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Monday, February 8, 2016

GUEST BLOG POST: Children in Fantasy by Duncan Lay

 Amazon Link for The Blood Quarrel: The Complete Edition Here

Fantasy Book Critic welcomes Australian fantasy author Duncan Lay, author of the Dragon Sword Histories and The Empire of Bones series. Duncan Lay recently released a thrilling fantasy novel The Bloody Quarrel.

In his guest blog post, Duncan Lay explores the use of children in fantasy series and the role they play in plot development. He explores how they are used in his novel and his opinions on this topic.

Summary for Bloody Quarrel:

Fooled by the treacherous King Aidan, Fallon has shot down the one man he trusted to save his beloved nation of Gaelland. And yet, when the King could grind Fallon underfoot, he draws the simple farmer and fighter closer, making a hero of him.

Embroiled in plots beyond his comprehension and weighted with the guilt of the prince's murder, Fallon must tread carefully if he is to accomplish the task that first brought him to the cursed capital: rescue his wife, Bridgit, and the rest of his village from Kottermani slavery. If he and his hopelessly ensnared men can survive, they may yet find redemption.

Meanwhile, across the ocean, Bridgit is rallying those around her to spring an escape. But who can be trusted? The ever-present danger of traitors and liars among the slaves, and even among her fellow Gaelish, is poison to her plans.

With an ocean between them and fouler nightmares looming, Fallon and Bridgit will be driven to their very limits to escape their prisons, find each other, and bring justice to Gaelland.

This epic fantasy is perfect for fans of Robin Hobb and Joe Abercrombie.

A huge thank you to Duncan Lay for stopping by today. 

Children in Fantasy by Duncan Lay 

Children don't tend to get a good run in fantasy. If they're not being hunted for sport (Hunger Games)
or chosen for sacrifice (Harry Potter) they don't even get a line of dialogue above the occasional grunt (Feral Kid in Mad Max 2). If someone is going to fall over in front of a monster, it's usually a child. Scream at the wrong moment? A child. Get used to move the plot along in an unconvincing manner? A … well, you get the picture.

I didn’t set out to give a voice to children in fantasy or anything remotely noble. I just wanted to write a story that appealed to me, a tale of a man in a dark place, coming back from that through the love of a small child. But, with my third trilogy now out, I have discovered there is a common theme running through my work. Children aren’t there just to motivate the heroes or salivate the monsters.

In The Dragon Sword Histories, Karia’s powers allowed her to physically save Martil, while her love emotionally saved both Martil and Merren. In Empire Of Bones, Sendatsu’s desire to get back to his children first drove him across Vales – and then his children changed the way he looked at the world. Their view of life changed his.

Now, in The Arbalester’s Trilogy, Kerrin will also fundamentally affect the story. In The Last Quarrel, his mother, Bridgit, was prepared to sacrifice herself to protect him. Afraid of the dark, not very healthy, he was unable to save her. In The Bloody Quarrel he needs to save his father. Fallon is lost after being tricked into killing his beloved Prince Cavan. He’s unable to help himself, let along save his son. It’s time for Kerrin to step up and help his father, if the pair of them are going to get Bridgit back from Kottermani slavery.

In The Poisoned Quarrel, the third and final book of the trilogy, he’s going to have to – ah, but that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

Now these are children in an adult world, learning that life gives them no concessions because they are smaller. Mistakes can kill you or the ones you love. Just because they are small, doesn’t make anything cute and cuddly. I enjoy writing children because I always enjoyed telling stories to my own children. They changed me, so of course I believe they can change the characters in my books. And I write them because I feel it is a theme that can reach across the ages, as well as the divide between a fantasy setting and our own world.

Fantasy is always better when it comes with a bedrock of reality. If you believe the characters, then you are prepared to go on a journey with them and accept whatever strangeness may come their way. You are required to suspend your disbelief when you crack open the cover of a fantasy book but that’s far easier to do when you believe in the characters. Love of a child, love of a parent, wanting to protect your children, see them grow up in a safer place – these are all themes that anyone can relate to.

Apparently there are only seven basic story archetypes. Yes, it’s great to throw in twists and turns and shock endings and have the reader wondering what will come next. But, realistically, there’s not too many plot twists that haven’t been tried before. When it comes to characters, however, there is no limit. You can give them all the foibles, the mannerisms and the mistakes you see among your friends and family. Creating these characters is one of the real joys of writing. I just happen to like making some of mine smaller than usual.



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