A.J. Hartley is the contributor for this week’s Take Five, a new semi-weekly series where we ask authors to share five facts about their latest books. Hartley newest novel isWill Power, a sequel to Act of Will. Will Power chronicles the further adventures of Will Hawthorne, a sharp-witted rogue making his way in a fantasy world reminiscent of Elizabethan England. Look for Will Power on September 14.
1. Act of Will took a playfully skeptical approach to familiar High fantasy ideas about magic and heroism Will Power pushes the envelope, engaging head on with other frequent criticisms of fantasy, particularly the genre’s slightly uncomfortable relationship with issues of race and ethnicity.
2. Will Power was written in first draft form long before I had managed to sell Act of Will. Not a very smart approach to publishing, though it paid off. Eventually.
3. Will Power nudged the title character, Will Hawthorne, well out of his comfort zone and into a world which looks a lot more like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. He had a hard enough time believing in magic before. Now he has to deal with goblins and talking wolves…
4. Will gets a first-hand glimpse of the tedium, vanity and pointlessness of the life of a Renaissance courtier (when they aren’t fighting off goblins and talking wolves).
5. The story has become topical in ways I couldn’t possibly have anticipated. For all its sense of fun and adventure, I think of it now as an allegory for how the media shapes social views on crucially important issues, and the deeply problematic comfort zone that willful ignorance can bring. And if that sounds like the blurb for a Terry Pratchett book, I’ll claim it as a compliment.