Time Travel, Magic, and Favorites with Andi Van
May 02

Time Travel, Magic, and Favorites with Andi Van

Where would you travel if you could travel anywhere?

1985. I’d go back to Disneyland so I could ride Adventure Thru Inner Space again. (For those of you who are too young to remember this, it was closed near the end of 1985 and replaced with Star Tours. You can see a full virtual ride-thru by searching YouTube if you’re curious.) And I’d visit my grandmother, obviously – convenient, since she lived right across the street from Disneyland in 1985. Then I’d attend a Queen concert, because I will never stop missing Freddie Mercury.

Now if you want to be mundane and say “but Andi, you can’t time travel”, then my answer is “home”. As in Montana, where my parents are. I’ve been kind of homesick lately.

What's your favorite paragraph in your book?

As weird as it sounds, one of my favorites is right at the beginning, when the guild is destroyed.

His laugh was cut short when he saw the immense wave rise to block out the sky. Trivintaie looked over her shoulder at him, triumph on her face. “You wanted power, you filthy son of a pig? Here it is, King of Donkeys! My master is waiting for you to join us!”

The reason I love this paragraph so much is because of Triv. The mad king has killed her husband, caused her to be separated from her newborn daughter, and forced her to say goodbye to the people she considers her family. Her world is basically ending. She knows she’s about to die. Even knowing this, she stands firm, giving the king a gigantic “f*** you” before taking him with her.

Describe your lead character in 5 words or less.

Huh. If I were going to describe Tasis in five words or less, maybe “he never gives up”? Because despite going through some pretty horrific things, he never stops. Sure, he leans on his family and friends for support (which is something strong people do), but at the end of the day he’s the one who kept moving forward despite everything.

Why did you choose magic as the backbone of your novel, and trilogy?

Magic kind of chose me for this. Or maybe in a way it was chosen for me. See, here’s the thing. Triv, who you will meet in the book as having been head of the guild before it was destroyed, was originally a roleplaying character for an online forum in the early 90s. Pre-Internet, when you had to dial in via modem and everything. That forum? It was set in a mages’ guild. And my character was elected to run it when the guy who HAD been running it disappeared off the face of the planet.

So fast forward a decade or so, and I’m about to participate in my first NaNoWriMo. I had no idea what to write about, and when I broached the topic with my grandmother, she told me to write her something with dragons. So I did. And since I’d been missing that old forum, I used that setting. Except it had been so long, I needed to kind of start over with it. Hence, the destruction of the guild and things moving forward a thousand years later.

Who's your favorite character from a book, tv show, movie, etc? And why?

You want me to play favorites? Really? I have a lot of favorite characters from books, but let’s pick one that kind of fits with Magic Fell’s theme.

So I’ll go with Beldin from the Belgariad and Mallorean books by David Eddings.

Beldin has such extreme physical deformities that no one can even tell what his ethnicity is. Through the entire span of books, the thing everyone always points out is how ugly he is. He’s hideous in their society’s eyes. Even to his family, though they all love him a great deal.

The thing is, as you go through the books and see more and more of what he’s really like, you learn to see past his ugliness and you realize that all his sarcasm and snark is his shield. He’s got an incredibly warm, sensitive soul underneath all his gruff, and he would do absolutely anything for his family, just as they would do anything for him. And the more you read, the more you forget how he’s not physically perfect.

I think he resonates with me because I see a lot of myself in him. I have physical imperfections that tend to make me honestly believe I’m ugly. I grew up feeling out of place because everyone (including me, because I didn’t know there were other options at the time) assumed I was a girl. So I hide behind a lot of humor and snark because part of me still feels like no one will ever see past the surface anyway, so why bother? Coming out as non-binary has helped, but it’s a long process to work through a lifetime of  issues.