Today, I have the honour of hosting an interview with author NM Thorn, writer of the thrilling The Fire Salamander Chronicles. Recently, I made contact with NM Thorn and kindly agreed to an interview.
Where do you come from and has your city/town/village influenced your writings so far?
I live in Coral Springs, Florida. Florida is a beautiful state and I love it. So, since The Fire Salamander Chronicles is an Urban Fantasy novel, it is probably not a surprise that the main events are set in south-east Florida. While all the locations and people in the book are fictional, the cities I use as the settings are real – Corals Springs, Parkland, Fort Lauderdale.
How did you come up with the idea for The Fire Salamander Chronicles? Was it a personal event, a book you read, or a film you watched that inspired you? Or something else?
I came up with the idea for The Fire Salamander Chronicles while I worked on another Urban Fantasy trilogy, which I wrote before this series. For many reasons, I haven’t publish that trilogy yet. But it will be published, hopefully next year.
The character of Gunz — not Zane Burns yet — was introduced in the second book of the trilogy. And once I completed all three books, The Fire Salamander Chronicles, featuring Zane Burns, a.k.a. Gunz, came as a spin-off.
People often ask me how I came up with the idea for The Fire Salamander – a magical being of fire, stating that it is not common. In the trilogy, I was exploring the character of Kal, the Fire Elemental, and the idea for The Fire Salamander came about while I was researching all possible magical beings that could represent the magnificent Fire Elemental.
This blogger: That’s really interesting. It just goes to show that with some passion for a project, and a bit (or a lot) of research, new ideas can spring up and take you on a whole new, exciting journey.
Your series is from the urban fantasy genre. What drew you to this genre and what do you think writers need to do in order to understand it?
I love both Fantasy and Urban Fantasy. The Witch World Chronicles by Andre Norton opened the gates into the world of High Fantasy for me. Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time and The Lord of the Rings – all those came later, after I had already fallen in love with the genre. But when I read The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, I realized that Urban Fantasy is the genre for me.
Urban Fantasy is a perfect blend of magic and reality. That is probably what drew me to it. Let’s admit it, sometimes we need magic in our lives. Writing a world that feels real yet has that extra ingredient that adds fun, an adrenaline rush, and the feel of danger – that’s what writing Urban Fantasy means to me.
This blogger: What you say about magic is very true. I think that’s why so many people fell in love with the Harry Potter series, as it has that real-life quality, only sprinkled with magic to give Potterverse a supernatural thrill.
In one of my blog pieces, I discuss how to choose the right point of view (POV) to write your story in. What is your POV and how did you come to choose it?
All books of The Fire Salamander Chronicles are written in the Third Person Limited, using multiple close points of view. Each chapter shifts the POV between three main characters – Zane Burns, Aidan and Tessa. In book three, The Burns Defiance, which is scheduled to be published on August 22nd 2019, there are a few chapters written from Mrak Delar’s POV.
Each chapter is titled with the character’s name, depending on who is narrating it. I chose this style of writing because I think it gives the reader an opportunity to explore the world of each main character in the story.
Which of your characters is the least like you? And why?
I don’t think any of my characters are like me. When I was working on developing the characters, good or evil, I wasn’t trying to place any of my personality traits into them. My goal was rather opposite – I was trying to give a unique personality for each of them.
Have any of the characters in The Fire Salamander Chronicles been influenced by historical or fictional (including movie) figures?
The prologue of each book in The Fire Salamander Chronicles starts with a story which takes place in the past. It is either a legend or a real historical event. Without giving away too much of a plot, I can say that the prologue of The Burns War (book 2 of The Fire Salamander Chronicles) is based on the major deciding battle between Napoleon’s army and the Russian army at Borodino in 1812.
Also, my books are using elements of mythology and folklore, and some of the characters are gods of different pantheons, mythological creatures, like upirs and volkolaks, or characters from different fairy tales, like Baba Yaga or Leshy.
This blogger: (chuckles.) Yes, I am familiar with that battle as I studied history at university and read about Napoleon’s disastrous march on Moscow. But I am not familiar with those mythical creatures and fairy tales. Thank you for informing me about them.
How did you select the names of your characters? And was it easier or harder to name the protagonists or the antagonists?
In The Fire Salamander Chronicles, all the characters’ names are not coincidental. I selected them for a reason and they have a meaning associated either with their backstory or with what they are in the story. So far, I have never had to change the name for any of my characters.
Zane Burns is not Gunz’s real name. It is an alias given to him by the FBI. The story behind this alias is explained in the prequel novella, which I am planning to release early in September.
In The Burns Fire, one of the main characters, Aidan McGrath, and the antagonist, Eve, come from an Irish legend. Both their names are associated with this legend.
What was the hardest scene for you to write? And why?
One of the most challenging scenes I wrote was probably the final battle in The Burns War, the second installment in the trilogy. The battle is stretched across three chapters that are all connected by the events that happen before and after the battle.
The final confrontation between the forces of good and evil is not only extremely fast-paced. It is also emotionally charged, plus during the battle my characters have to use different sword fighting and martial arts techniques, as well as modern weapons and magic.
This blogger: That sounds like one heck of a battle that readers are going to love (assuming they have not read it already).
If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?
It is a complicated question… Here is what I would tell my younger self – believe in yourself. Give yourself some credit, trust that you can do anything you put your mind to, and don’t let people’s negativity bring you down.
This blogger: Great advice! Having belief in yourself is absolutely crucial to writing a story. I believe that every writer has several moments (perhaps even every day) when they question why they are doing this. Belief in yourself is the key to getting through this and writing the story.
How has writing changed you?
Writing made me revisit certain views and beliefs. To understand how my characters would respond physically or emotionally to the events that trigger my story, I had to dig deeper, learn things I never knew before. But, also, it has affected the way I read books written by other authors – what I am looking for in their stories, characters and writing styles.
What’s the worst writing advice anyone has ever given you?
So far, the only writing advice I have received personally has been great and very helpful. But here is one piece of writing advice, which I caught a few times on social media, that I think it is the worst advice I’ve ever heard (or read) – See what successful authors do and do the same. Since they made it, it should work.
Just because something worked (or works) for a successful author, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone else. Each author is a unique individual with their own unique situation and what works for one person, will not necessarily produce the same result for another. It’s okay to learn what other people do. But you can’t copy that blindly! You must learn, understand, and adopt it to your needs.
This blogger: You are absolutely right! I pleased that the advice you have received from those around you has been positive. I hope they enjoy your books just as much.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Besides spending time with my family, I love art. Digital art is a part of my business, but I also love doing pencil illustrations and oil paintings.
End of Interview
That brings an end to our interview with author NM Thorn. I would like to thank her for her time and that it has wonderful getting to know her. I wish her all the best going forward with her future writings, her family, her business and other ventures.
The third installment in The Fire Salamander Chronicles, The Burns Defiance, is released on 22nd August 2019 and can be purchased on Amazon. For those who wish to start at the beginning of this terrific series, The Burns Fire is available to buy and I thoroughly recommend it.
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