Betrayal’s Shadow (Mahaelian Chronicle #1) is out NOW!
So go grab a copy!
From Eddings to Erikson – My Path To Writing by Dave De Burgh
The first Fantasy novel I ever read was David Edding’s ‘Pawn of Prophecy’, and I read the full series in less than two months. What struck me about the saga (I’ll always think of it as a saga) was that it had everything I didn’t know I was looking for.
Before ‘Pawn of Prophecy’ I had already read Stephen King’s Pet Sematary – I was nine or ten and the book thoroughly creeped me out. Which means that SK did is job – and though Edding’s novel was as different to Pet Sematary as fire is to water, ‘Pawn of Prophecy’ also did its job. It opened up my imagination, allowed me to begin thinking about different kinds of worlds, people, creatures. You could say that reading the first novel in The Belgariad gave me the very first glimpses of the world I would begin to create, and which would eventually become the setting of The Mahaelian Chronicle.
‘Pawn of Prophecy’ had everything: a deep, mysterious and exciting history preceding the novel’s events; magic and politics; relationships and how people react under pressure; battles and vivid imagery; characters which weren’t stagnant and grew, evolved and changed according to their circumstances and the tests they went through. It was a revelation, that book – and it pushed me (without any resistance on my part) into a life-long love of Fantasy.
I discovered many other writers because of ‘Pawn of Prophecy’ – as far as gateway drugs go, it was amazing. But as addicts will tell you, what comes after the gateway drug makes that introduction pale in comparison. And I found the ceiling, the very highest level I hope to aspire to, in Steven Erikson’s work.
After reading ‘Gardens of the Moon’ I was shaken up – basically everything which I had learned while reading Fantasy had just been tossed out the window. Just as Edding’s work fired my imagination, Erikson’s work showed me that any limits which existed in Fantasy as a genre didn’t exist. And during my second re-reads of ‘Deadhouse Gates’ and ‘Memories of Ice’ I began to take my writing seriously – oh, I had been playing around with writing for a while already; I had hundreds of hand-written pages of broken scenes and tales which went nowhere (because I hadn’t thought beyond the initial idea) and the earliest seeds of what would become my novel, but I was nowhere near having the final tale in my head.
So I began to focus – I wrote a full outline for the novel, agonized over the characters, the events and the plot-arc; most of what I wrote in that outline was tossed out because I recognised where things were very thin and useless and just plain stupid and stereotypical. It took me taking a writing course to finish the first draft of the novel, and with that accomplished, the writer-portion of my brain really kicked in because I knew then that I wanted to be a writer.
The novel went through many changes from the moment I finished the first draft until it was published – and rightfully so, because it took that long for me to truly understand what I needed to know to carry on writing. And I’m not just talking about the story itself (what worked, what didn’t, etc.), I’m talking about life experience.
What the novel eventually became is a product of everything I’ve read and enjoyed, or even read and hated; it’s also a product of what I went through as a teenager, then getting my first job, dating, beginning to pay my way, etc. And it’s also a product of the people I’ve met and gotten to know, or even just glimpsed.
So, what will you find in the novel? Well, the first and most important thing is that there aren’t any prophecies or ‘chosen one’s’; life taught me that those kinds of people just don’t exist, and being a bookseller taught me that readers were tired of the ‘chosen one’ trope.
So, no prophecies or somebodies-destined-for-greatness.
You’ll also find that I mix genres – being a fan of Horror and Science Fiction, too, aspects of both those genres are in my Fantasy novel.
One thought I kept on holding in my mind while writing the novel was ‘I want to break the rules’, and another aspect of the novel which might surprise you is that there isn’t one main character. In fact, when I realised that the narrative was beginning to turn around one guy, I promptly got rid of him (for a while, at least).
While writing the novel I wasn’t conscious of the themes in it – but there are themes which I explore, and one of those is abuse, and the different forms abuse can take. My novel isn’t for kids, folks – it’s brutal, gory and intense. One thing I learned during high school and after was that abuse, violence and emotional distress doesn’t happen the way we see it on TV or in the movies. I don’t sugar coat it, and I don’t shy away from it. So, be prepared.
In terms of politics, battles and magic, my novel has those, too – what my novel doesn’t have is long descriptive passages detailing the clothing characters’ wear, and it also doesn’t have info-dumps; if something is important in terms of the narrative, character’s thoughts or motivations, and the like I’ll include some extra info. What I wanted to do with this novel was let the characters explore for themselves.
And this novel is the first in a trilogy. When I began writing it I knew I was embarking on a tale which had to take place over multiple books, and yes, there is space for me to write many more tales in this setting but for now, it’s a trilogy; mainly because I’ve got so many other ideas and a finite lifespan. *wink*
I hope you enjoy it – I hope it makes you think and wonder; I hope it lets you see that Fantasy has many, many possibilities and different kinds of stories to tell; and above all, I hope you trust me enough to hand over your money in the hopes that this storyteller from South Africa will at least be able to entertain you for a while. *smiles*
About the author:
Dave-Brendon de Burgh wanted to be an artist and speak French, but Fate saved him and pointed him in the direction of writing. He’s a bookseller, co-parent to three wonderful ‘furkids’, reads Speculative Fiction voraciously, and is the luckiest guy in the world because he has a blonde, blue-eyed woman in his life who supports his need to write and be crazy.
He lives in Pretoria, South Africa, and when he’s not writing he’s watching TV series, movies or playing games. He’s on Blogger, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, and is also a paranormal investigator with Phoenix Paranormal South Africa.
About the book:
Betrayal’s Shadow (Mahaelian Chronicle Book 1) by
As a decorated general in the kingdom’s elite Blade Knights, Brice had to overcome the taint of treason and betrayal to attain his rank. When Brice and a force of Knights are sent on a mission to investigate claims of rebellion in one of Avidar’s provinces, their ship is magically attacked, and the resulting investigation tests every oath Brice swore before his king.
Meanwhile, an inhuman infant escapes the capital’s Slave-Hold, the king’s mistress comes into possession of a unique dagger, and Del’Ahrid, the king’s most trusted First Advisor, begins to question everything he built his honour and life upon.
Events are in motion that will test every man, woman and child – and a conflict is coming that will shake the kingdom to its very foundations.
So begins the Mahaelian Chronicle.