Welcome Icy! Sum up The Necromancer's Apprentice up in no more than 16 words. Go!
A young magician gets an opportunity of a lifetime and squanders it through impatience!
Tell us about the City Above and the City Below?
They're not quite one on top of the other – they’re more alongside one another, but one is above ground and the other is below. The City Above is a gleaming sort of place, criss-crossed by a network of boulevards and canals, and the Underground City is a Dickensian warren of slums and 'unusual' emporia selling everything from more time to lost voices. Jyx and his family live in the Underground City but he managed to win a scholarship to the Academy in the City Above, so he has to make the trip above ground every day to get to school.
Jyx constantly overreaches himself. What motivates him as a character?
He desperately wants to prove himself because he's obviously painfully aware of his poor background, and many of the other students at the Academy look down on him because he doesn't come from wealth or status. He knows he's naturally talented, but he doesn't pace himself because he feels the Academy are holding him back. Besides that, he also recognises the application for the magickal theory that he's learning out in the real world, and he's continually looking for ways to earn more money to repay his mother for all of his school supplies that she's paid for.
4) If you could put together an EP with five tracks to accompany The Necromancer's Apprentice, what songs would you choose?
Naturally The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas, which people would recognise from Fantasia. I listened to a lot of Egyptian-themed music and movie scores so I'd also add Enduring the Eternal Molestation of Flame by Nile, and The Legend of the Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns soundtrack. I think I'd probably also add In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg and Toccata and Fugue in D minor by JS Bach.
What happens when people die in Jyx's world and why are necromancers necessary?
So-called “ordinary” people are still buried and mourned in what I suppose we’d consider a traditional Western fashion, but those who possess considerable knowledge or power are interred differently, and a link is maintained between their body and their soul in case anyone ever needs to contact them again – in this case, the necromancer would perform the duties, and would act as ‘interpreter’ between the living and the dead because the necromancer can traverse the Veil between the worlds. There’s only one necromancer, Eufame Delsenza, and she doesn’t just perform this function of mediating between the dead and the living, she also does a lot of magickal research herself, as well as performing more political or diplomatic roles. She probably doesn’t need to mediate between the Cities and other magickal institutions but Eufame is very much of the view that if you want something doing well, you’d better do it yourself.
Will we be seeing more of this setting in the foreseeable future?
Yes, I'm planning a couple of short serials about other characters in the Underground City, and there's a sequel planned in which we'll meet the necromancer general's siblings, which are far older and scarier than she is. It's a fun setting to work in, it lets me explore daft little ideas that I have and spin them into something creepy, or something magickal.
Icy Sedgwick was born in the North East of England, and lives and works in Newcastle. She has been writing with a view to doing so professionally for over ten years, and has had several stories included in anthologies, including Short Stack and Bloody Parchment: The Root Cellar & Other Stories.
She spends her non-writing time working on a PhD in Film Studies, considering the use of set design in contemporary horror. Icy had her first book, a pulp Western named The Guns of Retribution, published in 2011, and her horror fantasy, The Necromancer’s Apprentice, was released in March 2014.
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