Author of Trials of Fire and Rebirth
Today I am chatting with epic fantasy author, Edith Pawlicki, about her new novel Trials of Fire and Rebirth, which is a standalone novel in her Immortal Beings world and released, June 14th, 2022.
Helen: Welcome Edith! Congratulations on the release of your new book! I’m so excited to be chatting to a fellow epic fantasy author. Tell us a little about your latest book.
Edith: Trials of Fire and Rebirth is a standalone in my Immortal Beings world. The whole series is epic fantasy, but this book is much more intimate than the first two – it focuses on the complicated histories of an young immortal who cannot remember her past and a powerful god who is ashamed of his. Of course, their mysteries and regrets are tied together, and both come to the fore as they deal with a very unpleasant mortal cult.
Helen: I love your cover, the imagery is very clever, especially the person within the butterfly. But you have chosen to have two covers haven’t you?
Edith: The Kindle cover reflects book’s magic, which is based on color. Karana, the God of Destruction, has red and white magic, and An Ning, the Peace Bringer has black magic. Butterflies are tied to redemption and rebirth in my mind, and when I saw this premade art with the butterfly and the person inside, I thought it matched the themes of the book and the interior motif. I edited it to be red and black and added the white smoke, hopefully evoking fire!
The physical book cover shows Karana, the God of Destruction, and An Ning, the Peace Bringer, with one of their pet Bulgae (aka a firedog). The series marker is actually a red ink stamp, the material is scanned and color-edited rice paper, and washi origami paper is behind the artwork. This is a character-driven epic fantasy – thus the artwork – and a pan-Asia influenced world, so I tried to echo the style of antique Chinese epics.
Helen: Both covers are lovely! How did you come up with the title?
Edith: All the titles in the Immortal Beings series follow the — of — and —- format, to tie them together. For this book, the God of Destruction is dealing with fire, the Peace Bringer is dealing with rebirth, and both of them go through some really wretched situations – trials! – together.
Helen: What inspired you to write this book?
Edith: Recent world events had led me to ponder objective versus subjective truth, and I realized that since the magic of the Immortal Beings is shaped by belief, it would be a great way to explore the way they interact and influence each other. There’s a temptation to assume everything is either true or false, but the power of the human imagination is such that if enough people deeply believe in something (i.e. that paper printed with faces and numbers is valuable) it becomes so. And yet, it’s also possible for thousands of people to believe something and yet it remains a lie that is dangerous to humanity as a whole. Anyway, I set this story up with a character who was facing her own internal contradiction (gender dysphoria) and a human cult with theirs (burning people alive to reincarnate), and set off to find the lines between truth and lie, denial and acceptance.
Helen: Oh my, what an interesting and deep concept. You would need some resolute characters to shoulder such heavy burdens. Tell us about them.
Edith: This book started with Karana; he’s a side character in the first two books, and I became intrigued by his contradictions. He embraces his bad reputation, and he has done terrible things, but he’s genuinely kind and clearly regretful. I wanted to understand him better and also give him a path to redemption. Since he starts as a deeply cynical character who’s running from his mistakes, he had to be balanced by An Ning, an optimistic character with an over-developed sense of personal responsibility. She is strong and compassionate character – a joy to write. Since Karana was in the middle of condemning a mass delusion with the cult, I wanted An Ning to have a “delusion” of her own, something deeply personal that had no effect on others but hurt her when denied. I saw an interesting way to explore gender identity within the magic system, so that just clicked, contrasting and complementing the cult arc.
Helen: They sound amazing and so rich. You’ve created a complex world. What genre do you typically like to write?
Edith: I write speculative fiction with a strong focus on characters and romance. The Immortal Beings fiction is epic fantasy, my YA series is light sci-fi set in a nuclear winter. Characters and relationships (romantic or not) are really what fascinate me, and when I first started writing, I actually leaned into romances. However, I found it really difficult to keep the tension high for a whole novel because I have no patience for angst or miscommunication! I realized that when I start with a speculation, a conflict that is larger than the characters, and then grab an internal conflict that echoes it, I have no problem keeping the tension high for a whole book, and I enjoy it more! Why I do fantasy instead of an adventure or a mystery… well, I don’t know! It’s just the way my brain works!
Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I wish you all the best with your books. Just to close, if I asked your characters why we should read this book, what would they say?
Edith: If you asked Karana, I think he’d tell you the book was none of your business! He’s pretty standoffish. But if you asked An Ning, she’d say you should read the book because it’s terribly romantic and because it shows that it’s never too late to change – redemption is always there for those who choose it and that we can all be more ourselves.
About the Author:
Edith Pawlicki lives in Connecticut with her husband, twin sons, dog, and two rabbits. She fell in love with words in fourth grade and finds writing necessary to free the worlds and characters in her head. When she isn’t busy being a mom and author, she enjoys cooking and crafts. In addition to the Immortal Beings series, she has also written a YA science fiction novel, Minerva.
You can order Trials of Fire and Rebirth from Amazon:
Papaerback preorder -release 16th September 2022.
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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and keep up with progress on my next books are published.
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