Please welcome Marc Turner to The Qwillery. Dragon Hunters was published on February 9th by Tor Books.
TQ: Welcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, Dragon Hunters (The Chronicles of the Exile 2), was published on February 9th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote When the Heavens Fall to Dragon Hunters?
Marc: Thank you for having me back.
I don’t think the way I write has changed too much in that time. All of my books have multiple threads in them, and I write the storyline of each point-of-view character in turn – so, the whole of character one, then the whole of character two, and so forth – before weaving their threads together. It requires a lot of planning, and it can drive me to distraction at times. But I find this helps me to maintain a consistent and distinctive character voice.
TQ: What do you wish that you knew about book publishing when When the Heavens Fall came out that you know now?
Marc: You’re assuming I know something about book publishing now! To be honest, the industry is as much a mystery to me today as it was a year ago. I’m just sitting back and enjoying the ride.
TQ: What is your method of keeping track of facts, characters' eye colors, etc. throughout The Chronicles of the Exile series?
Marc: I do a lot of work on this before I start writing, so I have detailed notes on everything from the characters’ backgrounds to the history of the civilisations that feature in the book. Only a fraction of that information makes its way into the story, but my notes give me something to refer to when necessary. And if something new occurs to me while I am writing, I simply update the notes.
The hardest thing to get “right”, I find, is the timeline, and specifically the order in which certain events happen. It’s difficult to give examples that aren’t spoilers, but for instance I might state that event A takes place before event B, only to realise later that (for whatever reason) they need to occur in the opposite order. In Dragon Hunters, I initially had a character’s life running on fast forward – so he was leaving home, taking his priest’s vows and becoming high priest in the span of just three years, while the world around him had advanced twice that.
Fortunately, though, I’ve yet to find a continuity mistake in the published books (he said, handing fate a stick to beat him with).
TQ: Which character in the The Chronicles of the Exile series (so far) surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?
Marc: The character that most surprised me appears in a short story I wrote called There’s A Devil Watching Over You. She’s a bandit called Safiya, and she was supposed to feature only in that story. I liked her so much, though, that I decided to find a place for her in the main series. I also think she deserves a chance to get even with another character, Luker, for what he puts her through in the story! Anyone interested in reading There’s A Devil Watching Over You can find it at Tor.com here, or listen to an audio version narrated by Emma Newman here.
The hardest character to write in Dragon Hunters was probably the Chameleon priestess, Karmel. Karmel is brash but also vulnerable, and I found that a difficult mix to get right. Without giving too much away, her storyline is a tragic one, so it was obviously important to maintain the reader’s sympathy. I wanted people to care about what happens to her, not cheer along at her setbacks! She’s a flawed character due to her upbringing, but her heart is in the right place, and she’s probably my favourite character in the book.
TQ: Tell us something about Dragon Hunters that is not found in the book description.
Marc: Dragon Hunters is the second book in the series, but it features new characters and new locations, so it can be read and enjoyed even if you haven’t read When the Heavens Fall. It’s also the finest fantasy book you will read this year – I’m almost certain of it.*
* Terms and conditions apply. Other fantasy books exist.
TQ: Please give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Dragon Hunters.
“We’re lucky,” Farrell said as the dragon glided past. “The creature’s little more than a baby. Any bigger, and it wouldn’t have been able to keep to the shallow waters near the cliff.”
Agenta grunted. Oddly, she didn’t feel too lucky just now.
TQ: What's next?
Marc: Next, I’ll be finishing the edits of book three in the series, Red Tide, which comes out in September this year. I’m also writing book four (there will be six in total), and working on a short story to feature in Fantasy Faction’s Guns and Dragons anthology.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Marc: The pleasure was all mine. And no, you don’t have to agree with that.
The Chronicle of the Exile, Book Two
Tor Books, February 9, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages
Dragon Hunters, the sequel to Marc Turner's When the Heavens Fall features gritty characters, deadly magic, and meddlesome gods
Once a year on Dragon Day the fabled Dragon Gate is raised to let a sea dragon pass from the Southern Wastes into the Sabian Sea. There, it will be hunted by the Storm Lords, a fellowship of powerful water-mages who rule an empire called the Storm Isles. Alas, this year someone forgot to tell the dragon which is the hunter and which the hunted.
Emira Imerle Polivar is coming to the end of her tenure as leader of the Storm Lords. She has no intention of standing down graciously. She instructs an order of priests called the Chameleons to infiltrate a citadel housing the mechanism that controls the Dragon Gate to prevent the gate from being lowered after it has been raised on Dragon Day. Imerle hopes the dozens of dragons thus unleashed on the Sabian Sea will eliminate her rivals while she launches an attack on the Storm Lord capital, Olaire, to secure her grip on power.
But Imerle is not the only one intent on destroying the Storm Lord dynasty. As the Storm Lords assemble in Olaire in answer to a mysterious summons, they become the targets of assassins working for an unknown enemy. When Imerle initiates her coup, that enemy makes use of the chaos created to show its hand.
When the Heavens Fall
The Chronicles of the Exile, Book One
Tor Fantasy, February 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 736 pages
Hardcover and eBook, May 19, 2015
Marc Turner's When the Heavens Fall is an emerging new voice in epic fantasy, now in mass market
If you pick a fight with Shroud, Lord of the Dead, you had better ensure your victory, else death will mark only the beginning of your suffering.
A book giving its wielder power over the dead has been stolen from a fellowship of mages that has kept the powerful relic dormant for centuries. The thief, a crafty, power-hungry necromancer, intends to use the Book of Lost Souls to resurrect an ancient race and challenge Shroud for dominion of the underworld. Shroud counters by sending his most formidable servants to seize the artifact at all cost.
However, the god is not the only one interested in the Book, and a host of other forces converge, drawn by the powerful magic that has been unleashed. Among them is a reluctant Guardian who is commissioned by the Emperor to find the stolen Book, a troubled prince who battles enemies both personal and political, and a young girl of great power, whose past uniquely prepares her for an encounter with Shroud. The greatest threat to each of their quests lies not in the horror of an undead army but in the risk of betrayal from those closest to them. Each of their decisions comes at a personal cost and will not only affect them, but also determine the fate of their entire empire.
MARC TURNER was born in Toronto, Canada, but grew up in England. He graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford University, in 1996 with a BA (Hons) in Law, and subsequently worked at a top-ten law firm in London. After more than ten years in the legal profession he gave in to his lifelong writing addiction and now works full time as a writer. Dragon Hunters is his newest novel.