P.J. Flie answers questions about the second book in his Legacy of Seven series, Darkness Falls.
Question: Since it’s the second installment in your Legacy of Seven series, what do you want to remind readers about from A Guardian Rises before they jump into Darkness Falls?
P.J. Flie: At this stage in the story, it’s still up to the reader to decide: is this world one of science or magic? To remind readers what our primary characters are up to, the young Ondreeal is still struggling to find her way as a force of good in this new medieval world. Sir Francis, her mentor and the wise wizard of the north, is haunted by a past where he failed to stop the evil wizard Zairoc from killing Ondreeals’s mother. Now he fears a premonition in which he soon loses everything. CD-45, robot with high-functioning emotional capabilities, is trying to make sense of a strange Earth where everyone sees him as a magical being. He needs to find Sir Francis and tell him of the armada in orbit that continues to threaten the remnants of humanity. And, as always, no one is purely a villain or hero; everyone believes that their actions are justified.
Q: What lessons did you learn from the process of writing Book One that you applied for Book Two?
Flie: Clarity and precision, but within that—finding ways to let the story remain exciting and engaging.
Q: Is it fair to say there are more fantasy elements in Book Two? Was that a conscious decision or something that just developed out of the story?
Flie: There are definitely more fantasy elements. The robot CD-45 is now incorporated into the ‘enchanted creatures’ of this world by the characters—at least for the time being. With the greater use of the wands, more miraculous elements emerge which naturally lends itself to the more fantastical. This was both a conscious decision, as I knew that I wanted to continue to distort the boundary between the scientific and the fantastic, but also an organic and fitting direction for the plot to go in.
Q: There is a push and pull between magic and reason in this book. Why did you want to explore those themes?
Flie: There is so much that we don’t know as a species. Sometimes we find answers with science, and then those answers change over time as we discover more. But sometimes we find answers within mysticism. We look to a higher power to explain our existence and our place in the world. I grew up with a mix of people who firmly believed in mysticism or religion, while others believed solely in scientific fact. Having been raised in this environment, I found myself firmly planted in-between these ideas. That push and pull has defined my life experience. That’s something that a lot of people can relate to as they search for their own truth.
Q: The book is set 2,000 years in the future, but the best comparison for the society is medieval. How did you combine elements of the future and the past to achieve this?
Flie: First, how do you recreate an advanced society once it’s gone? We all know how to use a lightbulb, but how many of us would know how to make one. That’s the conundrum that faced Sir Francis, who rebuilt a society from the most primitive state. The current medieval society is both an expression of his past knowledge, as it is about the breadth of knowledge he possesses. The future elements fit perfectly into a superstitious society because they are explained away as magic. Belief is the glue that holds this society together because everything has an explanation that is accepted as fact.
This is also what traps Sir Francis. How do you change what people believe, especially when it challenges the foundation of what they believe? Once, people thought that the Earth was the center of the universe. To accept that the Earth moved around the sun proved difficult for many. It took time to change people’s minds—that’s the challenge that Sir Francis is faced with.
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