When I decided to write my second novel, The Jealousy Glass, one of the things that I considered was symbolism. The Universal Mirror contains a lot of small cultural details that I’d placed in the story but never picked up on–one of them was the use of different motifs for different noble houses in the nation of Cercia.
I loved the idea of retaining that concept as my characters traveled to a different land but debated about what to do with it. The land to which they go, Anjdur, is heavily based on my own research on the Byzantine Empire around the year 1200. Because of that, many of the symbols reflect Byzantine cultural values–emphasis placed on the eyes as a source of power (in this case, magical) and also on the sun. But how could I change that, I wondered, and fit in some of the symbols that had been used in Mirror as well?
That was when I came to the idea of birds. Birds struck me as a symbol of flight and also of travel towards a better destination, a perfect metaphor for one of the main characters of Jealousy Glass.
Creatures of the air, they also seemed to fit the delicate but surprisingly strong empress Irena while also befitting her mysterious sister, the former Empress Sophia. Different birds are woven throughout this story for each Anjduri character–from eagles to phoenixes, the characters with that heritage in their veins each have a bird figure as pivotal to an artifact either belonging to them or interfacing with them at some crucial point. Like the characters, the birds that appear in the Artifacts of Empire universe are sometimes magical and a few will have a recurring role in what lies ahead.
As I continue the series, I hope to incorporate more of these ideas so that readers can follow the threads and begin to gather clues about some of the bigger mysteries yet to come. Will there be more magical animals ahead? Perhaps. 🙂
The Jealousy Glass, book 2 in the Artifacts of Empire series, will be released December 1, 2012. Feel free to add it to your Goodreads list.
This blog entry is part of World Animal Day. Visit the link below to take part in the giveaway!