Today’s character interview is from the YA Fantasy novel Nathaniel Grey and the Obsidian Crown by Farrell Keeling. It was self-published by the author on the 20th of July 2019 and is currently available as a paperback, ISBN-13: 978-1097136490 and an e-Book, ASIN: B07VDZ7W6B.
Synopsis of Nathaniel Grey and the Obsidian Crown by Farrell Keeling
It’s been over half a century since the Phoenix rose in the City of Light. Accused of grave crimes against the Obsidian Throne, Nathaniel Grey is cast out of Obsidia and forced to seek refuge with his peoples’ sworn enemies, the Lycans. With the Szar and Necromancers plotting in the shadows, Nathaniel must mount a swift return to his homeland before war breaks out between the Regals and Lycans. Whoever bears the Obsidian Crown, shall hold the fate of Horizon in their hands…
Name of character to be interviewed: Nathaniel Grey
Why was this character chosen for this interview?:
Nathaniel Grey is the main character of the second instalment of the Phoenix Saga. Though the first book, which acts a sort of prologue to the series, follows Nathaniel’s grandfather as a child, Nathaniel will be the titular character for the rest of the series.
Question 1: Why did you decide to move the focus of the saga from Thorne to Nathaniel Grey?
Answer: It was a tough decision. Ultimately, I felt that the series would be better served by moving further down the timeline. The character known as Crow played a pivotal role in this as well (every protaganist needs a foil of sorts). In Obsidian Crown, Crow is now an adult, experienced in the arts of Necromancy, and thus a dangerous threat to Nathaniel. Importantly, I feel that Nathaniel’s ‘origin story’ is quite interesting, pitting his loyalties to the throne against the prejudices of his people.
Question 2: What does this mean for Thorne Grey? Has the series moved on without him?
Answer: Thorne Grey will always occupy a space in my heart and, I’m pleased to say, within Obsidian Crown. He may not be the main character, but he still plays a pretty essential role in terms of driving the story and guiding Nathaniel’s development. A kind of Ben Kenobi role, if you will.
Question 3: City of Darkness ended with Thorne Grey choosing not to become the next Phoenix. What does this mean for Nathaniel?
Answer: It would be strange if the mystical ‘Phoenix’ power was to be abandoned completely after the first book. I’d have to consider renaming the entire series! As for whether Thorne’s choice will affect Nathaniel in any way, well… you’ll have to read the book to find out! What I will say is this: prepare for one hell of a ride in Obsidian Crown’s last chapter.
Question 4: What kind of flaws does Nathaniel have to contend with?
Answer: The main flaw, I would argue, is shared with his people – the Regals. The Regals are hugely prejudiced against the Lycans (a faction now led by Nathaniel’s grandfather, Thorne Grey). It all comes to a head early in Obsidian Crown, after it is revealed that the Regal emperor, Jael Tolken, is looking to end years of tensions between Regals and Lycans, by seeking a peaceful alliance. Not everyone is happy about Jael’s decision, least of all the Szar, Draeden Kusk.
Question 5: Were there any characters from other books that inspired Nathaniel Grey?
Answer: I think any character an author produces will ultimately be the sum of their reading history and life experiences. If I was put on the spot, I’d probably say that Nathaniel shared some traits with Rand Al-Thor, one of the main characters of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Their paths do diverge to a certain extent, though, they are marked by different tragedies.
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