Corry L. Lee is joining us today to talk about her novel, The Storm’s Betrayal. Here’s the publisher’s description:
The intense, dramatic sequel to 2020’s break-out Russian-inspired epic Weave the Lightning.
Lies. Treason. Magic.
The great Stormhawk—Bourshkanya’s paranoid, fascist leader—is seemingly unkillable. But for the rebellion to succeed, he must die.
Celka Prochazka uses magic in ways no one believed possible. She could be the perfect resistance assassin—if she can avoid being discovered as a traitor.
Gerrit Kladivo, the Stormhawk’s son, is determined to end his father’s tyrannical rule. But to get Celka close enough to his father he must first prove unflinching loyalty to the regime.
Filip Cizek swore his life to protect Gerrit and the regime. But with Gerrit’s actions twisting him into a stranger, Filip must decide how deep his loyalty runs.
Together, they will attempt the impossible—but the cost may be everything they hold dear.
What’s Corry’s favorite bit?
CORRY L. LEE
Have you ever read a secondary character that intrigued you so much, you wished you could know them better? For me, in Weave the Lightning (Book One of The Bourshkanya Trilogy), that character was Filip, best friend to State-trained storm mage, Gerrit. Plus, I love forcing my characters to make impossible choices—between things they love, or the lesser of two evils. In this book, I really put Filip through the wringer… which is exactly how I like to get to know a character.
Filip is handsome, bisexual, and an incorrigible flirt. He’s one of those people you’d love to hate—he’s just so damn good at everything: magic, kissing, fighting. But the way he listens and puts other people first, well, hating him would be like kicking a puppy. Still, there’s more going on beneath Filip’s affable exterior than he would like to admit, and digging into that—giving Filip his own POV—is my Favorite Bit of The Storm’s Betrayal.
Trained since childhood in one of the fascist state’s top military-mage academies, Filip has nonetheless managed to remain, mostly, a good person. His flirtatious, easygoing manner has served to distract from his overly serious, studious tendencies in a place where brawn is more valued than brains, and deflect trouble that Gerrit inevitably drags him into. It’s a mask he once wore easily but, as his world is increasingly tipped on its side, that mask begins to crack.
Beneath it, we discover a young man whose religious convictions—that the Storm Gods equally value every Bourshkanyan—come into conflict with growing regime rhetoric that the Storm Gods serve the State. And where Filip once followed blindly after Gerrit, trusting him to see the big picture, Gerrit’s decisions are starting to leave Filip increasingly uncomfortable. Even sex, which used to be a casual release, becomes complicated, as Filip finds himself growing attached to someone who wants to be more than a quick tumble.
For years, Filip’s greatest ambition was to serve as Gerrit’s strazh mage—a dangerous role of magical bodyguard and human grounding line for any mistakes Gerrit made beneath a lightning storm. But the magic is changing Filip, even as his world shakes beneath the resistance’s—and his friends’—efforts to overthrow the regime.
I LOVE fraught moments between characters who care deeply for each other, especially when their ideals seem irreconcilable—and Filip has those in spades. In writing terminology, I call this cross-tension; for me, dialogue-heavy scenes filled with cross-tension make a book sing. Filip’s relationships with Gerrit; Celka, the book’s other POV; and his lover are filled with delicious cross-tension as they negotiate friendship, romance, trust, and rebellion.
How Filip reconciles his conflicting loyalties is a journey I hope you enjoy reading half as much as I enjoyed writing.
Corry L. Lee is a science fiction and fantasy author, Ph.D. physicist, award-winning science teacher, data geek, and mom. She’s white, cis, and bi. In Ph.D. research at Harvard, she shed light on the universe fractions of a second after the Big Bang. At a major tech company, she connected science to technology, improving the customer experience through online experimentation. She won the Writers of the Future award, attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop, and is currently obsessed with cross-country skiing, exploring new perspectives, and single origin coffee. A transplant to Seattle, Washington from sunny Colorado, she is learning to embrace rainy days.