Tim: Tammy was told by her editor at the time that LIONESS RAMPANT “needed a quest” of some kind, b/c fantasy novels were about quests. Now, I think quests have been done to death in fantasy novels, and all too often writers use them b/c it’s an E-Z formula to follow:
– Take one hero, one dwarf/Hobbit/pixie/other small-type person, one wizard, one honorable thief, one great warrior/berzerker, and one female (female can also be either Wizard, honorable thief or s.t.p.);
– have them seek some incredibly powerful magic-type thingie/try to destroy some incredibly powerful magic-type thingie in a distant land;
– make them face some majorly powerful and Totally Evil Bad Guy, preferably with incredible magic b/c he’s Given His Soul to the Dark Side;
– add mindless hordes of (usually inhuman) minions of the T.E.B.G. so there can be lots of big fight scenes and a high body count;
– include lots of colorful minor characters and exotic lands along the way;
– mix well and pour into several really thick books.
There are great quest sagas out there – LORD OF THE RINGS comes to mind, as does the Quest for the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend. But there’s loads of books that use the same tired formula without adding anything new over – so many fantasy quests follow LotR so slavishly that Tolkien’s estate should charge those writers a license fee. One reason Tammy and I recommend Diana Wynne Jones’s TOUGH GUIDE TO FANTASYLAND is b/c it’s a dead-on lampoon of so much second-rate quest fantasy – hopefully by reading it, you’ll all see what to avoid when you start writing fantasy yourselves.
Anyway, Tammy’s editor wanted a quest – and a quest needs something to quest for. Tammy tossed it around for weeks, frustrated – should it be The Scepter of Destiny? The Ring of Magick? The Sorcerer’s Stone? What??? Me, in one of my silly moods, said, “I know, sweetie – it’s…The Spatula of Power!” In the end, she decided on The Dominion Jewel instead – though I kind of like the idea of Jonathan wielding a giant glowing spatula…. <g>Tim: Alianne’s going on a quest to extricate herself from Bruce Covi – er, I mean Kyprioth the Trickster God, who bears absolutely NO resemblance to Bruce Coville!
None – at all. Really…. <g>