Today I have the author of Ouroboros, Christopher Turkel here today to talk about writing. Thank you so much for being here Christopher!
I have to admit, when I started writing “Ouroboros” I didn’t have much of the world in mind, just some basic ideas as I wrote. Sometimes when I write something it won’t work and I’ll discard the writing. I didn’t want to create a complete world and not use it. But as I wrote, that magic thing happened, the moment when you realize what you are working on has legs and will work. This is when I decided to flesh out the world I was writing.
I already knew certain things: humans were a minority, at least in the part of the world, an area called the Prakani Empire, where the novel took place. The Prakani were the majority and while they weren’t overtly discriminatory, they looked down on humans. The Prakani were once human until a large stone fell out of the sky and gave them a new magic and a slightly altered DNA. Except for their longer lives, the change in the Prakani was mostly cultural. They stopped drinking ale, and drank only wine, kept their faces shaved clean, became mostly vegetarian and so on. Humans are a a reminder of their “barbarian” past.
The biggest change to come to the Prakani was they were able to use a new kind magic, abjuration, which was much powerful then human wizardry, With this magic, they were able to cure diseases, make crops grow faster and more resilient to pests and droughts and so on. To achieve balance, I made sure abjuration only worked in a certain radius from where the stone fell and this area is the Prakani Empire. Outside the bounds of the empire are what the Prakani call Dead Zones. These regions are home to various human kingdoms.
The Prakani Empire is more or less in the Enlightenment, though warfare is less advanced because when you have magic, why do you need gunpowder? Human kingdoms outside the empire vary in culture and technology from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. What humans lack in technology compared to the Prakani they make up in shear numbers. A war between a large human kingdom and the Prakani would a bloody affair and neither side is willing to try it, which why there has been peace, except for border skirmishes, for the last few centuries.
I liked the contrast I created between humans and Prakani, it brought an element of tension to the world and this contrast is one of the basic premesis of “Ouroboros”. My main character, Thomas, is a human, forced with to work with a Prakani to ensure their survival. Along the way, they see past long held stereotypes and come to an understanding. Maybe not friendship, but respect and thing like this are part of what makes world building fun: a well created world can add spice to a story in ways a character can’t.
by Christopher Turkel
In a dystopian future, Thomas the assassin is about to face the job of his career — and his life. After avenging his alcoholic father’s untimely death, Thomas begins his transformation into a cold-blooded killer. The Prakanis, a human race with superhuman abilities — and superhuman egos — rules the land of Xuelition with an iron fist, and as Thomas learns, it’s much easier to work with than against them. When the government hires him to recover bonds from a disgruntled employee, Thomas has no idea what’s in store for him. He’s stealthy, clever, and one of the best assassins in the business, but what he learns on this mission will change his life forever.
About this author
Christopher Turkel was born in Brooklyn, NY, the son of a journalist and a stay at home mom. He has lived in Florida, California and Taiwan. He comes from a family of writers, following in the footsteps of his father, aunt and grandmothers. Christopher was given a typewriter at age thirteen and proceeded to write his first novel, a pastiche of the Narnia books, in one day. Despite being all of three pages long, his father kept encouraging him to write. Christopher works as a technical writer for a nonprofit and enjoys the works of Gene Wolfe, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Steven Burst and Kurt Busiek. When he is not reading, writing or working, he is eating and sleeping. He resides in western Massachusetts with his wife, Joann, two cats and a dog.
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