Lisa (@ Over the Effing Rainbow), Jorie (@ Jorie Loves a Story) and imyril (@ One More) are delighted to bring you WYRD AND WONDER, where they plan to celebrate all things fantastical throughout the month of May!
Today I am interviewing Deborah A. Wolf, author of the new fantasy novel, The Forbidden City, second book in The Dragon’s Legacy series.
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DJ: Hi Deborah! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
Deborah A. Wolf: My pleasure! Thanks for having me back.
DJ: For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Deborah A. Wolf: Aw, I’m just your run of the mill ex military, martial arts studying, horseback riding, single momming, fishing, adrenaline junkie fantasy nerd. 😉
DJ: What is The Forbidden City and then The Dragon’s Legacy series about?
Deborah: It’s about young people coming of age and having to correct the mistakes of their elders, while fucking the world up anew. It’s about friendship and love in the face of disaster. It’s about power imbalance and abuse, the absolute absurdity of war, gender norms… and, most especially, it’s about dragons.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the The Dragon’s Legacy series?
Deborah: Growing up in a mostly Athabascan village in the middle of Alaska, immersion in the Arabic language and cultures, and a passion for Tolkien make for a very potent brew. Also, George R. R. Martin basically gave me permission to really fuck my characters up, so blame him.
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 love all my characters. Each of them is imperfect, and flailing through life as best they can. Sometimes they fuck up, and those fuckups can have terrible, irreparable consequences, but they keep trying. Jian, for instance, lives in a slave empire and is constrained by his half-dae heritage to become a member of Sindan’s elite military force, but he tries to create a small bubble of safety and normalcy for those he loves. Sulema is dragged into politics when all she wants to do is ride her horse and be a warrior for her people, but she tries her best to live up to her new responsibilities. And Hafsa Azeina really is trying to kill fewer people.
DJ: What is the world and setting of the The Dragon’s Legacy series like?
Deborah: The world of THE DRAGON’S LEGACY is a mirror world to our own, because dragons. It’s part of my Illindriverse, a universe in which life and stories are spread by dragons throughout their cosmic territories, and reflect one another across the great web of Illindra.
Also, it is very damn hot.
DJ: How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers for the first book of The Dragon’s Legacy series? Is there anything that your audience seems to be particularly enjoying or is eager to find out more about?
Deborah: Response to THE DRAGON’S LEGACY has been very heartening. I’ve had people write to tell me that they’ve been wanting just this kind of wild, rambling, slow-burning and ridiculously complex story. Canna lie, seeing THE DRAGON’S LEGACY well reviewed by the Wall Street Journal alongside Mark Lawrence’s RED SISTER was a real kick. The good kind.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Forbidden City?
Deborah: Seeing some of the threads I’d set up in my first book beginning to coalesce into something bigger was really exciting. That, and revisiting some old friends (to whom I owe multiple apologies).
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Deborah: Lynching me for putting their favorite characters through some seriously nasty shit, no doubt. My alpha reader didn’t speak to me for three days, at one point, and she’s my best friend.
DJ: Did you have a goal when you began writing The Dragon’s Legacy series? The series is not yet complete, 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 were a lot of things I wanted to play with as far as subverting reader’s expectations regarding gender and social norms, for one thing, and I’ve had so much fun doing that. I do have an overriding theme, but it’s too early in the story and I’m not drunk enough at the moment to let that slip.
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 Forbidden City that you can share with us?
Deborah: “The world was red, and mad with agony.”
This line sums up a lot about the book, come to think of it.
DJ: Now that The Forbidden City is released, what is next for you?
Deborah: I’m finishing up a novella which will appear in Shawn Speakman’s anthology, UNFETTERED III. After that, THE SEARED LANDS, book 3 of THE DRAGON’S LEGACY, is due this fall, and BROKEN FEATHER, sequel to SPLIT FEATHER, by the end of the year.
Also, I would like to catch a nap somewhere in there.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-A.-Wolf/e/B06XHLV3B1
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Forbidden City and The Dragon’s Legacy series that we haven’t talked about yet?
Deborah: The concept for my Nightmare Man came to me at three in the morning, after a week’s worth of insomnia, at the exact moment I realized that I would happily burn the entire world to ash if it would allow me to get some sleep. So there is that.
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
Deborah: At least one of my main POV characters will survive to the end of this story. I won’t say which one, though.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Deborah: The pleasure was all mine, as it should be. 😉
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*** The Forbiddden City is published by Titan Books and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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Sulema Ja’Akari is an elite warrior, one of the desert people known as the Zeeranim. She is also the daughter of the Dragon King of Atualon, whose magic is the only thing that prevents the earth dragon from waking. Should the dragon end her sleep, their world will be destroyed.
The Dragon King is dying. As heir to his throne Sulema must be trained to take his place, yet the more she learns, the less she trusts the sinister agendas that surround her. Knowing that her life hangs in the balance, Sulema seeks to return to the Zeera.
Salvation may lie with her mother, Hafsa Azeina, who walks the dark and deadly pathways of the Dreaming Lands. To save her daughter, the dreamshifter will be forced to strike a pact with her greatest enemy, a huntress who would rather kill her than assist her.
Upheaval stretches far beyond Atualon–to the forbidden city of Khanbul where the emperor rules with an iron hand. An elite cadre of rebel conspirators chafes beneath his rule and plots to overthrow him.
Among them is Jian de Allyr, the half-dae prince born of a human mother and a twilight lord. If they are to challenge the emperor in his stronghold, however, Jian and his co-conspirators must secretly raise an army…
About the Author:
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.