Guest blogger Bruce Skye, author of GRAYRIDER, shares ideas about writing fantasy

A former technical writer, detail is important to Bruce Skye. His research for the Deathsong Chronicles included medieval armor and fortresses, as well as Celtic names and magic. “If you create a world, it must be consistent. And that’s what I strive for Grayrider’s world to be. I’ve built a database of material for each of the Deathsong Chronicles. Those databases aid me in keeping the world the same from book to book.Bruce Skye

“When I wrote Grayrider, I followed the advice of Stephen King. I did not write the book following any sort of outline. I have no more idea than my readers do when I write a novel what will happen in the midst of the story. It makes it more exciting for both the readers and myself.”

You can visit his website at


Gabriel, the exiled king of Rivalin, comes before King Airell to warn him the Ansgarian army will invade his kingdom before the night is over. Airell tells him he has no one to send. Gabriel wants revenge for the murder of his family by the Ansgarians. He decides to fight the incursion without help.

As this takes place, Deirdre (Airell’s daughter), flees the kingdom of Cynyr north of Boadhagh. She knows now her mentor, Morrigan, created the Ansgarian army her father has fought for years. She goes south to warn him of her. Because Deirdre does not believe in herself, the young sorceress has difficulty in performing magic.

Once she is reunited with her father, she tells both he and Grayrider about Morrigan. Her power is growing; only Gabriel’s magical sword may yet destroy her. He must go to Cynyr to fight her. He agrees if Deirdre attends him, seeking her counsel. On that journey they fall in love and foil many efforts by Morrigan to kill Gabriel by both armies and sorcerers.

Grayrider fights Morrigan and sees his beloved slain by the sorceress before he is finally able to kill her. He returns to Rivalin brokenhearted. The ending is a complete surprise the reader will not expect at all.


Difficulties in Writing Fantasy

Writing fantasy can be hard.  Building Grayrider‘s world took time and research.  What kind of names was I going to use for the characters?  How would the magic system work?  What was the history of the Deathsong sword?  And some were simply detail questions:  what would be the heraldry of the different kingdoms involved in the story?  All those questions had to be answered.

I’m an Anglophile.  So choosing Celtic names and magic seemed a slam-dunk answer for me.  But then research was necessary to find such names and about how Celtic magic was performed.  And in doing that, I discovered Irish legends about the Sidhe, or “Good People.”  This was how the Aine character came to be created.  Then other questions came up: how was battle conducted between armies during medieval times?  What kind of weapons did they use?  What kind of armor?

As I answered all of these things, I created a database to keep all of this information organized and available to me.  Because I’m of the opinion if you create a world, keep it consistent!  The database helped me to do just that.  I’ve done the same thing with Volumes Two and Three of The Deathsong Chronicles as well.

The story of Grayrider: Volume One of The Deathsong Chronicles is fantasy.  However, I love suspense novels.  And I model my writing after that of best-selling suspense author Jack Higgins.  I wrote Grayrider as if it was indeed a suspense novel.  And that may well make it unique in the fantasy genre.  Reviewers have spoken about this feature in their writings about my book.

Heather Shockney on said:
Grayrider offers the reader everything they could need in a story.  There is romance, sword fights, magic, and more to keep the reader entertained.  The story line moves at a fast pace and keeps the reader very involved.  I found that I could not put the book down.

One of Amazon reader reviews said the following:If you’re looking for an engaging fantasy read, this is it. Long enough to weave a story of victory and romance, but short enough to keep a reader hooked on its plot twists, Grayrider is a winner.

Finally, this Amazon review I felt greatly complimented by: Fans of sword-and-sorcery adventures and fantasy novels will enjoy this book. It is fast-paced with intricate story lines, and a depth familiar to students of Celtic lore and history.
Written in a style reminiscent of Tolkien’s The Two Towers, the reader is swept into the story from the first page. This is a tale with good and evil, but it also portrays the shades of gray between them.

Upcoming Novels

Hard-Favour’d Rage, the second novel in the Deathsong Chronicles, describes the ultimate consequences of Grayrider. This story has lots of twists and turns as well as many battles between both of armies and sorcerers! What follows is an initial reader’s response to this story: “Very good book. Each chapter keeps the reader in suspense. You never know whats going to happen next.” The publication date has yet to be announced.

A Dragon’s Wrath, the third story in this series, comes well after Hard-Favour’d Rage ends. Can the teenage children of a possessed monarch obtain the aid of a dragon to save their father from a dire fate? This book is currently being written.

Fortune’s Fool, the fourth volume of the Deathsong Chronicles, is a tale of betrayal and revenge. It has not been started yet.


4 thoughts on “Guest blogger Bruce Skye, author of GRAYRIDER, shares ideas about writing fantasy

  1. Pingback: Virtual Book Tour: Suspense Fantasy Author Bruce Skye Visits Fictionary & Jenn’s Bookshelf « Let’s Talk Virtual Book Tours

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