When people learned to use magical energies to create harmful afflictions – curses – others had to learn how to cure them. Amondire is one of the latter – a medic specializing in cleansing souls. Now, together with a small group he's working on a research project that could give an alternative to at least some of the destructive magical experiments carried out on humans in his country. Things get complicated when a member of the team is murdered just weeks before the night on which the project could be finalized. They have to ask help from an old friend, a prophetess named Asantra.
Looking into the future is forbidden almost everywhere, for it's said that it can only bring a tragedy. But as Asantra leaves the serene Sanctuary to come assist with the research project, bits of her suppressed visions begin to surface. And what she starts to see is a horrifying disaster already.
In the future seen by the prophets, Amondire becomes the Sinhail, a feared man who broke the biggest taboo and learned how to destroy immortal human souls. And Asantra becomes his first victim, the Half-gone, stuck between life and death, trapped by her own wounded soul.
The question is - is that future the reality, or merely visions of possibilities that can be changed and prevented?
The problem is - sometimes the nightmare of one man is the salvation of another.
In the face of an unimaginable crisis, where the only resource making magical medicine possible is about to run out, the lines between evil and necessary are becoming more blurred than ever.
The New Amazing Nightmare is a story about generally good people in a generally bad world.
And skeletons stuffed into closets with wacky doors...
The Story & Setting
New Amazing Nightmare is a tale set in a world loosely reminiscent of the 19th-20th century (but be open to changes!). Though magic plays an important role in the lives of Surrea’s inhabitants, it’s not very flashy or easily controlled, so its uses are limited, and intertwining with developing technology. The most important branch of magic is healing. Magical medicine can accomplish things that the corporeal doctors cannot even dream of.
The problems begin when the resources needed for the healing magic – ruby stones – is starting to run out, and nobody knows where they came from. And, most importantly, where to acquire more of them. There had never been a single ruby found in the rocks of Surrea.
The action of the first volume takes place in a city on Caratana, a continent inhabited mostly by a race of people with blood affinity to magic, and on its dependent isle Aharra. It’s not a journey story, so don’t expect much sightseeing; there’s plenty to do in a city. And the biggest drama can take place in a tiniest of rooms.
The Project & Genre
But if it’s not a journey, adventure or quest, then what is it?
Whenever I told one my friends that I’m writing fantasy without journeys, quests, heroes, fireballs, chases and all, they asked me this dreaded question – then what IS this book about? I’m trying to flee the biggest clichés in the novel, so I’ll allow myself one here: it’s about people. If I were to try and assign it a sub-genre, it would be closer to drama than adventure. Social, personal, slightly political. That’s what interests me, that’s what I care about, so that’s what I chose to write about.
There are people trying to survive, and people trying to survive by killing the former. There are rights and there are wrongs. There are unfortunate souls forced to make decisions they wouldn’t wish on their enemies (but may force them on their friends given a chance… nobody’s perfect, right?). There are wounded souls that lose their ways, and gentle ones that help them find the right path again (though not without a risk of getting lost along the way, it’s never easy with those tricky, tricky paths). There are questions of destiny and whether it can be changed or not by those that see scraps of the future. There is a society divided by the call of whether the end justifies the means. Well, some might think the end itself shouldn’t even happen to begin with, forget the means. There are people, who choose to believe what’s easier, there are those that don’t get the choice, and there are the sorry few who try to fight against the odds. There is love, hate, envy, greed, compassion, selfishness, lust, sorrow, wrath. You know, like I said – there are people. Humans and not-quites (though not-faraways).
So why fantasy then? Well, fantasy pleases me aesthetically, but if I liked science fiction more (and was smarter when it comes to physics and science in general), I could’ve set this story in space full of aliens and quirky technologies.
Though NAN is not a veiled critique of any one aspect of the Earthly life, its setting is more akin to the contemporary version of our world than to the fantasy of wars and kingdoms. This may cause an overlap of issues and social stances with what we deal with in our daily lives. That being said, I'm not a preacher and I don't want to shy away from things that fit the story and the characters either. Which means they may hold controversial opinions. One plot to rule them all and nothing besides that. If you're easily unsettled by darker themes or characters who you disagree with, please take that into account.
Many times along the way I was surprised to discover things about these guys that I didn’t plan at all. A few times I also got to be quite mad when those things messed up my plans and had me doing solid rewrites or scrapping my bestestest ideas!
But I’ve learned that in end it works best if I allow the characters to be how they turn out to be, and not fight the changes. Trying to get around it only created a feeling of falsehood.
To me, that’s the beauty of writing. I get to go outside of my own head. Now what a journey THAT is!
The main reason I'm self-publishing is that the New Amazing Nightmare is a continuous story composed of five volumes, and none of them is a standalone. Add to it the first part being near 170k words and here's a recipe for a boxful of instant rejections. Everyone and their kittens (agents and writers on their blogs, people in the know visiting writing forums, publisher websites) agree that trying to query something like that as a debuting author is doomed to fail. So I decided to save time, mine and the agents', and publish on my own.
It was not an easy process, and I'm not sure it was any less stressful than trade publishing, because without guidance from industry professionals I also ran around biting cables and worrying about what I could've done better, what I missed, what should be different. It's difficult to finally say STOP and move forward. That's why I've sat on this for about six years before pushing it out :) Taking care of all the technicalities like preparing the e-book, painting the cover and illustrations, making all of the indieGoGo perks took its fair bit of time too. Now, I can add this website to the list, too! Still a long way to go here to fill in all the blanks, but if this project taught me anything, it's patience and persistence.
I do everything in my power to make this novel match the quality of the traditionally published ones. I just do it my own way. I hope I managed to create something that will not be a waste of the reader's time.