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Interview: Matthew Hughes on “A Geas of the Purple School”

What was the inspiration for “A Geas of the Purple School” or what prompted you to write it?

Baldemar has been evolving, as my characters tend to do.  I wanted to put him in a new situation while at the same time pulling back to show more of the Dying Earthesque world in which he lives.  Comments from readers tell me they like visiting Old Earth and I’m happy to give them a new neighborhood to explore.


Matthew HughesAlthough Baldemar is no thief, he does sometimes have need to commit trespass or fight his way out of a jam.  How did you learn about the interesting details of roguery that make their way into your Archonate Universe stories?

By being a rogue, myself.  I am the white sheep of my family, which is largely populated by persons who have at least some passing familiarity with the criminal half-world.  Among close relatives, I can count incidences of arson, theft, fraud, receipt of stolen goods, and burglary.  Also, I use my imagination.


What was the most difficult aspect of this story to write, and what was the most fun?

None of it was difficult.  I listen to what the guy in the back of my head tells me then write it down.  The most fun was writing Baldemar under the power of the geas.  I sometimes enjoy treading on my characters’ dignity.


What are you working on now?

I’m writing a final Baldemar novelette, “The Glooms” that deals with what happens when he “retires” after Thelerion gets his just reward in “The Sword of Destiny.”  That novelette, which first ran in Gardner Dozois’s anthology, The Book of Swords, is available for a free read on Curious Fictions:

I’d also like to plug my magical realism/historical novel, What The Wind Brings (Pulp Literature Press), which will be released in December in trade paperback and ebook editions.  It’s my magnum opus, about shipwrecked African slaves allying with indigenous peoples in mid-1500s coastal Ecuador to fight off Spanish colonial forces and win their freedom.


“A Geas of the Purple School” appears in the November/December 2019 issue of F&SF.

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Click on Mr. Hughes’s photo to visit his website.


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