I read some books and the guy who’s the hero is just plain hot. And I remember him. A hot hunk isn’t enough to make me love a book, but let’s face it, it doesn’t hurt. But M. L. Rigdon has a habit of writing wonderful male characters AND one heck of a good story. In her newest fantasy, THE GRACARIN, she combines a hero who endeared himself to me the longer I read about him, with a heroine whom I’ve loved since I read about her in the trilogy Seasons of Time. I love Sorda, and it hurt when she became Lorin’s consort in that series instead of his wife. But it was so typical of her, content to play second-fiddle in the background. Until she meets Torak–my heart throb–in The Gracarin. And oh, how I hope she and Torak end up together. So, I invited M. L. Rigdon to my blog to tell us more about her new fantasy trilogy.
Q&A with M. L. Rigdon
You wrote a three-book series, SEASONS OF TIME. And now you’re continuing that storyline with plans for another three book series, SEASONS OF WAR. Your first book in that series, THE GRACARIN, released today. Happy Book Birthday! And thanks for visiting my blog.
Thanks Judy/Judi for this invitation!
What draws you to fantasy?
The joy and high of unrestrained imagination. Other genres have parameters, often strict boundaries, such as regency. History cannot be changed, but with fantasy, the mind can go anywhere and do anything. There’s a lot of power in that freedom. The most difficult aspect is containing/directing it.
In The Gracarin, Torak’s civilization is centered around religion and music, a respect for the land. In your first series, Omirr’s religion is faith-based, wary of technology. But each land respects the other. Explain how their two religions differ, and why you chose to write each that way.
So much of what comes out of my head is pants writing, but like all writers, a product of what we’ve learned, read, experienced. I’ve always enjoyed the differences in nations and cultures. There’s so much to learn from each other. Omirr’s religion is fundamental, has strict rules and codes. Gracarin’s culture centers around reverence for the land, music as a way of worship, leaving one’s spirituality and journey a uniquely personal responsibility. Now that you’ve asked, I see similarities to Native American plains tribes.
Both Omirr and the Gracarin respect women, but in different ways. How do they differ?
In both cultures, women are equal in status to men. The Gracarin women have an edge because of the Council of Elders, women who make legal decisions, turning over those edicts to the men to decide the punishment.( It wasn’t until after I wrote this aspect of Gracarin culture that I remembered reading about early Native American tribes in the East having women as leaders and female councils making tribal decisions).
Regarding relationships, in Omirr, marriages are often arranged. In Gracarin, the women chose and propose publicly, a challenge, physical and vocal to all comers, winner gets the guy. The guy has a choice, yes or a polite no. Most don’t decline.
Both series are written with an overall story arc that starts with book one and finishes with book three. What’s the story arc for SEASONS OF WAR?
Each book deals with conflicts and threats created by a sorceress abetted by a Gracarin aristocrat. This culminates with a BBM (big, black moment) and battle for survival for both nations.
You write wonderful male characters. What inspired you to write Torak?
I have no idea. These people (characters) come into my head whole, like a weird adult birth. I used to worry that I “did” male characters wrong. Being female, I worried I’d not be able to relate to masculine mentality. It wasn’t until book events, where men waylaid me to talk with great excitement about the men in my books, that I was surprised to learn I did it right. They loved the male heroes, found them accessible, relatable. Who knew we are so alike? My late husband’s explanation was that we are alike with the exception that men are visually driven and women rely on emotional responses.
Sorda is one of my favorite characters in your first series, but you were downright mean to her in The Gracarin. Why?
Bad things happen to good people. Torak needed to confront some inner conflicts. Plot needed to ante up. Bad people do bad things, which in this case, provided discovery and helped to drive the story forward. I may write by the seat of my pants but some writing ingredients have to be added to the mix.
The fflorin were in your first series and this new one. Care to introduce them to us?
Part dragon, part bird. Capricious, clever, obnoxious, in turn adorable and affectionate versus fight-loving and vicious in battle. Blue-skinned, fluffy white wings, opposable thumbs and three fingers with retractable talons. Doesn’t like the taste of human flesh but not averse to tearing a human enemy into shreds. They chose human associates like we would a puppy and sneer at humans who cannot communicate in their musical language. They align themselves with humans because they provide plenty of opportunity to engage in fighting.
Any more thoughts you’d like to share with us about The Gracarin or Seasons of War?
It’s dedicated to John Robert Malas Jr., aka Badaz, on the anniversary of his father’s death. This may seem odd, but it’s another way to celebrate a man who profoundly influenced others, and to thank John Jr. for his suggestion to continue with the world of Omirr and for his service to our country.
How about a blurb and an endorsement:
To avenge a vicious assault on his lands, Gracarin overlord Torak-en-Dorath seeks an alliance with Ladnor-Sha, Omirr’s most powerful ruler. Under the guise of attending a conference, he instigates a campaign to take the throne of his enemy but gets caught in unforeseen conflict—one that includes Sorda of Vos, legal consort to the heir of the House of Sha. Called the Beloved by the winged fflorin, Sorda becomes key in the restoration of his blighted lands and an unwilling catalyst of war.
“Strong, compassionate characters from two different cultures where religion, magic, and power prevail and come together to rid Gracarin of an evil, profligate ruler. Highly recommended. A great follow-up of the Seasons of Time trilogy.” Judi Lynn, USA Today bestselling author
Thanks for visiting my blog.
I got to beta read The Gracarin and loved it! Hope you give it a try.