After ten novels
under his belt, author L. B. Graham still enjoys building alternate worlds for
his growing fan-base. His new book The
Lesser Sun (Living Ink Books) focuses on an amazing world that is simultaneously archaic and highly
advanced. L.B. answered our questions about the third installment of his
Can you tell us about the setting of your series The Wandering?
One unusual thing about the setting
is that it shifts a great deal throughout the series. I wanted to create a
story that felt truly global, so that meant having the events move great
distances and consequently, it also meant coming up with very different
landscapes and topographies in the different books.
The first book, The Darker Road, has the most unified setting, as most of the book
takes place in and around the great city of Barra-Dohn, which is the seat of
power for a great empire run by the cruel but capable King, Eirmon Omiir. I am
told by Dune fans that the desert
world of the book with its various cool technologies feels like Dune, but as I haven’t read it myself, I
can’t say. The rest of the series,
though, moves a great deal, and the setting will change more rapidly to fit
The second book in
this series titled The Lesser Sun is releasing in
October. Can you tell us where this novel picks
up the plot?
The first book, as I
mentioned above, take place in the mighty city of Barra-Dohn, and to a large
extent, it revolves around the strange and sudden fall of that great city. The Lesser Sun picks up the action about
three years later, with a small band of exiles who survived the fall of
Barra-Dohn and are now bent on finding the mysterious Jin Dara, the man who was
responsible for the destruction of the city and who has taken two of the six
fragments of the Golden Cord for himself. Just what exactly these fragments are
and can do is detailed at some length in The
Darker Road, but suffice it to say here, they are very powerful and the
fact that he has two fragments and seems intent on taking more becomes the
central conflict of the series at this point.
For this book you
had to create an alternate world, which requires an
amazing imagination. Have you always had such a
I would say that of the various
component parts of writing a novel like this, the part that invigorates me the
most, and that I think I excel at the most, is world-building. I am not the guy
who labors over every sentence and gets it all just so, but I think I am a very
good story architect, who can create a world with real depth and a story arc
that has some heft to it, that can become very complex and yet wind its way to
a conclusion that pulls the various threads together.
In the world of The
Wandering there is a pretty cool ‘alternative technology’ system that I
created for the series, to a certain extent, simply from trying to imagine a
system very different from the fossil fuels of our own world. This opened the
door for some fun devices and weapons and so forth, and it also creates a
pretty unique feel for the stories, as they don’t quite fit into the
traditional, medieval/semi-medieval feel of many fantasy worlds. At the same
time, I definitely think the series fits the broad ‘fantasy’ mold, even if it
stretches some of the conventions.
For example, I think one of the fascinating things about
fantasy is this contrast in fantasy stories between a way of life that is
somewhat archaic, or behind us, and magic and magical abilities which give the
characters abilities that are beyond us. In The
Wandering I think the reader will get a similar experience, where sometimes
the world feels dated, and in other ways, very advanced.
What does your writing process look like?
That has changed with time. I used to
plan and outline extensively before writing. I’d outline the book, then I’d sit
down and outline each chapter into its component scenes, and then I’d make an
even more detailed outline of what happened in the scene – almost like a movie
director, moving frame by frame.
I have written ten novels now, and I
am less bound to that process. It was already changing by the end of my first
series, The Binding of the Blade. I
work out the general arc of my story, figure out some key moments and images,
and then I’ll start writing without needing to know everything that happens
along the way. I still like to outline a chapter before I write it, but when I
sit down to do it, I don’t necessarily know what is coming. I work it out as I
That’s a big change for me, but I
like the interplay between having the big idea or general flow in my head and
working out the details as I go. I can get some great ideas along the way and I
think it keeps my imagination engaged.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind
It’s a good question. My first series, The Binding of the Blade, revolved around the theme of ‘longing for
restoration.’ It imagines a world where the making of weapons represents ‘the
Fall’ and where the ‘unmaking’ of weapons is a prelude to Restoration. As such,
it wrestles a good bit with what it means to navigate a broken world while
yearning for a perfect one.
The Wandering revolves
around a very different theme, or premise. Namely, it is based on the idea that
a world that rejects its Maker and puts its trust and hope in lesser things
might find that for this rebellion, a price must be paid. So, it is kind of a
judgement theme and in that way, it is very different than the restoration
theme of The Binding of the Blade.
How many more books do you anticipate for the
The third book, The Colder Moon, is already written,
though I don’t know when it is scheduled for release. It wraps up several of
the loose ends of the series, since I originally thought of The Wandering as two trilogies, and
obviously, in that scenario it was the end of the first trilogy.
I suspect, though,
that I won’t write an entire second trilogy, for a variety of reasons. In that
case, I think the series will end up being four books, since the loose ends
that aren’t tied together in The Colder
Moon can probably be handled in one more volume.