For my early formative years of writing (early 2000s), there were only a handful of authors I read heavily: Robert Jordan, Laurell K. Hamilton, Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsay, and George RR Martin. Since the Shanhasson trilogy was my first project, you’ll probably see a lot of those influences.
I tried to take everything I loved from epic fantasy… the lushness of romance…and the sultry romps of LKH (before the arduer took over)…and create a world that contained it all. Political intrigue, worldbuilding, large character casts, sweeping story arcs, epic journeys mixed with emotional relationships and complex erotic situations. If LKH taught me that one heroine could have many lovers, then George RR Martin taught me…
To kill characters.
I’m so in love with Game of Thrones on HBO and I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s generating such excitement for people who might not have read the series, but seriously, I’m worried about people’s reactions as those beloved characters start dropping like flies.
Okay, I don’t quite kill as many characters as Martin, but major characters DO die in the Shanhasson series. If you already read Road, you know that. But killing characters is a huge no-no in Romancelandia, and since I write a lot of romance and romance-like work, I want to be clear up front.
Return to Shanhasson is NOT a romance.
However, if your heart isn’t singing with joy at the end…and yes, a few tears might spill from your eyes (I cry every time I read it)…then I’ve failed utterly and completely.
To be completely fair, characters might be DEAD but they’re not GONE. e.g. there are still scenes with the characters who were killed and they’re still important to the story. They’re simply bound to appear only in Dreams. So here’s a little twist for you: if I bring back the beloved characters, then it’s only fair that I bring back the hated ones too, right? *wicked grin*
Anyway, if you take a look at the Return to Shanhasson page, you’ll seen the following warning:
THIS TRILOGY IS NOT ROMANCE. Bad things happen. Significant characters die. Love is the greatest gift of all, and sometimes requires the greatest sacrifice. However, love shines in the darkest night. The road is long and hard, but when Shannari reaches her destination, she’ll reunite with all her loved ones she’s lost over the years and find more love and happiness than she’s ever known.
Thank you, Mr. Martin.