By Darkness Revealed by Kevin McLaughlin
Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author
Ryan Blackwell thought to escape his magic by burying himself in the military college at Northshield, Vermont.
But Northshield University has a secret: a nexus of magical power that people will kill to possess.
Hiding his power becomes impossible. Instead, he finds himself in the midst of a deeper and more dangerous sorcery than he has ever encountered before.
Things spiral out of control, and soon only Ryan’s wit, will, and the talent he once hoped to leave behind stand between a nightmarish creature and everything he cares for.
There is more to Ryan than meets the eye. But even with the powers he controls, can he stand against this darkness, or will it swallow him whole?
Featured Book: By Darkness Revealed
Hi and hello! Very excited to be here with you today. For those who don’t know me yet, I’m a Boston writer of science fiction and fantasy. I’m an amateur astrophysicist and play with swords in my spare time as well, so my hobbies line up really well with my line of work. When I’m not hitting friends with sticks, I might also be sailing. Or writing. More often the latter than the former, but I enjoy both.
How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?
I came by writing naturally: my mother made me do it. No, not quite! As a kid I used to fall asleep listening to my mom writing fiction at her typewriter, tack-tack-tacking away while listening to some movie soundtrack or another. Taking up the craft was so natural that I wrote my first short story at age 7. It took second place in a local writing competition. I’ve pretty much been involved in telling stories in one format or another ever since.
How did you come up with this storyline?
By Darkness Revealed is close to my heart, because it’s personal. I went to Norwich University as a cadet – that’s the well I drew from to paint a good picture of cadet life for the protagonist. Obviously the ‘Northshield University’ in the story is a fictional place, but much of the feel I captured in the story was drawn from the real college.
As for the storyline itself?
Again, a lot of it is drawn from reality. No, people were not actually slinging bolts of magical energy around campus (not that I was aware of, anyway!), but the real world Norwich is an unusual place with all sorts of magical legends and tales.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
For me the best part is telling the story, hands down. When I get into a really good flow state, I might be typing as much as three thousand words an hour. Just letting the story spill forth onto the screen. Those moments are a bit like singing, or dancing, or sailing, or martial arts forms… It’s like meditation where the mind is active and burning at full speed. Where you have complete focus on the task and everything is moving in synchronicity.
The worst part?
Edits. We hates them, my precious. When I’m done telling the story, I am *done* telling the story. I don’t really want to read it over for errors and nit-picking bits. I do, of course. And I have a great editor who finds what I miss. But this is my least favorite part.
What inspires you to write?
I like telling stories. I really like telling stories for a living. I really, REALLY like running my own business telling stories for a living. There’s no other career out there which I get as much satisfaction from, where I feel so complete working. If I wasn’t writing fiction, perhaps I’d be making up stories for film or for video games or something else entirely… For me the telling of exciting stories is more central than the medium I use.
How did you conduct your research for By Darkness Revealed?
I cheated. I do this often. Writers have two choices when it comes to research. They can set a story someplace they have never been, in a land or culture they don’t know at all – and then have to research the heck out of it. Or we can write a story set someplace we either know really well, or which we are making up entirely. Or both. For this book I did both. I set the book at a fictional university in a fictional town, and then painted the fictional place with real-world experiences from a similar place. So, I cheated. No research. Zip. This is how I write most of my books, actually.
What is your favorite quotes from By Darkness Revealed?
One of my favorite elements created just for By Darkness Revealed is Kittybreeze. She’s a little air spirit with very feline traits. When I was young, someone wrote a wonderful short story for Dragon Magazine that I adored about an old wind mage who was looking for an apprentice. The girl – who ended up getting the job – was overjoyed by the cute “puppy breeze” that the air mage had as a pet/servant. The boy scoffed, saying that must be the least of the spirits the master controlled. The master replied that sometimes you need to measure worth not in terms of power, but instead with regard to faithfulness, trust, and long years of loyal service. I loved that story. Still do. Kittybreeze is something of an homage to that author. (I just looked up the piece. It was “Master of the Winds” by Sharon Lee, back in Dragon Magazine #84.)
What would your friends say is your best quality?
I would not presume to ask. I’m rather blessed with a few very good friends. I like to think that I add as much value to their lives as they do to mine. Being a friend is a give and take sort of thing.
Are reader reviews important to you?
Is this a trick question? *chuckle* If I say no, then I encourage no one to ever review me. If I say yes, then I am paying too much attention to them… I read every review of every book I have out. I listen for comments about what people liked, and what they did not. I strive to use my reviews as a tool to grow and learn from. I do not generally respond to reviews directly, but rest assured I read them all. Even the harsh ones! Because there is certainly something to learn there as well, even if the lesson was simply that *that* book did not reach *that* reader in a pleasing manner. As writers, when we stop learning and growing and improving, it’s time to hang up the keyboard. Reviews are one such tool for growth.
What do you do when you don’t write?
What is this “don’t write” thing of which you speak? *laugh* I write almost every day. I’ll cross half a million words of new fiction this year. A little secret? (Whispers:) I’m shooting for a million next year! I love taking long walks through Boston with my fiancee as well. It’s not unusual for us to walk five miles on a nice day, sometimes as much as ten. Just exploring, seeing the city, the people, the places. Boston is always in a constant process of endless change. It’s fascinating. I fight with swords – steel and rattan alike. In armor, thanks. It’s my current martial art; I’ve done a few other martial arts in the past, but lately I am finding it harder to keep even this one up. I spend time with my children, who are growing bigger and older each year. I want to make as many memories with them as I can, so I will have things to cherish as they outgrow their youth, although hopefully not their childhood.
Tell us about your other books?
The Blackwell Magic books are six titles so far. There may be more books about Ryan Blackwell coming in the future, but for now I think the series may rest a bit. I’ve also written three novellas called in a mini-series called “Raven’s Heart” set in the same universe. I have the rough outline of an epic fantasy series as well. If it comes to be, then it will very much interest Blackwell fans.
I’ve also written a few science fiction books – four so far in the “Adventures of the Starship Satori” series, and two in the “Accord” series – "Accord of Honor" and "Accord of Mars”. I tend to write science fiction set in the near future, using technology and society just beyond where we are today. “Over the Moon” is a science fiction romance which could take place just five years or so from now. Perhaps ten.
If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be?
C.S. Lewis once said “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” I believe that same sentiment applies equally to grownups. We hear so much about the darkness of the world, these days. We read about the cruel. We see videos of the unjust. We are deluged with stories of the most horrific elements of human nature. But that is *not* all that humanity is and can be. I write stories about people who have failings, and make mistakes. Yet at the end of the day they strive to overcome those things and act in a heroic manner. To show the best part of what it is to be human. My heroes are there to shine light on our better natures, and to give us all hope that we can be better than we are.
When not practicing hobbies which include sailing, constructing medieval armor, and swinging swords at his friends, Kevin McLaughlin can usually be found in his Boston home. Kevin’s award-winning short fiction is now available in digital form at all major ebook retailers. His urban fantasies “By Darkness Revealed” and “Ashes Ascendant” are available in ebook and print. His latest stories, the “Adventures of the Starship Satori" and "Accord" science fiction novels are ongoing.