My friend and colleague from our publisher Kristell Ink, Joanne Hall has a new book out and I asked her to say a few things about it, such as how it came into being and what it is about. Here she is to share.
Spark and Carousel
I started writing Spark and Carousel towards the end of 2011, and during that year I lost my grandfather and two close friends, as well as going through the prolonged breakdown of a long-term friendship. I didn’t start out writing the book as a reaction to that grief, but certainly it coloured some of the themes of the book (without dropping too many spoilers!) Having said that, I had just written a Big Heavy Serious Book (The Art of Forgetting) and I wanted to write something that was lighter and more of a romp, with a bit more humour. There are some really dark moments in Spark and Carousel, but there are also some funny ones, I hope… It’s also the first book I’ve written that was set mainly in a city, so that was a new environment to play with.
Spark is a wanted man. On the run after causing the death of his mentor and wild with untamed magic, he arrives in Cape Carey where his latent talents make him the target of rival gangs. It is there that Carousel, a wire-walker and thief, takes him under her wing to guide him through the intrigues of the criminal underworld.
But when Spark’s magic cracks the world and releases demons from the hells beneath, two mages of his former order make it their mission to prevent his magic from spiralling out of control. They must find him before he falls into the clutches of those who would exploit his raw talent for their own gain, forcing Spark to confront a power he is not ready to handle.
Meanwhile, a wealthy debutante learning magic in secret has her own plans for Spark and Carousel. But the sudden arrival of the mages throws her carefully laid plans into disarray and she unleashes a terrible evil onto the streets of the unsuspecting city—an evil only Spark’s magic can control.
Everyone wants a piece of Spark, but all Spark wants is to rid himself of his talents forever.
The blow around the mage’s head set his ears ringing. He slithered from the saddle and slumped on the ground, dizzy and confused. Cavan hauled him up by the shoulder, shaking him until his teeth rattled. “Is this your doing? Some stinking wizard’s trick?”
Blocking the route ahead was a sheer wall of rock, higher than a horse could jump. Weathered and patterned with moss and lichen, it seemed to have grown out of the landscape. It had been there for centuries.
It had not been there this morning.
“Can we go though it?” Moon-face kicked the wall, and swore. There was nothing spectral about it. Kayall’s lips twitched in a suppressed smirk. “Or round it, Cavan?”
“We’ll have to go round. This is going to hold us up far too long. Bloody wizards!” Cavan vented his frustration with a boot to Kayall’s gut that left him doubled-up and wheezing. Before he could regain his breath, Cavan had lashed his hands to the pommel of his saddle.
“You walk from here,” he said. “That way I can keep an eye on you!”
Kayall grinned. “It’s not me you have to look out for!”
“What are you – Mother of stars!”
The ground in front of them split open like an over-ripe fruit. With the dull scrape of a blade emerging from a sheath, a second rock wall burst through the gap, stretching high above their heads and out to either side, throwing out grey arms to form a circle around the trio and their plunging, terrified horses. Moon-face fell on his knees, clutching at his chest, lips working a silent charm against evil magic. Cavan, more practical, rounded on his prisoner.
“You’re doing this! Make it stop!”
Kayall shrugged. “How can it be me? Do you see me waving my hands about and muttering incantations? No? Because that’s what wizards do!” He ducked, but couldn’t dodge the swinging fist that connected with his jaw and threw him on his back in the dirt. He glared up at Cavan, and spat. “You decided to take on mages. How did you think it would end?”