Q&A with ‘Vanishing Throne’ author Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May (c) Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May (c) Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May is the author of the Falconer trilogy including, “The Falconer” and “The Vanishing Throne.” The following is a complete transcript of her interview with Cracking the Cover.

Why do you write? Why specifically YA?

Like for a lot of writers, stories are something that just come naturally to me. The desire to create is more compulsion than choice; words just happen to be my medium! I specifically enjoy YA because it’s such an incredible age group to write about. 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.

How much of your faery world comes from your imagination and how much from legends?

I would say about half and half. Legends are incredibly adaptable because they’re very simplified. 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).

Why did The Falconer trilogy need to be told?

Like most of my stories, it starts with a character. I had a faery-killing girl screaming in my head and I just had to write her story down. Aileana is very demanding! ๐Ÿ˜€

Second books in trilogies often become “hump” books, getting readers from Point A to Point B. Was that something you were conscious of while writing “The Vanishing Throne”? If so, how did that change your approach?

Yes, it’s absolutely something I thought about! I’m a firm believer that second books ought to both continue a story and stand well enough on its own. 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 โ€œrebootsโ€ 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.

The Vanishing Throne_FC_3DHow has your writing evolved?

I started the first draft of The Falconer 7 years ago, and while it went through a great deal of editing, it is ultimately a story I came up with as a younger author. Although I had plotted The Vanishing Throne and The Fallen Kingdom around that time (in order to properly arc the trilogy), these are both books I drafted much later; I finished the first draft of The Vanishing Throne in 2014 and The Fallen Kingdom just this year. My writing has become darker, discusses more adult themes, and the worldbuilding is more intricate. These are things that sort of naturally came with age and different experiences. My characters and story and writing matured with me.

What do you hope readers come away with?

Great question! Honesty, I just hope hope hope readers enjoy the story, the direction its taken, and love it enough to read the next.

Are you surprised by the success of your trilogy so far?

Oh gosh yes! I’m so grateful for the wonderful response from readers and the lovely messages. It’s been so incredible.

What are you working on now?

I just finished up a round of edits on The Fallen Kingdom recently. I’m also working on a scifi novel with Laura Lam, and another YA fantasy novel. I’m super excited about all three!

Is there a book from your own youth that still resonates with you? Why?

I read so much fantasy when I was younger, but I loved Garth Nyxโ€™s books, especially Sabriel. They were the first fantasy books I had ever read and his world building is so smart and incredible, I was blown away by it as a teenager. I still am as an adult!

Falconer Series II