Frankie Diane Mallis and Maggie Mae: Highlights from the Author Discussion
Cameron CapelloOct 5 2022
Fable hosted a virtual event with author Frankie Diane Mallis as she discussed her debut novel, “Daughter of the Drowned Empire.” The conversation was hosted by Booktok creator and moderator of the Babes between Book Club, MaggieMaeBeReading.
What is “Daughter of the Drowned Empire” about?
Fans of high fantasy and romance will love the magical world Mallis has created in this fast-paced, heart-stopping series. The book follows 19-year-old mage Lady Lyriana Batavia, who is third in line to the Seat of Power in Bamaria. Bamaria falls under the rule of the Lumerian Empire, survivors of a celestial war whose island sank in the Drowning. Now all Lumerians submit to the Emperor and his strict laws about magic. He decides what magic can be practiced and what powers remain forbidden. He decides who will die for possession of forbidden magic.Lyr’s own cousin was executed for wielding the wrong kind. And for years, Lyr has sworn to protect her older sisters, helping them conceal their own illicit magic. But when Lyr must participate in the ceremony that reveals her power, she uncovers something else entirely. Something that means banishment from the Empire.Faced with death in exile and leaving her sisters behind, Lyr has no choice but to accept a deadly contract. She has seven months to train as a warrior and pass the Emperor’s brutal test of strength without magic. Surviving the training and saving her sisters may mean sacrificing her own heart.During the event, Frankie Diane Mallis answered questions about many aspects of her work, and we’ve collected a few highlights for you to explore.Watch the whole video conversation here!
What was the origin of “Daughter of the Drowned Empire?”
"Because my background is in mythology, symbolism, and early religion, I played around with a lot of world-building. I thought, "what if there was mythology of the Vallum here?" That was the first thing that came to me. I have always always been obsessed with ancient civilization. I started off as a classics major, and was learning Latin and Greek, so that was the beginning of everything."
"I've always had this theory that the Pyramids held secret libraries. I'm just waiting for one day to discover there are books inside of them. So that's why I made my library's pyramids."
Frankie Diane Mallis on the influence of BookTok
"I had no social media platform [before this series]. I had zero marketing, and no one behind me. So I knew that I needed to find my people and hopefully, spread the word. Otherwise, there was no other way this was going to happen. I wrote the best book I could possibly write, but it was up to the universe and booktok! I'm so beyond grateful, the feedback on booktok has been amazing."
On the choice to become an indie author
"I was originally agented in like the late 2000s. She's a really great agent that I was with for seven years, but the books weren't selling. So eventually, I knew I wanted to do high fantasy, so I just went for it. My agent said, "this is great, but I don't do high fantasy." I was so afraid to leave her because I felt like, "Who am I to leave a really big agent?" But I knew it was the right decision.
"I was getting a lot of interest back from new agents, but ultimately everybody wasn't sure how to market it. So once we hit the pandemic, I knew I didn't want to wait any longer for people to give me permission.
"I thought if anybody can do this, it's me. It took me a while to get there, but it was a very conscious choice. Once I made the decision, I was like, 'I can't believe I ever wanted to do it any other way.'"I was in complete control. With an agent, I remember feeling a loss of power. I wanted to have my hand on the wheel and drive."
Frankie Diane Mallis’ upcoming work
"The main series will have seven books that's following Lyriana all the way through. That's never going to change."
"When I first formed my 'street team,' one of the perks was that fans could vote on any scene I've written so far, and I'd rewrite it from Rhyan's point of view. But there were so many votes for so many things. I joked that I should do the whole books in his perspective, and they were like, 'yes.' And then it dawned on me that it made sense!"
"I wasn't sure what that process would be like, but I had so much fun writing in Rhyan's point of view for Solstice of the Drowned Empire. It felt much more natural than I was expecting. I'm really excited to get back to his POV."