“A place is only as good as the people in it.”
― Pittacus Lore
One of the things I love about writing fantasy is the world building, and location inspiration can be really helpful, especially when you find somewhere that resembles one of your imaginary settings. After I finished the Legacy of Androva with Connecting Magic (more than three years ago―time flies!), I wrote a blog post to say goodbye to three of the most memorable locations in the series. I thought I’d do the same for the Light Mage trilogy now that the third and final book is almost finished.
Most of the Androva series
locations were entirely fictional, aside from the notable exceptions of Pompeii and Verulamium.
In the Light Mage stories, it’s more of a blend, with key scenes in each book
happening in real-life places (albeit from an imaginary perspective!). These
places also feature on the books’ covers, and I’m going to focus on them for today’s
Have you ever visited a particular location just
because it was in one of your favourite books? And if you could buy a
ticket to absolutely anywhere, real or fictional, where would you go? I hope
you enjoy the Light Mage extracts, and thank you very much for visiting my blog 💕.
Luca, the protagonist of Spell
Tracker, is a seventeen-year-old gladiator when his final earthbound life
comes to an end. He sacrifices himself to save the boy he loves, dying on the dusty
floor of the arena with a sword in his chest and the cheers of the Roman mob
ringing in his ears. That sacrifice marks the beginning of Luca’s life as a
guardian, and it’s the catalyst for everything that follows. I visited the
Colosseum in Rome ten years ago, and I was overwhelmed by the size and scale of
its history. It was great to be able to use those memories as part of Luca’s story.
Here’s a short extract from the
moment Luca goes back in time with Devin to the Colosseum.
***The roar of fifty thousand voices,
the heat, and the smell were overwhelming. There was a sense of anticipation
similar to the one created by the spectators at tryouts, but it was mixed with
a thirst for blood and death, adding a disturbing undercurrent that even a
non-guardian could feel. I experienced a few seconds of disorientation even
though I knew what to expect. Get a grip, Luca. If you lose yourself, we’ll
both be stuck here.
Devin held my hand so tightly I
winced. I leaned into him as we sat down. “Give yourself a minute to adjust. I
gave you a layer of protection from the worst of it.”
With his other hand he smoothed
the toga he was now wearing and stared at his knees. After a couple of breaths
his grip relaxed a little. “So,” he said in a low voice, “we’re in Rome, right?
This is where you come from. It’s like a…” He raised his head. “Like a stadium.
What happens here? Chariot racing or something? I can see some horses.”
“No. Not chariot racing. This
isn’t the Circus Maximus. It’s the Colosseum. You’re about to watch a
fight to the death.”***
Hampton Court Palace
At the beginning of Spell Mason,
Devin and Luca are on the run, and Devin chooses Hampton Court Palace in the
early sixteenth century as a hiding place. Tudor England is one of my favourite
time periods, so I was happy to have an excuse to research it in more detail! Hampton
Court isn’t too far from where I live, and although the palace is much bigger
today than it was five hundred years ago, I was still able to get a sense of what
it must have been like. Devin makes an unlikely friend at Hampton Court who turns
out to be very important near the end of the story.
Here’s a short extract from the scene
when Luca gives Devin a sword fighting lesson in the main courtyard.
***We followed the corridor, until we
found a door to the courtyard. It was square shaped, the surrounding brickwork
creating a geometric pattern. Decorative emblems appeared at regular intervals.
“It would look better with a basketball hoop,” I said.
“You played yesterday,” said Luca.
“Yeah, and Sherbourne High lost.
My reflexes need the practice.”
“Not basketball. But we could do
I looked around the empty
courtyard. “Like what?”
“Gladii,” he said, then
frowned. “Non. Gladii sextus decimus seculum.”
A weight settled against my left
hip, and I looked down to see that Luca had given us both swords. “Cool,” I
said, grabbing the hilt with my right hand. The blade was thin and
silver-colored, reflecting the sunlight in flashes as I took a few experimental
“Do you have any idea what you’re
doing?” asked Luca.
“No. Why? Do I look like I do?”
“Stupid question, then.”
“It’s not,” he protested. “I
haven’t studied sword fighting since the Colosseum. Techniques might be
“Oh. Of course.” I stopped waving
the sword and looked at him. He was standing with his weight perfectly
balanced, sword arm in front, the other arm lowered against his side as if it
were holding a shield. His muscles were tense. Ready.
“You were a gladiator,” I said.
“You’re probably going to kick my
“Yes.” He grinned.***
The Pyramids of Giza
The final book in the trilogy, Spell
Master, reveals the origins of the earthbound dimension, and I decided to
include a reference to the Seven Wonders of the World.
Each of the seven High Council members was responsible for one of the Seven Wonders,
and although it’s only a small part of the story, it really helped me to figure
out the characters and their motivation. In this book, the magical dimensions
are fighting an ancient curse, and a chamber beneath the Pyramids of Giza might
hold the clue to beating it. I haven’t visited Egypt, so I had to rely on
research and my imagination for this one!
Here’s a short extract from the scene
when Luca and Devin discover the chamber.
***“I also want to visit the Pyramids
of Giza. Now would be a good time because all the tourists will be watching the
“I hope you’re not suggesting we
split up,” said Devin.
“No, of course I’m not. Besides, I
might need your help. Remember what happened last time.”
He looped his arm through mine.
“If you faint at my feet, Luca, I’ll try to catch you. But I’ll warn you now,
you’re heavier than you look.”
“Nice to know that chivalry is
alive and well,” I replied.
Devin laughed. “Pyramids of
Giza,” he said, and the Greek island spun out of focus. When my vision
cleared, we were standing on the north side of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. It
rose above us, a massive wall of pale stone, well over four hundred feet tall,
narrowing at its apex as if it were reaching to pull a star from the night sky.
My magical core tightened with something like recognition. I felt a little
lightheaded, but it was nowhere near as severe as what I’d experienced as
“OK?” said Devin.
“Yeah, I’m good. You can let go,” I said. I put a hand to my chest. “We need to be underground. I can feel… It’s weird. Like magical gravity or something.”***