Who Is The Real Fugitive?

Kaaren Sutcliffe Author Interview

Fugitive Mage follows two lovers that are torn apart and their struggle to return to one another while learning about themselves and their abilities. Where did the idea for this novel come from, and how did it develop over time?

My initial vision was to have Mage Everand sent on a simple mission, where he’d discover a whole different world, realise his journey was far more complex than he’d imagined, and lose his heart along the way.

Lamiya and her dragon boat exploded into chapter two of book one, and the mission went awry from that instant! Mage Everand and Lamiya are very different characters, from entirely different cultures, so their overwhelming attraction was always going to present several challenges, let alone being forbidden under Guild Law.

The idea for the torn-apart struggle aspect, really, was in unravelling Mage Everand’s analytical, closed-off mage persona. Through the actions he’s forced to take, his foundation sense of identity is brought into question, along with his loyalties, beliefs, and trust in not only his Guild but his long-term master. His literal being pulled and translocated between two different worlds, led to the two lovers being separated over and over — which upped the romance stakes as well as Everand’s journey arc.

Lamiya began as an effervescent, gorgeous and skilled boat captain, but a woman who was grieving for her lost parents with little sense of her future and not realising how much she is admired by others. She surprised me with the layers, abilities and depths she gained, rising to really challenge Everand in book three. For this I thank my manuscript assessor (Dr Liz Monument), who made some constructive comments about the role of the dragons — and the beasts then entwined themselves around Lamiya and her destiny.

Your characters are wonderfully emotive and relatable. Were you able to use anything from your own life to inform their character development?

Thank you! One of my creative writing teachers once said that our characters always bear facets of ourselves … and I do know where Everand gets his moralistic sense of fairness from, as well as his over-thinking, planning mind. My parents (a composer and a social worker) brought me up to consider the consequences of my decisions and actions, and taught me to think through all the options. While it’s great to have standards for oneself, it can also lead to self-doubt and a struggle to define one’s identity when a conflict develops between our righteous standards and what the heart wants to do. Everand struggles with this throughout all three books. Fortunately, he’s as dogged as me! Yes, I’m a persistent Taurean.

Lamiya and her loyal team definitely represent the paddlers I’ve met with their strength, enthusiasm and energy. She also has to redefine herself and come to terms with an end identity that is way beyond anything she anticipated, despite her ability to see future visions. She too is an all-in or nothing kind of woman.

What occurs with Mage Mantiss, Everand’s master and Head of the Guild, is perhaps a reflection of my experiences with the fragile link between wellbeing and our sense of identity, and how the mind and the body are so connected. Mantiss becomes overwhelmed by his past actions and believes he is dying. I drew upon my feelings post diagnosis with breast cancer, going from being a competitive feeling-invincible marathon runner to a survivor acutely aware of her mortality, to portray how this affects his mindset and the decisions he then takes. 

To me, the characters are the best thing in a story, and their emotional journey is what will always engage me most. Mine, bless them, ended up being far more layered than I anticipated, but I am so enjoying travelling with them toward end points they can all be mighty proud of.

I felt that there were a lot of great twists and turns throughout the novel. Did you plan this before writing the novel, or did the twists develop organically writing?

I tend to start out with a writer’s question to be explored, and an overall roadmap. In this series: how far can you push someone before they compromise their integrity?

I knew Everand would be sent on a complex mission, that he’d lose his heart and have to redefine himself once he found out his master and precious Mages’ Guild were not what he’d thought, and he’d been deceived and manipulated.

I also knew the antagonist, Malach, would be multi-dimensional and elusive. I suspected he’d be the son of Mage Beetal, the complex antagonist in my first fantasy-romance series, who was Everand’s mentor at the Guild.

An organic twist I didn’t anticipate was the depth of emotional response from Everand and his earnest desire to save Malach! I hadn’t guessed how guilty he felt about his former mentor’s death and that he’d see saving Malach as a chance for redemption — for both the rogue half-mage and himself. As soon as this guilt kicked in, we were away with sooo many twists and turns, which continue throughout book three. I know I’m biased, but I love the ambiguity in the title of Fugitive Mage. Who is the real fugitive?

When will book 3 be available? Can you give us an idea of where that book will take readers? 

Eminent Mage, on track for release in early November 2023, pushes up the pace and tension yet again. So much happens! So many life-or-death decisions, including whether Everand will die for Lamiya …

In book 3 the river dragons wade their way in, adding the biggest plot twists of all. Akachi, the imperial dragon, sets Everand and Lamiya a nigh impossible task, with the future of the provinces riding on their success.

Malach, the half-mage, is like the wild card in the pack, wreaking havoc wherever he can, with Everand nobly trying to deflect him and Lamiya driving her own destiny like the feisty dragon boat captain she is. Who will be left standing? With or without their magical powers and abilities? Can Everand come to terms with the past actions of his Guild and master, Mage Mantiss?

All of Ossilis is poised for a new beginning, but only if the river dragons are appeased and the mage and the bird caller can fulfill their destinies.

Author Links: GoodReads | Smashwords | Website | Book Trailer

A simple mission … with twists and meanders that capture his heart and divert his destiny.
Just when Mage Everand thought his mission was concluded and he could follow his heart to be with Lamiya, she is kidnapped. He must save Lamiya — and fi nd out exactly who the rogue half-mage is. Forced to continue Malach’s training in magic, Everand is confronted by his past actions as the apprentice to Malach’s father.
Unexpectedly, the Guild mages forcibly translocate him home! Obliged to report on his mission, he reluctantly reveals the existence and identity of the half-mage. Appalled at the Guild’s verdict for Malach, Everand fi nds himself pitted against his master Mage Mantiss, the Head of the Guild.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on April 6, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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