F.P. Spirit - High Fantasy Full of Ancient Spells, Dark Arts and Dragon Crystals
F.P. Spirit is an avid science fiction and fantasy fan. A Trekkie before it was cool, F. P. became hooked on fantasy the moment he cracked open his first copy of Lord of the Rings. When he is not lost roaming the multiverse of sci-fi and high-fantasy fiction, F. P. is either creating adventures for his roll-playing friends and family or connecting with his mind and body in an attempt to reach that inner spark of spirit. As our Author of the Day, he tells us about his book, City of Tears.
Please give us a short introduction to what City of Tears is about.
City of Tears is the first book in the Rise of the Thrall Lord (ROTL) series. While it is a standalone series, it follows the continuing exploits of the characters from the Heroes of Ravenford series. ROTL introduces brand new threats and quests of world-shattering proportions. This time the entire world of Arinthar is at stake with hordes of demons crawling up from the Abyss and the potential return of the dread Thrall Masters.
City will deal with the first of these deadly threats. A tower harboring enormous power, shrouded in mist, surrounded by an ancient city, has fallen under a terrible curse. All who once lived there walk the earth as undead, ruled by the former empress of the once-great Naradon empire.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything that made you want to tackle this?
A few years back, my family and I started roleplaying with friends. A number of amusing and amazing characters and adventures resulted from those sessions and I wanted to preserve them for everyone involved. So I started taking notes which later grew into full-blown stories.
This story in particular occurred during that roleplay. It took quite a bit of work to adapt into novel form. More world-building was done, characters were given more depth, plot points were crystallized, and new scenes were developed to tie things together. Still, this is an homage to the characters and adventures of my family and friends, so I’ve done my best to remain true to that throughout.
Where does your love for fantasy and sci-fi come from?
I've loved fantasy and sci-fi since I was a kid. I grew up on Star Trek, Asimov, Niven, and Heinlein. I started transitioning to fantasy through Piers Anthony and Marion Zimmer Bradley, but that love was solidified when I cracked open my first copy of the Hobbit. After that I was hooked. Whether in books, movies, or on TV, I came to love all things fantasy and sci-fi.
Why did you pick a cursed city shrouded in mist as the backdrop for your story?
I sort of already answered this question, but this was a large plot point at that point in our roleplay. Five hundred years prior, the Naradon empire fell. Unknown to all but a few, the mad emperor left behind a deadly legacy—seven towers scattered across the world, each with the power to lay waste to an army.
At the time of this story, demons have crawled up from the lower planes of the Abyss and taken one of those towers, using its power to summon more of their brethren. Now, a second tower has been uncovered and the demons want that one too.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I play the violin, though its been years since I’ve actually touched it.
Interesting cover. Tell us more about how that came about.
The cover of City portrays the seeress Elistra and the warrior Cyclone. These two are shown atop the tower in the center of the ruined City of Tears. These two characters are instrumental to the plot of this particular novel. The story would certainly not progress without either of them. So that is why I chose them for this cover.
Readers say your book is action-packed. How did you manage to keep the pace throughout?
I always try to keep an eye on the pace of any story. To be honest, I’ve learned to insert more introspection into my writing, but too much of that can make the reader feel the story dragging. So I balance that with dialog and action at certain points. That might occur from scene to scene, or even from chapter to chapter. However, too much of any of it leaves me overwhelmed, so I assume it is the same for the reader.
Does writing about surreal worlds and enigmatic scenes present any particular problems? How did you go about creating your magic system?
Writing about other worlds can be challenging. The biggest problem I face is keeping it “real” or “realistic.” As the author, I feel the mechanics of this world need to make sense. Magic is particularly challenging. I want it to feel real. During roleplay, it was based on existing roleplaying systems. However, I don’t always agree that all that makes sense. So I decided to embellish and change things.
For instance, a magic user doesn’t run out of spells. Instead, they run out of concentration. Also, I defined magic as the manipulation of the energy in and around us. It sort of has a Star Wars force flavor, especially in the case of a spiritblade like Lloyd. Lloyd channels energy through the meeting of his mind, body, and spirit. He taps into that spirit energy to perform superhuman, or magical feats. In all honesty, the development of that system was a lot of fun.
What did you have the most fun with while writing City of Tears?
World building, spending more time in the main characters minds, developing the support characters, and writing new scenes. All that was so much fun!
Do any of your characters ever go off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
All the time! The characters have a mind of their own. They will definitely take me in different directions. There are also times they will not do something that happened in game. So I will work around that and make things fit to that character’s personality.
This is book one of the Rise of the Thrall Lord series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
I think I talked about this already. However, this story reintroduces the world and all the characters that are part of the story. So it is not necessary to read the previous series. Also, the novel does end at a definite point and does not require the reader to continue to the next book.
What are you working on right now? Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I just finished book two of the series and actually started writing the first few chapters of book four. The second book resolves a lot of things but does end on bit of a cliffhanger. However, I am transitioning to book three in the next few days.
If anyone wants to see more of my work, they can go to my website, fpspirit.com. I also have a blog there and a sign-up for my newsletter.