I’m delighted to welcome fantasy author, Leah Putz, to my blog today, to discuss the themes of her new novel, The Last Empath of Doctsland.
I can’t wait to read this book!
Thank you so much to Jo for having me on your blog! To be completely honest, I hadn’t thought much about the themes in my upcoming novel, The Last Empath of Doctsland, until the Thursday Themes opportunity came up. When I started writing this book, I set out just to tell the story and focus on the journey of the characters- I didn’t give much (or any, really) thought to what kind of themes were being woven through the tale. Now that I’ve taken a step back and I’m not in the thick of writing or editing, it’s a lot easier for me to see the themes I created subconsciously, as well as their importance to the overall story. Most of the themes in The Last Empath of Doctsland are a reflection of the themes we most often see in society and in life.
As with many, or most, fantasy novels one of the main themes of The Last Empath of Doctsland is good versus evil. This classic theme stretches back throughout history. From the Bible, to the mythological tales of many cultures, to The Lord of the Rings, the list goes on. Good versus Evil is woven into the fabric of religion and society and it’s reflected in literature. The Last Empath of Doctsland tells the tale of a small group of friends on a desperate mission to save their country from the invasion of an aggressive, and cruel, neighbor. Obviously this quartet from Doctsland represents ‘Good’ while the Bushand and its king and lackeys are ‘Evil.’ But it runs deeper than that. People aren’t born purely evil (which the exception maybe of Ted Bundy), just as people aren’t born completely good. There’s a mix of both in everybody, and it’s important to me to reflect this kind of complexity in my characters. King Siglind of Bushand was not born a heinous dictator, but his circumstances and his choices led him there. If you want to know why, you’ll have to read the book!
The heart of The Last Empath of Doctsland is its characters and their growth, which bring us to our next theme: Growth. The cast of characters here- namely Lisalya, Viktor, Siofra, and Jion- go through hell on their mission to protect their home. They have to learn to work together, overcome enormous obstacles, and somehow hold true to their cause and their friendships. These kinds of hardships force them to grow and evolve into stronger characters, and stronger people. This theme of Growth is possibly the most important part of The Last Empath of Doctsland because the story is so focused on the characters and their journey, both literally and figuratively.
Inclusivity is another key theme in my story, and this is actually one of the main reasons I began to write this story. I read so much fantasy growing up, and as I got older I started to recognize how poorly many of these books reflected the real world. The beauty of the world lies in its diversity; men, women, people of all shapes, sizes, and colors, people struggling with mental health, people trying to find themselves. The list is endless. Fantasy as a genre has an issue with inclusivity- the majority of the genre features a predominantly cisgendered, heterosexual, white cast most of whom are male. The Last Empath of Doctsland is a YA novel, and I think it’s incredibly important for young people to feel represented in the literature they read. I wanted as many people as possible to be able to pick up this book and feel like they can identify with at least one, if not more, of the characters.
The Last Empath of Doctsland comes out Nov 30th. You can pre-order it at mybook.to/doctsland
About the Book:
A kingdom in danger. A royal family divided by greed. A warrior combining strength with magic.
Lisalya Manyeo is the only known empath left in the small seafaring country of Doctsland, so when they are threatened by their much stronger neighbor, Prince Viktor recruits her help. On their way, he trains her to fight.
Working together despite their very obvious differences, they go behind enemy lines to stir up a rebellion against his step-brother’s tyrannical rule. After initial success in recruiting people to join them, they are captured. Lisalya is gravely injured during interrogation, but Viktor nurses her back to life.
A final battle will determine who will rule, but sacrifices have to be made to defeat the enemy.
Will Lisalya and Viktor be able to overcome the odds stacked against them to save their country from certain destruction?
About the Author:
Leah Putz has been writing for as long as she can remember. Filling notebooks in school, writing on the scrap paper stolen from her mom’s desk at work, and even producing a short story in 7th grade, distributed to family and friends. She writes almost as often as she reads.
The Last Empath of Doctsland is her first novel. She set out to create a fantasy story featuring the key character types she missed when reading stories in the genre, notably strong women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ characters.
She lives and works in Minnesota, spending her free time either hanging out with her dog Frodo, or travelling as much as possible.
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