M.L. Rhodes – the Draegan Lords Interview

Hi ML. It’s great to have you back on the site.  As you know, this interview is to discuss your wonderful paranormal series The Draegan Lords and the newest book Fires of Ballian. Now that “Fires” has been released the fans have digested it and they have many questions they hope you will answer.

What’s the tentative release schedule for Circle of Ariend? We waited almost 2 years for Fires of Ballian and I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t think I will be able to wait more than 6 months for Circle.

Well, I can’t give you an exact date, but I can tell you that Circle of Ariend is the next project on the table for me.  I’m already working on it. As a matter of fact, I wrote some of it while I was writing Fires of Ballian because it just happened that way.  I’m not going to venture a guess about when Circle of Ariend will be done (because, honestly, I’m a terrible judge of how long it will take me to complete a story, and whenever I try to guess, I’m always wrong), but I do know that this time I won’t be writing any non-Draegan Lords stories between Fires of Ballian and Circle of Ariend like I did between Lords of Kellesborne and Fires of Ballian.  My focus is totally on the world of Velensperia right now and will stay that way until Circle is done.  Hopefully it won’t take longer than a few months.  🙂   

Will we see more of Wen and Wesley in Circle? These two characters have endeared themselves to us.

—You know, I’ve got to admit, I’ve been surprised at just how popular these two have suddenly become.  I figured readers would like seeing them together, but I never expected to start getting emails and blog comments about people wanting more, more, more about them.  LOL!  To answer your question, yes you’ll see more of them in Circle of Ariend, but obviously their relationship will play only a small secondary role in the story, with Gaige and Keiran’s being the focus as always.  Because I’ve had so many readers ask, however, I won’t rule out the possibility of giving Wen and Wesley their own story.  I have some ideas …*g*

As the author, what are the best parts of this series for you? As a reader, even though I love the plot, fantasy, worldbuilding, magic and everything else that makes this such an enthralling series, Gaige and Keiran are the key elements of the 3 books so far.

The characters.  Always the characters.  No matter what story I write, the relationship between my two heroes is always going to be the driving factor for me and the part I most enjoy writing.  It’s going to break my heart to be done with this series because I love Keiran and Gaige so much. You can’t spend as much time with a pair of heroes as I have with these two and not feel like a part of your soul is missing when their story is done.

My next favorite thing, after the characters, though, is writing in a fantasy world.  I LOVE fantasy because, for the most part, the rules are mine and there’s no limit on letting my creative mind go nuts.  *g*  I can create whatever kind of creatures I want, decide how the magick works and for whom, make the setting whatever I’d like, let my imagination run full-bore with the plot, etc.  It’s pretty awesome, and very freeing as a writer.

Despite its huge success is there anything about the series that, looking back, you would have changed?

Not really, no.  It probably would have been nice to know from the start that this was even going to be a series…I originally thought True of Heart would tell the whole story and be a standalone.  But I knew partway into it that there was no way I could finish the story in True.  I look back on that now and laugh at how foolish I was to ever think such a thing, but live and learn.  *g* Of course I also seriously thought I’d finish the story in Lords of Kellesborne…but that didn’t happen either.  And it kind of went on from there. 

So, knowing ahead of time it was going to be a longer series might have been helpful.  On the other hand, if I’d planned it all out ahead before I began writing, who knows what interesting plot points and characters I might have missed out on.  Part of the fun of writing for me is not always knowing where I’m going and letting things unfold as they will.  Some of my very best plot twists and turns, and secondary characters, have happened unexpectedly.  In the case of this series, I can’t imagine it turning out any other way that it did, so I can’t really yell at my muse too much for not being clear just how big the scope of it was going to be before I started writing True of Heart.  It worked out the way it was meant to.

Why do I get the feeling that Jax is going to come back and bite Gaige in the ass?  😀 Would you tell us if that were true?

I’m not saying a word about anything specific.  *g*  I’ll only offer the tidbit that Jax is a very complex character, which means he travels a difficult road.  His part in the story certainly isn’t finished yet.

Can you tell us who is your favourite character in this series? Why?

Well, obviously Gaige and Keiran are my faves.  That’s a given.  But if you mean a secondary character…that’s tough.  I love a lot of them for different reasons.   I can’t really narrow it down to one or two.

Is Circle of Ariend really going to be the last book in the series?

That’s the plan.  But given the history of this series I’m not going to swear it on my life.  LOL!  Still…yes, I think Circle of Ariend will be the end.

Is there a plan for ML to write a new series starring characters from The Draegan Lords?

I don’t have any plans at this time to write another full series in Velensperia with any of the draegans.   Though, as I said, I won’t discount the possibility of writing a standalone story or two with some of the characters.  And I can’t say I’ll never write another series in this world because, who knows, I might wake up one day with a fabulous idea for one.  If that happens, I’ll go with the flow.

I do have a series planned about the elves, however–Eliessan’s people (her family, actually)–and I already grazed the surface of that series in my book The Elf and Shoemaker.  Those readers who read The Elf and Shoemaker with a careful eye to detail, will probably have already figured out that Hallan, the elf hero in that story, is Eliessan’s half-brother.  And for those of you who haven’t figured that out…shame on you!  The clues were all there!  LOL!  In Hallan’s backstory, I introduced a good chunk of the conflict that’s happening in the elf world, and introduced, briefly, Hallan’s half-brother (Eliessan’s full brother) Finn, who will be one of the main heroes in the elf series.

In the elf series, there will possibly be some crossover with the Draegan Lords series–obviously Eliessan, but possibly Gaige and Keiran will make an appearance as well. 

I like that the female characters in the book have key roles. Was this a strategy on your part that even though these books are M/M and there could be no love scenes with the women you still wanted to give them a lot of profile?

For me it doesn’t have anything to do with not being able to have sex scenes with women because the books are geared toward a gay male fiction audience.  It’s looking at the broader picture, which is that whether it be in real life or in fantasy (unless the fantasy is about a world inhabited only by men) women are always going to play a role in the lives of most men.  Men have mothers, sisters, female friends, female colleagues, etc.  So it would be a pretty limited world view to write a story on the scope of the Draegan Lords series with only men as the main players.  And as far as putting women in key roles…it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part because I felt like I had to add women in crucial roles.  It just made sense for the story because I’ve written the draegan culture as one that respects women and men equally.  I know from emails I’ve received that I surprised a few readers over the fact the draegan lord before Keiran wasn’t his father…it was his mother.  And she certainly wasn’t the first female draegan lord in their history either. 

Therefore, it was natural that Marta would be one of Keiran’s trusted lieutenants and just as important as Iann or Jax or any of the other men when she first appeared on the page in True of Heart. Underneath her warrior roots and leadership ability, Marta’s also a mother and has that powerful protective maternal instinct that feeds her strength as well. 

Then there’s Eliessan.  When she entered the scene in Lords of Kellesborne (she was one of those unexpected surprises, by the way), there was no question for me that she was an elf warrior.  She’s been through difficult times in her very long life, been banished from her people for a crime she committed that you know she did, not because she doesn’t respect the law, but because she felt it had to be done.  She has a strong moral code of her own and doesn’t kowtow to anyone. And she’s also clearly dangerous if crossed.  Yet her loyalty to Gaige and Keiran is unquestionable.  In spite of the fact she is, in all ways, their equal, she respects them and follows them because they’re true, honorable, and exhibit the same loyalty to one another and their people that she herself has for those about whom she cares.

Even Lilia, who, as a human healer and a nurturer, tends to display a softer side, is still a strong woman in her own right. Her healing ability and the fact she is a nurturer are part of what make her so strong.  She may not be a warrior like Marta and Eliessan (though she doesn’t hesitate to pick up a sword when the sorcerer’s men attack her camp), but she’s smart and has a lot of insight into what’s going on around her.  She’s become part of Gaige’s down-to-earth family support structure–the sister he never had–and I think that’s really important and says a lot about her inner strength and what she has to offer.

Did you know that a number of fans used the message board on the site to do a countdown for the release of Fires of Ballian when the book did not appear at the scheduled time on the Amber Allure site? They kept on updating the entire day and evening until the book appeared in the early hours of the next morning, depending on where in the world they were.

No, I didn’t realize it until afterward.  🙂 

Will Amber Allure be releasing Fires of Ballian and Circle of Ariend in a print volume similar to the way True of Heart and Lords of Kellesborne were packaged? If so, how soon after Circle of Ariend is released as an ebook do you anticipate a print book will be available?

Yep, exactly like that.  Fires of Ballian and Circle of Ariend will be together in one print volume called, The Draegan Lords, Volume II.  The print volume probably will be available a few weeks after Circle of Ariend is released. 

I have one additional question asked by DianeNYC: 

Other than the elves, do you plan on spinning off any additional characters/races from the Draegan Lords universe? At this point I think I’d read a tasteful m/m adventure featuring the vorgrals.” (I’m just plain serious on this one).

I don’t have any firm plans at this time other than the elves and maybe a standalone or two, but, as I said, that could change.  If the interest is there, and ideas come to me, I’m happy to provide.  🙂

What question didn’t I ask about the series that you wish I had? What is the answer to that question? 🙂

I can’t think of anything in particular, but I’ll gladly open it up to readers to ask more questions in the comments if you guys would like.  I can’t promise I’ll be able to answer everything if you ask me for details, but I’ll do the best I can! 

Thank you ML.

Thank you, Wave!!  It’s always fun to chat with you! 


Website: http://www.mlrhodeswriting.com
email: ml@mlrhodeswriting.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/mlrhodes


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • No, Wave, I don’t want to flog you. I’m a big, teary eyed romantic. I don’t wish pain on anyone. And I’m not blaming you for interviewing my favorite author. I’m THANKING you!!

    • John
      Would you like to flog me for asking M.L. for the interview? 😀 I take that back because you might say yes, you perv.

    • LOL, Kris! I always enjoy chatting with you guys, though, and who knows what food for thought you might give me! Like…I wouldn’t have thought about doing more with Wen and Wesley if I hadn’t had so many readers post on blogs and email me about them. So you’re all good inspiration for me, and I appreciate it! 🙂

      • Thanks 🙂 Nothing as of yet. That’s mostly because everything I wanted to know and a lot more was in the interview or in the comments.
        But I am one of those rooting for Wen & Wesley & their own story. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  • Hey M.L. and Wave, great interview. But wave, come on, I wanted you to ask a question about the gang of hunky guys in the sauna…….grin
    I’ve got a question. Will Selene speak? You haven’t said outright, but it’s pretty clear that she went ‘mad’ at the time of Gaige’s birth and his mom’s death. And it is really cool how Iann has loved her all this time. And that Gaige has found his grandmother. Maybe she will play a bigger role in the next book. Gaige is still discovering his draegon magick and since he is a halfbreed, that magick will be different and better.
    I really liked how you wrote the battle to free Keiran and how Gaige and Keiran’s strength combined was so much more powerful than each of them alone.
    Diane’s question is interesting. But I’m thinking that is just an interesting sideline for all of us fans to discuss.
    Yes, there was a countdown of sorts on the day of Fires’ release. I checked every hour and then complained to Wave when it didn’t come out like I expected it to. lol

    • Hey John! 🙂 Yes, that was when and why Selene became not herself. The grief of losing her daughter was more than she could bear. Will she ever speak, like be able to have conversations aloud with anyone? No, probably not. I don’t forsee that happening, unless some unexpected plot twist crops up while I’m writing (stranger things have happened to me while a story is in progress, so I won’t say it could never happen…but it’s unlikely). But she is able, from time to time, to say things to Gaige in the draegan mindspeak, and that will continue.

  • M.L. – Are you going to address exactly “how” Keiran and Gaige can have children without a woman? Some folks have been theorizing that since dragons are usually depicted as reptilian, an egg is involved. But I honestly can’t see Keiran or Gaige laying an egg. Any comments? 🙂

      • You guys snuck these comments and questions in on me last night. Sorry about that!

        To answer your question, eventually, yes. 🙂

        I actually gave a small hint about this in Fires of Ballian. Not directly related to how it works for men, but for draegans in general…which might give you some food for thought. *g* It’s early on, chapter two, where Gaige is thinking about how the sorcerer’s nets and the fear of the nyctophans has kept the draegans grounded for so long, but how draegans, even if they couldn’t fly, still had to shift. Here are the pertinent lines:

        “Most draegans needed to shift into their winged form from time to time for their own health and emotional well-being. And for those who bore children, shifting was imperative in the last weeks of gestation.”

        Now I’m really going to have you guys wondering. Hehehe! 🙂

  • Thanks for the informative interview. 🙂
    I recently read the first three Draegan Lords books and really enjoyed them. Looking forward to reading Circle of Ariend.
    I read The Elf and Shoemaker (and liked it very much) way before starting these so of course I missed the connection to these books. I’ll have to reread it.

    • Don’t feel bad about missing connections, Lily. When Elf and Shoemaker came out, I mentioned to many people who I knew had read and enjoyed the Draegan Lords series that there was a connection, and even then a lot of them didn’t figure it out completely. I think only the ones who’d read the Draegan Lords series recently and still had all the details fresh in their minds did. When you reread it, you’ll probably pick up on all the clues since you just finished reading the three Draegan Lords books. 🙂

  • Thanks for the interview Wave, ML. It is nice to read something about the background of the books. The good thing about series is that you have all these pages and you don’t have to wrap up your story in one book, no need to rush, limit yourself etc.

    I can only say hurry up because I am waiting for the final book 🙂

    • That is definitely a nice thing about a series, Ingrid! It’s funny…my sister just asked me last night if I was sure I could finish the series in only one more book because there’s still a lot of story left. I told her the same thing I said here….I *think* so, but we’ll see how it goes. LOL! If it works out there needs to be more, then that’s what will happen. I know that would probably drive authors who are serious plotters crazy. But like I said, that’s half the fun of writing for me…the being surprised and enlightened, just like a reader is, as a story unfolds. 🙂

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