We are honored to have Resa Nelson, author of the Dragonslayers series, visiting Working for the Mandroid for a third time as part of her blog tour for the latest and final book in the series, The Dragon's Egg. If you'd like to see her previous guestposts, you can find her essay on why she creates dragons without wings here and how she uses physical research to write scenes. You will also find links to free downloads and coupon codes at the end of her guest post.
Now I'm happy to have Resa here to share how she manages to kill dragons despite being a pacifist who also loves dragons. Welcome, Resa!
How to Kill Dragons When You’re a Pacifist Who Loves Dragons
by Resa Nelson
I’m a lifelong pacifist. I hate violence, but my novels are violent because I think it’s important to be honest about the world we live in and show the consequences of violence.
I also love animals, both real and imaginary. When I was a little girl, you could find me in the children’s section of the public library. I read every fairy tale in that library and then went on to read folk tales. Eventually, that led me to fantasy. I’m an especially big fan of dragons. So how can a pacifist write a series of books about dragonslayers?
I drew upon two different cultures: European (whose dragons are deadly and dangerous) and Chinese (whose dragons are wise and benevolent). Although all dragons look alike in my Dragonslayer series, I decided to create two distinct types of dragons.
The first type of dragon is pure animal, whose instincts are to eat and stay alive at any cost. That means devouring crops, leaving people to starve. Even worse, it means killing and eating people. In my Dragonslayer series, there’s a rumor that these dragons used to be lizards whose overinflated opinions of themselves resulted in their growing into giant lizards. Maybe this rumor is true. Maybe it isn’t.
I think of them as being similar to bears. I love bears. I think they’re beautiful animals and deserve to live in peace in their natural habitats. But if a bear crosses my path and tries to hurt me, I’m going to do everything in my power to stay safe and alive, even if it means hurting or even killing the bear. Frankly, I feel the same way about people. If someone tries to hurt or kill me, I’m fighting back because I believe I have the right to protect myself. In the same way I’m committed to being a pacifist, I’m also committed to the idea of self defense.
So this first type of dragon is the kind that the dragonslayers in my books hunt and kill. The purpose of killing dragons is to protect people from starving or being killed.
But the second type of dragon is very different. For one thing, this type of dragon is a true shapeshifter – it can take the shape of a dragon, a human, or something entirely different. These dragons have great wisdom and should not be killed under any circumstance.
The problem is that my main character, Astrid, is one of a very select and tiny group of people who know there are different types of dragons. Everyone else assumes that all dragons are dangerous animals. Like me, Astrid is a pacifist. She also happens to be a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers. She loves her work as a blacksmith, but she hates the fact that the work she produces is used to kill dragons, even though she knows how dangerous they can be.
In the same way that I had to come to terms with writing novels about dragonslayers, Astrid must come to terms with the fact that she lives in a world where some dragons must be killed – and that she is one of the few people in the world who can identity animalistic dragons from wise dragons. The intelligent dragons seek her out, and throughout the course of the series she has to figure out what they want from her and why it matters.
You’re welcome to sample the Dragonslayer series by downloading a free ebook of two short stories I wrote that take place in that world. There’s no information gathering or obligation—just a simple 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/39467-the-dragon-s-egg
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.
In the fourth and final book of the Dragonslayer series, Mandulane’s army is poised to attack the Northlands in the name of a powerful god, but in truth Mandulane is using the act of spreading this new faith as a way to disguise his own personal greed and hunger for power.
Astrid has succeeded in warning her beloved country of imminent danger, and the Northlanders scramble to set up a clever defense, never realizing a spy in their midst is poised to take critical information directly to Mandulane.
After sacrificing herself in order to set her brother Drageen free for the sake of protecting the Northlands, Astrid finds herself controlled by the stone of light. Although it forces her path of destiny, Astrid learns she must make one final choice about who she wants to be.
Most important of all, her new sweetheart Trep encounters a dragon that entrusts him with the care of a dragon’s egg. Trep embraces a dangerous journey and accepts the duty of protecting the unhatched dragon, knowing that its safety could impact the fate of the entire world.