Interview with Rowankind Trilogy Author Jacey Bedford

CARL SLAUGHTER:  Let’s start with the main characters.  At the beginning of the story, Ross is just trying to stay off the Mysterium’s radar.  Then she goes on various quests.  Then she plays liberator, protector, and negotiator.  Has she got a plan or is she figuring it out as she goes?

JACEY BEDFORD:  She’s figuring it out as she goes at the beginning of Winterwood. She doesn’t really want anything to do with the mysterious magical box, and, indeed, she tries to throw it overboard, but it washes up on the next tide. She’s been able to stay off the Mysterium’s radar while she’s been at sea. They don’t have much authority outside the British Isles, but as soon as she steps back on British soil they become a tangible problem. Once she learns what the box is and what it contains she has to decide whether to follow through. She does, and it seems as though everything is rosy, until (at the start of the second book) there are repercussions. She’s scrambling once more, but each time she’s faced with a problem she grows to meet it (with Corwen, of course). Ditto with the third book, when all the problems come together.

What about Corwen.  Does he have a drastic effect on Ross and a drastic effect on the plot or is he a secondary to Ross?

Ross doesn’t meet Corwen until part way through the first book. She’s not looking for love. She has the ghost of Will, her dead husband, for company. Initially she resists trusting Corwen, which makes him secondary, but gradually she comes to see his worth and his support is vital. By the time the second and third books happen, Corwen is an equal partner in Ross’ endeavours. In fact, the second book is mostly about Corwen’s family situation and his problem brother, Freddie (a very reluctant shapechanger). The third book, ROWANKIND, sees Ross and Corwen in an equal partnership, each playing to their strengths.

All these other magical creatures.  Are they bumping into each other or seeking each other out?  

The rowankind, newly freed from their servitude, have a gentle weather magic of their own. Also there are magical creatures accidentally freed into the world. In the second book we met two kelpies, in the third there’s a troll who is both in danger and dangerous. The Lady of the Forests (the consort of the Green Man) rules over magical creatures, helped by a small army of sprites and a number of magicals who have gravitated to her home in the Okewood and become a community.

Is the Mysterium a nuisance or a menace?

It’s a menace. Any magic user who does not register with them by their 18th birthday is automatically an unregistered witch, and therefore likely to be hanged without trial if they are caught. In SILVERWOLF the Mysterium is exceeding its brief which causes a head-on clash with Ross, Corwen and a bunch of magicals. In ROWANKIND, the Mysterium has begun to realise that the newly freed rowankind have magic, so it’s treating them as unregistered witches. Thus the danger escalates and the Fae decide to step in. That’s bad news for Britain. The Fae may have left mortals alone for centuries, but that’s mostly because they didn’t care to be involved. However, don’t think that they are harmless. Once they get involved, they aren’t going to back down. Something’s got to give and it won’t be the Fae.

Is the Mysterium involved in political intrigue and social unrest or do they keep their distance?

They know their place and they have their instructions. They don’t intend to let anyone or anything stand between them and their duty to persecute unregistered magic. But at the end of the day they are simply a government department – albeit a powerful one. Walsingham is above the Mysterium while remaining independent. He reports only to the king and the king’s spymaster (or the first minister). He’s very dangerous once he gets you in his sights.

The social unrest is purely economic because (check out actual history) there have been a series of bad harvests and the wars with France are taking their toll. When the price goes up, there are bread riots. The government is truly worried that they are only one more bad harvest away from famine and then the social powder keg will blow. One of the driving reasons for peace with France (1802) is that Britain is getting close to the end of available resources and peace will give them a chance to take a breather and gather resources. Of course, France is doing the same, so it soon kicks off again.

How do King George and Emperor Napoleon factor into all this?

Napoleon is the unseen threat to Britain from overseas. His ships are the ones Ross’ privateer crew prey upon, but he’s not a character in the books. King George III becomes important as a character when the Fae expect him to be able to protect the rowankind. Of course it’s not as simple as that because the king’s personal power is limited by parliament. (The Fae don’t understand this because the last time they engaged with the human world, a king’s power was absolute.) Ross discovers King George’s madness is magical and hopes that this will make him sympathetic… well, it was a nice thought, but it’s not going to be that easy.

Same question for the Industrial Revolution.

That’s an interesting one. In 1800 the industrial revolution is not all that far advanced. There are steam engines for pumping water, but no steam locomotives yet. The cloth trade is changing. Cottage industry is being replaced by factories, but they are mostly powered by water wheels for some processes (fulling for example). Belt technology is not sufficiently advanced for mass production. What will make a difference from the end of ROWANKIND onwards is that the rowankind can manipulate wind and water, which, if used on an industrial scale, is going to slow down the advent of steam power. Why develop expensive steam technology when cheap magic does the job? Why light the streets with gas when you can light them with magic?

I see lots of plot activity and lots of character interaction, but I don’t see any themes.  Am I missing something?

Broadly the theme is tolerance and understanding for those with differences, but I don’t hit the theme with a hammer. It’s there if you look for it.

Are we going to see any spinoffs, prequels, or sequels to Rowankind?

I’ve been working on a YA book set in a present day which is a future projected from the Rowankind books. It’s the 21st century without computers, mobile phones and television. Technology is roughly a century behind where it is now.

What about your Psi Tech series.  Are you ever going to revisit that fictional universe?

I’m looking at the possibilities of that right now, but I’m not very far along the road with a new project. It might or might not happen.

What other projects have you got brewing?

I’m in the final polishing stages of The Amber Crown, a new standalone historical fantasy set in an analogue of the Baltic States in the 1600s. I’m very excited by it. It’s got magic and politics. It’s told from the viewpoint of three disparate characters and opens with the assassination of a king. The characters are Valdas, the failed bodyguard, whose job it was to keep the king safe; Mirza, a Romani witch, who is given the job of guiding Valdas in a task, and Lind, the assassin. These are complex characters, especially Lind who has more hangups than a wardrobe full of coathangers.

Are you still with DAW for the foreseeable future?

I certainly hope so. When I look along my bookshelves a huge proportion of the SF books I’ve been reading for years are published by DAW. I think I’m a good fit for them, and they’re a good fit for me. My (Hugo-winning) editor is Sheila Gilbert. She’s delightful to work with and brings a wealth of experience to any project I present. She’s also a really nice person to work with.

Jacey Bedford

Where can readers catch up with you for a signing, photo, or panel?

I’ve just finished my round of UK conventions for this year. I attended Eastercon, Fantasycon and Bristolcon, and just a few days ago gave a workshop on worldbuilding and did a panel on characters at the Escafeld event in Sheffield. Next year I’m planning to be at Dublin Worldcon, but I haven’t booked any UK conventions yet. But people can always contact me via my website: I’m always happy to engage with readers. I also have a blog at and I do answer comments. My facebook writing page is and ditto about responding to comments. I also tweet @jaceybedford, though I confess I’m not on there every day.

Rowankind Trilogy Completed

By Carl Slaughter: In November 2018, DAW author Jacey Bedford wrapped her alternate history magic trilogy Rowankind.

A magic regulatory agency that controls magic by whatever means necessary, a swashbuckling crew of pirates and their lady captain, recently unbound magic creatures roaming the streets of London, a shapeshifting werewolf, a jealous husband ghost.  Throw in historical figures:  Mad King George, and the Industrial Revolution.  Plenty of plot twists and subplots.

The protagonist is a young woman trying to maintain her independence, stay alive, find romance, resolve family issues, and help her fellow magic creatures.  No, she’s not trying to determine the course of history.  Like the other protagonists in this story, she’s just trying to discover and achieve her destiny.

by Jacey Bedford

  • Winterwood

It’s 1800. Mad King George is on the British throne, and Bonaparte is hammering at the door. Magic is strictly controlled by the Mysterium, but despite severe penalties, not all magic users have registered.

Ross Tremayne, widowed, cross-dressing privateer captain and unregistered witch, likes her life on the high seas, accompanied by a boatload of swashbuckling pirates and the possessive ghost of her late husband, Will. When she pays a bitter deathbed visit to her long-estranged mother she inherits a half brother she didn’t know about and a task she doesn’t want: open the magical winterwood box and right an ancient wrong—if she can.

Enter Corwen. He’s handsome, sexy, clever, and capable, and Ross doesn’t really like him; neither does Will’s ghost. Can he be trusted? Whose side is he on?

Unable to chart a course to her future until she’s unraveled the mysteries of the past, she has to evade a ruthless government agent who fights magic with darker magic, torture, and murder; and brave the hitherto hidden Fae. Only then can she hope to open the magical winterwood box and right her ancestor’s wrongdoing. Unfortunately, success may prove fatal to both Ross and her new brother, and disastrous for the country. By righting a wrong, is Ross going to unleash a terrible evil? Is her enemy the real hero and Ross the villain?

  • Silverwolf

Britain, 1801. King George’s episodic sanity is almost as damaging as his madness. First Consul Napoleon is gathering his forces in France. The disease of democracy is spreading. The world is poised on the brink of the modern era, but the rowankind, long a source of free labor, have shaken off their bonds.

Some have returned to laru to find freedom with the Fae; others are trying to find a place in the world, looking for fair treatment under the law. The course of the industrial revolution may change forever.

Wild magic is on the rise. Creatures of legend are returning to the world: kelpies, pixies, trolls, hobs, and goblins. Ross and Corwen, she a summoner witch and he a wolf shapechanger, have freed the rowankind from bondage, but now they are caught in the midst of the conflict, while trying their best to avoid the attention of the Mysterium, the government organization which would see them hanged for their magic.

When an urgent letter calls Corwen back to Yorkshire, he and Ross become embroiled in dark magic, family secrets, and industrial treachery. London beckons. There they discover a missing twin, an unexpected friend, and an old enemy—called Walsingham.

  • Rowankind

What do you do with a feral wolf shapechanger who won’t face up to his responsibilities? How do you contain magical creatures accidentally loosed into Britain’s countryside? How do you convince a crew of barely-reformed pirates to go straight when there’s smuggling to be done? How do you find a lost notebook full of deadly spells while keeping out of the clutches of its former owner? How do you mediate between a mad king and the seven lords of the Fae?

Ross and Corwen, she a witch and he a shapechanger, have several problems to solve but they all add up to the same thing. How do you make Britain safe for magic users?

It’s 1802. A tenuous peace with France is making everyone jumpy. The Fae, and therefore Ross and Corwen at their behest, have unfinished business with Mad King George, who may not be as mad as everyone thinks–or if he is, he’s mad in a magical way. The Fae have left mankind alone up to now because they don’t care to get involved with mortals, but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re harmless.

A Baker’s Dozen Questions for Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford

By Carl Slaughter: Nimbus, the final book in Jacey Bedford’s Psi-Tech trilogy came out on October 3, and she’s already at work on the third book in the Rowankind trilogy – this time simply called Rowankind.

CARL SLAUGHTER:  First, let’s define terms.  What exactly is psi-tech?

JACEY BEDFORD:  Psi-tech is the broad term for neural implant technology that turns someone with a natural tendency towards psionics into a fully functioning telepath. Along with telepathy come other skills/talents. There are psi-mechs who can mesh mentally with machines. Empaths can sense what people (even non-psi-techs) are feeling, though they can’t ‘read minds’ as such. Navigators have an inbuilt sense of direction and can find their way around (a planet or the whole galaxy) by intuition. Dee-Ells (Doolittles, get it?) can connect with animals and non-humans in both directions, i.e. sense what they’re thinking/feeling and transmit feelings/ideas in return. As you can imagine, without language, it’s not an exact science. Healers (very rare) can manipulate flesh and bone and share life energy. In all these skillsets there are levels. Cara is a top grade telepath and a level three empath. Ben is a top grade Navigator but his telepathy is minimal. He can barely throw a thought as far as his feet. Other characters have different skillsets.

CS:  What’s the context for the science premise?

JB:  We’re five hundred years in the future. Humanity developed jump gates in the 22nd century, which allowed the megacorporations to begin to colonise the galaxy. Platinum is a required catalyst for jump-tech. Unfortunately the technology is flawed. For every jump through foldspace a small, but significant amount of platinum is lost. Though platinum is common, it exists in small hard-to-extract quantities. For example all the platinum refined on earth to the present day would barely cover an Olympic swimming pool to the depth of twelve inches. So to keep the jump gates open, the megacorporations are desperately seeking more and more platinum. It’s the most valuable commodity in the galaxy.

CS:  How does this affect the characters?

JB:  Psi-tech implant technology was developed by the megacorporations. The psi-techs’ special skills make them invaluable ‘commodities’ as far as the megacorps are concerned. On the one hand psi-techs get to fly space ships and do cool jobs in outer space. They are looked after from cradle to grave, and rarely want for anything except freedom. They are buried in contracts so dense that the only way to get away from the megacorp that paid for their implant and training is to die or to run. (And even running is dangerous when your bosses can find you mind-to-mind.) There are rumours of a place called Sanctuary where runaway psi-techs can find help, but at the time the trilogy opens, Sanctuary has been broken by the megacorporations.

CS:  Bring us up to speed on the story before Nimbus.

JB:  Empire of Dust. Cara is on the run from Alphacorp and a particularly shady boss (and ex-lover) when she hooks up with Ben who works for the Trust taking a team of psi-techs to set up new colonies and babysit them for their first year. Ben, Cara and a team of psi-techs take a party of colonists to Olyanda, but things get complicated when they discover large reserves of platinum. Both the Trust and Alphacorp are after the platinum and suddenly the colonists are surplus to requirements.

Crossways. Ben, Cara and the psi-techs have taken refuge on Crossways, an independent space station populated by crooks, free-thinkers, subversives, renegades and runaways. Mother Ramona and Norton Garrick, two of the biggest crimelords on the station, would like to legitimise Crossways. They helped Cara and Ben when they most needed it and have proved to be far more reliable friends than the megacorporations. Ben and Cara have promised to find an ark carrying 30,000 cryo-frozen settlers which was abandoned by the bad guys in the first book, but suddenly the hunt for survivors turns into a battle for survival when the combined megacorps decide to take out Crossways and invade Olyanda for its platinum reserves.

Nimbus picks up the story after the battle. The psi-techs are helping to repair and restore Crossways and Cara is searching for what remains of Sanctuary. The megacorporations aren’t going to try another frontal attack, at least not yet, but they still want to get their hands on Olyanda’s platinum. However, that might all prove to be minor compared to a new threat. In the last book Ben discovered void dragons living in foldspace. This led to a confrontation with an entity they’ve named the Nimbus. Ships are disappearing during transit. Is the Nimbus behind the disappearances? Does it have a plan?

CS:  How have the characters in the story evolved?

JB:  Cara, in particular, has to learn to get over her trust issues. She’s very fragile and vulnerable at the beginning of Empire, but then discovers that she’s not going crazy, Alphacorp really is out to get her. Ben learns almost exactly the opposite when someone he trusts turns out to be on the wrong side, for all the right reasons. Both Cara and Ben have to leave the shelter of their respective megacorp behind and become independent.

CS:  Are we mostly seeing the situation from the perspective of the protagonists?  Do we get a glimpse of how ‘the bad guys’ view the galaxy and their relationship with ‘the good guys’?  Do they get to make their case or does the storytelling make certain fundamental assumptions against them?

JB:  It’s mostly from the point of view of the protagonists, but the antagonists do get some point-of-view time. There are three antagonists in the first book. One of them is in it for himself, one is doing everything he can to advance his megacorporation, and the third is the colony leader who does the wrong thing for all the right reasons. He’s ideologically opposed to implantation technology, so he’s having a nightmare time when he has to spend a year in close quarters with psi-techs. He’s not evil, but he makes some terrible decisions, with tragic consequences.

CS:  Is the series finished or will there be sequels and prequels and spinoffs?

JB:  The trilogy is certainly finished, but I never say never again. Cara and Ben aren’t ever going to be able to retire and have an easy life without needing to be problem solvers. I cut loose a couple of favourite characters towards the end of Nimbus and I keep wondering what’s happening to them. I also have a couple of back-burner books that are set on one of the colonies a thousand years in the future when they’ve lost touch with their origins.

CS:  When will we be able to read Rowankind?

JB:  Rowankind looks as though it might be published in late 2018, though there’s still a bit of wibble-room on the timing. I’m still writing the first draft.

CS:  Bring us up to speed on that trilogy.

JB:  Winterwood and Silverwolf are out already. The trilogy is set in 1800 to 1803 in a Britain with magic. Mad King George is on the throne and Napoleon is hammering on the door. The industrial revolution is underway, but not with magic. There’s a race of biddable bonded servants, the rowankind, who have been around for such a long time that everyone’s forgotten their origins. The Mysterium will hang any unlicenced witch they can catch. In the first book, Winterwood, Ross Tremayne is an unlicenced witch who captains her own privateer vessel, dressed as a man. She’s accompanied by a crew of barely-reformed pirates, and the jealous ghost of her dead husband. She makes a deathbed visit to her estranged mother and gets a quest she doesn’t want and a half-brother she didn’t know she had. There’s some lovely rivalry between Ross’ late husband and her new romantic interest, Corwen. In the second book, Silverwolf, we’re dealing with the repercussions from Ross’ success at the end of Winterwood. The rowankind have magic and the Mysterium is beginning to wake up to that fact. We’re also dropped into the middle of Corwen’s family problems which intersect with things going on in the industrial revolution. Ah, I’m trying not to give away too many spoilers here. Let’s say that life is not getting easier for Ross and Corwen. The third book, which I’m writing now, is about Ross and Corwen finding a solution for persecuted magic users.

CS:  Will Rowankind have a different setting than the two previous books?

JB:  No. It carries on from Silverwolf, although the action moves back to London for part of the book. The story setting ranges from the West Country (Devon Cornwall and Somerset) to Yorkshire via London and, as in the other books, they’ll also be at sea on Ross’ ship, the Heart of Oak, visiting some of the pirate islands.

CS:  Will it have different characters?

JB:  It will still be Ross and Corwen taking the lead. It’s all in Ross’ first person viewpoint, so we don’t get to see anything she doesn’t experience. Corwen’s brother Freddie is still causing problems and Ross has promised to try and find out what happened to Olivia’s dad (henry Purdy) after the Mysterium conscripted him into the army. Also, a pirate character I really liked in the first book, Gentleman James Mayo, will turn up again. And we’ll finally get to meet Mad King George, who is mad for a specifically magical reason. Of course, Walsingham is still causing trouble. We never discovered what happened to his notebook—the one with all his dark spells in it.

CS:  What’s at stake for the protagonist and antagonists, in the story arc and in final novel?

JB:  Unless Ross and Corwen can protect the rowankind from the Mysterium the Fae have vowed to intervene, and that’s not going to be good for the country. They could simply decide to wipe out the troublesome humans if they want to. Our heroes need to change the hearts and minds of those in power. And speaking of the Fae, Ross’ brother, David, is having betrothal problems. He’s being pushed towards a marital alliance with Fae nobility, when he really only wants his childhood sweetheart, Annie. Meanwhile, Walsingham is trying to find his notebook before Ross does, and there’s a little matter of revenge for all that’s happened to him. Ross is still growing into her magic and there will be a few discoveries in that direction, too.

CS:  Again, will we see more stories in this universe?

JB:  Rowankind will bring this trilogy to a close, but I keep wondering what Ross and Corwen’s offspring might be like. Shapeshifters? Witches? Both? I like writing in this universe, and – hey – I’ve done a lot of research and it would be a shame to waste it. However, after Rowankind I have another historical fantasy book in preparation – a stand-alone this time – called The Amber Crown. It’s set in an analogue of the Baltic States in the early 1600s, and it’s a political fantasy with magic which brings together three very unlikely protagonists: a failed bodyguard, an assassin and a Romany witch.

Jacey Bedford, Author of the Rowankind Series

By Carl Slaughter: DAW fantasy author Jacey Bedford continues her Rowankind magic/alternate history series with Silverwolf, released January 3 by DAW.

Jacey Bedford is a British writer from Yorkshire with over thirty short stories and four (so far) novels to her credit. She lives behind a desk in an old stone house on the edge of the Pennines with her husband and a long-haired, black German Shepherd – that’s a dog not an actual shepherd from Germany. She’s the hon. sec. of Milford SF Writers’ Conference, held annually in North Wales.

CARL SLAUGHTER: First, let’s talk about the protagonist. What type of relationships does she have?

JACEY BEDFORD: Silverwolf is the second in the Rowankind series. Rossalinde (Ross) Tremayne is the main character in the first book (Winterwood), and she’s also the narrator in the second. The other protagonist is Corwen Deverell. In Silverwolf he gets a family and a history.

By the time we get to Silverwolf, Ross and Corwen are deeply committed to each other, though it was a rocky start since (in Winterwood) the ghost of Ross’ first husband, Will Tremayne was still hanging around and Ross wasn’t ready to let him go.

Ross had a poor relationship with her mother and younger brother, especially after her father died at sea. She thought her mother didn’t understand her, but later (when it was too late) discovered that her mother probably understood her too well. Discovering that she had a half-brother, David, and then that her mother’s sister, Aunt Rosie, was still alive gave Ross a welcome second chance at having a family.

Her relationship with her ship’s crew—barely reformed pirates, the lot of them—is close. She treats them like the family that she didn’t have growing up. Hookey Garrity, for all his rough, piratical ways, is like a big brother; Mr. Sharpner, a hugely knowledgable sailing master, is like a wise uncle, and Daniel Rafiq, an ex-slave educated for a high position in an Eastern potentate’s household, is like a cultured cousin.

CS: What type of personality/temperament?

JB: Ross first. She’s independent and intelligent with a hard edge when she needs one. She’s loyal to her crew and to her friends. She’s got a sense of decency and fair play and thinks hard about consequences. She’s not going to let an innocent get hurt if she can help it, but for all that, she’s got a practical streak. And don’t forget she captained a privateer vessel for three years. She’s not soft.

Corwen’s physically fit and quick-witted, but he’s also got a sense of humour and can be prone to teasing. He’s a man who tries to do the right thing, sometimes putting himself in harm’s way because of that.

CS: What about her character. What’s her moral compass?

JB: When Winterwood opens, Ross is the captain of a privateer vessel—essentially a legal pirate as far as the British are concerned, but simply a pirate in the eyes of the French. Thanks to her late husband, Will Tremayne, the Heart of Oak has a fearsome reputation. Ross would rather rely on that reputation and intimidate enemy vessels into giving up without a fight. She’s not unnecessarily cruel, but if they want a fight then she’ll give them one, and that means deaths on both sides. She’s not afraid to strap on a pair of pistols and board an enemy vessel in a skirmish. By the time Winterwood ends, she’s realised that the pirating game is not for her, but she keeps the ship, setting up Hookey as captain, and still takes her owner’s share. I suppose that makes her morally ambiguous. When faced with a problem she’ll meet it head on and if the only solution is physical action, she’ll not shirk the necessity.

CS: Natural abilities and paranormal abilities?

JB: When she first ran away to sea with Will Tremayne Ross was barely eighteen years old and had led a pretty sheltered life in the family home in Plymouth. Her mother was trying to make her into an elegant young lady who would attract a good husband. Ross ran away with Will and her life changed in an instant. Will taught her how to dress as a boy and become a sailor by day, and how to be a woman by night. She can fight with sword or pistols and shin up the rigging. After Will’s death she took over as ship’s captain.

Her magical abilities are very specific. Ross is a witch, but that doesn’t mean she has wand-waving, spellworking power to get her out of all scrapes. She’s a weather-worker, with control over wind and water. She can create light, but has to work very hard to turn that light into heat. She’s also inherited the family ability to summon. This means she can mostly summon spirits of the dead, but if she’s very close to someone or something she can call them to her. She can always call the Heart of Oak to her, mainly because of the sliver of ensorcelled winterwood laid into the sip’s keel.

Corwen is a wolf shapechanger. He’s very quick to point out that he’s not a werewolf and he’s not moon-called. He can change from man to beast and back again in the blink of an eye. He doesn’t have any magical powers as such, but the Lady imbued him with the minor ability to create illusions. Like all magical creatures he can see spirits, though can’t summon them himself.

CS: She’s got more than one person/organization opposing her. Who are the antagonists, what do they want and why, and how do their actions affect her actions?

Her main opposition—because it’s the main opposition to all unregistered witches in Britain—is the Mysterium. It’s a government organization which enforces the protocols governing the use of magic. Anyone showing magical talent must register by their eighteenth year and submit to the regulations, which tend to allow small magics, but not big ones. Anyone not registering will hang if caught.

Separate to, and above the Mysterium is also a position that has existed since the days of the first Queen Elizabeth’s Sir Francis Walsingham, her spymaster. As well as spies, Sir Francis was also concerned with magic. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of Winterwood, but in the intervening two hundred years there has been a small and secret government department concerned with greater magics.

CS: What’s the fantasy premise?

JB: Britain in 1800 with magic. Winterwood: A cross-dressing female privateer captain (who is also a weatherworking witch) who has inherited a half-brother she didn’t know she had and a task she doesn’t want. Silverwolf: Ross and Corwen trying to deal with the aftermath of what happened in Winterwood. Expect magical creatures, more from the Fae, the Mysterium getting tough(er), family problems, and a spanner in the works of the Industrial Revolution.

CS: This series is also alternate history. What’s the setting?

JB: Something happened in 1588 which brought the magical world closer to the non-magical. If you know your British history, you can take a guess at what that might be. It’s now Britain in 1800 – 1801. The British and the French are at War. Napoleon Bonaparte is hammering at the door. The Americans have gained their independence. Mad King George III is on the British throne. The Industrial Revolution is underway, but it’s still early. There are steam pumping engines, but the railways are almost 30 years in the future. It’s still the era of the stagecoach and the canal.

CS: In Silverwolf, there’s a lot more characters than in Winterwood and a lot more turmoil. Who’s doing what to whom and why?

JB: Ross and Corwen are hoping for some happy-ever-after time together, but it turns out that there are consequences to what happened in Winterwood. Magical creatures—the like of which have not been seen for centuries—are once more roaming the land. The gentle rowankind, long a source of free labour, have regained their magic. Some have gone through the gates into Iaru, the home of the Fae, others have determined that they should make a home for themselves in Britain as free rowankind.

Corwen is called back to Yorkshire to sort out some family trouble (so we meet all of Corwen’s family at last.) The family woolen mill, largely run with rowankind labour, is in trouble (exacerbated by a little local interference). Corwen has to negotiate with the rowankind, and then Ross and Corwen have to protect the mill’s rowankind from the Mysterium, which has suddenly woken up to the fact that the rowankind now have wind and water magic. In the meantime Corwen’s twin brother Freddie has skipped out on his responsibilities, but when Ross and Corwen track him down to London they discover an even bigger plot against the rowankind and other magical creatures. Turmoil pretty well describes it, but Ross and Corwen have to sort it all out and concentrate on what’s important.

CS: The action in the first novel is at sea. In the first sequel, the protagonist and her partner go ashore. How well does she function out of her element?

JB: Ross is adaptable, and she has Corwen to help her. She’s been at sea for seven years, but before that she grew up ashore. Her magic is natural magic from the forests, so it’s always been stronger on land than at sea. This suited Ross at first because she was uncomfortable with her own magic and being at sea damped it down, but now that she’s more at ease with herself, being on land helps. She misses her seagoing family, though, so it’s a good job they turn up in the book and make themselves useful. There’s still a fair bit of sailing in Silverwolf, too.

CS: Give us a peek at the final story in the series.

JB: Most of it is still in my head, but Ross and Corwen have an obligation to the Fae to protect the rowankind, and they can only do that by making a deal with King and Parliament. That’s not going to be easy, of course. Having magical creatures in the workforce could also derail the Industrial Revolution. For instance why would you need to invent gas lighting if you could light streets and buildings by magic? Why invent steamships if a weather witch can power a sailing ship?

Corwen’s brother, Freddie is an ongoing problem which they will have to solve.

An unexpected peace between England and France in 1802 (Treaty of Amiens) curtails the Heart of Oak’s privateering. Also, if the French and English exchange prisoners during the peace there’s every chance that Ross’ old enemy Walsingham will reappear.

There will also be a shock for Ross when she discovers that bad-boy pirate, Gentleman Jim, her one-time lover, didn’t die in the big conflagration in Winterwood. There’s lots of unfinished business to wrap up. I’m looking forward to writing it.

CS: What other projects do you have in the works, especially DAW projects?

JB: I’m currently writing Nimbus, the third book in the Psi-Tech series. This will complete Cara and Ben’s current story arc and round off the trilogy. It’s due for publication in October. Empire of Dust and Crossways are the first two books in the trilogy.

CS: Will we be able to catch up with you at a convention?

JB: I’m in the UK, so most of the cons I attend are there. I’m always at Eastercon which (surprise) is always at Easter, but rarely in the same place. This year it’s in Birmingham (and next year in Harrogate). I always like to attend Fantasycon, too. That’s the British Fantasycon which usually happens late in September. Both cons are heavily into literature. There are a couple of smaller conventions I like to attend if possible and that’s Bristolcon (28th October 2017 in Bristol) and Novacon (10th – 12th November 2017 in Nottingham). Of course 2017 is also the year of the Helsinki Worldcon in August, so I’ve already signed up for that, and I’m hoping to take a side-trip to Tallinn in Estonia (just 2 hours from Helsinki by ferry) because I have a book on a back burner which is set in a version of the Baltic States in around 1650. That’s not under contract yet, so watch out for news.

Thanks for having me drop by for an interview, Carl. As ever your questions are insightful and interesting to answer.


DAW will give a couple of copies of Jacey Bedford’s novels to a Filer — the winner to be randomly selected from those who e-mail me at with “Bedford Books” in the subject header by February 6.


Psi-Tech Series

  • Empire of Dust (Psi-Tech series #1)

  • Crossways (Psi-Tech series #2)

  • Nimbus (Psi-Tech series #3) Due October 2017

Rowankind Series

Winterwood (Rowankind #1)

Silverwolf (Rowankind #2)