I’d been reading a fantasy in which yet again the ‘power’ character was badly advised or corrupted – and stupid.
Because that was the only way the writer could make the plot work.
And I thought: why does the ‘prince’ always have to be the stupid straight man?
And there was Ashamet, or Ash as his friends call him. Flawed; yes. But definitely not stupid. At least until he’s forced to abandon the image he’s so carefully cultivated.
So that’s where it began. I wrote the first fifty pages in one sitting. Both Ash and Keril just walked onto the page, as if I’d known them forever. So I wrote another fifty pages – and hit the big obstacle.
At that point I knew exactly who Ashamet and his people were, no problem there. But I only knew as much about Keril as Ashamet did. Oh, I knew what Keril looked like, sounded like, thought like. How he behaved. Whether he was good or bad. But not who he really was.
I needed to know, whether Ash did or not.
It turned out the key to that problem was also the key to where the story went next; I needed to understand Ashamet’s world, in much more depth than I’d figured, especially the religious aspects he reacted so strongly to right from page one. In the end it took three different versions before I built the world that not only fit the story but also exactly explained Ashamet’s character. As you’ll have guessed this took a while but by then I couldn’t have walked away if I wanted. Ash himself was looking over my shoulder muttering, ‘Come on, woman,’ and getting more and more impatient. I guess he wanted to solve the mystery as much as I did.
Happily, once we built the world to our mutual satisfaction the rest of the story wrote itself. I think I’m more surprised at what happens than anyone. Ash and Keril have become friends, people I hope readers will enjoy meeting as much as I did.
If they do, I’d love them to tell me what they think by the end of the book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Ashamet, Desert-Born
Author: Terry Jackman
Find out more on Amazon
A desert world. A warrior nation that worships its emperor as a god. But for Ashamet, its prince, a future filled with danger…
Ashamet is confident his swordsmanship, and his arranged marriage, will be enough to maintain the empire’s peace. But when a divine symbol magically appears on his arm, closely followed by an attempt on his life, he no longer knows who to trust. Worse, the strange attraction he feels toward a foreign slave could be another trap. As events unravel, too fast,Ashamet must find out if this innocent young male is a tool for his enemies–or the magic key to his survival.
“Ashamet, Desert-Born” is a debut adventure fantasy with an exotic Arabian-style setting and elements of same-sex romance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Terry Jackman was christened Teresa, and is married with kids. She’s not pretending to be a guy just for the book. It’s just that nobody, but nobody, calls her anything but Terry, so Terry is actually the most honest name to put on the cover.
To go with her two names she inhabits two worlds. In one she’s a mild-mannered lady who tutors children and lives in a pretty English village, called Lymm. [It’s not far from the Manchester United football ground. You can take a peek at it on www.lymmvillage.co.uk/gallery If you look carefully at the picture of the old stone cross in the village centre you might see the ancient stocks below, where villagers would have thrown rotten eggs etc at local miscreants – but we don’t do that now, honest.]
In the other, she’s written articles and study guides, is secretly on the committee of the British Science Fiction Association, coordinates all their online writers’ groups, writes a regular page for Focus magazine and reads submissions for Albedo One magazine in Ireland. Oh, and has been known to do convention panels and some freelance editing.
When Ashamet goes public the two worlds will finally collide. She suspects there’ll be some raised eyebrows so she’s stocking up on fortifying tea and biscuits – and lots of chocolate!