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Interview Katharine E. Wibell

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For this week’s Feature Friday Futures we are joined by Katharine E. Wibell here to tell us about her book The Twelve Tasks: Book One of The Djed Chronicles.


Can you describe your world or setting? 

The Twelve Tasks takes place in a multiverse where there are twelve magicked planets, each containing numerous dimensions. Needless to say, each planet has its own ecosystems as well as unique and amazing entities. For example, the planet Mürk, which is almost entirely covered in water, offers a habitat to numerous aquatic life including Selkies, the seal people originally from Celtic myth.

Some worlds are relatively pristine; the land appears unexploited if not untouched. Think of virginal forests or wide-open prairies. Sentient beings on these worlds exist within a primitive society. Other worlds have given rise to advanced civilizations.  While the scenic landscape of Amistat is reminiscent of Tuscany, a visit to its futuristic capital city reveals a highly developed culture and technologically advanced civilization.

It is important to note that the planets are linked together by a system of wormholes whose use is solely for the Djed, the prophesized savior. The entities in these worlds should not have contact with each other. This is understood by the more intelligent races but not always obeyed.

How did you build this concept, what research did you do?

This is a great question as the concept for this series came about through my childhood play of make-believe with my sister. We each developed alternate personas who traveled throughout the twelve magicked worlds. When finally putting these stories to paper, I had to flesh out the background to enlarge upon each world’s individual properties. I even charted diagrams in order to visualize where the planets are situated in the universe as that would affect the length of time one would spend traveling through the wormholes.

As a person fascinated with mythology, I have delved into many myths from around the world. I love to represent mythical creatures and beings in their most original forms. Many are recognizable though some are rather obscure. Knowing which entities I would be working with, I was able to design worlds perfect for them.

Why did you choose this setting?

Using a multiverse approach, I am able to design vastly different worlds which can harbor all sorts of fantastical creatures. The world which contains elves and goblins is forested in old-growth trees which shows the influence of Nordic tales. Yet the Roc, pulled from Middle Eastern lore, is a massive bird large enough to hunt elephants. An avian that size would not be found in a forested environment. Instead, it was placed in a habitat void of trees where its wingspan would be unhindered.

Though a single planet can have drastic differences between continents which might allow for a diversity of beings and habitats, I still needed a rationale to explain why technology and knowledge was not, and could not be, easily passed to and from the various entities. Multiple worlds provided the answer.

What’s unique about your world(s)?

The entire universe is unique. Magical entities exist, but only on twelve planets. Each of the magicked worlds is drastically different, and those differences can be fun, fascinating, and terrifying. The other worlds are considered “rubbish” planets. Earth is one of these. Yet only among the rubbish planets can a Djed arise. Although I chose not to fall into the cliché of the orphan who surmounts all obstacles in spite of his/her obscurity, the fact remains that the greatest hero in the universe comes from the humblest of origins.

Balance is key to maintaining life, yet two opposing forces periodically collide placing existence itself at risk. When this occurs, a new Djed appears through unexplainable means, but each contender must be proven by completing twelve tasks, one on each of the magicked worlds. This challenge was the perfect way to introduce  the reader of this first book  to the different worlds before diving deeper into the multiverse in throughout the series.

Another unique aspect is that magical species are categorized into levels of power by the type and amount they control. Species with lesser capabilities are vulnerable to those wielding more. The Djed must navigate not only through twelve worlds but also through diverse entities with full knowledge that magic is out of his/her control.

How do you explain the science or magic in your world?

Magic is an essence that is essential for certain life. Like oxygen for humans, it must be present in the environment for certain species to exist. Any creature or being that can utilize magic must remain on a planet that has that indispensable resource. Yet magic, like other essential resources, is limited, and each successive level of power requires a greater amount in order to survive. This could result in a world with only a couple of extremely powerful users while another world might have a plethora of minor ones.

What was the most surprising thing you found out while researching/writing your latest book?

I continuously write well ahead of my publishing schedule. I will begin the fourth book of The Djed Chronicles this spring though I am still prepping the second for my editor. With that said, the third book incorporated some aspects of Voodoo. As I live in New Orleans, I had been exposed to some of it. Through subsequent research, I was able to learn more about the families of Loa, the spirit entities, and what makes each one starkly different.

How do you handle the food in your world?

Since none of the worlds are Earth, I have had fun coming up with novel flavor profiles for different meals. Although the food is often similar,  it is never quite the same as our own planet’s.

Do you have a recipe that you could share, maybe one that our readers could try, based on the food in your world?

In this case, no. Most of the worlds are relatively primitive, so a cup of tea might be the only recommendation.

What was the most mundane item that you used that really has cool tech or magic behind it?

At the completion of each task, the Djed is given a special item. Most are weapons, but there are a pair of sashes, and each contains a surprising power. In this first book, the main character is only able to learn that the brown sash, Goswhit, boosts the wearer’s endurance and courage.

What did you include that you wish was real today?

Ah…. I am a sucker for mythical creatures. Though there are any number of entities that I would be wowed by if real, I would have to say dragons.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

The Djed Chronicles is a young adult series which follows the main character from the age of thirteen throughout her teenage years, but be warned, the story gets darker as she gets older. The Guardian’s Speaker is a novella epic fantasy series geared for adults. I currently have two other series for other age brackets. The Incarn Saga, is a four-book new adult fantasy series in which war forces shifters and humans to work together or risk perishing. If you love sweeping, epic fantasies and fast-paced action sequences, you will enjoy these books.

The Guardian’s Speaker’s first book:

The Incarn Saga’s first book: