On my quest to find the best Diverse Fantasy novels. I had the pleasure of receiving The Banished Craft from E.D.E Bell. Don’t let the cover fool you, this had to be one of the most ambitious novels I’ve ever read. The world building is crazy off the hook. And some of the POV characters are DRAGONS. Dragons, yo!
I had questions and E.D.E happily answered them for me.
Q: There were a quite a few POV characters, can you give me a breakdown on the main ones:
A: There are a lot of characters! When I wrote Spireseeker, it was intentionally simple (maybe too simple) because it was my first effort. For the Shkode trilogy, I wanted to challenge myself to write a more complex story. I probably went too far on the complexity (two worlds!) but I do love how it’s turned out regardless. On the dragon world, the central characters are Jwala and Atesh, a Sergeant and a scientist. They feel things aren’t right in the world but aren’t sure what to do about it. On the human world, Cor, a woman who has led a lonely life has become determined to learn why her parents were murdered. Her quest leads her to a secret society and the discovery of a lost magic. Meanwhile on both worlds, there is political turmoil. Emperor Zee, flanked by the vicious General Dronna, is challenged by a mysterious challenger with his own motivations and influences. The humans are having a presidential election, with the incumbent Gregory King and his wife, Francie, but of course—things do not go as planned. And the story is narrated by a four-dimensional being known as Mother, who unintentionally caused the worlds to split in the first place.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in book one and the overall series?
A: I really just want to write something people will enjoy. That’s really all any of us want, right? But I do like layering in concepts and ideas that make people think. That doesn’t mean I’m hammering people with an idea – it means that there are complex layers within the story that hopefully inspire some thought. My goal with Book 1 was to introduce the characters and catch people’s attention. I want Book 2 to pack a real punch with plot twists and new ideas, and then Book 3 to bring home the ending in a way people will enjoy.
Q: Do you consider this Feminist Fantasy?
A: It’s not a label I’ve used because it’s more complex than that and I don’t just write for women – I write for everyone. Many of my most enthusiastic fans are men. That said, I believe in and write about gender equality, and I write fantasy. So it’s not wrong either.
Q: What books inspired you?
A: I am very inspired by Brandon Sanderson because I think he’s such a master of the genre. He signed a book for me and wrote, “Keep at it!” and while it’s such a simple thing it helps remind me that I won’t get everything right from the beginning and I’ve got to keep working at it.
Q: It’s such an intense world, how long did it take you to do the world building? Did you create it as you wrote, or the other way around?
A: I work a little slowly since I write on evenings and weekends. However, I focused on the world-building and general plot development for about six months before I started writing. For the second book, I spent about six weeks working it. So I created it before I wrote, but I did modify the world as I wrote as well, because new ideas spring to life as the characters form and develop.
It’s been such a pleasure to chat with you — I hope your readers enjoy my story, and will keep an eye out for the Kickstarter campaign we’ll run starting 1 October, where we’ll reveal the title of Book 2 and provide pre-orders and fun rewards. Thanks again!
The Banished Craft is a genre-bending fantasy saga that follows the adventures of Cor, a woman caught in a dying world that does not accept her, and Atesh, a dragon scientist who’s been asked to violate his own ethics or put the lives of his family at risk. Follow their trials as they deal with a shattered world, mired in political upheaval, while they try to rediscover a lost magic. The Banished Craft begins the Shkode trilogy: a quirky and modern take on dragons and wizards, exploring themes of identity, prejudice, violence, compassion, and the ways we are all connected