The Black Trillium Book Tour 10/17-11/17

The Black Trillium
by Simon McNeil
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy
Confederation rules in Trana—so says the king.
But Fredericton is a long way from the shores of Lake Ontario, and
schemes for power will bring together three extraordinary young
A desert girl who came to Trana looking for refuge but has never found
a home
A privileged city boy dreaming of rebellion and hardened by cruelty
The disgraced heir to the throne desperate to win back his place in his
father’s heart
Sworn enemies or reluctant allies, they all have one thing in common: an
incomplete half of the legendary fighting skill known as the
Triumvirate sword art. They fight for glory, for power, for the
monsters lurking beneath the streets, and for the mysterious society
moving in the shadows of Trana—the Black Trillium.

Questions: Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you. What inspired you to write this book? What can we expect from you in the future?

After I graduated university, I moved to China, where I taught English and started down the path to being an author. While in China I underwent two particularly formative experiences which shaped my work. The first was that I discovered the work of Jin Yong.

It’s really a shame that he’s not as well-known as he should be in the West as he’s a more widely read fantasy author than Tolkien globally. However the challenges of translating Chinese literature into English have left us with very few of his books available for a non-Chinese reading audience, and those are mostly published on academic presses and targeted to an academic audience rather than the mass market.

This isn’t the case in China where his books along with the comics, tv shows, and movies they’re based on are ubiquitous. As fond as I already was of martial arts cinema I soon realized that some of my favorite kung fu movies, such as Kung Fu Cult Master and Swordsman II were adaptations of his work.

I was hooked, and by the time I returned home I’d devoured every professional and fan translation, I could get my hands on, along with countless television shows and movies that I hadn’t known of previously.

The second event was my visit to Shaolin Temple. It was the first solo trip I took in China, and at the time my Mandarin was effectively non-existent. It was an eventful trip; I got lost looking for the train station in Zhengzhou and lost most of my money to a pickpocket in Luoyang. Then, arriving near dusk at the temple, I became so lost in my reverie over being in the storied place that I got locked in the temple after closing. In a rainstorm.

One of the warrior monks invited me into his chambers and we talked for a little, as well as we could considering the language barrier. He gifted me with one of his calligraphic paintings and taught me a tiny bit of qigong. I made a donation to the temple that I really couldn’t afford in light of the previous incident with the pickpocket. That half an hour changed the whole course of my life, and together with my discovery of Jin Yong, shaped my authorial direction.

When I returned to Canada I began working on a project to adapt one of Jin Yong’s books, The Smiling Proud Wanderer (which was the basis for Swordsman II) into an English work. I decided to change the setting, concentrating on the themes and character relationships of the story, and ended up settling on post-apocalyptic North America as a setting. The trilogy was… not good… but it provided the genesis of an idea, and so I wrote a sequel to it. This book was divorced from the adaptive plot elements of the Jin Yong book, and only one character from that book survived into what eventually became The Black Trillium – the setting shifted from a broad swath of the continental United States to focus mostly on Toronto, with brief forays into New Brunswick and Quebec, and I allowed myself more flexibility to blend the elements of fantasy and science fiction which the previous book had hinted at.

The Black Trillium is also intended as the first book in a series of either two or three books. I am presently in the middle of drafting the second volume which I hope to finish sometime next year. A while back I wrote a manuscript for a wuxia influenced high fantasy novel unrelated to The Black Trillium but have no immediate plans to publish it.

Simon McNeil is the author of The Black Trillium, a story of revolution and martial arts
set in the ruins of Toronto. This novel is published by Brain Lag Publishing.
He is an online marketing communications specialist with a major educational
institution when not wandering the world looking for trouble. He is a
life-long martial artist, has published several articles in Kung Fu
Magazine and he’s probably a little bit too fond of kung fu movies.
He lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife who has happily laid out rules to prevent the
sword-through-glass-lampshade incident from ever happening again. The
Black Trillium is his first novel.
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