The Story Behind War of Shadows (or ‘Where Do You Get Your Ideas’?)


“Where do you get your ideas?”

Most writers wish they had a nickel for every time someone asks that question, and the truth is, we don’t have a really good answer. “Out of thin air” seems flippant, but it’s true. “From things that happen to me” is also true, but when you write epic fantasy and stories about haunted heirlooms, that kind of answer makes people wonder what your life is really like.

For me, it always starts with “what if?”

What if….magic was a natural force that could be harnessed, but the bond between people and magic was artificial, a magical construct itself?

And what if… something broke that bond. Could it be restored? If so, would it be the same? If it came back, how would it be different? Would people get back power if they had lost it, or get new powers they didn’t have before? Would people gain or lose power? Would the rules be the same?

And what if…there were powerful forces who liked a world without controlled magic, who thrived on the chaos and had plans of their own, taking advantage of the new imbalance of power?  We all think that after a devastating event, everyone wants to get back to normal, but what if some powerful people saw new advantages in the rubble?

Those were the questions I grappled with as I created my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga with Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and coming April 21, War of Shadows.

In the first novel, Ice Forged, a war destroys the ability to harness and use magic, devastating the kingdom of Donderath and its neighboring lands. Blaine McFadden just might be the only man who can put things right, but he was sentenced to life imprisonment in an arctic prison colony before the war began.

It’s probably not a big spoiler to say that Blaine does finally agree to try to restore the magic. But doing so is harder and more dangerous than he imagined. When Blaine returns to find a way to restore magic, he’s not only up against the deadly forces of untamed magic. He also discovers that he’s gained powerful enemies who have a vested interest in making sure he fails–and dies.  The longer it goes without controlled magic, the more out of kilter things become, and the more danger Blaine faces.

So when the second book,Martin_WarOfShadows-TP Reign of Ash opens, the consequences of Donderath’s cataclysmic war are still unfolding. Not only is magic still wild and lethal, but without a king or the nobility, the kingdom has devolved into chaos. Warlords vie for land, resources and dominance. Old hatreds and secrets create new dangers. Not only are the mortals fighting among themselves, but the immortal talishte are riven by internal jealousies and vendettas. And everything Blaine does to try to straighten things out seems to make it worse.

War of Shadows continues the domino effect of consequences that began with the Donderath-Meroven War and the choice to use a devastating magical strike to destroy the enemy. Although the kings of Meroven and Donderath are dead, the repercussions of their choices continue to bring new disasters for the survivors. And while Blaine wins some important victories in Reign of Ash, new challenges arise from the wreckage, including a deadly threat from the magic that has not yet been safely tamed or anchored. Powerful forces battle for control, and the only way Blaine can protect his homeland and the people he loves is by becoming the most fearsome warlord in the kingdom. Magic, betrayal, conspiracies and assassins make for a dangerous path.

Will the alliances Blaine has built hold? And will his special connection to the magic, something in his very blood, be enough to tame it again? And most importantly, will doing so require his death?  The answers are in War of Shadows!



5 comments to The Story Behind War of Shadows (or ‘Where Do You Get Your Ideas’?)

  • Razziecat

    Verrrry intriguing… 😀 I’ll have to check this out!

  • If someone posted the Google search history for various writers, I’ll bet it would be entertaining!

  • Luka-Michaela

    I’m so glad someone remembers cause and effect and has that throughout their novel. Sometimes it irks me to see the lack of it in some stories. At any rate, I love the idea of a world reliant on magic so your story sounds interesting. It reminds me of the fall of Rome and how the dark ages were quickly ushered in because of it.

  • Traveling again! Sorry for the delay.

    Razziecat–thank you very much!

    Melissa–Yeah, if the NSA ever looks at writers’ Google searches, we are all so screwed!


    Luka-Michaela–Thank you! Yes, there is definitely a Dark Ages vibe going in the Ascendant Kingdoms books–intentionally so, to see how people reinvent themselves.

    Thanks all!