We recently spoke with author/artist Sarah A. Macklin about her forthcoming sword & soul novel, The Royal Heretic, which drops in July. We discussed her future plans, her favorite authors and following your dreams.
Midwest BSFA: Tell us about yourself.
Macklin: I’m a writer, artist, and seamstress who was born and raised in Blythewood, SC. I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember and writing for almost as long. I live with my husband and two daughters.
Midwest BSFA: Who are your favorite speculative fiction creators and why?
Macklin: Rebecca Roanhorse for her absorbing plots and characters. N. K. Jemisin for her unusual worlds. P. Djeli Clark for his incredible world-building.
Midwest BSFA: What got you interested in science fiction/fantasy?
Macklin: The first movie I can remember seeing in the theaters was Return of the Jedi. Then, later, my father made me and my brother watch Star Trek: The Next Generation when it debuted (he was an original trekkie), so you could say that it was inevitable for me to love sci-fi and fantasy.
Midwest BSFA: Give us a short synopsis of your book.
Macklin: Bakari is the netkoleh, the ruler and avatar of his people’s gods. When his son dies, he feels it’s because the gods not only failed him, but were never there in the first place. He decrees that all religion in his empire is to be abolished but many will rebel against the command, even to the point of beginning a civil war.
Midwest BSFA: Interesting! How did you come up with the concept?
Macklin: I have always been very interested in the era of ancient Egypt when they switched suddenly from polytheism to monotheism. It was interesting to learn of the chaos caused by countless priests being unemployed and an entire country having to shift their way of life because of the “vision” of one man.
Midwest BSFA: What were you trying to accomplish with the book?
Macklin: I’ve always wanted to write a sweeping war fantasy, but there needed to more of them set in an African-inspired setting instead of Europe… again.
Midwest BSFA: What do you hope readers get out of your book?
Macklin: I hope they get a rousing tale first and foremost. Then, I hope that they can see the possibilities of more African-inspired sci-fi/fantasy. There is a lot out there, but there is always room for more.
Midwest BSFA: What are your writer goals for 2020?
Macklin: Finish my current work in progress and hopefully get an agent out of it. And maybe I’ll have time to work on some shorter pieces.
Midwest BSFA: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Macklin: Don’t stop working toward your dreams. As long as you’re breathing, you have time to reach them.