Lindsay A. Franklin spends a lot of time in made-up worlds, and is passionate about sparking imagination through stories of infinite possibility. When she’s not exploring the fantastical, she’s exploring the Bible and encouraging young women through her devotional books. She continues her Weaver Trilogy with The Story Raider (Enclave): Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers race to collect the strands of an ancient cure that might save Gryfelle. But Tanwen has a secret: Gryfelle isn’t the only one afflicted by the weaver’s curse. In this exclusive interview, Lindsay takes us behind-the-scenes for the series, explains how the new book builds on the previous novel, and shares what surprised her about reader reactions to the series…
Lindsay, what can you tell our readers about The Story Raider?
The Story Raider picks up right where The Story Peddler left off. Readers can expect the same characters they knew and loved from the first book, and you can definitely expect Tanwen to be dealing with that mess she got herself into right at the end of Story Peddler. (No spoilers, but series readers know what I’m talking about, and the fallout from that event is—not good).
Through the introduction of a new character in the second half of the story, Raider is the most personal piece of fiction I’ve written to date. Sharing that with readers is both exciting and terrifying for me.
How does this build on the story you began with The Story Peddler?
The Story Raider takes a slightly darker, more serious turn, but Tanwen isn’t particularly dark or serious, so I hope the humor and sparkle of that character still shine through. Raider afforded me the opportunity to explore the greater world in which the Kingdom of Tir exists as a small part.
We visit four new countries, briefly see a different coast of Tir, and explore a fuller version and understanding of the weaver gifts we first saw in The Story Peddler.
I also had the opportunity to mature Tanwen throughout Raider. I feel no pressing need to make my teenaged characters mature, worldly, and wise on page one of my stories. Adolescence is hard. Growing up is a process.
Tanwen is learning throughout The Story Raider how to become an adult, and while I love getting to watch her grow up, I’m afraid the process of getting wiser is often spurred on through hardship.
Would you explain the rules of this world for our readers? What inspired you to create this world?
After The Story Peddler released, I was often asked to explain where the weaver gifts came from, and that question fascinates me! Before I shared this story with the world at large, it didn’t occur to me that this was unclear. The weaver gifts are directly parallel to real-world artistic talent.
In our world, some degree of artistic talent is simply inborn, and then the artist learns to hone her craft, to take the gift with which they were born and sharpen, expand, refine, and polish it. This is very similar to the weaver gifts in The Weaver Trilogy, but I suppose weaver gifts are even more obviously inborn than artistic talent in our world.
If your toddler tells a story and strands start coming out of her hands, she’s definitely a weaver!
In The Story Raider, I was a little more clearly able to communicate that the weaver abilities are gifts from the Creator. My family is full of musicians, visual artists, singers, dancers, and one writer (that’s me). I know that definitely informed my creation of the weaver system and my assumption that some people are just predisposed to having an artistic talent inside them as part of their fundamental makeup.
What kinds of conversations have you had with readers following the publication of The Story Peddler?
It’s been so cool to connect with readers who loved The Story Peddler. My favorite discussions center around which characters really resonated with that reader. The Story Peddler has a pretty large cast, and favorite characters vary widely.
I had readers who loved Tanwen and Brac as a couple, others who thought her sea captain crush was a much better fit. I had readers who loved Princess Braith, others who deeply connected with Tanwen’s search for family and the characters brought into her life as a result of that search.
One thing that surprised me was how universally loathed Sir Dray was. I mean, I understand it! But I see that character in so many shades of gray, while readers really seem to despise him.
What can readers expect for the conclusion of the trilogy? (No spoilers!)
I just turned in the third book to my editor, and I know he will have comments for me (they always do), but I’m happy with the first draft. Readers can expect an exploration of some tough themes.
The third book really takes a look at the idea of redemption and hope. At what point is someone too far gone to help? How does tragedy shape and affect us? Is there such a thing as putting things back the way they were before they were shattered?
While these themes sound a bit dark—and they are—something I love about Tanwen is that she’s perpetually optimistic. She will never stop trying to figure out what the right thing is so she can chase after it, even when she does so imperfectly or she fails at first. It makes these stories feel less dark overall than they might otherwise, and that delights me.
In some ways, I want to be like Tannie when I grow up.
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The Story Raider
The Weaver Trilogy #2
Lindsay A. Franklin
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