What is The Fall of the Faere and Other Stories?
Essentially, it is a collection of nine backstories related to The Year of the Red Door. The title story tells how this fantasy world came into being about the first people, the Faerekind, that populated it. It goes on to describe how some of those people “fell from grace,” so to speak, lost their wings and much else. The remaining stories follow the leaders of seven groups of these people, the Seven High Houses. These are the people that Aperion gave the Forty-Nine Bloodcoins to, along with a promise that should the Bloodcoins be used properly, their people could regain their wings. The stories overlap somewhat, and if you read them in order, you’ll see that the latter tales allude to events described in the previous ones.
By the way, anyone who is a subscriber to my newsletter knows that I’ve been sharing a lot of backstories about people from The Year of the Red Door, so this seems a natural fit along those lines.
How do the stories in this collection relate to The Year of the Red Door?
The Year of the Red Door takes place thousands of years after the earliest of the stories in the collection. The final story within the collection ends some fifteen or so years before the opening of The Year of the Red Door
Two of the tales are actually contained within The Year of the Red Door. The title story, The Fall of the Faere, is related within Volume 2, The Nature of a Curse. The Last Book of Nimwill is told within Volume 3, A Distant Light.
These stories, particularly the title story, comprise some of my earliest writings pertaining to The Year of the Red Door. I wrote them a few years before I really became committed to writing what would become The Year of the Red Door. A few of the stories within FOTF are of a slightly more recent vintage, having been written not all that long ago.
I noticed that, of the Seven High Houses in these tales, most are led by women. Why is that?
Originally, three were led by men and four by women. But when writing the overall work, these stories plus The Year of the Red Door, I wanted to emphasize the importance of matriarchal societies and lineages. That is important to how the plot works out, because only females can pass down the traits that make someone an Elifaen (which is what the “fallen” Faerekind came to be called). So it seemed fitting that there should be some reflection of this in the leadership going back into time to the beginning of things. That said, the overall leader in the beginning was a male. That was Aperion, King of the Faere. And the primary god that is worshiped is also male, called Beras. So the rule of female leadership was by no means hard-and-fast.
Is the writing style different in these stories than in The Year of the Red Door?
Somewhat. The writing style for each story in the collection varies somewhat from the other stories. Two of the stories told in the “style” and manner of the original fictional storytellers. Others are narrated in a rather dry, “historical” voice. By the time you get to the final story, “Lady Lyrium,” the writing voice is more akin to that within The Year of the Red Door, somewhat formal, but a teeny bit more relaxed than in the earlier stories. I did this intentionally so that the reader can get a sense of progression through time and through the themes presented in FOTF.
Is it fair to say that the first couple of stories are somewhat Biblical in tone and even in theme?
I suppose that would be somewhat fair. Certainly the first story is the so-called “creation myth” of this tale. And while The Last Book of Nimwill is not written as such, there is a good bit of symbolism in it, some of which is overtly stated as such. But if that story is Biblical in tone or aspect, then it is something of a hybrid, that is, a cross between Old and New Testaments.
All that said, these stories, and The Year of the Red Door, are not, strictly speaking religious allegories. That said, some themes cross cultural, religious, and ethnic divides. One only has to look at the ancient tales from Greece, or those from the Far East, or from pagan Europe. Themes like mortality, guilt and redemption, honor, hope, courage, faith, kindness, and love. These stories take on those themes unabashedly and, I hope, in a dramatic and entertaining way. Certainly many of these themes appear within FOTF.
Are these stories essential to the reader’s understanding of The Year of the Red Door?
No. Not really. As I said, two of the stories are contained within The Year of the Red Door, and that is because they contain needed information. So, no, one doesn’t have to read the stories in this collection to understand The Year of the Red Door, or vice versa. But those who do read these stories and also read The Year of the Red Door will have certain insights that others probably won’t have.
Do any characters in these stories make an appearance in The Year of the Red Door?
Most of the central characters within FOTF are long dead by the time that The Year of the Red Door takes place. But a few, at least six that I can think of do make an appearance, and some of them have pivotal roles in The Year of the Red Door.
Are there any spoilers in these stories?
I suppose there are a few minor spoilers, more like minor revelations, perhaps. But nothing that gives away the ending of The Year of the Red Door or anything like that. I think the biggest revelations might have to do with events surrounding the Great Bell at Tulith Attis, the statues within the bell room, and the terrible massacre that took place within the fortress. Also, if one reads both FOTF and The Year of the Red Door, one might get a sense that the outcome of The Year of the Red Door was inevitable all along. But I think there’s enough within The Year of the Red Door itself to give the reader that sense.
There is mention made of a Reader’s Companion within The Fall of the Faere and on The Year of the Red Door website. What is the Reader’s Companion?
The Reader’s Companion to The Year of the Red Door is basically a reference work based on my notes. In fact, I first created it for my own use during the writing of TYOTRD. In a certain way, it served as my “writer’s companion.” Some of it, such as the Chronology, is available on the website. Some of the stories in the Reader’s Companion are there, too, as are all of the stories within The Fall of the Faere. But the Companion also has lots of other information. There’s a glossary that includes notes on nearly every character that is mentioned, backstories, explanations of what it is like to be Elifaen, accounts of historical events, such as the Battle of Grisland Strait, the Pinewood Rebellion, and other events. And there are a few genealogies, too.
When will The Reader’s Companion be published?
Publication of The Reader’s Companion continually gets delayed by other work. I really hope to get it out before the end of 2017, but things aren’t looking too good. I’m just not sure when I can get it published.
Of the tales within The Fall of the Faere and Other Stories, do you have a favorite?
Hm. That’s hard to say. There are aspects of each that I like, of course. I like the story about Pyros and Duiniece a good bit. But I have to say that the one about Lyrium might be my overall favorite.
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