Books: The Threadlight Series: Voice of War, Book 1; Stones of Light, Book 2
About the Author: Zack Argyle lives just outside of Seattle, WA, USA, with his wife and two children. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering and works full-time as a software engineer. He is the winner of the Indies Today Best Fantasy Award, and a finalist in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be spoilers for both VOICE OF WAR & STONES OF LIGHT
Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss The Threadlight series with me. It was a unique and amazing epic fantasy.
Aside from the bio that is on your books, can you tell us more about yourself?
I’m a husband to the incredible Bookborn, and, together, we have two incredibly smart and silly kiddos. I spend my days building the Messenger app for Mac and Windows, and my nights balancing writing, reading, and playing D&D. A few fun facts would be 1) I was the love interest in a country music video, 2) I went to the school that Brandon Sanderson teaches at (no, I didn’t take his class; I studied Electrical Engineering), and 3) I was in a Harry Potter trading cards commercial when I was 12!
Now that is cool! I have 2 kids as well…well not kids anymore. Hard to believe they are 26 and 21 now! We actually had family D&D for our lockdown Thanksgiving and Christmas. First time my husband and I played and it was fun. My kids love it.
You have a very interesting background in software engineering. Did you ever think your path in life would take you to being an author as well? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Being an author was never on my radar. I’ve always loved writing, but never in long form. I see myself as a pretty to-the-point person, which is likely why I’ve always loved poetry and songwriting. How much can I say in as little words as possible. Perhaps that’s also why my “epic fantasy” books are half the length of most others!
I can relate to that. I’m a scientist (Environmental Scientist) and I also get right to the point when I write. It’s funny where our paths take us. When you tell an amazing story, I don’t think the length makes it epic. It’s the all the elements that come together so well. Threadlight is definitely epic!
I’m always in awe of writer’s stories. I write reviews. I teach students how to write research papers, but I am not at all creative. How did you form the idea of The Threadlight series?
The idea for the Threadlight series came when I became a parent, and was thinking about the “chosen one” trope. I thought of how taxing that revelation must be for the parents of the child. If you knew your child was special—that they might save the world—what would you be willing to do? From there, the story grew from a collection of other ideas that all came together over time into something that I think feels both familiar and unique all at once.
I love this. Until you mentioned the “chosen one” trope, I never associated that trope with your series. You wove the story together so well. I knew Aydin was special. You do capture the essence of what parent’s feel and I think that’s why it never read like a trope. It was parents protecting their child.
I loved the Threadlight Series. It is one of my favorites. The magic system is very unique. I’m an Environmental Scientist and the Threadlight was so fascinating to me from that perspective. Everything was interconnected, which I loved, because everything is. How did you decide on the magic system?
That is exactly how the idea came about! Everything is connected. But what if that was literal? Then I thought about what kind of magical interactions might be possible with these threads, and continued to expand upon that, which you see throughout book one and well into book two.
This was so great for me. The interconnectedness of all things really drew me into the magic system.
The world building was wonderful. My favorite was Fairenwild. It’s amazing how worlds come to life in your books. What was your process of creating cities, especially Zedalum?
I definitely spent more time creating the Fairenwild and the treetop city of Zedalum than any other location in the series (although the Wastelands do have more to them than I showed in book two). For Zedalum, there were some clear issues with living on top of a forest. Not in the treetops, but on top of the trees themselves. I remember researching for hours about different kinds of shallow-rooted plants and vegetables that could be “farmed” atop the trees, and other hours spent determining how they would get their water, how they would get around, etc. So, I suppose my process is “what would be cool?”, then “how would that actually work?”
It definitely worked. When I see “ecosystems” created, I guess I look pretty closely since I’ve been a field biologist over 30 years. The entire system made sense to me. It felt organic and real. It was a very beautiful creation.
Related to question 5 are the species that are in the woods: the bioluminescence, the wolves with 2 tails, the insects, and plants. It was beautiful. How did you build an ecosystem where everything fit together so wonderfully?
The whole Fairenwild grew out of the idea for Zedalum, the city atop the trees. First, the trees would have to be massive, and their branches would need to weave together so densely that it could serve as a foundation for a home. However, if that were the case, the sun would be completely blocked off, and the forest would be nearly pitch black. What kind of creatures could live there? What kind of plants would survive? What if there was a plant that provided an eerie lighting? Thus were born the photospores, puffing their bioluminescent spray into the darkness of the forest.
Again, so well done and so well thought out. I loved this whole creation. It was so vivid that I really wanted to go walking through Fairenwild.
Your characters are so well done. They are very relatable in terms of what they go through. Even though it’s fantasy, I could connect with them and their struggles. You have one moment in Stones of Light that was so touching. It was when Iriel questioned herself as a mother. When I read this part, I thought, wow, this was me. I remember questioning myself as a new mother. Was I good enough? Would I make the right decisions? Even as a fairly small part in the books, how did you connect with her character in that way? How did you capture, in that singular moment, what just about every new mother goes through?
I’m so glad you liked that scene! When I had the idea for it, I was both nervous and excited. It felt like nothing I’d ever seen in an epic fantasy book, but something that I’d seen several times with women in my life. My secret weapon when writing Iriel is my wife. Especially when I first wrote Voice of War, she helped me capture the protectiveness, the caution, and the fears of a new mother. I remember in the first draft of Voice of War, Iriel hands Laurel the baby to take up the wonderstone. My wife said, “no way a new mom is letting some random girl take her kid. Change it.” And she was right! That said, I’m proud to say that the scene with Iriel in Stones of Light was all me, and my wife was equally impressed!
That was a singularly unique moment in fantasy. I’ve never read anything like and it was this moment where I had such a strong connection to Iriel. It was perfect. I don’t know of any first-time mother who doesn’t doubt herself. Her thoughts were really exactly what I was thinking when my daughter was born.
Well, you probably get this quite a bit, any hints about when the third book will be out? That was quite a cliffhanger in Stones of Light-brilliant, but wow!! I need to know!!
The final book will be out mid-2022 (I’m a one book per year author for now), and I am so excited for this one. There are multiple revelations that have been planned and foreshadowed since the first book that are ready to run free, and the early chapters have been very well-received from my writing group so far. I think it’s going to be the best one yet, and I hope that it will wrap up everything in surprisingly satisfying ways.
I am very excited to read the final book, even though I have to wait until next year. I hope to read even more of you writing after The Threadlight Series. Thank you again, Zack, for taking the time for this interview.
Voice of War
The world will change forever…
While preparing for the birth of his first child, Chrys Valerian is tasked with uncovering the group responsible for a series of missing threadweavers—those able to see and manipulate threadlight. With each failure, the dark voice in his head grows louder, begging to be released.
A young girl from a secret city in the center of the Fairenwild veers off course to explore the streets of Alchea, never expecting that her journey would end in chains.
Far in the deserts to the south, a young man’s life changes after he dies.
When Chrys learns who is responsible for the missing threadweavers, they come for him and his family. He must do everything in his power to protect those he loves, even if it means trusting strangers or, worse, the growing voice in his mind.
Together, these three will change the world—whether they intend to or not.
SPFBO Award Finalist for Best Fantasy Book 2020
Stones of Light
The coreseal is shattered and a new darkness is coming.
Chrys swore to never again let the Apogee take control but, in a moment of desperation, he gave in. Now, he will learn what the Apogee truly wants.
In Alchea, Laurel will do anything to get her threadlight back, even if it means working for the leader of the Bloodthieves. But she has no choice…a life without threadlight is no life at all.
To the west, Alverax travels with the Zeda people to the large port city of Felia, where they seek refuge after the fires in the Fairenwild. But he shattered the coreseal, and no one quite knows what the consequences will be. They only know it won’t be good.
Together, they changed the world…now, they must save it.
Other Links for book Purchases:
Audiobook (Voice of War, Stones of Light coming in September)