One of the completely awesome things about being a writer is hearing from readers–and those readers often have questions. Yesterday I got an email full of questions from reader Llana (who is rereading the Magic Thief books) and her sister (who is reading them for the first time). I thought I’d answer them here.
If YOU have any questions you’d like answered (about the Magic Thief books), ask in the comments and I’ll update the post with your answers! We’ll make a FAQ together!
Okay, here are the questions:
Q: Did you always plan to make Conn lose his memory?
A: So right, Conn gives his “self” to the magics at the end of The Magic Thief: Found, which means he doesn’t remember who he is. I definitely didn’t plan that! But it made sense. In the first book, Conn gives up his locus stone; in the second book, he gives up Heartsease (his home), so it made sense that when I got to book three that he would have to give up himself. But I’m not a very careful planner–it just happened to work out that way.
Q: Where did the idea for Pip come from?
A: One of the very first short stories I had published was given a wonderful illustration by talented artist Kari Christensen. Here’s the picture:
(Copyright, Kari Christensen)
Sort of a creepy old guy, but isn’t the tiny dragon the BEST?
I SO loved this little creature that I vowed to put it into a book someday. So I did! Kari also did the dragon artwork on the front page of my website, and he designed a dragon tattoo that I have on my upper arm! So that’s where Pip came from. Here’s its picture from the book:
(Copyright Antonio Javier Caparo)
Q: When will we learn more about the fourth book?
A: Well, the third Winterling book, Moonkind, is out in January. After that, I’ll be focusing a lot more on the fourth MT book, including title and cover (I have seen a draft of the cover and it’s amazing! I can’t wait to reveal the color, which has been a big mystery). I still don’t know exactly when the fourth MT book will be out–sometime next fall. A long time to wait! But in not too long I’ll be posting a short story here on the blog (about Conn getting his memory back!), and my publisher will be doing a e-story about Conn called “A Proper Wizard” (not sure when that’s coming out either).
Q: Does the cat get along with Pip?
A: Lady the cat is more than she seems–and yes, she and Pip get along just fine. Which is a good thing, since they both have sharp claws.
Q: Is Argent a potential contender as Rowan’s boyfriend or that just wishful thinking on my part because I really want see Conn fight Argent again?
A: Argent would like to think he’s a contender, but he is NOT. Can you guess who’s going to end up with Rowan?
Q: Where did Benet learn to knit and how did Nevery meet him?
A: Benet learned knitting from his old grandma, who first taught him to knit so he’d always have warm sock to wear (she worried). Benet and Nevery had an interesting meeting–twenty years ago, right before Nevery was first exiled from Wellmet. Back then, Benet was working as a bouncer in a rough tavern (he kicked people out who were being TOO rough). And Nevery got into a bit of trouble and needed a tough guy to knock some heads together. Maybe I need to write that story!
A new Question from reader HallieKate:
Q: Will Crowe be returning to Wellmet?
A: As you know, people return to Wellmet even though they’ve been exiled (Nevery does at the beginning of The Magic Thief, and Conn does it at the end of book two and in The Magic Thief: Found!) So will Crowe be returning to Wellmet even though he was exiled from the city at the end of the first book? You’ll have to read book four to find out!!
A Question from Marissa:
Q: When you were writing The Magic Thief did you put some of yourself into Conn and Rowan? Rowan is really tough and Conn is really blunt and honest.
A: I get asked this question a lot! And the related question: are any of your characters based on people you know? The answer to both is no (with two exceptions, which I’ll explain in a minute). When my characters emerge in my mind–as I’m writing them–they are totally themselves, unique individuals. One of the things that made writing The Magic Thief SO much fun was getting to know Conn and knowing exactly what he’d do in any situation (get himself into trouble, of course).
The two characters that are like people I know (or knew) are Lady the cat, who is like my cat Sparkle, who died not long after the book was published. And Sparks the pyrotechnist, who is based on my sparky old grandma, who died last year at age 103.
Q: Have you ever considered making a Magic Thief movie??
A: I LOVE the idea of a Magic Thief movie!! And I get asked about it a lot. Here’s the thing with movies, though. It’s all completely out of the author’s hands. I’m not a movie director, after all, just a writer. It’s up to a director or production company to get excited about the books, take out what’s called an “option,” and then make the movie. I will say that we’ve had some interest from various movie-industry people and even some TV people, but so far nothing has worked out. Maybe some day!
Azzy asks a question that I’ve never been asked before!
Q: Will we ever find out what happened to Desh and it’s magic? Did it survive Arhionvar?
A: This is a question I don’t address in the other MT books (including the one coming out next year), so I’ll answer it here. Yes, Desh and its magic survive Arhionvar’s attack. Before that, the slowsilver of the city was being mined by Jaggus, part of his plan to make the magic’s attachment to the city weaker. So ever since Arhionvar and the defeat of Jaggus, the wizards of Desh have been buying back as much slowsilver as they can find and returning it to the mine. Slowly the magic is growing stronger, and so is its connection to the city itself.
From faithful reader Kobe:
Q: How much The Magic Thief books will there be???
A: Well, so far there are the three, plus the fourth book coming out in fall 2014, plus there’s an e-story called “A Proper Wizard” coming out sometime before that (maybe next summer?). I have some sort-of vague ideas for a fifth book, but I don’t know yet if I’m going to write it.
HallieKate asks a question that I have asked myself:
Q: Will we find out anything about Conn’s father?
A: Not in the fourth Magic Thief book. However, it IS something I’ve been thinking about. I’m pretty sure I know who Conn’s father is (not a character you’ve seen in any of the other books, somebody new), and if I do write a fifth MT book he’ll very likely be in it.
Reader Rachael has a bunch of great questions:
Q: I had been wondering if the city of Wellmet’s name has now changed since the old (previous?) Wellmet magic merged with the (new? old-new? old? …) Arhionvar magic?
A: No, the city is still called Wellmet, only now it really is well met. I mean, the two magics are settled (for now) and the two sides of the city, the Sunrise and the Twilight, are more balanced. But not for long…
Q: I was wondering what ever became of Keeston (from The Magic Thief)? Did Brumbee take him on as an apprentice, and where is he now? Will he ever return to the story?
A: Keeston plays a small role in The Magic Thief: Home. And yes, Brumbee did take him on as an apprentice. He also plays a role–as Conn’s friend and fellow wizard–in the short e-story “A Proper Wizard” that is coming soon from my publisher!
(I love these questions!)
Q: Where did misery eels come from – and what exactly are they? Are they an organic-type of living being, magic, or a bit of both?
A: The misery eels are real creatures. They hatch in dark, lonely places like prisons and cold cellars–there are lots of them in the Twilight–and they feed on people’s sadness and loneliness. They are pretty horrible. Here’s a nice misery eel reading a book, drawn by my writer-buddy Greg:
Next question from Rachael!
Q: Is there magic in Connwaer’s family lines and history?
A: Nope, only criminals.
Q: Does Connwaer think of Nevery and Benet as his family now?
A: Yes, very much so, what we’d call a “created family.” There’s a big development in this area in book four, The Magic Thief: Home.
Q: Will the other Magisters now accept Connwaer’s unconventional ideas about what magic is? Will they allow him to return to school at the Academicos – and will they accept Pip as Connwaer’s locus magicalicus?
A: The magisters are very dubious about Conn’s ideas on the true nature of magic–they’re dangerous, revolutionary ideas, after all–and they don’t even really accept Conn as a fellow wizard. They pretty much can’t teach him anything at the academicos, so he can’t be a student there any more. What IS Conn exactly?? What role should he play in the city, now that he’s a powerful wizard?? That’s one of the big questions of book four.
HallieKate asks another great question:
Q: In the second Magic Thief book, Conn’s characteristic animal was different. Why did that happen? Change in personality?
A: In the first book, the embero spell turns Conn into his characteristic creature–a cat. And one of the things he thinks when this happens is “oh, what a wonderful thief a cat would make!” (Except that a cat doesn’t have opposable thumbs, so wouldn’t be a very good pickpocket). In book one, Conn is still more a thief than anything else. In The Magic Thief: Lost, Conn is turned into a black bird–a connwaer. His personality is still the same, but who he is has changed–he’s not a thief any more, he’s becoming a wizard.
Reader Maria has a bunch of questions too.
Q: Who is Connwaer probably closest to of his new found family/friends?
A: Conn lived alone on the streets for a long time, so he still withholds a lot of himself, even from the people he loves and trusts, and his relationships still need to develop some more (as they do in book four, coming next year). He’s closest to Nevery, of course, and Benet, who are his “created family.” And he trusts Rowan completely, too, though their friendship hits a rough patch in the fourth book.
Q: What was Connwaer’s mom like and how was their relationship?
A: Black Maggie was Conn’s mother, and while she loved him and taught him some valuable skills–like how to pick locks and pick pockets–she was a somewhat distracted mother because while Conn was small she was vying with her brother, Crowe, to see who would become the Underlord of the Twilight. Conn was only around five years old when she died, so he doesn’t remember her all that well.
(these kinds of questions are very fun to answer because they’re about things that happen outside the boundaries of the books)
Q: Does Argent see any good in Connwaer?
A: To Argent, Conn is an obnoxious kid, yet he’s jealous of Conn’s close friendship with Rowan.
Q: Did Connwaer have any friends growing up as a young child?
A: Because his mother, Black Maggie, was vying with her brother for control of the Twilight, Conn lived as a small child pretty isolated from other kids. To be friends with the son of Black Maggie might be dangerous, after all. Conn didn’t even know he had a cousin in Wellmet, who was just a little older than he is.
Q: How has Keeston changed since we last saw him in the first book? I know one of the books alluded to the fact he was interested in Connwaer’s ideas of magic.
A: Keeston will appear again in The Magic Thief: Home (book four), and in a short e-story that will come out from my publisher sometime before that. In The Magic Thief, Keeston was a bit of a bully, but he was the kind of kid, back then, who picked on others because his master, Pettivox, picked on him. Basically he didn’t know any better, and he was scared a lot of the time because his master asked him to do bad things–like spy on Nevery. At the same time, Conn has a feeling that Keeston wasn’t really a bad person, just a kid in a bad situation, and he was right about that. Since then, Keeston has served as Brumbee’s apprentice and he’s developed into a fine wizard and–as you’ll see in the story–a good friend to Conn.
Q: Oh and how did Sparks end up “adopting” Embre?
A: Sparks is Embre’s aunt–his mother’s much older sister. Embre’s mother died at his birth, and he was raised by his father, Crowe, for a while, until Crowe had his sister (and Embre’s aunt), Black Maggie, killed, and decided that Maggie’s son–Conn–would be a better heir than Embre would. That’s when he had his minions break Embre’s legs (the same thing he had done to Maggie) and cast Embre out of the Dusk House to die. Sparks actually arrived on the scene right when Crowe’s minions were about to finish Embre off, and she used pyrotechnics–a little explosion–to frighten them away so she could rescue him. Embre was about ten years old when all of this happened. You can see why he’d mistrust Conn very deeply after this.
Those are the questions so far! DO ask in the comments if you have other ones!