I want to start working on both FROSTBORN: THE SHADOW PRISON and GHOST IN THE RING on Monday if all goes well, so it’s an excellent time for a reader Q& A about THE GHOSTS series!
“I haven’t noticed any female alchemists in the books so my question is this, are there any female alchemists or are females not allowed to join?”
No. The College of Alchemists of Istarinmul doesn’t allow women to join.
Anticipating the follow-up question, of the sorcerous organizations in Caina’s world, the Imperial Magisterium (and the Umbarian Order) has female members, and the Brothers and Sisters of the Words of Lore of Iramis (the loremasters) had both male and female members. The Ashbringers of the Saddai had both men and women, and in ancient Maat, sorcery was the province of the priesthoods, and men and women had their own priesthoods, though only men became Great Necromancers.
The Anshani flat-out kill any women who display sorcerous talent, though they’re the only nation that does it as a matter of law.
As for the Kyracians, next question!
“Storm dancers and singers: Are the roles of dancers and singers based on gender?”
For the Kyracian stormdancers and stormsingers, men and women can both become stormsingers, while only men become stormdancers. Usually, men with weaker sorcerous talent become stormdancers, because they can use their spells to augment themselves in battle with great effect.
“What really life countries are each of the book countries modeled after? I am pretty sure that Maat is Egypt, and I read somewhere that the Empire is based on Rome.”
Caina’s Empire is vaguely based on what I think the Western Roman Empire might have been like if 1.) it had sorcerers, and 2.) it survived to the Renaissance era. Maat is what ancient Egypt might have been like if it was run by crazy Great Necromancers. The Caers are a lot like the various Celtic groups after they were forcibly Romanized, and the Kyracians are based on ancient Greece.
“In the first series there is a reference to the swords used by Valikarions. And Caina has a weaker form of the gifts of the Valikarions thoughout the series. Did you already plan on making Caina one of them even when writing the first series?”
Ha, long story. I didn’t initially plan on making Caina a valikarion at all. In the first version of the GHOST EXILE outline, Caina’s love interest was a valikarion who dedicated his life to defending Annarah, and then would fall for Caina once he met her. He was the one who would do all the valikarion-related things when Caina needed them.
However, because of overwhelming reader demand, I decided to bring Kylon back as Caina’s love interest, which necessitating changing the plot. I think it worked out for the best – it really let me elevate both Cassander Nilas and the Huntress in their roles as secondary villains, where they both served magnificently.