Featured Book: 'Fae - The Wild Hunt' by Graham Austin-King
Fae - The Wild Hunt, the first book of Graham Austin-King's epic fantasy trilogy, is about the the return of the fae to a world which has forgotten them. The fae have become nothing more than a myth a child's tale, and at the point where the barriers that kept them locked away from the world begin to fail the nation of Anlan is about to be invaded. Ultimately the book, and the trilogy, is about whether mankind can accept that the fae pose a far greater threat to them than the other side in this war.
Graham Austin-King wanted to write something that reached back to the traditional notion of faerie tales. Faeries weren't nice originally. Before they were covered in saccharine and sold to kids via modern stories then faeries were the thing that went bump in the night. They were the reason we nailed horseshoes over doors, it had nothing to do with luck, it was just the easiest piece of iron to get your hands on.
Interview with Graham Austin-King
You mentioned that you wanted to stray away from the "stereotypical fantasy novel". What makes yours unique compared to other fantasy stories set in a medieval world?
If there is such a thing as the stereotypical fantasy novel then it is probably one involving parties of adventurers with a warrior, thief, mage, healer etc on their quest to retrieve the magic "something". I tried to stay away from that as much as possible. The series is more about ordinary people having to cope with fantastical events and creatures.
It sounds like all faeries in your work are all dark? Are there good faeries? How are they antagonistic to your heroes?
They are certainly dark but not necessarily evil. This isn't a series with a clear-cut 'good vs evil' split. If anything then 'them vs us' probably works better. The fae are not simple-minded monsters, they are a distinct people with their own personal wants and motivations. There may be some good fae in the novels, or at least fae who have a different motivation but that would be telling. If there were then they would certainly be working on their own agenda rather than helping mankind out of some sense of altruism.
Tell us about an interesting character or group of characters in your novel
The Bjornmen are norse-like culture that supplement their own farming with coastal raids on other countries. Kloss is a young man who rejects his father's plans to have him take over their merchant holding and instead trains as an oarsman on a reaver. Over time he becomes a central figure in the invasion of Anlan.
With the fae and the Bjornmen, it sounds like your characters are defined by the groups they belong in or where they came from. How do you individualize or flesh out your characters?
The fae, Bjornmen and Anlish are defined by who they are in much the same way as English, French or American people are. Nationality, and in this case species, has an influence on how the characters behave but they still have their own distinct characters. I think they fae were the most fun to write as they are not human and so I tried to keep them and their culture as alien as possible.
How does your organic world-building process affect the direction of your plot? Do you explain a lot of their backgrounds early on?
I tend to explain the world through the characters. The series is told over several points of view which allowed me to explore all of the cultures the reader encounters.
Why do you think religion is absent in your world?
There is a religion in the books, a new religion that is sweeping across the world. Prior to the advent of this new faith however, new religions had a hard time gaining traction. There was a purge that involved the eradication of churches and the druids under the rule of the last empire, nothing has had any success in spreading since that time.
What kind of fantastical creatures do we expect to find in Haven?
Haven is much like our world, there are no fantastical creatures. In book two of the trilogy the reader gets to see the realm of the fae and everything you might expect from that.
Check out this video of Graham Austin-King reading Fae - The Wild Hunt.
Check out Fae - The Wild Hunt on Amazon