The Conjurer Princess
Ages: Teen - Adult
Status: This book is out of print and is not available,
even as an e-book. It can be found–if at all–in libraries
or used book stores.
When her sister is abducted away from her own wedding, sixteen-year-old Lylene turns to magic and to a pair of thieves to rescue her.
Where do you GET those ideas?
The whole thing started with a short story I wrote in 1985 called "Just Another Dragon-Slaying." It was about a young woman named Lylene who has the magical ability to duplicate things, and she's traveling about the countryside with an enigmatic fellow who knows a lot about weapons and is more pragmatic than moral, and this of course is Weiland (probably 8 to 10 years later than the events that happen in The Changeling Prince). In the short story, the two of them have been hired (sort of) to rid a town of a dragon (except that not everybody wants the dragon gone), so things do not go very well. (In all of my stories that involve magic, I make sure that the magic is very limited, to make things more difficult, more interesting for my characters. If they're too powerful, too god-like, then there's no real sense of danger.)
But "Just Another Dragon-Slaying" didn't answer certain questions: How have two such different people ended up together? And: Where had Lylene gotten her magical ability (especially given that she's obviously a bit uncomfortable with it)? These were not things I knew, so I decided to write a novel that would tell me the background for Lylene, who was the main character.
Working backwards, I gave Lylene a problem that she needs to get help solving. First she turns to a wizard, which is how she gets her magical ability, although not what she anticipates, and not without a price; and when that doesn't work, she decides she needs to hire a couple resourceful guys who don't mind breaking into places--Weiland and Shile. I already had Weiland's personality from the short story and figured he was the type who would most likely work best with someone else rather than alone.
That ended up being the book The Conjurer Princess.
But working backwards again, I started wondering about Weiland's background: Why is he, a brave man, so nervous around magic? What are his regrets in life? How had he and Shile come to be a team?
So that's how The Changeling Prince came to be written--sort of like a jigsaw puzzle where I had the final picture (the short story) and had to fit in pieces to make me come out at that final picture.
Normally, I don't write sequels. My excuse here is that there was a long, long time between the writing of Conjurer Princess and Changeling Prince--nine years.
One more thing I have to tell you: I did not choose the title for The Conjurer Princess. I pointed out to the editor that Lylene wasn't a princess, but the editor thought "The Conjurer Princess" sounded better than "The Conjurer Baronness."
"I can make more arrows," Lylene said.
"So could either of us!" Weiland snapped--"Had we but time."
"I can make more arrows before they get into crossbow range."
Ignoring Shile's skeptical look, Lylene laid the five arrows on the ground in front of her. She closed her eyes and concentrated. One of the outlaws, Weiland or Shile, inhaled sharply.
Lylene spread the ten arrows out and concentrated again.
Spread the twenty arrows out and concentrated again.
Spread the forty arrows out and concentrated again.
"Mother of God," Shile whispered.