Today I am interviewing Thomas Locke, author of the new Christian fiction novel, The Golden Vial, final book in the Legends of the Realm series.
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DJ: Hi Thomas! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
What is The Legends of the Realm series about?
Thomas: The series centers upon life choices, and how so often what we see as a burden can in time become the source of our greatest opportunity. Hyam is basically a hard-luck kid, whose only real talents lie in eaking out crops from unwanted fields, and in languages that haven’t been used for generations. He’s poor, he’s alone, and there’s not much chance for doing what he most wants, which is to escape.
Then a series of events sweep him up, showing him that all the fragments of his life actually fit together in a powerful fashion. But first he has to cast aside all the reasons he’s built up within himself to fail.
To succeed, he must accept the challenge of growth, and learn to live for more than just his next good time.
DJ: Can you tell us a little about The Golden Vial?
Thomas: The realm is under threat both from within and without. The Lady Shona, crowned queen of the realm in the last pages of Alyss, is a leader without a throne. She and her small contingent of loyalists are pursued relentlessly. Rather than try to flee, however, they decide to seek out the enemy and attack them head on.
This leads them back to the region known as Three Valleys, birthplace of Hyam and where the Emissary novel began. But Hyam is not with them; he has been felled by an ailment that is sweeping through the realm with the silent force of a true epidemic, only one for which the healers have no cure. They know it simply as, the wasting disease.
Help comes from the most unlikely of sources, a young orphan serving in the kitchen of Norvin, mayor of Hyam’s home village. Her abilities, though untested and largely untrained, could well hold the last remaining hope of the human realm.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the Legends of the Realm series?
Thomas: My first passions as a young reader were fantasy and science fiction. When I started writing at age twenty-eight, my first mentor was Arthur C Clarke, author of 2001 A Space Odessy.
Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly frustrated by the constant negative directions that both fantasy and science fiction were taking. Distopian fiction, hopelessness, the undead—Do they all have to be tainted by this same darkness? Was there no place any more for the same sort of heroic adventure that so thrilled me as a youngster? Finally I decided that it was time to stop complaining and do something different.
DJ: How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers for the first two book of the Legends of the Realm series? Is there anything that your audience seems to be particularly enjoying or is eager to find out more about?
Thomas: Here are some of my favorite reviews of the series thus far:
“A wonderful journey away from the real world . . . A fine start to this intriguing series.”—RT Book Reviews, 4 stars
“Readers of inspirational fantasy will enjoy his foray into a new genre.”—Publishers Weekly
“A superbly crafted fantasy adventure novel . . .”—Midwest Book Review
“Moves like a contemporary thriller but harkens back to the enduring genre of classic fantasy.”—FamilyFiction.com
“Locke is a master wordsmith, weaving lyrical prose, fully fleshed characters and a consuming plot into a tale that is beautiful and epic.” Buddy Hollywood Reviews
“Thomas Locke transported me into this wonderful, dangerous world . . . an amazing fantasy novel.”—Fresh Fiction Review
“I actually lived the story. Five stars.”—LifeIsStory.com
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Golden Vial?
Thomas: This was the first time in quite a while that I’ve written a story where the main character was a young woman. In fact, more than half the principal roles here were female. The challenge of creating so many distinct and different women was such a joy. These included the queen of the last Elven empire, the head mistress of a secret clan of wizards, the Seer of a race of telepaths, a major in the queen’s army, and the young heroine. A joy.
DJ: Was there a special challenge you faced in writing the Legends of the Realm series?
Thomas: A lot of good writing comes down to asking the right questions. This has never seemed more important to me than with Emissary. The empty page is open to any number of potential directions—how the characters see their world, what challenges will they face, how do they react, what they strive for…the questions are endless.
But in a fantasy, even the blank page is redesigned. All the normal rules governing human existence are thrown open. What makes a great fantasy is redesigning reality in a way that resonates with the reader. Helping them see life in a new way, but one they can still recognize within their own normal existence. It is such a wrenching challenge, and so beautiful when you get it right.
DJ: Was 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?
Thomas: Yesterday I received a really strong review from the national bookclub magazine. The reviewer then asked to speak with me by phone, and she revealed that she is going through chemotherapy. And she thanked me for helping her to completely escape from herself for three days. She said what was greatest to her was that she came away from the book with a new sense of hope. I have to tell you, that is just about the finest response I have received in my twenty plus years as a published writer. And it is exactly what I hope other readers will find, a chance to fly away with this story as their personal magic carpet, and return to earth with a renewed sense of hope.
DJ: I’m always curious when authors finish a series, how close to the original course they stayed when it is finally completed or if it ended up evolving and changing. Did the plot stay the same as you had first imagined it? How about the ending? The evolution of your characters?
Thomas: Actually, I’m hoping this will not be the final book. We are currently in a holding pattern, however. A UK based production company has acquired the rights to the Emissary series, and a screenplay for the first film has now been completed. The producers hope to begin shooting early 2019. If that happens, then I have sketched out three more books. So please hold that question until a bit later, okay?
DJ: Now that The Golden Vial is released, what is next for you?
Thomas: I am just now completing the final edits for a dystopian novel, entitled Enclave, which is due for release this coming August.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Also, my Thomas Locke Facebook pages are by far the best sites.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** The Golden Vial is published by Revell and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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When a hidden evil threatens to destroy the realm, a young orphan, untested and untrained, could mean the difference between victory and total defeat.
Vulnerable and weakened by grief after a terrible loss, Hyam has been struck by a mysterious illness that threatens to claim his life. Seeking to help Hyam and restore the realm, Queen Shona travels to Hyam’s remote hometown to find answers and offer aid.
Dally has always had abilities far beyond those of a normal human–far-seeing and magic come naturally to her. Before the arrival of Shona and her army, Dally had always kept her abilities secret. But with an ancient evil bearing down on her village and the fate of the realm hanging in the balance, the orphaned servant girl steps forward to do what no one else can. Will the battle claim more than Dally is willing to give?
About the Author:
Thomas Locke is a pseudonym for Davis Bunn, an award-winning novelist with worldwide sales of seven million copies in twenty-five languages. Davis divides his time between Oxford and Florida and holds a lifelong passion for speculative stories. He is the author of Emissary and Merchant of Alyss in the Legends of the Realm series; Fault Lines, Trial Run, and Flash Point in the Fault Lines series; and Recruits and Renegades in the Recruits series. Learn more at http://www.tlocke.com.