Sunday, April 6, 2008

Karen Miller

Karen Miller is the author of the bestselling fantasy duology Kingmaker, Kingbreaker, the currently releasing fantasy trilogy Godspeaker (Volume 1: Empress), and the bestselling tie-in novel Stargate SG-1: Alliances.

She recently responded to a few questions posed by Chris, the Book Swede, including:

The magic system in Godspeaker is quite different to the Kingmaker/Kingbreaker duology and religion also plays a much larger part – was this a conscious move away, and what risks were involved?

Not conscious insofar as I made up this story to deliberately get away from the world of Lur. It's just the story that wanted to be told next. So I guess the differences grow out of that. These are brand new people, in a brand new environment. I did work hard to make sure I wasn't repeating myself, because that is a danger, always, when you're writing. Also, I did want to have a bit of a play with some religious themes, in this trilogy, and that wasn't the focus of the first two Kingmaker, Kingbreaker books. So yes, the religious themes in this trilogy are definitely a conscious decision. And I guess the magic grows directly out of that.

I feel there are huge risks in this story, and in this trilogy. For a start, Mijak is such a hugely different world from a lot of mainstream fantasy, and what I've done before. And it's not a pretty or comfortable world, either. It's dark and violent and confronting. But that's the way the story went, so I did have to take a deep breath and follow it. Hekat's a confronting character, too. The world of Mijak isn't as user friendly as the world of Lur, and so that's a huge risk in terms of upsetting readers. I knew it when I was writing it, and frankly I've scared myself stupid with this. Even though early feedback has been good, I'm still terrified. I tend to live my writing life in a perpetual state of terror -- I'm always convinced I haven't done a good enough job.

There's more lightness and warmth in bks 2 and 3 of this trilogy, with the new characters coming in. But that doesn't alter the fact that bk 1 is pretty damned full-on! *g* And there are moments all the way through the trilogy that aren't for the faint-hearted or the squeamish.

But I think that if you're not risking something, if you're not challenging yourself, as a writer, then ultimately you're short-changing readers. And I guess I also wanted to show that I can sing in more than one key.

Read the full Q & A.

Visit Karen Miller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue