My Favorite Bit: Christopher Husberg talks about DARK IMMOLATION
Christopher Husberg is joining us today with his novel Dark Immolation. Here’s the publisher’s description:
A new religion is rising, gathering followers drawn by rumors of prophetess Jane Oden. Her sister Cinzia—once a Cantic priestess—is by her side, but fears that Jane will lead them to ruin. For both the Church and the Nazaniin assassins are still on their trail, and much worse may come.
Knot, his true nature now revealed if not truly understood, is haunted by his memories, and is not the ally he once was. Astrid travels to Tinska to find answers for her friend, but the child-like vampire has old enemies who have been waiting for her return. And beyond the Blood Gate in the empire of Roden, a tiellan woman finds herself with a new protector. One who wants to use her extraordinary abilities for his own ends…
What’s Christopher’s favorite bit?
I love twisting and molding words to fit a narrative. I love doing what I can with the text to reflect what is going on within the text. It’s something I find personally invigorating as a writer. It doesn’t always happen, of course, and it isn’t always at the forefront of my mind when I’m writing–in fact, it rarely is–but when the opportunity presents itself, I enjoy experimenting a bit. Just such an opportunity came up with my latest novel, Dark Immolation, the sequel to Duskfall and second book in the Chaos Queen Quintet.
First, a bit of background. One of my favorite novels is The Truth About Celia, by Kevin Brockmeier. I love the novel for many reasons, but a section of the book in which Brockmeier uses a unique, head-hopping, third-person present omniscient point of view to jump from character to character as they interact with one another always stands out to me. It’s a pretty great section, and it fosters an intimacy with both the characters and the world in an incredibly innovative, efficient way.
I’d experimented with that same style and voice a few times as an early writer, and I’d always wanted to try something like it in a fantasy novel–the efficiency with which it introduces a world and a group of characters was too tempting to pass up. I’ve always been a fan of efficiency when it comes to writing; one of the best compliments I think I can pay a work is to say that it’s concise–it says as much as possible with as few words as possible. The third-person present omniscient voice just seemed an interesting and new way to approach the ever-shifting balance of just the right amount of world-building and character detail while still keeping the reader’s attention and generating a sense of progression–and doing it all in a relatively concise manner.
That said, I always want a reason behind everything I do as a writer (spoiler alert, this isn’t always the case, but I prefer it to be, and even when it isn’t, I like there to be the illusion of some greater reason behind whatever stylistic choice I’ve made). In the earliest draft of my first novel, Duskfall, I’d included a prologue that used this third-person present omniscient voice, but it didn’t make the final cut–it didn’t even make the first cut; I eliminated the scene before I’d even finished the first draft, because there was no reason for it.
With Book 2 in the series, however, I finally found a good reason.
The concepts of telekinesis and telepathy form the basis for one of the magic systems in the books called psimancy. By focusing on the influences of telepathy in the magic system, and by framing it with a character that found herself in a particularly disoriented and mind-bending state–to say the least–at the beginning of Dark Immolation (no spoilers!), I think I was able to justify it. Not only that, but it’s a tool I turn to multiple times throughout the novel, and one that I’ll continue to modify and tweak throughout the series. I’m pretty happy with it, and I hope it’s a fraction as interesting to you as it has been for me!
Christopher Husberg grew up in Eagle River, Alaska. He now lives in Utah, and spends his time writing, reading, hiking, and playing video games, but mostly hanging out with his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Buffy. He received an MFA in creative writing from BYU, and an honorary PhD in Buffy the Vampire Slayer from himself. The first novel in the Chaos Queen Quintet, Duskfall, was published in 2016. The third installment, Blood Requiem, will be published by Titan Books in June 2018.