April 06, 2012

Interview with Gwen Perkins Author of The Universal Mirror

Product Details

  • File Size: 811 KB
  • Print Length: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Hydra Publications (January 9, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services

Product Description

On the island of Cercia, the gods are dead, killed by their followers and replaced with the study of magic. Magicians are forbidden to leave their homeland. Laws bind these men that prevent them from casting spells on the living—whether to harm or to heal.

Quentin, a young nobleman, challenges these laws out of love for his wife. His best friend, Asahel, defies authority at his side, unaware that the search for this lost magic will bring them both to the edge of reason, threatening their very souls. The Universal Mirror shows how far two men are willing to go for the sake of knowledge and what they will destroy to obtain it.

Why write a book about magic?
Gwen Perkins, author of The Universal Mirror

"Not blood nor bone shall magic touch."

Those words are spoken in The Universal Mirror as part of one of the oaths that magicians in Cercia take when they finish their education.  All who practice magic on the island are educated in a series of laws known as the Heresies, prohibitions that keep magicians from using their abilities in certain ways.  Among these Heresies is that of healing or harming others through channeling magic—this forms the root of the conflict in this novel.  Quentin, a noble, develops an obsession with breaking the law in order to heal his wife and he pulls his best friend, Asahel, into this mad quest.

One of the reasons that I chose to use magic in the story was as a replacement for religion in terms of dictating the society's moral code.  Cercia is somewhat unusual among fantasy settings in that the people believe that God is dead and that they've killed him.  It's an interesting idea but I wanted to have a secondary overarching context within which to place what the people considered moral or appropriate behavior.  This is where the Heresies came in.

Another facet of magic is that it can be used to provide limitation as well as power.  In order for this plot to work, it was important to keep the characters close to home.  Magicians on Cercia are never allowed to leave the island.  Setting up this prohibition put Quentin and Asahel into a situation where the stakes were greatly increased.  The option of running away is simply not present for either of them and yet, they find that once they begin the work of learning to heal and thus breaking the law, they have to see it through.

Lastly, magic can be a tool for defining culture in more literal ways.  The Cercians draw their magic from the earth, channeling it through their own bodies.  Much of their society has been unwittingly defined by this—including simple things like the slang that they use (you'll hear a mutter of "Quiet Earth" here and there where others might say "Oh, my God").  Other societies in the Artifacts of Empire series utilize magic differently.  For instance, the magic in the Anjduri Empire is distorted simply because that society has seen so much war that they've literally burnt the magic from the earth.  I'm exploring those environmental and cultural themes further as the series goes on so readers can expect to discover more about how magic works while the characters themselves do.

Each book has its own definition of what magic is and because of this, there are as many reasons to use magic as there are books.  Next time you pick up a fantasy novel, think about the magic that's in it and how it's used.  Perhaps you'll be inspired to write a little magic of your own!

See the other stops on this tour!  

Tour Schedule:-

2nd April, 2012 - Sara @So Simply Sara
4th April, 2012 - Melanie @Not So Innocent
5th April, 2012 - Delia @Wolf Majick Reviews
8th April, 2012 - Ruty @Reading.... Dreaming

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