Posted by Literary Titan
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is set in a war torn medieval world where the convictions of two unlikely allies are tested. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
In this particular story in the Dál Cruinne Series, I wanted to write a character with this world’s version of a superpower, asking the questions of what would someone give to obtain the advantage, what has it really cost them, and how do they reconcile within themselves the life they lead because of that power? And of course, I threw in the unpredictability of the human heart when the chemistry called attraction is involved.
My goal as a writer was to finally commence a story that has been in my head since the mid-1990s. Long before I even contemplated being a writer. I love fantasy and wanted to try my hand at it—as so far, I have written dystopian/romance/time travel. And yes, I do tend to mix my genres. I’ll do the same with this series as the next books are an inter-world fantasy.
I enjoyed the relationship between Vygeas and Leyna and thought it was well developed. What character did you enjoy writing for?
I enjoyed writing Vygeas. I always seem to identify the most with my male protagonists. Maybe because I was a tomboy.
I loved writing the fight scenes. I used to do martial art but not much with weapons and never a sword, but I always love watching a good sword fight. Also, I’d love to ride a warhorse. And who doesn’t want a special gift that gives you the advantage over almost everyone?
Writing Vygeas’ tortured, convicted soul on the verge of great change was a journey through the darkness, looking for the light. Something I feel we all experience, and so I could identify with him, and I hope the readers do too.
And I enjoyed the way Vygeas’ taciturn personality bounced off Aiden’s talkative, open, oops-I’ve-said-too-much, honesty.
The depth of the backstory and world-building is something that was well executed. How did the idea for the world start and change as you wrote?
The fantasy world of Dál Cruinne is more like an ancient Gaelic/Celtic world than a medieval European one. Hence the Gaelic words in the title and the place names, and landscape very much like Scotland. As the series progresses the reader will find many more differences, such as how kings, their righ, and high kings, ard righ, are chosen in this world.
I didn’t purposely set out to make a non-European fantasy world, but I do feel it’s been done enough in this genre. I have a love for Scotland, its history and geography. I’m fascinated by the Celts in Britain and the history of the Gaels in Ireland. My ancestry is from both. And I love the sound of the Gaelic when it’s spoken. So, to me, an ideal fantasy world has shades of all of these—and castles of course! I took my inspiration from these cultures but haven’t based it exactly upon them.
I’m not too sure if anything changed as I wrote, as I had worked on the type of world I wanted before I began. The main thing that surprised me in the writing was the amount of magic that came out in this particular story. It probably isn’t anything like Druidic magic, but as I said, this world has shades of those cultures and isn’t a carbon copy.
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is a novel in the Dal Cruinne series. Do you plan on writing more books in this series?
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is sub-titled as A novel in the Dál Cruinne Series and isn’t book one as such. It is an introduction to this world and there will be other stories, which run serially (to themselves and not necessarily to Murtairean), but Murtairean is a first glimpse and, hopefully, an enticement for the reader to stick around for more. I’m sure Vygeas, Leyna and Aiden will turn up in the other stories. Lord Ciaran certainly does.
I have a duology/trilogy in the planning with the first draft of book one almost completed. The series will be Arlan’s Pledge (Arlan means pledge in the Gaelic) and the first book is Trastaidh. The Crossing. The main character, Arlan, is the son of current Ard Righ of Dál Gaedhle (the large western kingdom of Dál Cruinne), who finds himself transported to our world, to Scotland, and meets the attractive Rhiannon. Will he find his way back to Dál Cruinne, or, after spending time in Rhiannon’s comfortable western culture, does he really want to?
Leyna, a warrior woman and high-end thief, turned her back on her title of Lady Leynarve of Monsae after her parents’ murder. Bent on revenge, Leyna travels to a hit where assassins gather, intending to find and kill the one who ruined her life.
Vygeas, a mercenary and assassin, has the gift of heightened perception, enabling him to sense his opponents’ emotions and anticipate their every move. Sickened by the warmongering, Vygeas awaits execution for desertion. But he’s given one final task to win his freedom…kill a mark and avoid the gallows.
Unaware of Vygeas’ trade, Leyna hitches a ride with this handsome sell-sword with exceptional abilities. Vygeas realises he has encountered the beautiful and capable Leyna’s family before…on a previous hit.
While pursued by a powerful sorcerer-mage, they combine their skills to thwart his attempts to capture Leyna and destroy Vygeas.
Fighting their joint foes without, and battling their torments within, Vygeas and Leyna discover the truth that could destroy their newly forged relationship.
Will their past define them, or will they discover all they could be?