I had the pleasure of doing an interview on Twitter with Moss Whelan (@Moss_Whelan), author of Gray Hawk of Terrapin (get your copy of here). We discuss how Jack’s story came to be, some hints of what to expect in Cinders Dance, and some of the themes sprinkled throughout The Faery Trials.


Hi, Alicia: this is a little interview thread. Is Cinders Dance the further adventures of Jack Sorley from Trial by Song?

Yes. This one picks up immediately where Trial by Song ends.

Excellent! How did the development of the first book affect the writing of the second? Did it hinder or help?

I honestly found the second to be much easier to write because there was already a strong foundation in place. Personalities, rules, and locations had already been established, so it was more building on those than starting from scratch.

In establishing the first book, was the second book something that you were planning or was it left open? Stand alone first?

I always had a strong idea of where the story would go next. Book 1 ends with Jack determined to protect his loved ones, and in Book 2 they risk their necks to try to save him.

Aha! There’s a strong sense of family there: saving the family, being saved by them. What draws you to write about family?

To me, family is a more complicated relationship than friendship or romantic love. You’re tied to family in ways you don’t get to choose. Jack has six brothers who don’t always get him or agree with him, but they put their differences aside and come together when they need to.

So true. Blood is thicker than… With Jack emerging from folk and fairy tales, how do you distinguish him from his origins?

I wanted Jack to face consequences for stealing the golden harp. Nothing happens to Jack and the Beanstalk even though he’s a thief. In mine he wants to give it back, but a spell makes that impossible. So unless he can break it, he keeps getting caught up in more fairy tales.

That gives a sympathetic side to Jack. Let’s talk about setting. Fairy tales are often set in an idealized medieval age.

Originally the series was set in that typical fantasy setting, but when I changed it to present day it strengthened the lure of fame and how Jack, magic, & faeries would be perceived. It also gave humans more weapons once they learned about magic, like social media and the press.

It would give liberty to shape Jack’s character as well. Were nervous about revisioning the setting or revisiting Faerie?

It was a big change, but it opened the door to so many more possibilities that I’m glad I made it. As for Faerie, it’s always an exciting place to explore. It’s like our world but not, so I was eager to go to some different courts and show new creatures this time around.

The Faerie folk have been imagined many different ways over the years. Did you give them something like Jack’s consequences?

I’m really drawn to stories that show the difference between human and faery morality. The line really blurs between good guys and bad. Enemies can turn into allies at the drop of a hat. Mine are really only restricted by their codes of honor and promises.

Would you say that they are a morrally ambiguous antagonist? I imagine they were the most difficult and interesting to write.

Definitely. Winterthorn does a lot of things that Jack finds unforgivable, but he just shrugs them off because they get the job done. And Credeilia feels justified in acting homicidal whenever she’s hurt or betrayed. So Jack can never relax his guard around them.

I’m assuming that you have a third story in the works, or is this it? Is the tale done?

There is a third one already outlined. Once I get a first draft done we’ll see whether I leave the door open for more stories down the road.

Hurrah! Thank you so much for this little interview!

Thank you! It’s been fun!


Cinders Dance releases March 13th. Preorder your ebook now!

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