Monday, February 9, 2009

Bruce Skye Creates a World for Grayrider

Today's guest blogger is Bruce Skye, author of Grayrider, the first book in his Deathsong Chronicles series where fantasy meets medieval magic.

About the Author:

A former technical writer, detail is important to Bruce Skye. His research for the Deathsong Chronicles included medieval armor and fortresses, as well as Celtic names and magic. "If you create a world, it must be consistent. And that's what I strive for Grayrider's world to be. I've built a database of material for each of the Deathsong Chronicles. Those databases aid me in keeping the world the same from book to book.

"When I wrote Grayrider, I followed the advice of Stephen King. I did not write the book following any sort of outline. I have no more idea than my readers do when I write a novel what will happen in the midst of the story. It makes it more exciting for both the readers and myself."

You can visit his website at

About the Book:

Gabriel, the exiled king of Rivalin, comes before King Airell to warn him the Ansgarian army will invade his kingdom before the night is over. Airell tells him he has no one to send. Gabriel wants revenge for the murder of his family by the Ansgarians. He decides to fight the incursion without help.

As this takes place, Deirdre (Airell’s daughter), flees the kingdom of Cynyr north of Boadhagh. She knows now her mentor, Morrigan, created the Ansgarian army her father has fought for years. She goes south to warn him of her. Because Deirdre does not believe in herself, the young sorceress has difficulty in performing magic.

Once she is reunited with her father, she tells both he and Grayrider about Morrigan. Her power is growing; only Gabriel’s magical sword may yet destroy her. He must go to Cynyr to fight her. He agrees if Deirdre attends him, seeking her counsel. On that journey they fall in love and foil many efforts by Morrigan to kill Gabriel by both armies and sorcerers.

Grayrider fights Morrigan and sees his beloved slain by the sorceress before he is finally able to kill her. He returns to Rivalin brokenhearted. The ending is a complete surprise the reader will not expect at all.

Bruce's turn:

In creating a world, where do you start? I started with a premise. Gabriel the Gray possessed a powerful magic sword. Okay, where did he get it? And, perhaps more importantly, why was it created to begin with? In doing so, I started writing a partial history of Grayrider’s world. Unlike Tolkien, I do not have the entire history of this planet laid out. But I gave just enough detail to satisfy the reader’s initial curiosity.

Being an Anglophile, I decided during this process I would use Celtic names for the characters.

As this happened, other questions cropped up. What kind of magic system was I going to use? And what would power the spells cast? Since I was using Celtic names, why not use a Celtic magic system as well? This required research (which I happily did). I had, long ago and far away now, used role-play gaming systems. Based upon that, I decided the necromancers of this world would create spells using their own mystical strength. And the strength used would decide how powerful the enchantment was.

With these fundamental aspects of this medieval world established, other details needed to be decided upon. What kind of medieval weapons and armor would be used by the different armies? How would fighting take place? What kind of tactics would be used? Again, I did research in these areas. I based one of the major battles depicted in the book on the Battle of Agincourt (which was well portrayed in Henry V, my favorite Shakespearean play).

And with the armies and kingdoms came another question: what would be the heraldry used by each realm? Being a former technical writer, detail is important to me. As these matters were fleshed out, I created a database of information I could reference to ensure things stayed consistent.

With those matters dealt with, it was time to create my characters to flesh out this world. One reviewer has written about Grayrider “I really like the characters in the novel because they are unique versus the typical fantasy archetypes.”

Gabriel the Gray’s best friend and companion in the book is an amazing black warhorse named Windfire. How did I explain the steed’s high intelligence and ability to breathe fire when combat came upon him and his master? The explanation was simple: Windfire was of an ancient, prized and now rarely seen breed of horse.

Another example is Kalen, the commander of the Boadhagh army. I’m a former naval officer. And I have always believed an officer takes care of his people. Kalen did just that to the point of grieving for his slain troops after a victorious battle. To that degree, perhaps the reviewer is right. My characters are unique.

I hope you see what I did here. I built the Grayrider world one step at a time, starting with a story concept or premise and then building upon that a history, structure and then characters which would make sense to readers.

Learn about the next three books in the Deathsong Chronicles by visting Bruce's website at


The GRAYRIDER VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR '08 will officially begin on February 2 and end on February 27. You can visit Bruce's blog stops at in February to find out more about his new book!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for allowing me to be on your blog.

Kim Smith said...

Hey Bruce, I am happy to know that I am not the ONLY seat of the pants writer in the world :) -- it's a great way to write, I say!

Unknown said...

Looking good Bruce
I'll have to look into it more, looks right up my ally