Back in January author Resa Nelson stopped by Working for the Mandroid as part of her tour for the first two books in her Dragonslayer series. Now she's on tour in support of the third book in the series, The Stone of Darkness, and she's visiting us again. You can learn more about the Resa and the Dragonslayer series at her website, www.resanelson.com. She's also giving out a couple of short stories in her Dragonslayer universe to introduce new readers to her world. You can find the link to download the e-sampler at the end of her post. Now it's time for dragons!
Why Create Dragons Without Wings?
by Resa Nelson
My 4-book Dragonslayer series takes place in a world where dragons, ghosts, and shapeshifters are real. But my dragons have no wings. They don’t breathe fire. And there are two different types dragons: one is an overgrown lizard, and the other has the power to change between the shape of a lizard and the shape of a mortal.
But why create dragons without wings?
When I write my novels, I feel like I’m really in that fantasy world that I’m creating, watching everything unfold around me. It feels real. It feels like something that could truly happen – or maybe something that already has. I want my readers to experience what I experience. I want to bring them in that world with me. So I make my fantasy worlds as realistic as possible.
I did a lot of research for my Dragonslayer series (from taking a course in blacksmithing to learning how to use medieval weapons), and while making my way through stacks of history books about the Middle Ages, I came across something peculiar. From Roman times until as recently as the 1600s, respectable people like government officials and priests have reported dragon sightings.
That got my attention. I believe they saw something. Maybe they mistook a real animal for a dragon. Maybe they saw something like a pelican or a great blue heron flying in the sky and mistook it for a dragon. Or maybe what they called a “dragon” is an animal that we know by a different name. Could it be that what we know as crocodiles or alligators were once called dragons?
I kept mulling it over. And I started thinking about the fact that we have an animal today that’s called a dragon: the Komodo dragon. I thought, What if centuries ago the Komodo dragon had once wandered into Europe? Or what if it had lived there, people killed them off, and the only surviving dragons ended up living on Komodo Island?
So I started reading about the Komodo dragon. I watched videos of these animals. I even made a special trip to a zoo where I could see them in person – and that was fascinating! When you read about the dragons in my Dragonslayer series, what you’re really reading about are extremely large Komodo dragons. I learned that they have long yellow tongues, and when they flick their tongues it looks like they’re breathing fire! Young Komodo dragons climb up in trees to escape being eaten by the adult dragons. And when young Komodo dragons leap from branch to branch, it looks like they’re flying. And because they have over 200 types of bacteria in their saliva, the bite of a Komodo dragon will kill a human being within a day or two without medical treatment. As far as I’m concerned, the Komodo dragon explains the way people think about classic fantasy dragons.
Could the Komodo dragon be what people reported seeing throughout history? I don’t know if it happened in the real world, but that’s what happens in the fantasy world I created!
My Dragonslayer series began as a couple of short stories, which were published in Science Fiction Age magazine. Everyone is welcome to download a “mini” ebook of these two short stories to sample my Dragonslayer world and see if you like it. There’s no cost or obligation, and you can download at http://www.resanelson.com/files.
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.
Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.
Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."
Resa lives in Massachusetts.
Resa’s website: http://www.resanelson.com
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories: http://www.resanelson.com/files
GoodReads giveaway: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27323-the-stone-of-darkness
Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at: http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
About the Dragonslayer series:
For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover--the dragonslayer--disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning.
Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child.
Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?
Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it’s her duty. She’d rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?
Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer’s sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.
In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn’t a decision she can make just once. It’s a decision she must make every day.
In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.
Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them.
Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.
Book 4 will be published in November 2012