Legends helped build faery world in Elizabeth May’s ‘Vanishing Throne’

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Elizabeth May (c) Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May (c) Elizabeth May

Like many writers, Elizabeth May is a natural born storyteller. “The desire to create is more compulsion than choice; words just happen to be my medium!”

Elizabeth is the author of the Falconer trilogy, which follows Aileana Kameron an aristocratic young who learns she’s a Falconer, the last in a line of female warriors and the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. The second book in the trilogy, “The Vanishing Throne,” came out Tuesday.

As with most of the stories Elizabeth has written, the Falconter trilogy started with a character. “I had a faery-killing girl screaming in my head and I just had to write her story down,” Elizabeth told Cracking the Cover. “Aileana is very demanding!”

Once Elizabeth had Aileana’s character down, she did need to do some research. About half of the faery world in her books comes from her imagination and half comes from legends. “Legends are incredibly adaptable because they’re very simplified,” Elizabeth said. “They give me small ideas here and there that I develop and add to through characters and their relationships. Fairy stories form a strong foundation (bones) that I add to and develop (flesh, blood, heart).”

The Vanishing Throne_FC_3DWriting trilogies can be tricky because the middle book often becomes a “hump” book, getting readers from Point A to Point B. It’s something that Elizabeth took into consideration while writing “The Vanishing Throne.”

“I’m a firm believer that second books ought to both continue a story and stand well enough on its own,” she said. “I didn’t want ‘The Vanishing Throne’ to be just more of the same, but a strong story in its own right. I did this knowing that for Aileana, the second book would be a massive change in tone and world building from the first. That’s something readers will form their own opinions about, but ultimately I felt it was the right direction. In a sense, this book sort of ‘reboots’ the world. The characters are all the same, but they’ve been irrevocably changed. It was challenging for me as an author, but I’m so proud of the result.”

Elizabeth began her first draft of “The Falconer” seven years ago. And while she says the book went through a great deal of editing, the story is ultimately still the same one she crafted as a younger writer. In order to properly arc the trilogy, she plotted “The Vanishing Throne” and the third installment, “The Fallen Kingdom,” around that time. But she drafted them much later. In that time, Elizabeth says her writing has evolved.

“My writing has become darker, discusses more adult themes, and the worldbuilding is more intricate,” she said. “These are things that sort of naturally came with age and different experiences. My characters and story and writing matured with me.”

Elizabeth just finished up a round of edits on “The Fallen Kingdom” and is currently working on a sci-fi novel and another YA fantasy novel. “I specifically enjoy YA because it’s such an incredible age group to write about,” the author said. “People go through so many changes as teenagers, independent of their parents. It’s an age group that naturally lends itself to storytelling because it’s full of new experiences.”

Read the complete transcript of Elizabeth may’s interview with Cracking the Cover.

Falconer Series II


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Day Blog
Tuesday, June 21 The Reader’s Antidote
Wednesday, June 22 Tales of the Ravenous Reader
Thursday, June 23 Once Upon a Twilight
Friday, June 24 Mundie Moms
Saturday, June 25 Fiction Fare
Sunday, June 26 Cracking the Cover
Monday, June 27 Stuck in YA Books
Tuesday, June 28 Finding Wonderland

The Falconer by ChronicleBooks

The Vanishing Throne: Book Two of the Falconer Trilogy (Excerpt) by ChronicleBooks

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About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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