The Next Big Thing — The Flames of Shadam Khoreh

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So last week I was tapped by Amber Benson to do this thing that everyone’s doing. I have to fess up, I actually looked at this and thought it seemed kind of silly. I mean, if anyone’s going to wander over to my website, they could long ago have read about who I am and what I’m up to. Right? So I was ready to pass on the whole thing.

Two things changed my mind. First, well, Amber Benson… Nuff said? And second, I did want to play along with the rest of the gang, but I’ve decided to do my part to put this meme to rest. You’ll see what I mean down below.

So, dear readers, without further ado, here’s my addition to this pandemic-like affair.

The Next Big Thing: The Flames of Shadam Khoreh

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Was I seriously just asked where my ideas come from?

The Flames of Shadam Khoreh is actually the third book in The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy. The book itself starts roughly two years after the events shown in The Winds of Khalakovo and The Straits of Galahesh, the trilogy’s second installment. It tells a tale of war amidst a growing global catastrophe. The heroes are trying to close rifts that have begun to spread not only over the islands of the Grand Duchy, but to the neighboring continent, the Motherland of Yrstanla.

At this point, the ideas came from the story itself. I no longer had to brainstorm brand new ideas (though there were a few) but instead to find the story that sprung from the well of ideas I’d already created, and to do so in a way that felt true to what I’d promised the reader in the previous novels. I hope I did just that. I feel like the story ends in a satisfying way, and I hope the readers of the trilogy agree.

What genre does your book fall under?

Epic fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Nikandr Khalakovo: the young Vladimir Mashkov.

Atiana, Mileva, and Ishkyna Vostroma (triplets): Eliza Dushku. She’d need to dye her hair blonde, but she learned Russian for The Doll House, so she’d fit right in with the role of the three sisters.

Actually, Amber herself could fit right in as well. How’s your Russian, Amber?

Ashan Kida al Ahrumea: Ed Harris (not perfect as Ed is rather Caucasian, but I liked his look in this photo)

Soroush Wahad al Gatha: Ghassan Massoud (a younger version of Ghassan would work much better, but he’s got such a strong presence on screen, I’d make it work)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The unlikely heroes travel to the lost valley of Shadam Khoreh to unlock the secrets of a fabled stone in hopes of once and for all closing the deadly rifts that now threaten the entire world.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m not sure why an agency matters (I am, in fact, agented by the wonderful Russ Galen), so I’ll say instead that this will be published by Night Shade Books and will hit shelves (both virtual and real) in April of 2013.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Fourteen months. I’m rather methodical about writing once I get into it, and I predicted about that long for the length I was anticipating.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I often say that The Lays of Anuskaya is A Song of Ice and Fire meets Earthsea, with a Russian twist. It has a wide scope like Martin’s work, and while I wouldn’t compare my style to Le Guin’s, I use the Earthsea comparison because much of the story focuses on the Grand Duchy of Anuskaya, which is a collection of island duchies in a cold and inhospitable sea.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I’d have to go way back to Tolkien. I don’t write like Tolkien, nor do I want to, but his books certainly sparked within me my love of fantasy and of creating other worlds in which to tell stories.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think the fact that there are echoes of the conflicts we face in today’s world. The world of Anuskaya is not our own world, but there are certainly parallels, and in it I delved into things like religious extremism versus centrism and loyalty to what you’ve been taught versus what you see with your own eyes. Those things play out in the pages of my books, and so I think makes them relatable to the issues we face today.


That’s it for the post, but I wanted to draw attention to the other wonderful authors that Amber tagged for doing this thing this week. In the words of Amber:

Even though Carolyn Cohagan and I share the same editor at Simon & Schuster, we actually met, funnily enough, through our mutual friend, Drea Clark.  Carolyn is the author of the Middle Grade book The Lost Children – which I adore – and its follow-up Ida and The Unfinished City. Right now she is working on a top secret project, but I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peek at it and it’s amazing.  So keep your eye on Miz Cohagan and her blog for more news!

My friend, Sina Grace, is one of the most talented artists I know – he’s so talented that I snapped him up to do the illustrations for my Middle Grade book Among The Ghosts. Right now he has a new graphic novel out called Not My Bag that he both wrote and illustrated. I think it’s the bees knees – by far one of my fav graphic novels ever! Pick up Not My Bag and follow Sina’s work right here on his tumblr.

What to say about Sarah Kuhn? She is an accomplished journalist and novelist whose latest novella One Con Glory is so good that it made me laugh out loud like twenty times. It’s so good, in fact, that Hollywood has come calling – and Sarah has written the script! Right now she is hard at work on her next book which will be her first foray into Urban Fantasy. You can check her out here on her book page and on her tumblr!

Kate Noble writes really smart Regency Romance novels, including If I Fall and Follow My Lead.  And when I say smart, what I mean is: She creates some of the pluckiest, wittiest, and intelligent heroines in the romance genre, period. Kate also has the best hair of anyone I know – I am deeply envious of it – and you can get a glimpse of it right here in her author picture on her blog.


And finally, I mentioned I was going to do my part in making sure this meme died a gentle death. To do that, while still keeping with the spirit of the meme, I’m going to tag five authors who are no longer with us but who I believe should be rediscovered, and so become the Next Big Thing all over again.

Anne McCaffrey — Ms. McCaffrey is still high in the hearts of the specfic community, but I hope that she continues to reach wide audiences.

Fred Saberhagen — I loved many of Saberhagen’s books, foremost among them the Complete Books of Swords and the Lost Swords series, but I also liked his Empire in the East series and his Dracula novels.

Roger Zelazny — Mr. Zelazny wrote one of my favorite series of all time — The Chronicles of Amber — but I also liked others like Alien Speedway and Jack of Shadows.

Douglas Adams — one of the very few writers of humor that I could not only stomach, but love. The Hitchhiker’s Guide series was great fun, and I think its satirical messages are just as appropriate today.

Ray Bradbury — Mr. Bradbury has only recently left us, so this is more a vote of confidence that he’ll never leave our collective consciousness.


  1. Paul Weimer

    December 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    You did “break the chain’ but you also revealed authors you like. Well done.

    • bradbeaulieu

      December 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      Yeah, I thought it was apropos. Hopefully others will take up the cause!

  2. Paul Weimer

    December 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I like the idea of Eliza as the triplets, too.