This week we're sitting down again with Sam Marshall to chat to her about her writing process more in depth, specifically pertaining to the work she did on The Immortal Queen. Full interview below the break.
As Before, our questions are in italics, and Sam's responses are in plain text.
Can you tell us about how IQ came about?
As I said in the last Q&A (Linked here!) it was part dream and part built around Arcon. Arcon itself is largely inspired by a forest on Waiheke Island (The McKenzie Reserve) It’s been logged and replanted (least I hope it has, I’ve not been back in well over a decade) since then, but the original forest is what inspired the city. My grandparents had a lodge/holiday home right on the edge of the forest, and I would sit and look across the forest to the ocean. It was peaceful and it helped me process my thoughts and dreams. From there the rest is history.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was an advanced learner as a kid – reading at what the ‘reading tests’ my teachers did with us, a 21yr old level at age 11. AS such you could imagine the school library not having any books that challenged me; let alone quench the thirst I had for what I later came to know as fantasy. I even tried the local library – but I remember the librarian repeatedly redirecting me back to the children’s section to find a book and telling me I couldn’t read the adult books. I also read a lot which meant I soon read through the children’s books anyway. So, because I couldn’t get my hands on what I wanted to read – I wrote what I wanted to read.
Give us a brief run down of the book.
The story starts with Endya, a young woman put into a life of god-hood. All she’s ever wanted was to find a place where she fits in. A place where she is accepted for who she is and what she can offer – not what she is, or how old she is. She pushes herself, sometimes beyond her limits to achieve what she needs to achieve for herself.
Then we have a group of Gods that have other ideas for her. They, as Gods tend to do, insist on meddling with her life. Putting her into a situation she has no desire to be in. But she doesn’t quit. She keeps pushing, juggling her own life with that what is expected of her, right through to the very end.
Who's your favourite character? Who did you enjoy writing about the most?
I adore Endya, obviously. But out of all of them…a shocking one to be sure. Sabus. He was originally a very dark God…but something happened along the way and this smart-ass Loki type God appeared. The attitude the character had floored me, and I would very like to write more of his antics – but in small doses, I don’t think I could handle too much of Sabus.
Which character did you enjoy writing least?
Arthur Hallows, Crenomath and the All-Destroyer are top three, followed by their cronies. Maya is in that mix too – simply because of how her…possessiveness…was the catalyst for it all.
Who do you think would relate to this book and why?
Anyone and everyone. I hope there is a nugget of kinship with this story for anyone. Especially those who have ever been forced into a life they would not choose for themselves. Forced to be or act a certain way because family or society demand it. I think those of us who have hidden behind masks, those of us who still hide and those of us who have torn those masks away will relate to this story.
Will you be looking to expand on this work?
I will be, yes. In what format I am not sure. I have tales from before – before Endya - that are set around Marvin and Lycus and the Kingdom. Around the Centaur Treaty and how the Dragon Lands and Lava Plains got its name. There is also a story of Elizabeth, post Sundregham, post Endya (is there ever a post Endya) and her struggle in finding normality and living a mortal life…when while things are still a little messy on Earth – so whether they are short stories or a novel who knows.