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Author’s Debrief: The Godserfs Series – Guest Blog by N. S. Dolkart

N. S. Dolkart’s journey from debut author to finisher-of-first-series is finally nigh, as this month he published the last in the Gemmell Award-nominated Godserfs series, an epic fantasy series with Jewish theology at its heart, reminiscent of the work of C. S. Lewis. Here, Dolkart reflects on his experiences from publication of the first book in the series, Silent Hall, to tying up the final threads in the final instalment, A Breach in the Heavens, released this month.

Silent Hall (cover)Well, I finished my first fantasy trilogy.

This is real. My author copies arrived last week. It’s an amazing thing to think about, as someone who read so many fantasy series as a kid and kept trying to write my own, first in notebooks as a preteen and later on fancier equipment. To have written and published a complete trilogy feels like a rite of passage.

Here’s something that kind of blew my mind: A Breach in the Heavens is the fourth novel I’ve written, but it’s the first time I’ve truly ended a story at novel length. My first, unpublished novel, was conceived as the first book in a series, just as my debut novel Silent Hall later was, and though I didn’t know for sure whether I would get another book after the sequel, Among the Fallen, I did know it wasn’t the end of the story for these characters or this setting. But now, with A Breach in the Heavens that story is over, truly over. There is a strange, light feeling to having finally finished this thing that I started six years ago.

I must say, I really enjoyed giving all these threads of mine their appropriate endings. I won’t give any spoilers, but I leave this series satisfied with the way each character met their end or their new beginning, the way each drama unfolded. The funny thing is that I didn’t know for sure that I would pull it off until I somehow did: I wrote Silent Hall without having any concrete ideas about what would happen later in the series, and didn’t settle on even the basic outline of A Breach in the Heavens until after I’d finished writing Among the Fallen. For a “pantser” like me, tying up all these loose ends wasn’t a given. I’m proud of the fact I managed it at all!

Among the Fallen (cover)Writing the Godserfs series was an amazing experience, a chance to explore ideas I’d had about fantasy tropes and theology and human relationships, all while playing in my favorite playground. I got to critique the Chosen One narrative, turn the Kind Old Mentor trope on its head, and write a fantasy story laced not only with biblical references but with nods to Jewish liturgy, history, and thought – a striking contrast to the heavily Christian ethos that epic fantasy owes to Tolkien and Lewis. In the meantime, I dove so deep into my characters that in many ways they feel less like people I invented than like my distilled views on humanity, personified. To say that the Godserfs is a character-focused series is almost underselling it: for most of the first book, the characters were the plot.

I didn’t know what to expect from my audience when I started this whole journey. What has touched me the most has been hearing from people that my series changed the way they think about the world, about their friends or relatives, about their religion. I have a friend who forwards me rabbinical sermons that touch upon concepts I laid out in Silent Hall. My brother will describe people he knows as Hunters or Critons or Phaedras. And I’ll never forget the man whose Goodreads review thanked me for making him enjoy reading again. My goodness.

Do I move onto my next project a better writer and a wiser man? I hope so.

Either way, it’s been a hell of a ride.

A Breach in the Heavens (cover)The End Times have arrived. For over a decade, the sorceress Phaedra has had a single, vital task: to keep the world of the elves separated from humanity’s. But when her world experiences its first skyquake, it’s clear that something is very wrong. Has all Phaedra’s work been for nothing? She’ll need a new plan – and her friends’ help – to keep the worlds from smashing into each other and shredding all of creation.

Unfortunately, not everyone likes the new plan. To the God of the Underworld, destroying creation doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

A Breach in the Heavens, and the rest of The Godserf series, are available now! You can learn more about it on the author’s website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

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