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Erin M. Evans on Fire in the Blood

Posted on October 8, 2014 by Flames

Award-winning author, Erin M. Evans, continues the riveting tale of her Sundering character, Farideh, as she becomes embroiled in a Forgotten Realms-flavored game of thrones.

In a direct follow-up to the third book in the Sundering series, The Adversary, young warlock Farideh falls into the midst of a battle for the throne of Cormyr. As the war brought on by the Sundering rages across Faerûn, princes and princesses, wizards and rogues scheme to capture the seat of power of the Land of the Purple Dragon—with Farideh and her allies caught squarely in the middle.

Flames Rising is pleased to present a guest post from Erin M. Evans as she tells us a bit about this new Forgotten Realms novel.

Erin M. Evans on Fire in the Blood

    I am not a Forgotten Realms fan.

    When I took a job with Wizards of the Coast, I had read one Forgotten Realms novel, entirely by accident. I admit, I thought writing shared world was glorified fan fiction. I didn’t know if I’d be able to stick with this job, but I’d try. Books were books when you got down to it. I could manage.

    I was so wrong. But not in the way you might think.

    As beloved as it is, I’m not going to be the first person to tell you that the Forgotten Realms gets some flack. From afar it seems like the classic example of a kitchen sink setting—there is so much happening. You almost can’t argue it’s a cohesive world—it’s like seven hundred small worlds crammed together, cheek by jowl. There’s too much information, too many gods, too many countries—stop me if I tell you something new.

    When I started working on Forgotten Realms novels as an editor, I dug in. I made myself get familiar. I realized that there were a lot of books in the backlist that delighted me, and that one of the strengths of this world was the fact that there were so many kinds of stories in it—mysteries, revenge stories, romance, horror, sword and sorcery, epic fantasy, family dramas. The list goes on and on, and each has the style and story of the author who wrote it. What they have in common however is this world, this other place that goes on and on beyond the edges of your story, feeling like a living, breathing thing.

    I’m not a fan. I’m in love.

    I fell in love with the Forgotten Realms, in a curiously human way. It’s not perfect. At times I want to shake it and yell at it for how frustrating it can get. Its flaws exist, but the whole of it is so forgiving, so adaptable, that it’s hard to stay mad. It wants to get better, and it always can.

    When I got to write in the Realms for the first time, I was nervous. This wasn’t my world. I wasn’t a fan. But I found two little details, two perfect little questions that made me want to write a story: What is it like to have a quarter-life crisis in the Realms? and What if a dragon were trapped in the form of a human? And the Realms had room for that. It also gave me so much more, a peculiar back and forth. The stilled Walking Statues gave me an apartment building, the God Catcher, and I gave them words of prophecy to speak in dreams. The noble family who dominated the first books I ever worked with as an editor gave me a long lost family for my main character, and I gave them a line to the future. Game books gave me xorvintaal, the Great Game of the dragons, and I gave them back words of Draconic to flesh out the rules. It gave me the setting, I gave it The God Catcher.

    A relationship, if you will, forms between the writer and the subject. You shape it, it shapes you. You can’t write about something, I firmly believe, that you don’t love one way or another. With Fire in the Blood, I opted to take that relationship to the next level. I went all the way to Cormyr.

    There are approximately a billion words written about the kingdom of Cormyr in the Realms (You can count them. I’ll wait.) From the original Campaign Set to the Sage of Shadowdale series by Ed Greenwood, Cormyr’s been the heart of the Forgotten Realms for a long time. Once again, two perfect little questions sparked a story—you’ll have to wait for the book to see what they were!—and I was breathlessly in love with this one. I had to argue with a lot of people, convince a lot of gatekeepers, make my case to the Great Greenwood himself, but they let me have Cormyr for a turn. They gave me one of the most beloved spots in the setting, and I gave back the story of how it rises from it’s lowest point, returns to greatness again.

    Erin M. Evans

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