These week we’re taking another behind the scenes peek at my work, with Dragonslayer being the work in question.
My third trilogy marked a big departure for me, as it was the first that I did not self-publish. Tor, the Fantasy imprint of McMillan, reached out and expressed interest in working with me while I was in the middle of Wolf of the North. We decided that the best way to do that would be with a new series.
I’d been rereading Dumas while I was finishing up Wolf of the North so was feeling strongly that vibe at the time. I’ve always been captivated by that atmosphere and setting. I’d also travelled to both Paris and Bordeaux during that period, and fell in love with all things French, from the food to the architecture and the history (and the wine!).
The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo are two of my all-time favourite books, along with Sabatini’s Scaramouche. With these books fresh in my mind, a French style fantasy setting proved too tempting to ignore.
While my previous books had been coming-of-age style tales, I wanted to try writing about an older character. Someone who’s seen his best days, and is struggling to find purpose in life.
A theme I’d been slowly teasing out in my previous books was the gradual resurgence of magic in the world, along with magical beasts. I try to base all my story elements in things that have examples in real human culture, rather than the completely fantastical. Dragons and the way they appear in so many different cultures have always fascinated me. I’d been hoping for an opportunity to introduce them for a while at this point!
Thus was born Guillot dal Villerauvais, the country of Mirabay, and the Dragonslayer trilogy. It follows a down and out swordsman, once considered the finest of his generation as he’s tasked to tackle the scourge of dragons on the land. He quickly learns that not all monsters fly around breathing fire, though!
If you haven’t read it already, you can check the books out here: