Fantasy author Stephen R Lawhead talks exclusively to SciFiNow about the first book in his all-new ‘super-fantasy’ series, 15 years in the making…
What is the one thing that people need to know about The Skin Map?
That it’s going to be a wild ride. For years I’ve been calling this my ‘super fantasy’, and I’m not kidding. It’s got everything – mystery, intrigue, alternate realities, warring factions, SF, ancient history, romance – you name it. It’s all there.
Is it true the book has been fermenting for 15 years? Why so long?
Yes, it’s true about the 15 years, but that’s not so unusual for me. I get an idea, sort of develop it in my mind, let it rest, come back to it, poke it with a stick to see if it’s still alive, that sort of thing. Lots of ideas don’t stand the test of time, but others gather strength. And that’s what happened with the Bright Empires series, of which The Skin Map is the first volume.
What can we expect from this series?
Like the characters in the books, you can expect to go places. It all begins in 21st Century London, and before you know it you’re in Prague during the reign of Rupert II and his Magick Court, then Egypt in the 18th dynasty, Damascus in the Thirties, Etruria (Tuscany) about 2,000 BC, the desert of Sedona, Arizona, in the present day, then back to London, but this time on the eve of the Great Fire, and more besides. A word of warning: this is not
a linear story. The structure mirrors the way the characters move through space and time
in their race to discover the secret of the Skin Map.
What do you love most about writing historical fantasy?
Well, the history. And then there is the fantasy. Since I’m an amateur historian with no professional code or reputation to protect, I can play with historical events and ask all sorts of heretical ‘what if’ questions that open up the past to reinterpretation and imagination. If I reach some unorthodox conclusions – such as with my Robin Hood series, King Raven – the history police can’t touch me. My fiction writer’s license says I can get as crazy as I like.
Pick up The Skin Map by Stephen R Lawhead for £5.99 from Amazon.co.uk