Click here for my book review of The Fallen.
His books are:
- The Fallen (Paesian Prologues, novella, 2013 on amazon.com)
- The Forest Lone (Wayward Sentinels, Book 1, 2014/2015, will be on amazon.com)
Extract: ‘Escape in Loadstone’ from the upcoming ‘The Forest Lone.' This will be Jae's first full-length novel.
The dethroned prince of a vanquished race looked out at the calm, unmoving expanse of the Jade Sea and wondered if the black ashes of his homeland were still burning like on that unforgiving day, or if they had sunk into nothingness. The prince wondered if his people were cold corpses sprawled in the dead embers of the castle and if he would ever return there again.
A single tear came to his shining emerald eyes; a solitary drop of sadness that enclosed an ocean of perpetual suffering. But right there, in the thriving port-city of Loadstone - filled with a throng of shoppers buying goods for the oncoming winter - you’d never have noticed the young prince’s pain.
Yet, despite his heartbreaking, distraught-filled tragedy, he is not the central character of the tale I am trying to weave. I could not tell you who was, if truth be told. In fact, despite contrary beliefs, I’ve found that there is rarely ever a singular central character in which a story revolves around. At least, that is my opinion on the subject. However, if I did care to imagine a hero for this particular tale, I would take a look at the dethroned prince’s younger companion for a moment.
A young boy of seventeen who was called Locke.
To be honest, he didn’t look like much; unremarkable even. His hair was sandy-blond and he wasn’t particularly handsome. His face was unwashed and his clothes - including the midnight cloak cover them - were faded and patched to say the least.
The boy’s skin was fair, and a few brown freckles dotted his smooth cheeks. His voice still cracked and his mind was always wondering around - distracted and in awe of everything, yet suspicious of everyone.
Yes, Locke was a very different person from our tragic prince. Where Locke was average, our prince, called Leiden, was extraordinary. With chiselled, angled facial features, and silver-blue hair that seemed to shine like diamonds, Leiden was the one that stood out; one could say he was handsome with a great certainty. And the prince was far older than our Locke - Leiden had seen twenty-six name-days. A much more suitable hero, in anyone’s eyes, yes?
Nevertheless, I’d like to focus on the younger.
The young boy called Locke did not share the posture of nobility and the air of Leiden; he was shy and self-conscious and uncertain. He was not a master of the sword, nor was he adept in the schools of magic. Just an ordinary boy destined for great things.
I suppose you could start Locke’s tale from any one point in his lifetime, as it is all very peculiar to say the least. But I think I shall start it on the day of the 3rd day of the month of Ander, in the year 334 RA.
It was a perfectly ordinary day for all of the inhabitants of the port, yet it was the beginning of the end for Locke. Though, as he stood up high, overlooking Loadstone and breathing in the salty air, he was oblivious to how much his life would change forever.
The Jade Sea was still and calm; like a sleeping dragon slumbering quietly before rising to annihilate a defenceless town. Indeed, the winter rainstorms would soon be upon the small port of Loadstone yet, right then, the sun didn’t show any signs of hiding away for quite a while.
It was near afternoon and the golden sun had just started to turn crimson, signalling its decent into afternoon. Most of the shoppers of the Loadstone marketplace didn’t notice the subtle change in the light around them, only Locke and Leiden did.
Because it was the of beginning of winter, the merchants had just received their last shipments before the cold season. They were busy, happily raising the prices of their goods and yelling out ‘sale’.
The two companions - Locke and Leiden - were standing side by side, watching the vicious shoppers push past each other to fight over the best winter cloak or the freshest stack of wheat, like vultures circling a dying horse. They watched the greedy merchants raise their prices higher as the customers kept coming, and Locke glanced at the patrolling guards dozing off at their posts. They watched the sailors drink, the jesters jest and the seagulls shit.
A bard had set up close by and our young boy Locke was watching him tell his tale with great interest, a version of a story about the famous, long dead adventurer called Zerale. ‘The Sands of the South’ was the explorer’s last voyage, and arguably the tale that made him the most famous.
After hearing the legends of glory and riches from the uncharted desert lands of Gharnri, Zerale decided to venture off and bring back those riches for himself. But when he came back as the first man in all of Paesia’s history to ever return alive, he was a broken man.
Some say he caught a disease and died shortly after, others say he went insane and killed himself - the stories varied. But what they all agreed on was that whatever Zerale found in the desert lands of Gharnri, it had broken and scarred him for life.
‘Zerale stepped off the creaking boat onto the fabled sands of the unknown,’ the bard was saying to his audience, who stared at him with awe-struck eyes. ‘He knelt down to feel the warm grains of sand between his fingers…’
‘ ... And he said “Time for an adventure”,’ Locke breathed as he echoed the words of the bard almost before the man himself had said them. It was Locke’s favourite Zerale story, and he knew all of the words by heart.
* * *
The story continues in 'Forest Lone,' due for release 2014/15.
Kasper: Hi Jae, thanks so much for dropping by. It's great to see a young writer starting out. You're so young and have published a novella already, congratulations.
When did you start writing and why?
I started writing my debut novella around the end of 2011, but had the story swirling around a good year and a half before that. I guess I started writing because of my love for reading and creating magical worlds and characters out of nothing, and the person who inspired me (as she did with millions of others) was J. K. Rowling - so I guess you can say she is the reason I write.
Kasper: Yes, she's really shaken up the fantasy genre and inspires many of us too. What types of books do you like to read / write?
I like to read epic fantasy, Grimdark, steampunk and adventure mainly, with J. K. Rowling, George R R Martin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, John Flanagan and Jennifer Fallon as huge inspirations. I write pretty much the same - dark fantasy with hints of adventure and steampunk woven into it.
‘A Dance of Dragons’, though I know most fantasy lovers have already read it. But I’ve recently been getting into indie/lesser known books, so I’d like to recommend any poetry book by Vicki Case, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and The Summoner Awaketh by Charles Scott Link.
Kasper: Good on you for supporting fellow indie authors. It sounds like you have a real love of reading and aren't afraid to look outside the bestsellers.
What is your favourite quote?
“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others - past and present. And by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future.” - From the really moving book ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell (A must-read book, and a much-watch movie!!)
What’s the basic plot of your novella, The Fallen?
Its six separate stories about characters facing their own hardships and trials in the gritty fantasy land of Paesia. The stories range from a winged prince who has his home invaded by a barbaric Daemon race, to a lying bard that makes a living taking credit for other people’s achievements who’s past catches up with him all the way to a poor old miner that discovers a dark evil at the bottom of the giant mining site of his wasteland country.
Kasper: I like how you've managed to bring these diverse stories together into a novella. What scene from your book do you like the best and why?
Definitely Zerale’s death (despite his unpopularity with readers) and Leiden’s run through the forest with his wings alight.
Kasper: The scene with Leiden would be my pick too. Which is your favourite character and why?
Zerale is definitely my favourite character - just the whole dynamics of his character. While in ‘The Fallen’ it is told pretty early that all of his adventures and achievements were not his - and he is taking credit for what others did, in the later books I plan to use Zerale as a source of inspiration for my main characters. Since Zerale’s secret was never divulged, and only the readers know Zerale was a liar, it makes for a very interesting story, in my opinion.
Do you prefer ebook or hardcopy?
EBooks are more practical, and I am getting used to owning a kindle, but I have to say nothing can beat the smell of a new book and the touch of turning the page.
Kasper: Ditto, I kinda like the musty smell of a 2nd hand bookstore as well.
What song would you chose to be the theme song for your book?
‘Bullets’ by Archive. It’s a really blood-pumping song.
Kasper: Cool. There are some great battle scenes in The Fallen.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on book one in my ‘Wayward Sentinels’ series, titled ‘The Forest Lone’. Where The Fallen was the prologue novella, in The Forest Lone I follow the story of Leiden (though he is a side-character in it, now) and a bunch of orphans that are thrown up in the turmoil of the human kingdom of Charlten. Read more about it on my website.
Thank you so much Kasper for this opportunity! I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions! I hope to one day return the favour!
Kasper: Thanks to you too, Jae. I'm glad you had fun. Me too. Best wishes with your writing. It looks like your planned series of 12 books will keep you busy for the foreseeable future.
I'm sure the readers are curious now to take a look at your work, so here are the links: