Danie Ware was a contributor on this site at the very beginning and like all FOG! alumni, I’m constantly impressed with their continuing creative endeavors.
After penning the popular Ecko trilogy (from Titan Books), Danie’s latest original work is Children of Artifice, an urban fantasy released through Fox Spirit.
Danie took some time to discuss the book, as well as LGBTQ fantasy fiction and world building while writing.
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FOG!: Danie, what is Children of Artifice about?
Danie Ware: Children of Artifice is an urban fairy tale, with a science fantasy backdrop. It’s a story of love, family, identity, politics, metallurgy and deception, and about how two lives can get completely tangled, one around the other. You could call it a romance, but it’s both personal and intricate, and getting it right was the most amazing feeling.
The love story in the book is between two male characters. Is there a lot of LGBTQ fantasy fiction and what was the genesis of this book?
It’s always good to see LGBTQ relationships in fantasy fiction! Sometimes, they’re a blaze of confrontational glory, as with Richard Morgan’s Steel Remains, and sometimes, they’re just a part of the narrative, as with Aliette de Bodard’s House of Shattered Wings, or Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police series. Either way, it’s something that we should accept and welcome.
With Artifice, I wanted to move away from the clichés of denial and tragedy, and give the characters their chance to really fall in love. It’s the central thread of the story, and they still have their hurdles to clear, (of course they do), but the issues are more about class and caste and family than they are about simply ‘being gay’. The story touches on bigotry (sadly, it does still exist and it can’t be ignored completely), but that’s not where it stays. It’s just two people, falling in love, when they really don’t mean to.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing?
That’s a complicated question! I’ve read SFF fiction all my life, starting with mythology when I was small and moving though the fantasy classics (Tolkien, Donaldson, Eddings) into reading much more SF as I’ve got older. The biggest influence on my writing, though, has always been my role-playing history.
With this book (and your previous Ecko series), do you begin with story, character, world building? How do all of them inform one another and which aspect do you consider the most fun to write?
Ecko mostly started with me being angry! The world/s, characters and (some of) the stories of the Ecko books came from our old gaming, though things steadily adapted and grew as the story continued. Artifice has been a very different thing – it’s always been about the intertwined love story of the two main characters, and about the layers of narrative that surround it. Writing the characters and their relationships – with each other and with the people around them – was absolutely fascinating and the world around them grew as they progressed through it.
What do you have coming up? Is there a second Artifice book in the works?
There is, but it may not be ready for a while! There will be more 40k/Sisters of Battle stuff, coming very soon, and another piece of licensed fiction by the end of year – something I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but something I really enjoyed writing!
If you were to hand sell this book to a reader, tell me in a sentence why readers should check out this book?
If you’ve ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t – then this book is for you.
What are you currently geeking out over?
I’ve just gone back to try and read Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, starting with The Colour of Magic. I didn’t get on with them when they first come out, but I figured (after this many years) it was time to give them another go. I’m introducing my son to Star Trek: DS9 (he likes Quark), and I nurture a secret anime obsession in my quieter moments… Oh – and No Man’s Sky. Which is amazing.
Children of Artifice is available now in print and via digital.