What’s the hardest part of being an author?
I don’t think there’s any part of being an author that’s easy, but the hardest part for me is keeping my nose to the grindstone when the words aren’t coming. Writing when you’re inspired is work, but it’s easy to get lost in it and let it happen. Having to force things out when they don’t want to come can be brutal. But unless you can do that, you’re unlikely to ever finish anything.
Can you give us a short synopsis of The Witches' Covenant?
This is the sequel to The Wizard’s Daughters, and it takes off where the last one ended as Erich, Ariel, and Astrid must find ways of adjusting to the demands of their unique relationship. In the midst of this, they get caught up in a mystery that I adapted from the changeling legends that are common in Germany. Several of the minor characters from the first book have their own subplots, and the series story arc starts to become more clear.
What inspired you to write this series?
I’ve always been into alternative history. In conceiving the Twin Magic series, I began with what felt like fertile ground to me: German at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, a time when science was starting to rise up against religion but when old fears and superstitions—such as the risk of babies beings switched for changelings—were still strong. It’s important to remember that during this period magic was nothing unusual, in the sense that common people believed in it and believed that witches and wizards existed along with all sorts of fantastical creatures.
So I took that background and made it real. In these books, magic does exist and has become a familiar element in people’s lives, familiar enough to be part of the scientific, religious, and cultural revolutions that were taking place. Developments like gunpowder and advances in engineering, rather than being pure inventions, are instead outgrowths of this magical knowledge. (Thus injecting a bit of steampunk into this world as well.)
That allowed me to ask some interesting questions: How would the presence of magic affect the endless political machinations that wracked the Holy Roman Empire? How would Martin Luther’s challenge to the Church play out in such a context? (The Luther in The Witches’ Covenant comes up with 110 theses rather than 95.) And how would these mages who have become part of the political and religious landscape deal with those pernicious superstitions?
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
It can vary tremendously. Some days I do nothing, other days I may get in 10 or 12 hours. It depends on what I’m working on and how well things are going. On average, though, when I’m writing a new book, I’ll probably spend two to three hours a day on it.
Name your top five favourite books.
It would be tough to narrow down five from the thousands I’ve read in my life, but these are the books and series I’ve found most interesting and influential on my own writing, at least recently.
The Lord of the Rings
Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and The Stand
The Bas-Lag series by China Miéville (a big influence on Twin Magic)
John Fowles’ The Magus (a difficult, often infuriating book that you can’t get out of your head)
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a sequel to my alternative history/science fiction novel Vector. Since I wrote that book 15 years ago, I decided to bring it forward to the present day, taking the three main characters from where I left them to where they might have ended up in the intervening years. I’m not quite sure where it’s going, but it took off pretty quickly once I started it.
Title: The Witches’ Covenant
Author: Michael Dalton
Genre: Alternate History / Fantasy / Romance
Erich, Ariel and Astrid have begun their life together, but all is not well.
Ariel and Astrid have discovered that sharing a husband is a greater challenge than they anticipated, a challenge that is exacerbated by a difCicult winter trip to Wittenberg, where Erich hopes to enter the service of Frederick III, Elector of Sachsen. But their trip is soon interrupted by unexpected complications.
In the town of Marburg, a century-old agreement that has kept the peace between the Landgraviate of Hessen and a band of witches in the forest is beginning to unravel. The young Landgrave, Philip, needs to consolidate his authority, and the witches want something from him that he does not dare surrender.
Erich and his wives are drawn into this conClict, and in the process discover a mystery that seems tied to their unique magical bond—a mystery that may threaten its very existence if they cannot resolve it.
In this second installment in the bestselling Twin Magic series, Michael Dalton spins together magic, steampunk, and traditional German fairy tales into another entertaining alternate history adventure.
Michael Dalton is a professional journalist and editor. He lives with his family and multiple pets in Southern California.
The first book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wizards-Daughters-Twin-Magic-Book-ebook/dp/B00PHXIPW0