This is a question I have been asked on occasion, and certainly one you want an answer for if you’re to market a novel, but it is to me the single hardest question to answer. Why, you ask? Because there is no single thing that makes Maldene different. It is a revolution in fantasy, a world made complete. And yet, over time you will see that it is not even pure fantasy, for there are lurking elements of another genre in there as well; Maldene is where magic meets science, intertwining until you are challenged to tell one from the other.
See my problem?
Before I even began writing Maldene, I had the map drawn up, notes on everything from culture to weather patterns, to the different races of human, animals, beasts, a few plants, the whole deal. Heck, I even had the solar system mapped out, as well as the timeline from its very birth so very long ago. Lastly, of course, I had the plot for the entire series outlined in my head. In short, I was doodling with all things Maldene in my spare time for fifteen years prior to finally writing the story itself. That’s a lot of work and a lot of detail for the reader to pick up on.
Is it any wonder that Maldene looks, feels, and sounds like it could be an actual real world? Just think, somewhere out there in the vastness of space, there could be a Maldene-like world, where its denizens are in the midst of a conflict of truly epic proportions. A place where there really are a hundred different cultures, a world with places such as The Sea of a Thousand Islands, the great whirlpool Tedelnosho, the thousand-foot trees of My-Thov, or the fabled Harbor of the World.
Now you know why I’m having so much trouble with such a simple-seeming question.
Perhaps it’s the plot that makes Maldene different? After all, it spans many thousands of years, by Earth’s measure, reaching across the world’s many continents until it finally spreads across the stars… and beyond. Or maybe it’s the hundreds- yes, I said hundreds- of characters, each with their own unique personality, look, mannerisms, humor, and ways of keeping us glued to the page. It might be the alien vistas, wrapped in magic and colored by life. Or the many mysteries, such as that which lies behind its three moons, the reason behind Tedelnosho’s never-ending spin, or even- No, that would be too much of a spoiler.
But you see my problem. It is a land of so much variety, color, and spectacle, that “Maldene” itself becomes the adjective to its own description.
And yet, all of this wonder and mystery, all of this color and personality, are as mere backdrop to a plot of unprecedented proportions involving what may be the most evil villain of them all. The perfect villain, if I do say so myself. One who has been around for all known History, is apparently all-powerful and unstoppable, plans for centuries in advance, doesn’t waste time bragging about his pending victory so the good guys have time to throw a wrench into his plans, and yet he’s the one our heroes have to thwart. A villain with style and grace, someone who can give you a cultured smile while watching the world burn to his designs. Everyone loves a good villain, and this is one of the best.
Okay, this is not helping my problem any.
The plot is epic, but many others are. But then, how many have had someone compare you to the great Homer because he couldn’t think of anyone else epic enough? The world has so much detail and richness that it has Life; you can feel it coming out of the page, trying to draw you into the world of my creation. In the end, there is no single “magic whatsis” that will beat our villain, nor lead the heroes through the maze of mysteries, but rather the world itself around which things revolve.
Maldene defies short description, and yet perhaps it is this very fact that makes it different. The best one-liner so far is that which I use as my tag line- one my yoga teacher came up with (thanks Rupa!): “A world beyond time… an adventure beyond imagining.”
Perhaps there is a better way of briefly defining Maldene’s difference from other epics, I don’t know. Maybe you can figure one out yourself after reading through a book or two. A warning if you try, though: just when you think you have the answer figured out, some new marvel will come up to nip you on the nose. Until something better comes up, though, I think I’ll stick with my favorite tag-line to sum things up.
Maldene: A world beyond time… an adventure beyond imagining.