On Love, Fantasy and Metallurgical Magic - Danie Ware talks Children of Artifice

18 July 2018

Danie Ware has worked for Forbidden Planet for fifteen years, and (on occasion) gets to run her own book signings. We caught up with her about her newest title, and her latest event!

1) Would you please tell us a bit about yourself? Tell us something about Danie Ware that most people don’t know!

I’m sure everyone knows the ‘all boys’ school, role-player, Viking re-enactment’ parts of my history by now. I also have a (somewhat sulky) fourteen-year-old son, two cats and a fascination with unusual architecture. And I’d like to go on holiday more often – but who wouldn’t?

2) Were you always a storyteller at heart? 

We’re all storytellers at heart – be that story something written, a picture, a film, a game, a comic, or a tale told to our children. And creativity is something that we increasingly need to keep ourselves sane, to grant us some release in this ever-darkening world.

3) Children of Artifice had two lead characters that find themselves falling in love. Why did you need to write their story?

'Proteus' is a character concept that I’ve always found fascinating - he’s the urban spy, the ‘gray man’, the infiltration unit that blends so perfectly with the people around him that you’d never know he was there. Caph was created to be not only his lover, but his antithesis – and the relationship between them is about all the boundaries of identity and denial. It’s also a story that’s been with me since the very early nineties!

I guess I just I needed to get it right. 

4) Previous drafts of the story were set in London. Why did it change, and what differences did that make to the narrative? 

From the original short story, the tale became a novella, and then, in 2010, a full novel. And after finishing Ecko, I wanted to do something different with it - to take it away from the ‘paranormal London’ tales that so many others have done so well, and give it a flavour of its own. 

And the new setting really worked. It gave the story some wonderful hints of urban magic and science fantasy. It allowed me to use Proteus’s skills and abilities to the full, and to put a lot of work into his depth of character, and to give Caph’s family a political background and story that they’d been missing. And it let me explore whole new layers to the narrative – like Artifice herself and the storyline that goes with her. And I think it works far better!   

5) Many writers / storytellers are asked about the themes present in their novels – did you focus on themes in Children of Artifice? 

Originally, the barriers of the gay relationship were the big theme – Caph had a fiancée and a denial problem, and falling in love with someone so dangerous and so unexpected was the last thing he expected to do. In ‘Artifice’, I’ve taken a step away from the old cliché, and looked instead at themes of family ties, names and identities, chemistry, metallurgy, and political loyalty. The love story, though, has remained the same.

6) Will there be a second book?

In theory! The second book picks up the story twenty-five years later, with Caph in his early fifties. And it’s been quite strange, suddenly ‘growing up’ a character that’s been twenty-five for such a long time. It’s still being written, but it expands both the city and the storyline from Children of Artifice, and lets us know a little more about the world Outside…

Catch Danie signing Children of Artifice at our Bristol Megastore on Saturday 21st July at 1pm!