I’ve got an interview with L. Blankenship, the creator of the Disciples books below. We talk about her inspirations, some of the characters and what she likes about fantasy. Check it out — and a big thanks to L. Blankenship for letting me read her book and for this interview!
How did you first get interested in writing?
I’m one of those writers who started doing it early — before I was ten — so I don’t know that it was ever an “interest.” It was something I did. I remember asking my parents if I could use their typewriter (to give you an idea how long ago this was) and learning how to load a sheet of paper into the roller… the crickety hum it made when I turned it on… the thwapping of the type bars against the paper… everything about it was interesting.
What made you want to write a Fantasy novel? What are some Fantasy works that have inspired you and the Disciple series?
I’ve always loved fantasy, so it’s always been a genre I’ve written in. I’ve been inspired and influenced by all the usual suspects in the fantasy genre, but I’d particularly like to mention Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series, and Michael Moorcock’s Elric saga. Disciple didn’t have have any specific inspirations, but some of its grit definitely came from Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord chronicles.
The magic system for Disciples is very unique, with its mutations and odd powers. How did you go about creating the magic?
I knew I wanted a magic that could be very powerful at high levels, but was limited by the availability of fuel. I also wanted it to be very natural and to fit in well with the laws of physics. Biological, almost. That led me to the ancient ideas of qi and prana, and I started building the kir system from there.
Most Fantasy novels don’t feature the perspective of a female healer like your protagonist, Kate Carpenter — how did you decide that this would be Kate’s story?
I’ve always been more interested in the secondary characters, in fantasy stories, than the princes and nobles and wizards. I’ve always wanted to know what was going on behind the scenes and in the more mundane times between the heroic, magical set-pieces. Kate offered me the chance to tell a story that usually happens after the scene fades to black, so it was hers from the get-go.
The two main male characters in the books are Prince Kiefan and Anders, a royal bastard. What led to their creation and how do you see them effecting Kate?
One of the ideas at Disciple‘s root was an online discussion about Titanic and the socio-economic dynamics between Jack and Rose. Kiefan became a prince partly because I wanted to play around with a romantic situation that’s tricky in a modern context.
Anders… well, he walked into the story and just started being himself. You try saying no to him.
How will they effect Kate? See the next question.
You’ve said that Disciple is going to be a six part story. Any hints as to what’s next for Kate and her friends?
In Part IV, Kate will have to shoulder increasingly large duties in helping her saints defend the kingdom, and also keep Kiefan and Anders from killing each other.
Do you have non-Disciples writing projects that you’re working on?
Yes! I have an M/M romance called Hawks & Rams, which is set in the “Saints of War” world but not connected to Disciple at all. I also have two hard science fiction novels that need some revising and polishing, and a third that’s simmering on the back burner.
If you were in a medieval fantasy society, what do you think you would do?
I am an experimental crafter at heart, so I would probably be either brewing beer (distilling moonshine?) or knitting/spinning/weaving. I would definitely be a background character in somebody else’s heroic quest, LOL.
Find out more about the Disciple series at L’s blog: Disciple of the Fount.