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5 Real-World Inspirations in THE BLOODFORGED + Giveaway!

The Bloodforged Blog Tour

The Bloodforged by Erin Lindsey

Today I’m excited to join the blog tour for The Bloodforged by Erin Lindsey (out Sept. 29th!), the sequel to The Bloodbound! These are my favorite kind of romance: fantasy romance! Once you find out what inspired The Bloodforged, be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom :D.

You’ve heard of the “plotter vs. pantser” divide, right? I think it’s the same for worldbuilding: fantasy authors generally fall into one of two categories. Some of us start with a blank slate and let our imaginations run wild, while others take more of a real-world analogue and tinker with it until we’ve made it our own.

So far, I’ve tended to fall squarely in that second category. Not only are the places and cultures in my books very much rooted in the real world, they’re often drawn from my own personal experience. The Bloodforged is no exception. My former day jobs as an aid worker and political analyst have provided a lot of inspirational fodder for my writing, and here are five ways those experiences show up in The Bloodforged.

Minor spoilers below.

“Perfectly understandable,” said Defence Consul Welin. “After all, that is why you are here.” As opposed to meddling in our lawmaking, you presumptuous princeling. There was a certain grim enjoyment in learning to speak this language, Liam decided, of stripping these carefully costumed words down to their brittle bones.

Real-world inspiration: United Nations

Early in my career, I sat in various diplomatic chambers feeling perplexed by how dry and superficial the discussion seemed to be. That’s because I didn’t speak the language – until suddenly I did. It was abrupt and startling, like a 3D image leaping out of a flat digital pattern. Liam has a similar experience in The Bloodforged, where he quickly begins to understand the meaning – and the danger – behind the seemingly bland words.

“The Harrami … have known only a single war in their entire history. Their failure to subdue their own mountain tribes stands testament to their ineffectiveness.”

Real-world inspiration: Pakistan, Afghanistan

When we think of foreign countries, we often imagine a single, coherent political and cultural entity, but often that’s not the case. Many countries have bitter internal political and social divisions, and if you’re in the business of diplomacy, you ignore those divisions at your peril. In The Bloodforged, King Erik desperately needs to recruit the Kingdom of Harram as an ally, but long animosity between the mountain tribes of Harram and the man who claims to rule them put Erik’s mission and his life in jeopardy.

“Do not be fooled by lofty talk of democracy, Lady Black … True power lies with the secret societies.”

Real-world inspiration: Liberia, United States

When democracies are born out of revolution, that legacy often influences politics for generations to come. Political parties sometimes show their rebel roots in paranoid or secretive practices, and the picture becomes even more complex when religion or the occult plays a role. Several of America’s founding fathers were believed to be members of secret societies, and when I worked in Liberia, it was rumoured that you couldn’t hold an important political office without being a member of a secret society. In The Bloodforged, Liam is sent as a diplomatic envoy to Onnan, and he quickly learns that political parties, religion, and secret societies intersect in complicated and deadly ways.

“From the people, I have asked for silence. From the pasha, I have asked for wisdom. From you … I have asked for respect.”

Real-world inspiration: Burundi

Despite having spent hundreds of hours in the presence of ambassadors, ministers, and heads of state, some of the most rigorously formal proceedings I’ve ever attended were village meetings presided over by traditional leaders in Africa. Even the most rebellious youth often adopt deferential attitudes in these meetings, since failure to do so invites censure from the entire community. In The Bloodforged, King Erik quickly realizes that the fate of his kingdom may rest more on humility than strength, on showing respect rather than earning it.

“Alix gazed down at her plate, a little helplessly. The food looked and smelled delicious, but she simply couldn’t see any way of eating it without surrendering her dignity entirely. It was one thing to pick up a roll of bread, or even a piece of roast chicken with one’s bare hands. But this food was so . . . saucy.”

Real-world inspiration: Stranger in a strange land

This one is definitely the most personal of the bunch. I’ve basically been Alix in this exact scenario – more than once. International work has its challenges, none greater than dropping “cold” into a culture you know very little about and trying to adapt before you make a fool of yourself – or worse, fatally undermine your purpose there. I have sat at breakfast meetings with ambassadors trying to figure out how to eat a croissant without exploding pastry all over the table. Trying to guess when eye contact is or is not appropriate. Remembering to sit or stand in the presence of dignitary, and whether to address him as “Your Highness” or “Mr. Ambassador” when he is both. In The Bloodforged, all three of the main characters struggle to adapt in foreign countries, knowing all the while that even a small mistake could cost them everything.

About the Author

Erin Lindsey is on an epic quest to write the perfect vacation novel for fantasy lovers. THE BLOODFORGED, Book 2 of the Bloodbound trilogy, releases on September 29. She also writes fantasy mystery as E.L. Tettensor. You can find Erin on her website:, or on Twitter @etettensor.


Thanks so much Erin for stopping by and sharing your fascinating experiences! I’m all the more excited for The Bloodforged now :D. Hopefully you are equally excited since I have a giveaway to share! As per Penguin’s policy, this giveaway will be US only, the winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email, and I’ll be checking entries so please be sure to enter the the correct information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.

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