Author Spotlight

Guest Post: Behind the Walls of Ioth by D.P. Woolliscroft

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Ioth, City of Lights is released on June 20th. You can pre-order here!

D.P. WoolliscroftBorn in Derby in England, on the day before mid-summers day, David Peter Woolliscroft was very nearly magical. If only his dear old mum could have held on for another day. But magic called out to him over the years, with a many a book being devoured for its arcane properties. David studied Accounting at Cardiff University where numbers weaved their own kind of magic and he has since been a successful business leader in the intervening twenty years.

Adventures have been had. More books devoured and then one day, David had read enough where the ideas he had kept bottled up needed a release valve. And thus, rising out of the self doubt like a phoenix at a clicky keyboard, a writer was born. Kingshold is David’s debut novel and Tales of Kingshold, companion short stories to the novel, are flooding onto the page as fast as David can write them.

He is married to his wife Haneen and has a daughter Liberty, who all live with their mini golden doodle Rosie in Princeton NJ. David is one of the few crabs to escape the crab pot.

Hi Timy, thanks for letting me out of my padded box to talk about my new book. I really appreciate it. 

I hope you saw the cover reveal for Ioth, City of Lights last week, but if not, here is the goodness. 

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This is book 2 of the Wildifre Cycle and continues the story from both Kingshold and Tales of Kingshold (two books before book 2, what? I know but you can read here if you want to know more). 95% of Kingshold took place in the titular city and I tried really hard to make it come alive in the story, but also tried to do that in a couple of other ways too. There is the great landscape of the city of Kingshold that was made by Jeff Brown and there was the map of the city. It’s these things that I am here to talk about today. Maps! And the reveal of the full landscape art for Ioth. 

I love me a good fantasy map and as Ioth actually takes place in four different cities (Kingshold, Redpool, Fymrius and Ioth) it gave me the opportunity to create three new maps. I decided to hand draw them all this time and to go with a different style for each one. 

First up is Redpool; city at the mouth of the Sapphire Sea, home to many tall towers and long fought over by Edland and Pyrfew. Redpool is perched at the top of red cliffs with steps heading down to the harbor below. 

“The air smelled suddenly crisp and salty and the dirt road gave way to a gravel track that got wide enough for two carts as the great walls of Redpool came into view. Tall and red, they rose into the sky with a dozen or more towers within the city visible above the walls. All of it made from red brick, the product of the rich clay all around the city. But that wasn’t how the city got its name. It was called Redpool because of how the water of the bay washed red at times, thick with the clay sediment. The city itself was perched on the top of the cliffs; while the Harbor was almost a separate city, connected by great stone steps that clung to the edge of the land like barnacles on the hull of one of the many merchant ships moored there.”

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Next is Fymrius, capital of Pyrfew and home to Emperor Llewdon. The city was built as a wheel in rememberance of how the elves used to meet around a circular stone table before the cataclysm (and for those of you that have read Tales of Kingshold, the irony won’t be lost on you). One sixth of the city is left blank as camp grounds for a triennial pilgrimage which is sure to be an amazing party. 

“Fymrius was laid out like a wheel. In many ways the whole of the empire was laid out like a wheel, at least with a little creative interpretation on behalf of the cartographers. But Fymrius in particular was most definitely built in radiating segments around the Emperor’s Tower and gardens. The Emperor was figuratively and literally the center of the empire. The six main spokes were wide gravel roads lined with places of industry. Craftspeople, such as Owen, worked in long white-daubed buildings, developing what the empire needed. Intermixed were warehouses and artists’ studios. The latter worked hard on creating the stories and songs, painting and statues, that celebrated their love for the Emperor—it was a role such as this that as a child she had hoped she would be chosen for, but this was before her natural ability for organization had been discovered. The former housed the crops that came into the capital city, wagons led by drallis, their twelve legs moving in rippled step, coming in from the provinces; while other carts wheeled out onto the streets to deliver provisions to all of the families.”

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Last map is for Ioth itself. Built on islands and criss-crossed with canals, Ioth has a pretty obvious inspiration from the real world. Ruled by merchants, the city has prospered because it’s the home of the Church of Arloth, benefiting from the protection lent to it by the Saint. For this map I have included little illustrations of the most famous sights in the city – as if it was a souvenir that a tourist might pick up when they visited. 

“What do you miss most?” asked Alana.

“The lights,” said Jill, her eyes opening wide at the memory. “Kingshold is dark at night. But Ioth, they call it the City of Lights for a reason. Lamps line the streets and canals, flickering flames of lit gas pushing away the shadows. I used to stand on the roof of our house and watch the city come alive in the night.”

Jill smiled and Alana matched it. “It sounds beautiful.”

“Oh, it is ma’am. When you get those nights with the stars above and lights below. It’s like… flying.”

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And so all of this is the lead up to the grand unveiling of the full landscape illustration of Ioth from Jeff Brown. I hope it gets you excited for what will be arriving in a little less than a month. 

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If you’d like to get in contact with D.P. Woolliscroft, you can find him on social media:

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Read my review of SPFBO entrant Kingshold, or Tales of Kingshold, then go and grab a copy of both books by clicking on the buttons. If you hurry up you can catch up before Ioth, City of Lights is out on June 20th, which you can pre-order here!