Monday, December 15, 2014

Straight Browsing from the Library - Steven VS

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a $50 Amazon/BN Gift Card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Background of the book

I was back in medical school when I came up with the idea for this story and where the whole thing came from I really had no idea. It was as though I’d had a number of ideas percolating in the back of my mind and then suddenly they all came together and at first it was pretty overwhelming. I knew something was different when I spent the entire morning writing a 5000 word outline the day before the biggest exam of my life when all the other medical students were revising their asses off.

What I came up with was a story with a huge number of characters, featuring, perhaps a little oddly, not a single protagonist, but an ensemble cast of equally important individuals who would come together – eventually. The story that tied all these characters together would span decades, generations and even entire worlds.

Of course you had to start somewhere and for me the start was the novel that you have today. But the peculiar truth of this novel is that it was never actually intended to be a novel. The central characters, along with the antagonists were originally written as back story which would be revealed in subsequent novels, because I am a strong believer in stories delving not only forwards but deep into the past. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that not only was there a story here, it was a story I absolutely had to tell. The characters spoke to me and the more I understood their desires, what drove them, the more I realized how important this chapter was in the overall story.

In the overall scheme of things where the story takes place is relatively stable. I thought it would be an excellent place to world-build and introduce people to the universe that I had created. Of course in telling a story that was originally meant to be back story I ended up writing protagonists younger than I had originally intended – which was challenging.

In the scheme of the overall story they had to be that age, but I knew the threat they faced was very adult, and very real. It was a difficult balance but I had always set out to write a very adult, nuanced story through the eyes of a child. And how he changed and learned from his experiences was the most important thing I wanted readers to take away from the story.

Probably not the answer you were expecting!
In a world where cities float, airships sail the skies and mythical creatures are summoned in a pinch, Celes Vale is distinctly average. Living in the shadow of his talented cousin and his powerful aunt and uncle, Celes is resigned to a future of soot, factories and well, more soot.

But on the night of his twelfth birthday everything changes. A blinding light, a whispered voice and in an instant Celes becomes the first ordinary child in history to develop magic, sending him on a fast-track ticket to the greatest of the floating cities, Gardarel. Boasting grand, elegant buildings wrought from shimmering white stone, the entire city appears as though it has been built from light, and so it has come to be called the Kingdom Lights.

Though some welcome Celes, others want the dirt-ridden up-start off their city preferably head first. Nowhere is this clearer than in the attitude and actions of the beautiful and haughty Lady Ban and her sneering nephew, Marcus Blackwood. But Blackwood, with his gang of goons and unimaginative one-liners, is soon the least of Celes s problems.

With a little magic and a lot of detective work, Celes and his group of Scurriers and Wisps unravel the dark truth behind Lady Ban s prim, perfect smile an alliance to the villainous Wardens and the masked man who leads them. However, in his attempt to expose Lady Ban, Celes unwittingly stumbles onto an even darker conspiracy a plan that could lead to the complete destruction of Gardarel itself.


Light. Beautiful, pulsing, bathing him in its emerald glow…his eyes were peering open now, his mind fumbling for thoughts and memories, a taste like metal upon his tongue.
“Are you hurt?” said a voice, faint, distant. “I didn’t want to hurt you, but I didn’t have a choice.”
“Choice?” the boy croaked. He tried to reach up, but his hands had been bound, thick ropes cutting into soft flesh. I’m back in the Gravity Rooms, he realized, though the chamber itself had been transformed entirely. The emerald light now dripped with the crimson of hundreds of Flare Crystals, as though an angry swarm had surged forth against a far larger beast.
“I know why you’re here, but can’t stop this.” As his eyes began to focus, Celes saw the Warden standing before him, draped in a white cloak, his iron mask half-hidden beneath his hood. It was strange, so strange to find the spectre amongst shadows for once illuminated.
  “You can’t,” said Celes his lips cracked, his thoughts dizzy. What’s…my head, I can’t think… “You can’t destroy Gardarel. Please. I know you’re working for Lady Ban. You don’t…you don’t have to do this!”
The Warden took a knee before him. “I do,” came the whispered reply, soft and sad. “They made their choice; and I, mine.”
A resident of the sleepy coastal town of Bexhill, East Sussex, England. Steven graduated in the summer of 2013 from the University of Southampton with a Bachelor of Medicine Degree and a Master’s Degree in Global Health from Sussex University – where he spent the majority of his time in Shawcross writing this novel!

In between writing and dreaming Steven is a medical doctor and has worked at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and the Princess Royal where he fights the system with quirky lanyards.

Steven’s debut novel steampunk fantasy The Kingdom Lights is out on October 17th published by Neverland Publishing.
Buy the book at Amazon.

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  1. I liked the guest post!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  2. I enjoyed the excerpt, but I liked your comments best.

  3. Loved the excerpt, sounds good. Entering under the name of Virginia