May 22-23, 2021
Best-selling author and June “Supa-Star” Raymond E. Feist kickstarts another epic journey today with the release of his latest novel, King Of Ashes.
It marks the beginning of the Firemane Trilogy and is Feist’s first new novel since wrapping the acclaimed 30-year Riftwar Cycle in 2013.
We spoke with the legendary author ahead of its release.
How was it beginning this new journey after the Riftwar Cycle?
Surprisingly difficult, actually. Part of the problem was some family issues which I won’t share, just to say that it really sucked energy/time/attention from getting off on the right foot. Also, world-building. I haven’t had to do any for over 30 years, so that proved far more difficult than I remembered. What are these places called? Who lives there?
How would you compare the Firemane Trilogy to the Riftwar Cycle?
Very different critters. The Riftwar Cycle began as a “simple” trilogy about how the Greater Magic came to Midkemia, but as there were five Riftwars in my universe, when people started asking, “What came next?” it was easy to fall into that groove.
I was about half-way through Rage Of A Demon King when I realised, “Oh, mercy, I’m going to write about all five wars!” Fireman is a more compact narrative, at least to start with. Rather than kicking off with an invasion from another world, this one starts in the aftermath of a betrayal of big scale in that world, but after that zeroes in on the lives of a handful of characters who have no clue they’re going to end up on a huge stage.
So, Act I, aka King Of Ashes, begins as a “who are these people” adventure novel, then the second book, Queen Of Storms, will be about their lives being turned upside down, and the third book, yet to be named, will then get into the big stage people are more familiar with in my previous work, but at the end the scale will still be smaller, as in no “saving the universe” issues.
Did you approach it differently or use a different writing method?
Yes and no. Yes in that I had to “reinvent the wheel” as far as world-building, but a lot of what I do I call “writer’s muscle memory”. I don’t have to fight description, narration, or dialogue, and in that respect, the writing style should be very familiar to my readers, even if the world and story are alien.
Why is fantasy so important in 2018?
All fiction is fantasy, in the broadest sense. It’s made up stuff. So, in the context of “magic” fantasy, I think because it implies a power outside of oneself, which can be drawn upon, to make things better/worse.
Alienation is a major component for a large part of modern society, and we’ve always had this bent to the mystical/magical to explain away things we don’t understand.
Our ancestors knew nothing of high altitude jet streams moving lower level weather patterns around, or higher/lower ocean temperatures impacting local weather, so when all hell broke loose, it must be because we did something to upset the weather god.
Prayers, rituals, sacrifices were all attempts to placate the weather god, or whichever unseen power was addressed. Just because we wear designer clothing, drive sports cars, and stream videos, doesn’t mean we’ve gotten that part of our psyche out of our collective heads.
Otherwise rational people still cross their fingers, don’t talk about things they don’t want “jinxed,” rub their “lucky” coin before a game, and all manner of nonsense. It’s part of who we are, and is still something I find charming.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I’m looking forward to another visit Down Under. To the Land of Thunder! Where women glow and men plunder!
You can catch Raymond E. Feist at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Sydney (15-17 June) and Perth (23–24 June).