Here are ten questions he recently answered about his work in progress.
Do your main characters have any pictures of themselves with friends/family? Why/Why not?
A: Cat: yes. He doesn’t have them with him, those are formal portraits painted for halls of family Greentree and the House of Forests.
His people have term-limited marriages (500 year lifespans) so formal paintings with the kids are A Thing.
Brushfire: no. Her family have never had the money or time to spare for much luxury, and having someone paint anyone would definitely count.
Armand: yes, of course – probably relatively recent, painted when he became Archmage. The pictures are in his tower, though… Not on the ship he’s riding on his minor little mission to save everyone.
What do your main characters see when they look out of their bedroom window/door?
A: All three of them, right now, look out to see the void.
This is a problem, because even Cat and Brushfire are used to aether, which their respective species can breathe and sail ships in. Nobody can breathe the void and it has nothing to sail on.
And they have about a hundred thousand leagues of it to get through…
What’s your main character’s most annoying character trait?
A: Cat: He is Cat Greentrees of the House of Forests, a Mage of a Tertiary Line of a Great House of the High Court.
… No further explanation is necessary.
Brushfire Hammerhead: She is not old enough to be nearly as motherly as she feels toward the clan of gobvar she finds herself leading.
Armand Bluestaves: Just try to talk with him without being handed his latest baking project.And you don’t argue with Archmages.
Do your main characters have any prejudices?
A: All three of them have different prejudices. All spent most of the last book getting them challenged.
Cat, the elvar of the trio, and Brushfire, the gobvar of the trio, hate each other’s respective species.
They’re working on it.
Bluestaves, the Archmage of the bunch, would never even THINK it, but he has always been biased against those without proper education.
So, of course, he’s now dependent on uneducated aethership crew to survive…
Is the antagonist close to anyone?
A: Well… so much as this book has an antagonist, it is the semi-embodied manifestation of a spell that ate a dozen or so spheres worth of life.
So I’m going to go with no. No, the Hunger of the Void isn’t close to anyone…
What parts of your world would you recommend a tourist to stay away from? Why?
A: The border spheres between the Clan Spheres on the one side and the Court and Kingdoms on the other.
It’s not that the Gobvar Clans are bad people or even dislike strangers.
It’s that Her Crimson Sisters are an order of fanatical murderers who regard violence as sacred to their god. And they control the border.
What parts of your world would you recommend a tourist to visit?
A: The Elvar High Court.
They don’t have the words for it, but it’s basically a natural Dyson swarm of continent-sized plates orbiting a magical crystal that gives off light and heat.
Home to one of the oldest extant civilizations, it has the pomp of Victorian era Britain, the history of Rivendell and the views of the Ringworld.
Just…be polite. Their politics don’t spill over onto outsiders. Normally.
Are your main characters good at flirting?
A: Cat knows the rules of courtship in an elvar great house.
Brushfire has spent her entire life surrounded by people related to her or who employ her entire family.
Armand is… an academic. So, in short, no. None of them are good at flirting.
A stranger makes a crude comment about your main character’s significant other or best friend. How do you react?
A: Cat once threw wands with the captain of a warship because the var was being rude about his gobvar crew.
In a situation where it’s less obviously clear what the answer is, he is capable of that level of icy politeness that makes you realize that you effed up bad.
Brushfire is used to being the target of crude and racist commentary. She has found ways (mostly related to being about seven feet tall with horns and as skilled at LOOM as she is at not looming) to silently express her displeasure at comments at her siblings.
If someone made crude comments at Cat or Armand, though, I’m not sure she’d get over her shock in time to do anything.
Armand is an Archmage That is a descriptor of his magical power, but it also comes with political and social status and power.
“Irritating an archmage” is literally a crime on the books of most spheres.Armand would never use that status or privilege for himself. But to protect his people? His friends? He will teach you why you do not screw with archmagi.
What makes your hero feel weak?
A: Cat: Losing control, both of himself and the situation. He’s still reeling from being cashiered from the High Court Navy in many ways.
Brushfire: Not being able to protect her family. She’s used to feeling weak. Feeling strong is new on her.
Armand: Mucking up his baking because this magical rocket has different movements than a magical sailing ship. (Oh, also completely running out of magic in duels with other near-demigods…)
Stay tuned for more information about Void Spheres, the sequel to Nine Sailed Star.