By Marty Mulrooney
Children of Artifice is the latest novel from Danie Ware, author of the Ecko trilogy of books – Ecko Rising, Ecko Burning and Ecko Endgame – that Alternative Magazine Online reviewed in 2012, 2013 and 2016 respectively. Each of the Ecko books was a joy to read and review; it is therefore with great pleasure that AMO welcomes Danie Ware back (following her first interview in 2012) to tell us all about Children of Artifice!
Hi Danie, thank you for your time and welcome back to Alternative Magazine Online!
Hello and good to be back!
We last spoke in 2012 to coincide with the launch of Ecko Rising – I can’t believe that was 6 years ago! What have you been up to since then?
A lot of time adulting – solicitors and house sales, stress and paperwork. But I finally have a home of my own, which is hugely exciting. I’ve watched my son become a teenager, and I’ve tried to fit in the writing where I can!
Congratulations on the completion of the Ecko trilogy in 2015; as I’m sure you could tell from my review of Ecko Endgame, I really enjoyed it. How did you feel once the final book was released?
When I finished the last book, I cried my eyes out – no kidding. A fantasy trilogy’s a big undertaking, and the story had been with me for such a long time… finally letting it go was really hard. In retrospect, though, it was definitely time to do something new.
Your latest novel is called Children of Artifice; what’s it about?
Children of Artifice is a science fantasy, an urban fairy tale. It’s the story of two people who find themselves caught in a huge tangle of identity and family and politics and metallurgy and ambition and betrayal – and who fall in love, even though they don’t mean to.
What does the title of the book refer to?
The story is set in a single city, sealed inside a great volcano. Artifice is one of the city’s Builders, a legendary creature of alchemy and metallurgy, and a being that could craft the living, breathing stone. The Builders have been dead ten thousand years, but the gifts they gave their children still survive…
The Ecko books mixed science fiction with high fantasy to great effect. Does Children of Artifice fit into any particular genre?
Of course not! It’s a bit science fantasy, a bit urban magic, a bit tensely-plotted thriller, a bit love story and a bit fairy tale. And it has a suitably epic ending!
Who is Caphen Talmar and where do we find him when the story begins?
Caphen Talmar is the young son of a wealthy – and very strict – family, his musical career destroyed when his ex-lover broke his fingers. As the story begins, we find him stamping out of the house in a temper, heading down to the city’s wharfside in search of booze and gambling.
Who is Aden and how does he end up crossing paths with Caph?
Aden is a dockworker, and he picks Caph up when he sees him playing dice. Aden, though, is not what he seems. He has a different agenda even as the story starts – yet he, too, gets caught in the chain reaction that follows their initial meeting.
Did you have a particular audience in mind when writing Children of Artifice?
Honestly, no – I tend to write my books for myself, and reflecting whatever emotions I’m feeling at the time. I was very angry when I wrote Ecko (particularly the first one!); this has a very different feel. And a lot less swearing.
Children of Artifice is published by Fox Spirit Books, an award-winning UK Small Press. What made Fox Spirit such a perfect fit for this latest book?
As bigger publishing houses stick more and more to clear genre lines, so Small Press publishers are offering more new and creative and different fiction. And Fox Spirit books have a magic about them that made them perfect for the story.
The cover art by Sarah Anne Langton is beautiful! How much input did you have in its creation?
Isn’t it, though! I asked for Sarah to do the artwork, and offered some keywords and ideas, then just trusted her to interpret them – and she’s done a beautiful job. The image is based on the themes of mining and alchemy and metallurgy, and it has just enough mystery about it. For some reason, it feels very Felix Castor – and that’s no bad thing!
What’s next for you Danie?
I’m halfway through a follow-up to Children of Artifice, but I keep getting distracted. Look out for more Black Library fiction, coming soon – and maybe something else by the end of the year!
Thank you for your time and congratulations on the launch of Children of Artifice!