S G Blaise was born in a faraway land of castles, monarchies and fallen dictatorships. Hollywood movies were forbidden under the Soviet oppression during her childhood, but her dad smuggled them in anyway, risking his life so that his children could experience the magic and hope inherent in those stories. She watched rebellions unfold in real time. Journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean for love. She ended up in sunny California, where she is living her dream – writing stories and annoying family members.
TBE: Tell us a little about your story and the story world you’ve created in The Last Lumenian.
S G Blaise: The Last Lumenian is a coming of age story of Lilla. She is a 19-year-old, not-your-average princess and a rebel-in-disguise, fighting for the refugee’s freedom. The arrival of the mysterious and ruggedly-handsome Callum brings news of a bigger battle—the Era War between the two ruling archgods—that threatens not only Lilla’s home world but everyone else’s in the Seven Galaxies.
Lilla must learn to control her magic and defeat the dark god before He finds her – the last Lumenian.
TBE: How did you come up with the title of your book and what is the significance of the title?
S G Blaise: I’ve come up with the title during a brainstorming session with my editor. My main hero is the last of her kind, and the title of the book reflects it.
TBE: How this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else? Do you have the details in the story planned beforehand, or do you develop the story as you are writing it?
S G Blaise: It started out as a dream during a cross-country European trip in 2012. As I was writing it down, in the middle of the night with the only illumination coming from my phone, that dream morphed into a story spanning multiple books.
I spent over six years developing and rewriting the story until it was ready for publication.
TBE: In what ways can fantasy speak to reality?
S G Blaise: In many ways! It can be a mirror to real-life, showing societal issues playing out on multiple layers with a main hero thrown in the middle of it.
TBE: What are the differences in writing a novel set in an alternate modern day and writing a story in a fantasy landscape?
S G Blaise: Stories set in an alternate modern day give the reader solid roots of what they are familiar with – the world as they know it – with some changes altering it.
Fantasy stories, however, involve vast world building, creating unique worlds that the reader wants to get lost in, unfamiliar yet with a hint of reality.
TBE: You have a way of creating a determined female character who pushes hard for a particular goal. How did that idea end up being so important in your novel? What was the inspiration behind the character of Lilla?
S G Blaise: Lilla is important for many reasons. She is a role-model for female empowerment. She is a complex character at the cusp of being an adult, but still under pressure from many directions – family, duty and even fate. I spent many days shaping her character, starting from her stubbornness, to her humor and finally to her loyalty. I wanted to create a determined hero who struggles with claustrophobia-induced panic attacks and overcomes both inner and outer obstacles on her journey of self-discovery. She is a reluctant hero, but more realistic than I’ve ever seen because of her vulnerability when it comes to mental health, and her perseverance that pushes her to keep fighting for what she believes in. She teaches us that we don’t have to be a perfect to be a hero.
TBE: Heroes vs. Villains—which are more fun to write?
S G Blaise: Both actually. What is a hero without a strong, intriguing antagonist who challenges the hero at every turn? Forcing the hero to become a better person by overcoming the obstacles and eventually, the antagonist as well.
The stronger the antagonist, the better the struggle and the achievement at the end of the story, providing an unforgettable book for the readers.
TBE: One of the things that distinguishes your book is how they have a solid sense of pacing – such good control of the flow of story. Is that something that was natural? How conscious are you of that?
S G Blaise: Thank you! Some of it was natural but I did spend a lot of time working on this. I wanted to make sure that the story flowed well right from the start, creating a growing sense of urgency as the book progressed. That is why I ended each chapter on a disaster of sorts. All of these were planned to lead in a runaway-train-like speed to the ultimate conflict at the end.
TBE: In your view, who are the best fantasy fiction writers?
S G Blaise: Robert Jordan, Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson, Octavia E. Butler, J.K. Rowling, Naomi Novik, Terry Brooks, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Ursula K. Le Guin to name a few.
TBE: What are some must-read titles in your genre?
S G Blaise: Wheel of Time, Mercy Thompson series, Kate Daniels series, The Hollows series, Fever series just to mention a few excellent novels.
TBE: In your opinion, what is the most important thing about any book?
S G Blaise: The most important thing about a book I think is that reading it has to be entertaining and the story should stay with the reader long after they put the book down.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers? Out of sheer selfish interest, when will we see a sequel to The Last Lumenian?
S G Blaise: You are too kind! I am currently working on the sequel of The Last Lumenian. Expected publishing date late summer 2021.