What prompted the writing of your new novel – At the Kingdoms’ Fold?
One early morning, my mother called me on Skype and she was very excited. Having always been my biggest supporter, but not interested in writing fantasy books herself, she was eager to tell me about the entire book she had dreamt up during the night. She told me the story and I thought it was compelling and said that we should make it into a book. It has been a wonderful collaboration and a lovely mother and daughter bonding project that I will remember for the rest of my life.
What’s it about?
The book is about a vengeful king seeking his lost bride; the Queen of the magical Vrasur People who is in hiding since they day they were to be married. The king keeps slaughtering anyone who isn’t her, swearing he will find her. The main protagonists are Liam and Kate who are trying to fight for the people of their Duchy. Liam’s father, Lord Gauff, also has some help from the ghost-like people who are said to live in the Cave of Mercy at the Kingdoms’ Fold and who take the liberty of punishing criminals by taking the law into their own hands. The King’s army is getting stronger and is coming closer to their doorstep and everyone prays that the prophecy of the seventh daughter’s seventh daughter will be realised and save them all.
In the pivotal time and in the greatest hour to behold,
the seventh daughter’s seventh daughter will unfold.
Although, hope is frail as the High Priestess’ family whose lineage would give birth to the seventh daughter’s seventh daughter has since long been murdered.
Where did the idea for the plot stem from?
My mother is an ancestry researcher and she has always like films like Braveheart and Outlander so it is safe to say that the combination of those two elements triggered the inspiration for this story. Her hobbies go hand in hand with the medieval times and the sword & sorcery theme. I think she is also aware of my writing style and the fantasy stories I like so we sprinkled the dystopian story with love, magic, and a bit of humour.
Can you tell us a little bit about the writing process?
The process was very sleek actually. She started writing the main body of the work in Swedish and then I translated it into English and filled in some more detailed information to make the story come to life. We sat in front of the computer screen talking on Skype for hours many nights to discuss how all the characters might look and act. We also did a lot of research on horses and the battle techniques used during medieval times.
What were your most and least favourite parts about co-writing a book?
My mother and I have a very close relationship and have similar opinions about most things so I can’t say we had any least favourite parts. I suppose we had more complicated discussions when it came to decide which character should be issued with more hardship than others. My mother wanted everyone to be happy, but from experience I knew that it wouldn’t necessarily make for an intriguing plot. Someone, or a few, would have to die. But who? The conversation went a lot like;
“Mother, can I kill Liam at the end?”
“Noooo, not Liam, he is my favorite. You can kill off anyone else but not him.”
“So, I can kill Kate?”
“No. You can’t kill Kate.”
“Okay, so… can I kill…”
And so it went on, but eventually she agreed I could dispose of whomever I liked as the pain needed to be real.
My personal favourite part is where Eppie and her family are attacked, and she must flee through the forest to save herself. It is a gripping scene which almost made me cry when I had to self-edit it over and over again. I also like Douglas who is Liam’s horse but who has switched his loyalty to Kate when she comes into the picture.
Do you and your mother have plans to co-write another book together?
The book is written as a standalone so that we could see how the readers will receive it and what the feedback will say. If there is potential then I believe my mother is already thinking about a second book, but it is not set in stone. There is scope for some good twists though so I would hope the story carries on.
Can you give us your top tips for people wishing to write their own book?
The self-publishing industry is very tough to break through. The books must have an appealing cover for the target audience and the plot and characters must be gripping from start to finish. It requires a lot of patience, dedication and long-term planning. You gain a lot of knowledge from watching other authors and what they do as well as reading a lot yourself. Most importantly, you must love what you do!
Purchase At the Kingdoms’ Fold at: amazon.com/dp/B08D7QRY9P and find our more on Therese’s website: www.tmcaruana.com.