Jesper Schmidt & Autumn M. Birt - An Epic Fantasy Saga

Jesper Schmidt & Autumn M. Birt - An Epic Fantasy Saga

Jesper Schmidt is a bestselling fantasy author who also dabbles in non-fiction. There was a time where the art of writing was something that lived a quiet life, in the back of his mind. A dormant desire and, like so many of our dreams, it was placed on a list of things to do later. That’s, luckily, all in the past. Nowadays, Jesper write stories about underwater dragons, vampires, awesome spellcasters, and dark Gods attempting to gain a foothold in the material realm of Ylécium.  Jesper loves fantasy, worldbuilding – especially maps – and storytelling.

Autumn is a bestselling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war! She is the author of the fast-paced epic fantasy, including the adventure trilogy on elemental magic, the Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Games of Fire, an epic continuation of the world and characters begun in the Rise of the Fifth Order.

As our authors of the day, they tell us about their book, Magic Unleashed.

Please give us a short introduction to what Magic Unleashed is about.

The wizards of old managed to imprison the Dark Goddess of Torture and Wind. However, the Goddess is growing in power and should she escape, it would undoubtedly unite her most devoted worshippers: the vile and deadly Ember Dwarves.

In the wake of her bannermen, who labor tirelessly in the depths of the mountains, far below the snow-filled ground, isolated from the sun they so loathe, nothing but carnage and ruin will follow.

Raor has talents like no other in the arts of magic, but he decided to prematurely terminate his apprenticeship at the mage academy, happily settling for a life as a scholar, an existence where he can safely ignore the emotions he so fears to access when casting spells.

Raor doesn’t want to be a hero. He only cares about saving Rosaylyn from a deadly disease, but when he becomes a pawn in a game of revenge between immortals, he is forced to risk his life and take the test of magic inside the three most ancient towers: The Temple of the Arcane.

What inspired you to write this trilogy? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?

We are two co-authors, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt, writing this trilogy. We wanted to write about the Gods – those kind of stories are always cool – but also something with a unique magic system. Based on reader feedback, we seem to have accomplished both.

There’s quite some inspiration drawn from the original Dragonlance series. While there is no specific focus on dragons within our story, Dragonlance was a huge inspiration. Reading it decades ago, we wanted to show our respect to a book series which had a massive impact on our love for the fantasy genre.

Where does your fascination with Mages come from?

Well, speaking of Dragonlance, one of the best characters ever created is Raistlin. I hope we get to see him on the big screen one day, but the depth of his internal struggles and frail nature, is probably what created a fascination for mages.

Tell us more about the Rift in this story. Why does it play such an important role?

Magic Unleashed is set in the world of Ylécium. This setting consists of nine planes of existence, all interconnect by the Rift which sits in the middle, but is also home to the dark and evil Gods.

The Rift itself is a tear in reality, a vertical line of black nothingness which seems to ebb in and out of existence. While nobody truly understands what the Rift is or how it came to be, the mages, who have devoted all possible resources to its research, have concluded it to be a portal to another dimension. Its actual size and shape are unknown, yet the most brilliant of minds swear it to be relatively small. However, the Rift expands and contracts like the chest of a dark beast. It feeds on emotions. For centuries, it has slowly grown in size. As a consequence, the mages made books and stories forbidden—relegating the common people into oblivion about the annals of the world—in the hopes that the Rift won’t end up swallowing them all.

We are planning to add more and more stories to the world of Ylécium, including ones set in some of these other dimension. This set up allows us to write many different kind of stories while still keep them connected by a shared setting.

And the Rift itself... it’s just cool. One of our free short stories – available through our Reader Library, actually shows character entering the place.

Do your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?

Because we are co-authors, we need to plan our stories out in advance. We plot quite thoroughly and develop character arcs. This way, we are sure that we agree where the story is going before we start writing and end up having to rewrite. So, no, we know exactly what is going to happen when we first commit ‘pen to paper’.

Interesting cover. Please tell us more about this choice.

It’s a beautiful cover, isn’t it? When we initially started to write this trilogy, we commissioned different artwork. One of the artists created this image of Otano, the Goddess of Torture and Wind. When we saw, we immediately decided this to be the perfect cover for the first book of the series.

How did you go about creating a realistic, believable fantasy world for your trilogy?

Through a lot of thinking, discussion, and world building. By the time we started writing, we knew this world inside and out – most of those details will never make it into the story, but they are available on our website for readers to enjoy.

When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?

If it’s an entire new setting, then world building comes first. It’s a wonderful process that we thoroughly enjoy, yet, we need to be careful not to spend too much time in this stage of the creation process. It’s easy to keep world building and never get to the writing.

Once, we are done with the world building, we usually create a map. This helps ground ourselves in the world, and it comes with the added benefit of understanding the distance between places.

Then, we start plotting. This process can take months. We need to agree and discuss everything. We eliminate plot holes, ensure that all character arcs are consistent, and that the story progression is spot on.

Only then do we begin writing. All this preparation means that we usually need to do very little editing on the content. Our main focus is to get rid of those pestering typos.

What are you working on right now?

At this point, we have multiple projects. The main focus is to get book 2 and 3 of the trilogy completed. The second books is written and undergoing edit, whereas the third book has been outlined.

Besides this trilogy, we are finishing out a few short stories. We have a Star Wars audio drama in production, however, this has been put on hiatus due to other commitments. At one point, we’ll get back to it.

In fact, we have many audio dramas on the drawing board. A Call of Cthulhu story, a D&D inspired podcast which will tell the origin story of the Rift, and many more.

As you can tell, there isn’t enough time in the world 😊.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

You can find all our fiction at where you’ll also be able to get access to the Reader Library, consisting of multiple free short stories. This way, readers are able to sample our writing and get into the world of Ylécium.

For those who like podcasts and the writing process, why not listen to the Write the Story podcast and Am Writing Fantasy.