I am so thrilled to host Charlie N Holmberg here as my guest today. In her debut novel, The Paper Magician, she has created a world and a story which is fantastic in the true sense of the word. And it’s terrific too. I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more from Charlie. Smart, fresh, sweet, and full of heart, I highly recommend it. Here to explain her world better than I could is Charlie herself.
The World of THE PAPER MAGICIAN: What It Was and How It Changed
My debut novel, The Paper Magician, takes place in an alternative 1902 London, England. I say alternative because magic has tweaked it. In the world of The Paper Magician, people have learned how to cast spells through manmade materials: glass, paper, rubber, metal alloys, plastic, even fire and flesh. So, though it’s 1902, plastic is in wide use. Advancements in metal and rubber have made automobiles fairly common. Electricity is still somewhat new, but is often replaced with bulbs consisting of enchanted glass and flame.
Funny thing is, The Paper Magician wasn’t actually written to be in our world at all.
The first couple drafts of the book take place in Perget City, which is the capital city of Amaranda: a country modeled after early twentieth-century England.
I usually write other-world fiction. One of its perks is that I can more or less invent whatever I need for my story to work. I want a boat scene? Bam, the city now has a river. My protagonist needs someplace to hide? I wave my magic mouse and there’s now a mountain range riddled with caves. So long as I stay consistent, I can make the world whatever I want.
But it was a lot like England. Enough so that my editor caught on and strongly suggested I change the setting to England, which ultimately worked well with the story and gave it a historical flare. Perget City became London, Amaranda turned into England. The continent of Manomas shifted in Europe, and all was hunky dory.
Well, not quite. There were tricky revisions to make.
Now I needed to be accurate. Because The Paper Magician is more or less a journey through a magician’s past, my protagonist visits a lot of places. Places that now had to actually be real. If I mentioned a theater, I had to dig through articles and websites and Google Image Search to find a similar theater in London—one that actually existed in the time period (the “existing” thing came up more often than not. A lot of fancy old buildings got demolished before I could use them). Once I found something, I then had to tweak my description of the place to make it match. I did this with auditoriums, parks, churches, and schools as well, not to mention renaming streets and various geographical locations. (I did take some artistic discretion with statues. In a world altered by magic, there could spring up all sorts of important people we’ve never heard of!)
In the end, I feel the setting of the book makes the story much more relatable, and it let me wonder, What would this real place be like with the advancements of magic? It’s also inspired me to try my hand at a true historical in the future . . . we shall see!
A brief synopsis of The Paper Magician:
Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.
Homegrown in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie with three sisters who also have boy names. She writes fantasy novels and does freelance editing on the side. She’s a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses.
Amazon purchase page: http://amzn.to/1yjGbom
I hope you enjoyed hearing about this wonderful tale and author. And if you need a good read, you know what to do.
Books I’m reading now:
The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks