Interview with Thomas Locke, author of “Merchant of Alyss”

Merchant of Alyss, is the second book in Thomas Locke’s Legends of the Realm fantasy series, and will release on 5 January 2016.  You can read my review here.  Today, I have a little bio for you and a Q & A about Merchant of Alyss.  Don’t forget you can download the first chapter for free here:

Free sample chapter from MERCHANT OF ALYSS by Thomas Locke

Or you can find out more about Merchant of Alyss at


Thomas-Locke-250bThomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.

His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.

Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College at The University of Oxford. Visit Thomas at

Q: Why did you write MERCHANT OF ALYSS?

Thomas Locke: I began work on MERCHANT OF ALYSS before EMISSARY (book 1 in the series) had been accepted for publication. I had no idea anyone would accept these stories, since they were so utterly different from what I had been writing up to that point. But I was so captivated by the concepts and the emotions that I had to write it.

Q: What was your favorite scene to write?

Thomas Locke: My wife was speaking at a conference in San Francisco, and I had come along to play spouse. I rented a bike and was cycling around the city when I was struck by the image of a guard standing on the parapet in a fierce winter storm, watching a new crimson mage. Who then turns away from the city, walks down to the magic grove protecting Hyam’s home, and attacks.

By the time we returned home, I had the first quarter of MERCHANT OF ALYSS mapped out.

Q: There is the element of magic to the story. What do you hope readers take away from the “Magic” element in the story?

Thomas Locke: The issue of using magic was something I grappled with for some time. I found immense guidance from the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Four thousand years ago, when the concept of “epic” fiction originated, there was a specific purpose behind stories where magic and mythical beasts played major roles. The Greeks sought to create worlds that were bigger than life, with challenges and obstacles that were completely and utterly beyond the reach of mortal man.

The authors sought to portray through story that a normal human being can grow beyond the impossible challenges of life. They wanted to show normal people, with flaws and weaknesses as great as those we all carry today, can in fact rise up. They can triumph.

That is what I seek to do with the Legends of the Realm series. I want to return to the original aims of fantasy fiction. I want to re-insert the concept of heroic struggle, and challenges greater than life, and triumphs over evil and darkness.

Q: What question about MERCHANT OF ALYSS do you wish someone would ask?

Thomas Locke: For MERCHANT, I wish someone would ask, “How did you develop such a sense of natural flow out of a realm that doesn’t exist? How did you manage to structure a fantasy where the logic and surprise fit together powerfully?”

I feel this is a crucial element of both EMISSARY and MERCHANT. And with these two books, the answer is extremely different.

With EMISSARY, it came together as naturally as breathing. This happens sometimes. I wish it happened more often, but that is really in God’s hands.

With MERCHANT OF ALYSS, it was the exact opposite. I burned with this story. I had to write it. The passion and the joy were immense. But it was still such a struggle. And the first draft reflected this.

So I completed the work. Then I set it aside. Six weeks later I did a full-bore redraft. Then I set it aside again.

Six weeks later I did another total redraft. Then I sent it to the editors, who said, “Don’t change a thing.”

Then I did the entire process a third time. It went into line edits. And I did it a fourth and final time. A lot, lot, lot of work to make it as smooth and simple as EMISSARY was at first draft.

Q: Where can we learn more about you and your books?

Thomas Locke: You’ll find me at these online outlets:

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About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Author Interviews, Fantasy, New Releases and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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