HAPPY SUNDAY, GUYS!
Today, we are proud to share our second entry from one of our favorite events of the year: the Debut Author Bash that is hosted by YA Reads.
Nichole and the team have a gift of not only finding great debut authors, but pairing them with bloggers who are genuinely interested in learning/sharing more!
Today, we're pleased to have Kathryn Purdie on the blog today! She's talking about building the world of Burning Glass + a giveaway!
A guest post from Kathryn Purdie
Author of Burning Glass
March 2016, Katherine Tegen
Such an honor to get to officially talk to you! I've heard from other writers that creating fantasy worlds has both its upsides and downsides. On the plus side, you don't have to worry about adhering to the real world; you get to create your own rules. But on the downside, you have to make sure that your rules are coherent, and make sense.
So could you talk a little about how you came up with the world of Burning Glass? How did you create your foundation - e.g. were you inspired at all by any cultures; ideas? - and how did you keep it all straight?
The idea for Burning Glass came to me in about a minute one spring morning. In those sixty seconds, I knew who the three main characters would be, the basic plot, and the setting--a world largely inspired by Imperial Russia.
I’ve been fascinated by Imperial Russia since I was a teenager when I learned the last tsarevich, Alexei, had hemophilia like my three brothers, grandfather, and later my own son. I started reading all about Russia and watching epic movies set there. I love War and Peace, Doctor Zhivago, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Shadow and Bone, and I knew the dramatic story I wanted to tell needed a dramatic setting like that--Russia was perfect!
Since Burning Glass deals with a revolution, which I didn’t want to feel similar to Russia’s revolution, I decided to color outside the lines of history and make up my own world. So I use a blend of Eastern European names, not just Russian names, and I only use Russian terms half the time. My country is called Riaznin, and it has a pantheon of Gods rather than a Catholic-based religion. But, by and large, the world still feels very Russian.
There are also other countries in the book, which are also loosely based on various real-world countries. Estengarde is a blend of France and England, Shengli is a blend of Mongolia and China, and Abdara is my mini Middle East.
Part of the world of Burning Glass is its magic system. The fantasy element is one that feels realistic, closer to our world, and that is that Sonya is an Auraseer, a type of empath that can sense emotion, physical feeling, and the spirit/energy of a person, which I define as “aura.” I knew I wanted to push what an empath was to its extreme, and Sonya exemplifies that. Even among other Auraseers, Sonya’s gift is strange and unnatural. She can’t eat meat or touch fur because, if she does, she senses what the beast felt while they were dying. If she touches a person’s blood, the same thing happens. It’s very hard for her to be alone with her own feelings because she’s bombarded by everyone else’s.
This seems like a simple magic system, but it was very tricky to make sure my vision of aura was clear on the page, because “aura” is one of those abstract words that means something different to everyone. I also had to be clear on how other people’s auras affect Sonya. She has a difficult time separating her own aura from other people’s. If she feels angry, for example, she has to stop and think, “Why am I angry? Did something logically make me upset, or does this emotion belong to someone else?” Writing Burning Glass became a deep character study for Sonya and all the characters because Sonya feels them so closely. Her ability also evolves in the story, and I had to define how that happens very carefully. I can’t talk more about that because SPOILERS. But my editor was fantastic with all of these clarifications.
I haven’t had to chart out the world and magic system because the world is largely real-world based, and my magic is more abstract. But I did do tons of research, and I have pages and pages of names and random bits of things I’ve learned in a big notebook and binder. My first map of the world looked like an attack of giant blobs at first, but I had an artist friend help me make it prettier, and that sketch became the blueprint for the gorgeous map inside the book. I did make a bible for the trilogy that lists all the people, places, animals, gods, terms I made up, foreign terms, stuff like that, and the descriptions I’ve used for each. As you can probably tell, I geek out about this stuff and love it.
I’m just finishing revisions for the second book. What I can promise readers is that they’ll have some new places to visit with Sonya in the trilogy. I’m especially excited for the journey she’ll take in book three. That’s all I can say about that! :-)
About the title:
Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, and she can’t always decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.
As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the charming-yet-volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.
Amazon | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads