Today I’m very pleased to welcome fellow DSP Publications author Andrew Q. Gordon who is visiting to talk about his free release, First Love, which is set in the same world as The Last Grand Master. I have a weak spot for fantasy prequels, and this one sounds wonderful. Here’s Andrew to talk about Queen Zenora…
Thanks Amy for hosting me today and letting me talk a bit about my new free release.
First Love has its origin in what was basically one sentence in The Last Grand Master. At one point Farrell tells Prince Peter of Belsport in passing about his first love. It was ten years before the opening of The Last Grand Master and Farrell’s mother—Queen Zenora—and teacher—Heminaltose—were still alive.
First Love not only shows what Farrell was like before the war began, it also let’s me show his mother and teacher, through his eyes.
Of all the characters, Farrell is naturally the most fleshed out. The story is through his eyes. But what of the secondary characters? I kid you not, the Champion of the Gods series is well over 2 million words long. Much of that is filler and background that I wrote to flesh out the story that will never see the light of a Kindle. Writing it, however, made it easier to write the entire story.
Queen Zenora of Yar-del is one of the more tragic characters in the story. Like Heminaltose, she doesn’t survive the open campaign of the war. One of the things I wanted to show in First Love, was the true strength of Zenora.
Zenora is the only surviving child of King Bren. In her own right, she is a very powerful wizard. Her power is often over shadowed by those around her, specifically Heminaltose, her teacher, mentor and ally. Meglar’s meteoric rise to influence upon the stolen energy of Yar-del also obscures Zenora’s true power.
But that just speaks to her strength as a wizard. What about her as a person? When King Falon of Zargon proposed that Meglar and Zenora married, King Bren and others had their doubts, but he allowed the prince of Zargon to court his daughter. A marriage between the two houses promised an end to thousands of years of conflict.
True to her calling as a princess of Yar-del, Zenora agreed to the courtship. In the end she agreed to marry Prince Meglar, unaware that he has been deceiving her all along. Within a few years, Meglar’s ultimate goal is revealed—to get close enough to Zenora to be able to steal Yar-del’s Source, the foundation of its power.
Zenora had to live with the fact that because she Meglar was able to deceive her, the world at large suffered from his rise to power. Adding to her pain, the gutting of the Source affected the health of her father, King Bren. Yar-del’s Source not only supplied the kingdom with its vast power advantage, it served to bind the monarch to the land. The damage to the Source caused Bren to irreparable physical damage to her father and caused his death centuries sooner than otherwise would have happened.
As if all of that wasn’t enough to heap on Zenora, before Meglar fled with his stolen energy, he tried to take his son with him. Fearful that Meglar might capture the boy and turn him against the world, King Bren, with Heminaltose’s agreement, ordered that Halloran could not be allowed to live. In a staged and very public scene, Heminaltose ripped the screaming child from his mother’s arms and disappeared through a waiting door. King Bren sent out an edict that he’d ordered the child killed and his name stricken from the House of Kel.
In truth, Heminaltose took the child to his school at Haven, changed his name to Farrell and didn’t tell Farrell about his birthright until he was twelve. During those years, Zenora saw her son sporadically and could not acknowledge as anything more than Heminaltose’s student.
The Zenora we see in First Love is preparing for a war she knows she will lose and trying to spend time with her estranged son. Even though logically she knows sending him to Haven was for the best, her heart still grieves for the child she lost.
One of the themes I want to show through out the series, is the love Farrell has for his mother and the ache he feels not only from her death, but from how little time they had together. First Love allowed me a brief opportunity to show how she much she cared for her son as well.
PUBLISHER: DSP Publication
SERIES: Champion of the Gods
RELEASE DATE: 27th January 2015
LENGTH: 40 Pages
BLURB: Prequel to The Last Grand Master
A Champion of the Gods Story
On a visit to Yar-del with Grand Master Heminaltose to celebrate his age of majority birthday, Farrell catches the eye of Lieutenant Cameron, a handsome young officer in the Queen’s Guard. But having spent most of his life cooped up at Heminaltose’s school for wizards, Farrell is clueless as to palace intrigue. He is unaware that his access to the queen is something others would greatly prize. When the queen points out that his suitor is the son of a social climbing minor noble, Farrell must decide whether to heed the warning or meet with Cameron anyway.
Tenth hour would take an eternity to arrive, but they both had to attend to their duties. Although Cameron seemed suitably impressed by his appointment, it didn’t improve Farrell’s mood.
He stopped himself as he started to think of ways to get out of dinner. Not going wasn’t an option. More importantly, Heminaltose only allowed Farrell brief visits to Yar-del City to see his mother. Skipping dinner meant one less chance to spend time with her. And he’d see Cameron at tenth hour.
“Boy.” The deep voice behind Farrell made him freeze.
He turned slowly but already knew who he’d find. “Master Heminaltose.”
Dressed in his formal blue-gray robe, he leaned on his white wooden staff and tilted his head to the left. “What brings you to this out-of-the-way place? And why are you just standing there?”
Farrell had been in trouble often enough to know his master suspected him of something. When he tried to answer, his mouth went dry and his tongue turned to stone.
“Well?” The older man raised his bushy white eyebrows and peered down his nose at his student. “I’m waiting for an answer.”
His euphoric mood dashed, Farrell knew better than to lie. “I came here to meet someone.”
“Yes, Master, someone.” This approach never worked, but he’d been too embarrassed to answer directly.
“Don’t treat me like a fool.”
Despite being at least an inch taller than his teacher, Farrell felt like Heminaltose towered over him.
“I’m not, Master. I… I just….” His cheeks flushed and he started to sweat. “I’d rather not say.”
“Private? You mean…?” Heminaltose jerked his head back and his eyes opened wider. “By the Six! Now? Your hormones have decided to kick in now?”
AUTHOR BIO: Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of nineteen years, their daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day.
Andrew Q. Gordon is giving away the following:
$15 DSP Gift Card
An E-copy of “Third Eye” by Rick R. Reed
An E-copy of “Ghost” by Carole Cummings
An E-copy of a book by J. Tullos Hennig
Contest Begins: 27th January, 2015
Contest Ends: 9th February, 2015