Which Came First: the Dragon or the Egg?
The Laws of Magick that drive much of the action in The Kithseeker have a rather peculiar origin: Book repair. The Bookminder series, as a whole, owes much of its genesis to my time working in the “Coll Pres” department of the UW-Madison Memorial Library during my undergraduate years. The bulk of my job was assessing broken books that came our way. Cracked spines. Bent and scribbled on pages. Mold. (And worse.) Some books could be repaired in house or commercially re-bound. Some had to be replaced. Others still might be candidates for preservation in other formats.
At the time, the heart of a plot was rattling around in my brain. [Spoiler alert for book 1] In essence: “Girl destroys library to attack a wizard.” But why? How? I knew what it looked like, could see the scene clearly played out in my head. My work in the library offered up some of these answers: Spell books would not function properly if damaged. Worse, they could “backfire” on the user if the wizard was unaware of the damage and tried to use the book.
From there, the Laws grew. For, while I can enjoy a good get-out-of-plot-free device as much as the next person (because sometimes a story just needs to be a story), I adore set and specific limits (I’m looking at you, sonic screwdriver!) In fantasy, an airtight magic system just sets me to rapture. A system that we, the entertained, get to actually see laid out? Bliss! And so we find ourselves in a bit of a “chicken or egg’ situation when it comes to fantasy magic. Which takes the lead? Is it a give or take? Is magic just another element of the story, another character, or a mere setting? I suppose it depends on the story, sure. But for me, the two develop hand in hand.
The Bookminder series has been arced out from day one. The Laws, too, were set and bound. Sometimes one has taken the lead, sometimes the other. Sometimes they’ve contradicted and I’ve had to really look hard at where the story is allowed to go. Some days, the Laws of Magick are a bit like that old “throw your character off a bridge when you’re bored” method of attacking writer’s block. If not plot, you’ll definitely get something going.
There is a point in story genesis that’s just playing in the sandbox. And out of that exploration comes something that takes on a life of its own, making it difficult to reverse engineer, to ask backwards all the way to chicken versus egg. But then the asking, the questioning, too, seems to be an inseparable part of the creative process.
M. K. Wiseman has degrees in animation/video and library science – both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, her office is a clutter of storyboards and half-catalogued collections of too, too many books. (But, really, is there such a thing as too many books?) When she’s not mucking about with stories, she’s off playing brač or lying in a hammock in the backyard of her Cedarburg home that she shares with her endlessly patient husband.
Liara’s defense of the Wizard Nagarath has rendered Anisthe incantate–bereft of magick–but even this cannot guarantee her safety. Because the death of her father-in-magick would seal the girl’s fate, necessity demands she and her wizard maintain a watchful eye on the war mage, while protecting her from his dark designs.
Anisthe has embarked on a journey across Europe, aided by his half-fey manservant with an agenda all his own. They search for a legendary mirror that contains the world’s most powerful magick. Although the stuff of fairytales, the possibility of its existence compels Nagarath and Liara to seek the artifact themselves. Both know that should Anisthe lay claim to that power, Liara would be at his mercy and not even Nagarath could save her.
Thus, the pair find themselves at Versailles, surrounded by agents who ferret out magick users and destroy them. Uncertain who is friend and who is foe, with their rival on their heels, they must discover the mirror before Anisthe releases its evil, or worse, it lays claim to Liara’s magick and brings doom upon them all.
I want to thank the M. K. Wiseman for being a guest on my blog and for bringing this amazing post to us as part of the blog tour for her book “The Kithseeker”.
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