Today I am interviewing Deborah A. Wolf, debut author of the new epic fantasy novel, The Dragon’s Legacy, first book in The Dragon’s Legacy series.
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DJ: Hey Deborah! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
Deborah A. Wolf: Hi, thanks for having me!
DJ: For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Deborah: I had kind of a weird life; I grew up on wildlife refuges until my family moved to a small village in the middle of Alaska and settled down. I’ve been an underwater photographer on Maui (did not hate that job), an Arabic linguist (the dating pool was exemplary) and a single mom (best gig yet). I’m fond of animals, less than fond of crowds, and have the attention span of—SQUIRREL!
DJ: What is The Dragon’s Legacy about?
Deborah: THE DRAGON’S LEGACY is almost as strange as its author. It’s about the threat to human survival by ecological forces–huge ecological forces, in this case, with wings and scales and all—and how different societies react to that threat. It’s bout indigenous societies caught between warring empires, and a struggle to maintain cultural identity. Mostly it’s about the small human stories of everyday people trying to go about their lives and loves while these events are taking place.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Dragon’s Legacy and The Dragon’s Legacy series?
Deborah: George Martin was definitely an influence in that he opened the door for stories that don’t follow a predictable path. Martin, Steven Erikson, and probably even Robert Jordan, whose work isn’t much like mine, showed me how much I like epic sagas that tell myriad stories of human-ness. Anne McCaffrey made me want dragons, and Pat Rothfuss made me want to make it all pretty.
Growing up in an indigenous society, being a soldier, and immersion in the Arabic language and Middle East cultures made me want to tell stories of desert warriors in a tribal society.
And you can blame it all on Tolkien in the first place.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Deborah: I have an ambitious cast of characters, and the thing I love best is the diversity. I wanted to have male and female point-of-view characters in a wide range of ages and backgrounds, and did a fair job of that! I also like that there are no villains who are evil just because, or heroes that are heroes because they are good. We all act like jerks sometimes—each of us, I’m sure, is a villain and a hero to somebody. I love a well-rounded, ambiguous, human character.
DJ: What is the world and setting of The Dragon’s Legacy series like?
Deborah: I call my universe the Illindriverse; all of my stories, even the ones set in this world, are subtly related. I may or may not eventually explain how or why that is. The world of THE DRAGON’S LEGACY is much like our world, if there had never been a dinosaur apocalypse, if humans were about a third of the way down the food chain, and if Atlantis were a city sunk deep underground in order to escape the searing wrath of an angry dragon.
DJ: I love epic fantasy with multiple POV and complex plots, but I have always wondered how writers approach writing these types of stories? How did you decide which POV to jump to next when telling the story and how did you actually write the story? Or, when this situation occurs, how do you decide which POV to tell each scene from?
Deborah: The method I have created (and am still working on) for writing this complex story is an absolute shite-ton of work. I can tell you that multiple outlines are involved (one for the world story, one for each society, one for each point of view character, and so forth). Thank Cthulhu for Scrivener, I’ll say that much.
THE DRAGON’S LEGACY was written, more or less, chapter by chapter in order. This sequel, THE FORBIDDEN CITY, I’m writing each character’s story separately and then weaving them together, though the outlines as I’ve described are all laid out, so I know, for instance, that Character A chapter 3 is Book 2 Chapter 33.
I threw out about 85k of my first book, and I’ve thrown out nearly that much of FORBIDDEN. Having to do that is a whole bucket of suck, for sure, but the story is better for it in the end.
DJ: Do you ever go back and rearrange the planned order or have to write a scene over again from another character’s perspective?
Deborah: Nope. I have reasons for writing each chapter to that specific character’s point of view, because each message I want to deliver is best told by that specific character in that point of the character’s story.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Dragon’s Legacy?
Deborah: The parts that are funny and dark—and there are a fair few of those, as I have a wicked sense of humor—were probably my favorite bits as I was writing them. Having someone else enjoy my stories is the best part about having written. That’s heady stuff, right there.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Deborah: What I hope is that my readers will be so invested in the lives of my characters that they really want to know what happens next in their stories.
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing the The Dragon’s Legacy series? The Dragon’s Legacy is only the first book, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Deborah: There are a couple of themes in the story, though my humor is often more than a little tongue-in-cheek, so those might not be as obvious as they appear. I’m an unreliable narrator. I’d rather you tell me what you think those themes are, once you’ve read it, lest I spoil your fun.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Dragon’s Legacy that you can share with us?
Deborah: “My mother does not treat with traitors or assassins…if she wants someone killed, she kills them herself.”
DJ: Now that The Dragon’s Legacy is released, what is next for you?
Deborah: I’m hard at work on THE DRAGON’S LEGACY II: HEART OF THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM. And so far it’s knocking my socks off.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B06XHLV3B1
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Dragon’s Legacy and The Dragon’s Legacy series that we haven’t talked about yet?
Deborah: There is a lot of bastardized science and science fiction in this fantasy, and that will become more apparent as the story progresses. Also, and not unrelated, keep an eye on the spiders.
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add? (Or add your own question).
Deborah: I very much hope that readers enjoy spending time in my strange new world.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Deborah: Thanks again for having me! It was a pleasure.
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*** The Dragon’s Legacy is published by Titan Books and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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Epic fantasy in the tradition of Guy Gavriel Kay and Jacqueline Carey. “A world of large-scale epic fantasy… This is a rare find and not to be missed.” New York Times bestselling author Barb Hendee.
In the heart of the singing desert, the people are fading from the world. Mothers bear few live children, the warriors and wardens are hard-pressed to protect those who remain, and the vash’ai—the great cats who have called the people kithren for as long as there have been stories—bond with fewer humans each year. High above, the Sun Dragon sings a song of life and love while far below, the Earth Dragon slumbers as she has since the beginning of time. Her sleep is fitful, and from the darkness of her dreams come whispers of war… and death.
Sulema is a newly minted warrior of the people and a true Ja’Akari—a daughter of the unforgiving desert. When a mysterious young man appears in her home of Aish Kalumm, she learns that the Dragon King is dying in distant Atualon. As the king fades, so does the magic that sings the Earth Dragon to sleep.
There are those who wish to keep the dragon trapped in endless slumber. Others would tap her power to claim it for their own. And there are those who would have her wake, so they might laugh as the world burns.
Deborah A. Wolf was born in a barn and raised on wildlife refuges, which explains rather a lot. As a child, whether she was wandering down the beach of an otherwise deserted island or exploring the hidden secrets of Alaska with her faithful dog Sitka, she always had a book at hand. She opened the forbidden door, and set foot upon the tangled path, and never looked back.
Deborah attended any college that couldn’t outrun her and has accumulated a handful of degrees. She has worked as an underwater photographer, Arabic linguist, and grumbling wage slave. Throughout it all, she has held onto one true and passionate love: the love of storytelling.
Deborah currently lives in northern Michigan with her kids (some of whom are grown and all of whom are exceptional), an assortment of dogs and horses, and a pair of demons masquerading as cats.
Deborah A. Wolf writes books that double as melee weapons.