Behind the Book, A Plague of Dragons, A Cold Fire by Jason LaVelle
The authors of A Plague of Dragons have decided to give us a little sneak peek into what went into developing their story.
A Cold Fire by Jason LaVelle
Dragons are inherently magical; they cannot exist in nature. That being said, did you give any consideration to natural or physical limitations when you were dreaming up your dragons? Why or why not?
I think the idea has always been that because dragons are magical, they cannot exist in nature, that they can’t be real. That seems like a reasonable, adult idea, but I challenge you with this question: Is there anything that exists in nature, that lives either among us or in some faraway place that isn’t powered by some kind of ‘magic’?
Are there any plants or creatures on this earth that were not created by ‘magic’?
You yourself, humanity, are we not the product of some kind of ‘divine magic’ or science that cannot be explained?
Everything on our planet, and in fact, life itself is magical, and I’m not talking about some hippy-dippy bologna, I’m talking about the very mechanics of how life works – we know a heart pumps blood, we know a lung draws air, we know a brain sends and interprets electrical impulses that control everything from motor functions to our thoughts and memories, but what actually breathes ‘life’ into life? It’s magic! Something we will never understand but that exists nonetheless.
So, do dragons exist? I have no idea! Could they exist? Of course! Just because something is ‘magical,’ and we haven’t seen it yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t still out there, waiting to be discovered… or perhaps, avoiding discovery.
The dragons in my story are not so different from us, they have hopes and fears, they experience pain and they feel joy. In their human forms they have the same physical limitations as we do, and while in dragon form, they have a completely different set of physiological traits. Even when writing in a fantasy world, I try to give my characters the dignity and respect they deserve by not only endowing them with gifts, but with limitations as well. No animal is perfect, not even a dragon, and they must live within their limitations to survive. What happens when two different, intelligent creatures, such as humans and dragons are thrust together? You’ll have to read A Cold Fire to find out.
How many average-sized adult sheep do you think the dragons in your story would have to consume per day?
Everything has to eat to survive. Humans are omnivores, we eat a bit of everything. Some creatures eat only plants, and plants consume nutrients and sunlight. There are bacteria on this planet that consume things that we wouldn’t normally even think of as food, such as atmospheric gases, and even electricity. So it would follow that dragons have to eat too. My dragons eat like a human would, consuming meats, fruits and vegetables – on a little bit larger scale. While the average human needs about 1,800 calories a day to survive, one of my dragons needs closer to 130,000, or roughly two adult sheep.
The dragons in your story are shapeshifters. In many shapeshifter stories, people lose their humanity while in their animal forms; werewolf tales are a well-known example of this. Do your dragons retain all aspects of their humanity when in dragon form?
Regardless of their physical form, whether it is the cold-blooded reptilian dragon, or the warm-blooded human, my shapeshifters remain intelligent and reasonable, capable of complex thought and careful decision making. Whether or not they will use those skills, well, that’s a different story.
Are you fond of films like Dragonslayer that depict dragons as mindless, violent animals, or do you prefer your dragons with a bit more intelligence and, perhaps, kindness?
My favorite dragon movie is Reign Of Fire, a post-apocalyptic story where the dragons are the tormentors and human-kind has been hunted to near extinction. The movie stars some very kick-ass fire-breathing dragons, Christian Bale (before he lost it) and a buff, tattooed Matthew McConaughey.
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