Pantheon follows a farm girl and an orphan boy whose destinies are intertwined as they embark on separate adventures on a separate continent. What was the inspiration for setting up your story?
My inspiration came from a few different places. Much of my inspiration came from Garth Nix’s The Old Kingdom Series, Makoto Yukimura’s The Vinland Saga, and much of it from Marjorie M. Liu’s Monstress series of graphic novels. Garth Nix has a talent for deep diving with characters who live in worlds very different from our own. Magic is both a source of power and something toxic to the human body if handled incorrectly. Life and death share the same importance in the story that I also wanted to impart in my series.
Vinland Saga takes a youthful character and plunges him into a violent and often unpredictable world full of schemers and power-hungry. There is a huge emphasis on the duality of men in many chapters and that was definitely something I wanted to focus on in my story. The loss of innocence is also there and since my characters were going to be young, in their teens and early twenties respectively, I wanted them to go through a similar journey.
Monstress does a stellar job of building worlds. Frankly, I find it amazing. The technology, the extensive history, even the multiple factions vying for power all come together seamlessly. That masterful level of storytelling was my goal the entire time.
Athaliah and Yaphet have life-changing experiences on this journey. What were some ideals that drove the development of your character?
Going back to Vinland Saga, I wanted there to be an emphasis on the loss of innocence. In Atty’s case, she starts out as a closed-minded hunter and farmer, but gradually finds herself drawn into the life of a soldier. Not only that, but she begins to see that the world is not so black and white. Part of her naivete comes from being so young, but a lot of it also comes from her parents’ decision to hide the world from her.
In Yaphet’s case, he wanted to have an Attack on Titan-esque reveal of a disastrous conspiracy and lie. Yaphet seeks acceptance and knowledge, but these very things draw him closer and closer to a very dark truth that threatens to destroy the world he knew. The truth is a difficult thing to accept. For some it is impossible, and that is the nature of Yaphet’s journey throughout the story. For Yaphet, his most difficult test will be accepting himself and forging his own path.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I tried to focus on a few different ones. Over time, I developed them and hope to continue to do so in future Pantheon entries. For me one of the most important was discrimination. Discrimination is an important part of human history no matter what continent you are on, and even in the modern age it remains a touchy subject. I wanted to make sure this was an integral part of Pantheon, whether it was the hatred between Jingsehi and the Sebelians or even the hatred Yaphet and Atty have for their own people.
Just as important was the use of violence and fear to shape minds. You’ve all heard the “people fear what they don’t understand” theme. In the world of Pantheon, not only is this still very true, but in the unknown realms, there is actually great evil. The only thing is that the characters often misunderstand where the danger is really coming from. Even though I’m building a fantasy world, I still wanted those connections to the world we all live in. As an avid reader of history, I had a lot to build on.
What is the next book you are working on and when will it be available?
Big question! In fact, I have many things to do. I’ve recently been experimenting with Kindle Vella and throwing out episodic stories. So far I have released two, law of sacrilege Y Pantheon: Genesis. Pantheon: Genesis It’s actually a continuation of Pantheon (Pantheon #1) and Pantheon: The Phantom (Pantheon #2). It mainly follows Yaphet’s story and will later be published as pantheon: the contact, the third book in the series. law of sacrilege the first season will be the next book in the series and will be published as The prelude to the vision December 7th! This story is a prequel that takes place a hundred years before the events of Pantheon and actually explores the world of Jingseh and beyond. Curious readers can get the latest news on my website and social media!
Author Links: Good reads | Twitter | Facebook | Website