Q: Please tell us about yourself.
I live in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland with my husband, my grown up daughter and a mad cat. I like chocolate, whisky, my Kindle, massed pipe bands, long leisurely lunches, watching TV with my daughter, chocolate, going places in my campervan, eating pizza in Italy, summer nights that never get dark, wood fires in winter, chocolate, the view from the study window looking out over the Moray Firth and the Black Isle to the mountains beyond. And chocolate. I dislike driving on motorways, cooking, shopping, hospitals.
Q: Tell us about your book
‘The Fire Mages’ is the story of Kyra, a village girl, who isn’t content to settle there for the rest of her life. She is fascinated by spellpages, a system of writing spells with magical paper, ink and pens. She wants to move to the nearest town and become a spellpage scribe. And at first that goes well, and she seems to have a natural affinity for magic. But then her sister asks for a favour and Kyra’s promising life begins to unravel. Kyra’s story is all to do with magic: as well as spellpages and mages, there’s a mysterious city which is full of magic, and then there’s Kyra’s own affinity for magic. And of course there’s romance: Kyra is drawn to two very different men, a mage and a wealthy nobleman’s son.
Q: What inspired you to write The Fire Mages?
I started with the first line: “I was fourteen when the Kellon’s Steward first came for me.” Immediately, I could see Kyra - only fourteen, but already she knew exactly what she wanted, and it wasn’t anything to do with the Kellon, the local ruler, even though obliging him might benefit her family. She knew what she wanted to do - magic! She’s very determined, and I wanted to follow her journey to adulthood, to see how she found her destiny.
Q: How much time per week do you spend writing/editing your work?
I try to do some writing every day. I don’t always manage it, but I aim for an hour or two. Then editing is often additional to that. I’m not an author who spends vast amounts of time editing. I tend to edit as I go, reviewing what I wrote yesterday before I start each day, and sometimes rereading several chapters at a time, so there’s not usually much to change later.
Q: If you could meet three authors, which authors would you choose?
J K Rowling. Like half the world, I waited eagerly for each new Harry Potter book. It was such a massive phenomenon, and I remember the post offices hiring extra vans to deliver all the copies on the right day. I’d love to ask her how she coped with the pressure, and whether she’s finding it difficult to write more adult work now.
Jane Austen. She wrote such perfect books, and all in longhand, with no word processor, not even a typewriter or a secretary to help. And we know so little about her. I’d love to go back in time and watch her going about her everyday affairs, walking about the village, meeting friends. It would be fascinating.
J R R Tolkien. Not to chat, but just to shake his hand and thank him for kick-starting the whole modern fantasy genre. Although, if I could ask him anything, it would be a plea to make The Lord of the Rings shorter so we wouldn’t be cursed with so many trilogies now!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on the fourth book set in the Brightmoon world, called ‘The Mines of Asharim’. It features a young woman running away from a disastrous series of events, and trying to find a safe haven to hide away in. Of course, it turns out to be anything but safe, and she learns that sometimes you have to face up to what you are before you can come to terms with it.
Title: The Fire Mages
Author: Pauline M. Ross
Genre: Epic Fantasy Adventure / Romance
Kyra has always been drawn to the magic of spellpages. She is determined to leave her small village far behind and become a scribe, wielding the power of magic through her pen. Halfway through her training, she has a mage as patron and her ambitions are within her grasp. But a simple favour for her sister goes disastrously awry, destroying Kyra’s dreams in an instant.
Devastated, she accepts an offer from a stranger to help her find out what went wrong. The young man sees growing power within Kyra, potentially stronger than spellpages or any living mage. The answers to unlocking that power may lie within the glowing walls of the Imperial City, but its magic is strong and the unwary vanish without trace on its streets. Thirsty for knowledge and desperate to avoid another accident, she feels compelled to risk it.
While she focuses on controlling her abilities, a storm of greed and ambition boils up around her. Kyra is a pawn in the struggle for dominance between unscrupulous factions vying for rule of her country. Trusting the wrong side could get her killed–or worse, the potent magic she barely understands could be put to unthinkable evil.
Pauline lives in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland with her husband, her grown up daughter and a mad cat. She likes chocolate, whisky, her Kindle, massed pipe bands, long leisurely lunches, watching TV with her daughter, chocolate, going places in her campervan, eating pizza in Italy, summer nights that never get dark, wood fires in winter, chocolate, the view from the study window looking out over the Moray Firth and the Black Isle to the mountains beyond. And chocolate. She dislikes driving on motorways, cooking, shopping, hospitals. ‘The Fire Mages’ is her second published work. ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ was published in September 2014.