For this week’s Feature Friday Future interview we have Abigail Manning here to tell us about her series The Emerald Realm
- Poisoned Heart: A Retelling of Snow White (The Emerald Realm Book 1)
- Bearly Free: A Retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (The Emerald Realm Book 2)
- Framed in Florals: A Retelling of Cinderella (The Emerald Realm Book 3)
- Stolen Crown: A Retelling of Thumbelina (The Emerald Realm Book 4)
- Towering Future: A Retelling of Rapunzel (The Emerald Realm Book 5)
Can you describe your world or setting?
In this series, my world is made up of realms and these books specifically take place in the Emerald Realm. The realm is made up of four kingdoms that have vague alliances and enemies, with different topography and land types in each kingdom. The realms also have a touch of magic in them which is only carried by mages, who are marked with strands of silver hair. In some parts of the realm magic is more common where in others it is far rarer. As a whole the Emerald Realm is both realistic in terms of social systems and etiquette, but it is also unique in enchanting ways.
How did you build this concept, what research did you do?
I took a lot of inspiration from different cultures when building this world. In my Cinderella retelling, the story takes place in the Kingdom of Drancos which has French inspirations since the original take took place in France. These inspirations are reflected in the names, scenery, and even in some of the clothing choices. I also based the entire realm around a Victorian era in terms of social statuses and architecture, so I found myself doing a lot of research on the dress and lingo during those times. An example of this also shows in my Cinderella novel where the characters refer to the meanings behind flowers that originally stemmed from Victorian cultures.
Why did you choose this setting?
I wanted a world that could fit multiple different retellings, but still feel realistic. I write stories that are based off classic tales with fairy godmothers and magical sorcerers, but I didn’t want my world to rely on easy magic solutions. Therefore, I took a far more realistic approach and ensured that my magic had clean rules and a world that a reader could imagine truly existing without too much imagination.
What’s unique about your world?
I think the magic truly makes my world unique, I have a class system for mages that is broken down into three groups that each serve their own purpose. This limits the world from solving all their problems with the flick of a magic wand. There has to be creativity in finding solutions with the elements provided.
How do you explain the science or magic in your world?
So there are three types of mages: enchanters, casters, and sorcerers. Every mage will be born with at least a streak of silver hair, but it’s rumored that more powerful mages will be born with more. Enchanters can only cast magic into non-living things, such as objects, potions, or charms. Casters can only cast magic into living things, such as plants, animals and people. And Sorcerers are the rarest that can only cast magic on themselves and enhance their natural abilities. Each mage has a distinct gift that is unique to them and has its own limitations, so for example a caster may have the ability to heal, but their magic is only effective on humans and not animals or plants.
What was the most surprising thing you found out while researching/writing your latest book?
So the last book that I worked on actually had a very complex magical twist in it, that involved my main character being blind for a majority of the time the reader was with her. The part that I found challenging was trying to research and learn how to write intense scenes with one of the most important senses stripped from the MC’s perspective. I had to focus on all the other senses, and elaborate more on things like touch, scent, and sound. It was actually really fun to write once I had a good handle on it.
How do you handle the food in your world?
I LOVE writing about food in my stories! It doesn’t matter if it’s nice food, bland food, or a grand banquet, I love to describe food to the fullest at every chance I get. The food itself is fairly standard in my books, but there are moments like in my Goldilocks story where food can play an important role. A bowl full of porridge can be as plain as you want it to be or as interesting as a piece of artwork.
Do you have a recipe that you could share, maybe one that our readers could try, based on the food in your world?
I write a lot about tea in my world, and highly recommend blending a rose tea with milk and honey (froth the milk if you’re feeling fancy). I pretty much always a have a cup of tea beside me while I’m writing to fill the craving that comes on when I describe tea scenes.
What was the most mundane item that you used that really has cool tech or magic behind it?
So this is a minor spoiler for my Cinderella retelling, so read with caution! In my story Framed in Florals Cinderella has to go to the ball without being recognized, but there’s no typical fairy godmothers in this world… So what does she do?
She acquires a dress from an enchanter that masks the identity of whoever wears it!
What did you include that you wish was real today?
Casters that can heal! The world can always use a little more aid for those who are hurt and sick.
Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
You’re all the best! Thanks for reading, and if you’re interested in checking out this word I described, you can find the Emerald Realm series on amazon or my website, www.abigailmanningauthor.com. Thanks!