Wings So Soft by Dan Fitzgerald
It’s wonderful to chat with my beloved friend and indie darling, Dan Fitzgerald, in preparation for their newest release, whose cover reveal we are hosting today! It’s always such an honor to watch these books come to life, because I remember when Dan was drafting them in a back-to-back drafting marathon. WINGS SO SOFT is coming October 15, and we’re here to celebrate this fantastic cover by Luke Tarzian!
Isn’t it gorgeous? Luke Tarzian knocks it out of the park again!
Thanks for chatting with me, Dan and congrats on another book baby making its way out into the world!
Thank you! I’m very excited for this one especially, my first full-length fantasy romance, and one I think a lot of people will enjoy.
Let’s dive into it—how does WINGS SO SOFT fit into your existing work? Is it the same world that readers have become accustomed to?
Wings so Soft is a standalone in the Time Before, a trio of books set 2,000 years before the Maer Cycle and the Weirdwater Confluence, and the three series are designed to be readable in any order. Though Wings so Soft is set chronologically after The Delve, they share no characters in common and there’s almost no plot overlap. The main characters are all Maer, who are basically the same as humans, but with hair covering their bodies. In the Maer Cycle, they are just recovering from near extinction at the hands of the humans; in the Time Before, we see them on the brink of war with their ancestral skin-covered enemies.
The next book, Cloti’s Song, is a poly MFF+M romance set in an occupied city, starring Uffrin’s parents, coming this winter to keep my readers warm in the long, cold nights.
How is it different?
I love the trope in which the past was more advanced than the present, and that’s what I’m playing with here. The Maer Cycle and the Weirdwater Confluence are “classic” fantasy in the sense that the tech is roughly medieval/Renaissance level, and there are references in those books to a mythical Time Before when civilization was at its zenith, with magical tech, great automatons, etc. This is that time.
Uffrin, the artificer character, makes magical/mechanical owls, and his owl, named Friend, seems to be developing a rudimentary personality due to the newest generation orbus that powers it. The Maer have an internet-like technology called the Stream, which they use to communicate, and all sorts of interesting magical tech. They also have advanced meditation magic, which is seen in a different form in the Weirdwater Confluence, referred to as the Thousand Worlds.
I’ve watched you grow your confidence and evolve into a romantasy writer, and it’s been like watching the blossoming of a new and beautiful flower. What, if anything, would you say you’ve discovered about yourself as you ventured into this new career path?
I was as surprised as anyone to discover my love for romance as a genre. I never used to seek it out; until five or so years ago, I’d hardly read any romance, and I was indifferent to romance plotlines in a book. When I started looking for new fantasy to read a while back, I quickly grew tired of the same old sword-wielding badass facing down the evil overlord and discovered a whole new world of fantasy, much of it indie, most of it written by women and/or queer writers. A lot of it had romantic plots, and I found that the more central the romance was to the book, the more I needed it.
My own books became more and more romantic, and much to my surprise, spicier and spicier. It was quite a shock to the system, but as I grew in comfort and confidence, I came to appreciate the aspects of relationships that can be revealed through increasing intimacy. The vulnerability characters can show, how they can reveal their innermost selves, the things they hide from the world. That has become the most important thing to me as a writer. The fantasy aspect is still fascinating–it gives the story shape, moves the characters along, gives fullness to the world–but the relationship between the characters and their growth as individuals and as partners has definitely become The Main Thing for me.
I’m starting to ask everyone this question now as a favour to younger writers who may just be arriving on the scene: what is something you wished you’d known before you started publishing?
Your first book will always be your special baby, but it’s not your everything. It’s not going to be your best book. It may not even be publishable. Most writers write multiple books before they ever publish one. And if they do publish their first book, their third book, their fifth book, will be much better. And that’s normal. It’s okay. Great, even.
Hollow Road was my first published book. It was the fifth book I wrote. And it’s pretty good! But it’s nowhere near as good as what I’m capable of writing now. And. That’s. Okay. It still sells. People still read it and enjoy it. It’s my back catalog. It’s still my precious baby, but when I see someone buy it, or read it on KU, I think–oh! Neat! And I move on.
Wings so Soft will be my 8th published book, and I have two more in editing and three more in drafting. It’s a marathon, folks. Don’t wear yourself out sprinting.
And, finally, back to WINGS SO SOFT—what’s your favourite thing about this story?
The romance between these two just blossomed so naturally. Mara is self-possessed, calm, confident, strong. Uffrin is a complete dork, timid, jumpy, underconfident. When he walks into the aerie and sees Mara, he’s so star-struck, and she’s so amused, and they just had this hilarious chemistry. It’s no secret that I write fem-led romance, and this is no exception. She just wants to pick him up, take him home, pin him to the bed, and have her way with him. No spoilers here, of course, but things get hella steamy before it’s over.
Thank you so much for chatting with me again, Dan, and I’m looking forward to boosting the heck out of this release!
Thank you so much! You are one of my romantasy inspirations, and it’s an honor as always to chat with you!
Awww, Dan! You’re too good to me :’)
If WINGS SO SOFT sounds like your cuppa steamy tea, you can sign up for Dan’s ARC team here:
Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads TBR tower:
And why not check out Dan’s author page while you’re in the TBR mood!