Thiago was born in Brazil but grew up in the fantasy worlds from the stories he kept in his mind. He has inhabited everywhere from Middle-Earth and Azeroth to the planes of Dominaria, Ravnica and Tarkir. No matter the medium, what kept him coming back was always his love for story.
He could never wait for the next world to dive into, so, after being (indirectly) urged on by the (printed) words of Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Patrick Rothfuss, N. K. Jemisin, and many, many others, decided to create his own.
That smile on his face is the look he gets when in the presence of his lovely wife.
Here we are, ready for another post on Some Thoughts with …, the serie of posts where we talk with the authors and get more insight about their works. Today is the turn of Thiago Abdalla, author of A Touch of Light and A Prelude to Ashes.
Let’s dive in!
1 – A Touch of Light is your debut novel, can you tell us more about the difficulties and challenges of this process?
I’m not a person who has been writing their entire life, so one of the biggest challenges was just to understand what exactly I had to learn. It was like going to school, but not knowing which classes you had to take to get your degree. After I had the “pillars” down for what I needed to learn, the challenge shifted into actually creating the process. I read plenty of books on craft and had editors help me a ton as well, but the challenges never end. The more you learn, the more you see how much there still is to learn.
2.- I find really interesting to use epigraphs as a way to introduce lore into the world, do you find it too difficult to write?
I actually really like them as a tool to give readers information without taking them out of the immersion. It can sometimes be a challenge to come up with epigraphs that fit the mood of the chapter, but in general, I have a lot of worldbuilding written down, so it isn’t too hard to pull from that and write that epigraph.
3.- I remember you speaking about how naming in Avarin is structured, can you give us some insights on it?
I learned that by watching a youtube video by Hello Future Me. I highly recommend his video on naming. It basically says how the history of a place can shape the name of things and how names are broken into syllables that each mean something. These normally change when the people settling in the place change, so if there is an invasion (like the Turkish, or Romans, for example) names are adapted accordingly. It’s a deep subject, but adopting the method I learned in the video made naming fun instead of a daunting task.
4.- How does the Griffin Rider relationship work? Why Griffins?
Sentinels are elite warriors from the church that are loosely based on the Templars. They have a certain emotion they share with their griffin which is kept kind of secret because if an enemy knows the Sentinel uses, let’s say… anger, they will have an advantage and do everything they can to not make that Sentinel angry so that they don’t feed the Sentinel’s power. This emotion they share with the griffin allows them to take the griffin’s speed and strength and become super warriors.
I chose griffins because I didn’t want to be just “another dragon book” and griffins are a big part of the fantasy games that have been a HUGE part of my life like Warcraft 3 and Magic: The Gathering.
5.- Let’s start a civil war, A Prelude to Ashes should be read before or after A Touch of Light?
Haha, in the past, I’ve said “before” will give you an easier way into the world, but it really depends on the kind of reader you are. If you like learning as you go and don’t mind a large cast of characters, you can start with A Touch of Light, no problem. If you’d like the world to be introduced with a bit more explanation in a smaller setting, Prelude will give you an easy path in.
6.- I’m curious, how big is Avarin?
The story in this series will take place on Immeria and Azur, the two main continents, but there may be other lands yet to explore. Intentionally vague? Maybe, who knows?
7.- Do you have a favourite place in the whole Avarin? From where do you draw inspiration?
Not sure I have a single specific favorite place. I drew inspiration from South America for the clanlands, and Azur is clearly middle-eastern, but I guess it’s just an amalgamation of all the fantasy worlds I’ve lived in my whole life.
8.- What can we expect from Thiago Abdalla in the future?
More books! I want to keep writing at a relatively fast pace and I have ideas for future series in mind. The Ashes of Avarin will be four books, and if people keep reading my stuff, I’ll keep writing more! So, as Ryan Cahill would say… you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.
To close this post, I want to thank Thiago for being so reachable and accepting all these questions. And personally, I want to remark that he’s an awesome individual and a blessing to all the writing/reading community.