Author Interview: Edith Pawlicki

Today I am interviewing Edith Pawlicki, author of the new fantasy novel, Trials of Fire and Rebirth, latest installment in The Immortal Beings series.

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DJ: Hi Edith! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Edith Pawlicki: Thanks for having me! I always love talking about writing! Since 2016, I have been a full-time mother of twin boys. Honestly, that pretty much consumed my existence for two years, but I have always loved writing, and in 2018, I started again. My sons started school in 2020, and that’s given me a lot more time to write (Trials of Fire and Rebirth is my fourth book since I started writing again).Writing novels is wonderful for me because I am interested in everything! I double-majored in Japanese and Computer Science, and I minored in history; I taught English abroad and math and programming in the US before my sons were born. Throughout college, I was an assistant to the manuscript librarian at Rare Books and I spent my summers as a park ranger – so really, everything intrigues me, and books are a great way to use what I learn!

DJ: What is Trials of Fire and Rebirth and then The Immortal Beings about?

Edith: I created the Immortal Beings world for Vows of Gold and Laughter because I was fascinated by xuanhuan (western-influenced Chinese fantasy) and basically wanted to create an Asian-influenced western fantasy to explore. For Vows, I set myself the challenge of writing four very distinct characters with contrasting love stories but a shared quest. Their story was  too complex for a single volume, so I split it into tales one and two of the Immortal Beings. For each story within the series, I choose an idea  that I want to explore. For Trials of Fire and Rebirth, I was thinking about objective versus subjective reality. In the book, there’s a mortal cult that worships the God of Destruction. He thinks they’re crazy and does his best to ignore them, but as the atrocities that they commit in his name get worse, he realizes he has to face his past mistakes in order to understand and stop the cult. In the course of this, he meets a young god who is dealing with her own contradiction: she considers herself a woman, but she presents as male to the world. So the book explores both how truth can warp into delusion, and how belief can manifest a new reality, all while two gods fall in love and try to make the world a better place!

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Immortal Beings series? 

Edith: I watched the Chinese epic Ashes of Love in 2019, and it blew my mind. The only Chinese fantasy I had encountered before that was the Monkey King as a child. I started researching the mythology in Ashes of Love only to realize it was based on a fantasy novel rather than mythology – Heavy Sweetness, Ash-Like Frost by Dian Xian. I started exploring xuanhuan, xianxia, and wuxia (subgenres of Chinese fantasy) and decided I really wanted to create my own Eastern-Western fantasy fusion. Most of the book is pure fantasy, but it draws on Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Hindu, and Thai influences. I think that Japan comes through the most strongly because I was exposed to Japanese culture since birth and lived there, but my grandfather grew up in India and my sister-in-law is Chinese, so a lot of stuff in my subconscious bubbles up and merges together. 

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