Thursday, February 26, 2009

Author Post: Bruce Skye


A former technical writer, detail is important to Bruce Skye. His research for the Deathsong Chronicles included medieval armor and fortresses, as well as Celtic names and magic. "If you create a world, it must be consistent. And that's what I strive for Grayrider's world to be. I've built a database of material for each of the Deathsong Chronicles. Those databases aid me in keeping the world the same from book to book.

"When I wrote Grayrider, I followed the advice of Stephen King. I did not write the book following any sort of outline. I have no more idea than my readers do when I write a novel what will happen in the midst of the story. It makes it more exciting for both the readers and myself."

You can visit his website at


Gabriel, the exiled king of Rivalin, comes before King Airell to warn him the Ansgarian army will invade his kingdom before the night is over. Airell tells him he has no one to send. Gabriel wants revenge for the murder of his family by the Ansgarians. He decides to fight the incursion without help.

As this takes place, Deirdre (Airell’s daughter), flees the kingdom of Cynyr north of Boadhagh. She knows now her mentor, Morrigan, created the Ansgarian army her father has fought for years. She goes south to warn him of her. Because Deirdre does not believe in herself, the young sorceress has difficulty in performing magic.

Once she is reunited with her father, she tells both he and Grayrider about Morrigan. Her power is growing; only Gabriel’s magical sword may yet destroy her. He must go to Cynyr to fight her. He agrees if Deirdre attends him, seeking her counsel. On that journey they fall in love and foil many efforts by Morrigan to kill Gabriel by both armies and sorcerers.

Grayrider fights Morrigan and sees his beloved slain by the sorceress before he is finally able to kill her. He returns to Rivalin brokenhearted. The ending is a complete surprise the reader will not expect at all.


When I wrote Grayrider, I followed the advice of Stephen King, who has written never to use an outline when writing a novel. And I have found that advice to be sound. I say that because of the number of reviewers who have commented on the number of plot twists the book contains.

I believe keeping the reader guessing about what may happen next is part and parcel of entertaining them. I want to keep my readers on the edge of their seats. I do that because that’s the kind of book I want to read.

Complex plotlines can be accomplished in various ways. But all of them should center on your characters. How will the hero do if the villain does this? If you know your characters and how they will respond to various situations, creating plot twists is easy. As well, the villain’s machinations can be a rich source for storyline twists.

This leads to an associated point: your characters themselves. Giving literary characters depth and background is important. It allows readers to “get into” the story. One reviewer wrote of Grayrider:

Volume One of The Deathsong Chronicles follows the pursuits of the noble Gabriel and his love, beautiful Deirdre. As battles ensue and the throne of Rivalin becomes an option for Gabriel, I found myself pulled into his life and cheering him on. Grayrider and his enemies and friends aren't one-dimensional, as they often are in this genre.

I write fantasy novels. But my heroes are both realistic and appealing so readers will want them to win. That also leads to suspense, for if you’re pulling for the hero to get through this deadly obstacle, you’ll keep reading to see if he does. Secondly, even though magic is a stable of this genre, having “real” people as characters makes the story much more credible to readers.

As I said before, my goal is to entertain my readers.

1 comment:

Hudson said...

I am a big collector of books that I get the author to sign. I love to read a book after I've heard a lecture by them or they tell their story at a book signing event at a local book store.I have a whole section of books I've had signed. Hudson and Mary Jo