Jim C. Hines (jimhines) wrote,
Jim C. Hines

Tuesday Heroes: Michael A. Burstein

As you know Bob, I've been introducing some of my authors from Heroes in Training, asking them to chat a bit about their stories. You can read up on previous authors Catherine Shaffer, Mike Jasper, and Vera Nazarian by clicking http://jimhines.livejournal.com/tag/heroes+in+training.

This week, we have Michael A. Burstein, aka mabfan, author of "The Wizard's Legacy." Michael is the winner of the 1997 Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and has earned ten Hugo nominations and three Nebula nominations for his short fiction, which appears mostly in Analog. He lives with his wife Nomi in the town of Brookline, Massachusetts, where he is an elected Town Meeting Member and Library Trustee. When not writing, he edits middle and high school Science textbooks. He has two degrees in Physics and attended the Clarion Workshop.

I asked Michael to share a little about "The Wizard's Legacy," and this is what he wrote:
When Jim asked me to write a story for Heroes in Training, I decided that this would be a good opportunity to attempt a traditional fantasy story. Most of my work is science fiction, and I haven't tried to write a straight fantasy story for quite a few years. In fact, the last time I can remember doing so was at Clarion, and one of my instructors told me that the story read like someone whose main knowledge of fantasy came from playing Dungeons & Dragons. (I complimented her on her insight.)

The premise of the book is to focus on heroes in training, of course, so I knew that my protagonist would have to be someone just starting out. Since my background is in hard science, I decided to write about magic, thus making my protagonist a wizard's apprentice. That gave me two characters to write about, and I figured I could write a story about the Wizard training his apprentice to take over defense of the kingdom. The only problem was that it didn't allow for any conflict other than the obvious.

But then I got to thinking: why does a wizard always have only one apprentice? Perhaps the magic of my world worked that way. When the time was right, the Wizard would see a vision of his one and only apprentice, and he would then summon the new apprentice to the capital city to be trained. But what if a building threat to the kingdom leads the magic to select two apprentices for the Wizard to train, not just one? And what if the two apprentices don't get along, and perhaps there's some secret underlying the magic's choice...

I hope folks will enjoy reading "The Wizard's Legacy" as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Photo copyright (c) Nomi S. Burstein.
Tags: heroes in training

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