recommend to start with the Lighthouse books.

Yes, there are tough struggles for my protagonists in each series--some personal, some to people they care about. (Seyonne probably does endure the worst personal torments, but we won't take a vote as yet.) All the books are complex stories that deal with world-changing events; epic fantasy through a very personal lens is what I call them, and I don't believe real people can facilitate world-changing events and battle truly dire villains without getting bruised along the way. The series are each a complete story. In each one the books combine to tell one big story, though most of them are complete in themselves. (Gotta say, the Lighthouse and Sanctuary books are more like one very large book per duology.)

The new series from Tor (under the Cate Glass name) is different in that it is more of an episodic adventure series, like a mystery series. Still "gritty," still character focused, but faster reads, and not quite so epic in the consequences - not yet, at least. :-) I must say, however, that like most good episodic adventures, there are continuing threads through out - in particular the "mythos" of the world. The reasons magic is forbidden and my characters' evolving understanding of their own nature.

That was a very long answer to a simple question. But in essence, I write what I like to write and have been very fortunate to be able to do that.


message 23: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Thank you for the answer Carol. Now I am looking forward to those other series too.

For me Seyonne's strength, just as Aidan's was an inspiration. Their trials were heartbreaking - true, but the fact that they managed to rise above it brought that "uplifting" feeling that felt so right and good in the end and turned their path into an inspiration.
Song of the Beast is high up on my Best Fantasy Standalones ever written and the Rai-Kirah is already setting itself a place straight onto that "I LOVE THESE TO PIECES" shelf. Because it is simply wonderful!


message 24: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Nine months is a very short time! Especially as the book is so wonderful!

What was the book that took you the longest time to write?

And do you have a favourite book/series among those you have written? Either because of plot, characters or the reason (or way) it was written?


message 25: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Most of my books have taken about fifteen months or so to write. But for the later ones - Flesh and Spirit onward - I was writing full time, which mean more hours. But honestly, I am not as efficient as I was when I had work and kids. As to which is my favorite, that's tough. On one day, it's Transformation, another it is The Soul Mirror, on another Daughter of Ancients or Breath and Bone or Dust and Light or Restoration or any of the others. Some are better written than others, but all have characters and a story I love.


message 26: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 264 comments Hey Carol - when's the sequel coming for An Illusion of Thieves? Are you working on one, or is your publisher waiting on the performance of the first....?


message 27: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Hi Janny! Cate tells me that the sequel - A Conjuring of Assassins - will be out February 4 (2020, which is next year, hard as that is to believe). And this was a three-book deal, so I am now plunging into the as yet untitled Book 3 (I don't think A Phantasm of Philosophists is going to fly :-))


message 28: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Hi Carol,

I don't know if you are still here but I dropped by to just tell you that I find Flesh and Spirit awesome!

It managed to make me spitting mad at one time when (view spoiler)

I still didn't burn my dinner the way I did with one of Janny's books. That still remains the one and only dinner burned because of reading. :) But your book is a close runner up.

Also, if at all you are still here, could you please tell me a bit more about the Gods?


message 29: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Hi Laura,

I still watch for messages, though for some reason some of them are now falling into my spam filter. I'm delighted to her that you've enjoyed Flesh and Spirit. I'm sorry it ended at such an unsatisfying pace. I wanted to end it 72 pages into Breath and Bone. But it was a book I sold as a standalone - and then it grew. Obviously. So it was split at the first page I said was possible.

What is it that you want to know about the gods? In essence, Iero embodies a monotheistic worldview - one proclaimed by the prophet Karus in faraway Estigure. The belief traveled along the same pathways that brought the Aurellians to Navronne. Devotion to Karus - a god of generosity, scholarship, and good works - gave rise to a monastic tradition. Thus Gillarine. The Elder Gods embody a polytheistic worldview and were honored in Navronne long before the Aurellians. The Lighthouse glossary on my website lists the elder gods and tells a bit about them.


message 30: by Sha (new)

Sha | 1515 comments Hello!

I read the Lighthouse books sometime last year and most of what I remember is how I was a complete and total emotional wreck after it. I don't really have a question- I just wanted to say how much I loved it, and how thankful I am whenever I find books which invoke strong emotional reactions in me. :D

I'll hope I'll be able to write actual reviews the next time I read one of your books, because there were many emotions and I feel like I need to read it again to properly articulate feelings.


message 31: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Thanks, Sha! This makes me very happy. A lot of emotion went into the writing, I'll tell you. Somehow this story just came from someplace deep.


message 32: by Laura (last edited Jul 04, 2019 11:51AM) (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Hi Carol,

Yeay, for still sticking with us here! :)

When I posted that comment yesterday I was only at chapter 24 and already in love with the book. I finished it today and I'm joining Sha in telling that it left me an emotional wreck. If we didn't have a BR set for the next book in series in another 3 weeks time I would have dived into the sequel today with no second to spare.

I love books that make me feel. I love stories that make me cuss and get spitting angry, stories that make me cry or sigh or laugh out loud. And I wanted you to know that your books did all of that for me! And I adore them.

I wish I would have known about them sooner because they are a treasure.

About the Gods, I wanted to ask if you had a list somewhere of all of them and what they stand for. The Glossary is just perfect. I found it here:
http://carolberg.com/Lighthouse/Flesh...
And it is great!

I am very bad with names. Of people or places doesn't matter. I always forget them, though I remember the person and the place itself. For each and every big or favourite series I made myself a few notes about the world structure, culture, deities. And since I'm fascinated with the gods in this duology, I wanted to make a little list of them too. But now I'll just print that glossary and add it to the back of my book.

And then there are the Danae. They seem a bit like the Fairies but they make me think of angels too. Veronica in our BR sees them as elves. Where is their place in between heaven, the gods and the humans?


message 33: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Very happy to hear you enjoyed it. To find the glossary go to http://www.carolberg.com/lighthouse.html. (Or click on the series title in the list of books on the left.) In the upper right of the LIghthouse page, you will see a list of other pages, including People, Places, and Pronunciations of the Lighthouse Duet. Click on that.

You will learn much, much more about the Danae and their place in the world in Breath and Bone. They are certainly not angels! I don't want to spoil it.


message 34: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Thank you! :)

I was just browsing through your site and found the glossary. I edited my comment too.

May I ask something else?

I love the way the monastery life is described. Where did you get the inspiration for that? Did you do a lot of research? Or did the idea come from another place?


message 35: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments And why Lighthouse? Why choose that particular word? I confess, I never would have connected it to the actual (view spoiler)


message 36: by Laura (last edited Jul 04, 2019 12:08PM) (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments And one more question if I may.

How did the Lighthouse duet come to be? You told us how you started to write Transformation. Could you please tell us now how the idea for The Lighthouse series was born and how it evolved?


message 37: by Carol (last edited Jul 04, 2019 02:08PM) (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "Thank you! :)

I was just browsing through your site and found the glossary. I edited my comment too.

May I ask something else?

I love the way the monastery life is described. Where did you get ..."


Research. There are awesome resources about monasteries and monastery life attached to the sites of European ruins like Fountains Abbey. Most were built on the same pattern, and I was able to print out a map and annotate it for my needs for Gillarine. As to why the monastery...that has to do with the answer to your next two questions.


message 38: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "And one more question if I may.

How did the Lighthouse duet come to be? You told us how you started to write Transformation. Could you please tell us now how the idea for The Lighthouse series was..."


This one is easy to trace, too. I was driving home one day, listening to NPR. Someone was doing a story called The Last Lighthouse. It was about the last manned lighthouse in the US - but it was the title that intrigued me. Lighthouses are interesting because they both warn us away from danger AND welcome us to safe Harbor. A lighthouse was also part of a very vivid scene in one of my favorite YA novels - a historical novel about Roman Britain by Rosemary Sutcliffe. A young Roman soldier posted in Britain was late for his ship --which happened to be the last Roman ship leaving Britain as the Roman Empire contracted. He stood in the lighthouse at Dover and watched the ship sail away. Imagine what that would have been like!! It made me wonder if there was anyone at the time who had the breadth of vision to understand what Rome's contractionwould mean for Western Europe. It was the beginning of what historians, for a long time, called the Dark Ages. And I said, well what if someone did? But I didn't want Rome and Britain, I wanted my own lands, and maybe not the fall of empire but some other onrushing disaster...maybe a civil war...and an environmental shift...and there would be fanatics running around.... I read books like World Lit Only By Fire and How The Irish Saved Civilization...and that got me thinking about monasteries and preserving knowledge. Another thing I had been thinking about was how in our day so many young people go into their parents' professions. Military families. Or banking families. Actors like the Barrymores. Nascar families like the Pettys and Unsers, musical families.. Which gave me an idea for the magic. But the ideas didn't come together until I had this image of a tall, good-looking young man with his nose pressed to the floor of an abbey church as if he were taking holy orders and saying to himself--what the heck am I doing here? And so Valen was born and pulled it all together.


message 39: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Thank you so much for the replies.
The way inspiration strikes and books are created seems like an art in itself. Most of the time, we readers, don't even take into consideration the effort, work and love the author sets into those pages that we read.

Your creative process is wonderful and I love the way you start building from something you just happen upon and create a gripping story that I absolutely adore.


message 40: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 1996 comments Carol wrote: "Amazingly, it took me only nine months while I was working full time and had three kids still needed attention (though not toddlers or such!) ..."

400+ pages in that amount of time is fast writing. I sure, that requires a lot of focus and dedication to get it done.


message 41: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Bumping this up because Carol has graciously agreed to another Q&A :)

Thank you Carol!!


message 42: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 13394 comments I don't really have any questions... maybe Frank does?

I really loved what you were able to do with the characters/story in Transformation (similar to what was said above about the intro with the unlikable prince), and plan to read more, starting with the rest of the Rai-Kirah trilogy in February...

It's nice having this thread here, tho, and seeing the old answers.


message 43: by Timelord Iain (last edited Jan 19, 2021 06:50AM) (new)

Timelord Iain | 13394 comments Maybe I do, ALMOST have a question...

(view spoiler)

(It kinda turned into a question at the end.)


message 44: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Hi Iain,

Gotta say I never even thought about any existing/fantastical culture while writing Transformation, so any similarities are truly coincidental. My choice of Aleksander's problem grew out of his personality. I knew that in order to make him change, I had to bring him very low. Essentially I had to destroy the expressions of his personality - his arrogance, his self-confidence, his assuranceof his elevated position in the world - without destroying the underlying characteristics that could make him great - strength, stubbornness, courage, and so forth. He needed to be brought very low, to be out of control, to be stripped of dignity.

As for the structure of the Ezzarians magic, I can't claim any true originating insight. I understood the roles of Warden and Aife from the beginning - when I "realized" what that first paragraph of the book was going to mean. From then, I simply tried to figure out what other roles would be needed to accomplish such an activity and how this small closed society might structure them. For example, it made sense that those who ventured into the wider world would work better if they had a partner, since no one else in the world would know what they were doing. The whole structure evolved a number of times throughout the writing, but not in big ways once I figured it out.


message 45: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments Hi Carol,

I just finished a re-read of Transformation and the book seems even better as the first time around.

One of my all-time favorites.

I was curious about the Rites of Balthar. Why did you choose this particular type of 'rites'? They do seem so cruel and perfectly fitting for the tale but what inspired you to add them in?


message 46: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 6149 comments And why music? Seyonne can hear the music of an enchanted object and that is pretty cool in itself. But why did you choose music?


message 47: by Veronica (new)

Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 3328 comments Hi Carol,

I also just finished a re-read of the book before moving on the rest of the trilogy. The story holds up very well and I loved it as much the second time around. The growing respect and friendship between Seyonne and Aleksander is the best part of the story. I have a couple of questions.

1. Which character came to you first, Seyonne or Aleksander?

2. Is there any part of the story that diverged from your initial
outline/plans?


message 48: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "Hi Carol,

I just finished a re-read of Transformation and the book seems even better as the first time around.

One of my all-time favorites.

I was curious about the Rites of Balthar. Why did you..."


In short, I needed them to be a psychological destruction so severe that they are truly effective, even for someone of Seyonne's strength. They were designed by an Ezzarian, even though those who administered them were not and did not have true magic of their own. I suppose I put myself in Seyonne's mind and tried to figure out his deepest fears.


message 49: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Laura wrote: "And why music? Seyonne can hear the music of an enchanted object and that is pretty cool in itself. But why did you choose music?"

For me, music is an emotional experience, as near to magic as just about anything in the natural world. It seemed right, even if the magic involved was of a a wicked kind.


message 50: by Carol (new)

Carol Berg (carolwriter) | 23 comments Veronica wrote: "Hi Carol,

I also just finished a re-read of the book before moving on the rest of the trilogy. The story holds up very well and I loved it as much the second time around. The growing respect and f..."


Hi Veronica! So happy you've enjoyed Transformation.

1. Aleksander absolutely came to me first. I saw him - beautiful, strong, noble - riding a horse across the steppes of central Asia - or the deserts of Arabia - the very picture of a hero destined for greatness. And I said what if he wasn't worthy of that greatness (whatever it was, because at that point I had no idea what it was). How would someone like that become worthy of greatness? I thought that would be a cool idea for a story. And then I needed to have someone else TELL the story, because the person I envisioned was not someone who would be introspective. He was arrogant. Cruel. Corrupt. So I decided the narrator would be someone who had to be around this guy all the time. And the telling would be so much more interesting if the narrator had no reason to like him, so maybe a slave...

Which leads to #2.
Once I decided to open in the slave market with this new narrator, and I knew just enough about the world to know how this would work, I started writing. The first paragraph has stood unchanged since I first wrote it longhand. And, no kidding, as I wrote it, every notion of the plot that I had come up with (which weren't very many) changed. Those lines suggested the fundamental magic of the story, and by the time I finished writing chapter one, I knew that the slave was more important that the prince. The other thing that changed was that I didn't figure out Aleksander's true destiny until I was 2/3 way through Restoration. I had planned to know it and accomplish it by the end of Transformation. The book was supposed to be a standalone!


« previous 1
back to top