There’s the idea that the world that we’re living in is one where everything and everyone turns to gold at the point where things are so bad and awful that we all start thinking that everyone else has to go as well. This is, you know, a myth that’s sort of being challenged in a lot of different ways. There’s a lot of ways to look at magic. One of the things I’ve noticed about the way I approach it as a character is that it can be very, very dangerous. In a lot of ways it can become a trap for people, that there’s going to be this one group or this one place that’s going to always have a thing called luck in them.
That can end up with everyone being dead. It can end up with no one having any real way to recover from one incident without actually being dead and going bankrupt. So I’m going to keep looking for that. One of the things that I try to do in the book is to find it in the circumstances where it wouldn’t really be a trap for somebody otherwise. So if I’ve never been in love and never been taken captive or something like that, it can be a very welcome thing in places that maybe other people wouldn’t see it.
AVC: In addition to all the dangers involved, there seemed to be some fun twists on some of the core elements of magic in the books.
AM: I like that the books are not as narrowly focused on a single particular element of magic. So if a wizard is very much a wizard, then I’m comfortable using many of the tropes. There’s a character who uses a little bit of black magic, but he’s not a wizard. There’s a magical creature that’s both alive—there’s a little story that goes behind that—and he’s just as much a servant of whatever people are at the end of the day as they are at the beginning of the day. It’s just one of the many things that the wizard finds himself involved in.
AVC: It’s fascinating that you take the notion of magic and put it into a setting where it’s so easily accessible.
AM: I think there’s a lot of the world in there that is sort of accessible to a lot of people. For example, we are living in the first century in Rome. The story I write in the book is about the Romans who had just sacked an area of the empire and were going to march into a
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