behind the gauntlet
Six years ago I had an idea: what if I took all the mythology and magic from various cultures from around the world and combined them into one cohesive mythos. Then take this mythos to construct a fully realized world filled with characters that represent these various cultures and their magical histories.
That covered the fantasy side of it, but what would I do to add the sci-fi element? And then it came to me…
The magic within this mythos would be explained using science. Magic users would manipulate the sub-atomic particles that make up everything in the universe. Good magic users would ask these particles to cooperate in achieving ‘magic,’ while evil magic users would force the particles to bend to their will. All humans would be capable of this skill with time and practice, but some would be naturally adept.
The novel would be set on Earth, but in the future. This would allow me to populate the world with artifs (artificial lifeforms). I'm talking robots, people—a lot of them.
There would be an organization that worked secretly with the governments of the world to actively suppress the use of magic through capture and elimination. They would primarily use artifs and tech to hunt down and destroy any users of magic. Their main objective would be to purposely hide the magical world from the masses.
In this future, everyone wears wristcoms (wrist communicators). The wristcom would replace smartphones, home computers, game consoles, TVs, books, etc., all controlled from a holographic interface. Everything you would ever need, all conveniently on your wrist.
Then we throw in aeromobiles (flying cars). We have been promised this for decades, and my book fulfills this promise.
That covered the sci-fi aspect, and the idea was starting to take shape, but something was still missing. So I looked to the genres of Comics and Anime to up the ante on the action. I decided that there would be no wands in my book. Don’t get me wrong—I love those books, but I wanted to take magical combat to the next level. The Mages and Necromancers in my book battle each other using various concentrated energy attacks.
To put it simply:
Sci-Fi + Fantasy + a dash of Comics and Anime = The Shadow of the Gauntlet I’m talking robots, dragons, and fireballs shooting out of people’s hands. But how do I make The Shadow of the Gauntlet more accessible to nongeeks?
Let’s be honest: robots, dragons, and fireballs definitely speak to a certain audience (me), but what about everyone else?
I know what you're thinking—just add some vampires. Everyone loves vampires. It's a fair point, and there are several vampires in my novel. And you will be happy to know that they suck blood, die when staked, and they sure as hell don't sparkle—not that there's anything wrong with that. All joking aside though, I needed something a bit more than vampires to draw in everybody and make the concept more universal.
The answer was simple:
One thing I learned from my animation background is that people respond to good story and character.
Nobody likes a book full of static, one-dimensional, clichéd characters. An honest, fallible protagonist; an independent, powerful female character; and a villain that has motive and reason—these are the types of characters that inhabit The Shadow of the Gauntlet. Strong characters with distinct opinions build relationships with readers and give readers someone to root for.
But nobody cares if you have great characters if they don’t do anything interesting. I put these diverse characters into difficult scenarios and challenge them at every turn. This makes readers keep reading. A strong story pulls everyone in.
These things make The Shadow of the Gauntlet unique yet accessible.