Welcome Wednesday – Hope in the Darkness with M. J. Padgett

Author: M. J. Padgett

Genre: Fantasy

Series and Books:

Eiagan’s Winter by M. J. Padgett: An immortal tyrant on the path to righteousness finds hope in unexpected places… and dragons.

Hope in the Darkness

Interview by Jenny Fulton

Have you ever had a really intense dream and then turned that dream into a book? No? Me neither, but M. J. has.

M. J. Padgett is a writer and a mom who loves creating worlds where people can disappear and escape from reality. While she writes in a variety of genres, most of her work can be found under young adult contemporary, young adult fantasy (fairy tale adaptations), and adult epic fantasy. Her most recent novel, Eigan’s Winter, is an adult epic fantasy and is the first book in The History of Goranin Trilogy.

Authors get their inspiration in countless ways. For M. J., the idea for Eiagan’s Winter broke forth from a place of restlessness and uncertainty.

“I felt a bit lost in my writing,” Padgett share. “That is to say, I loved it, but it was not quite fulfilling enough. Something was missing. I prayed for an idea, even a glimmer of one that might tell me I was on the right path. I questioned everything, including my career choice. That night–or morning–I woke at 3 a.m. after the most vivid dream I’d had in a long time. The dream was the entire first chapter of Eiagan’s Winter. A dear friend encouraged me to put everything else aside and just write. I did, and it was the most fulfilling experience of my career as a writer.”

As M. J. progressed through the story, she changed and developed along with her characters. She discovered what was missing and reclaimed a part of herself that she’d lost.

“My first book, which admittedly is not great, really resonated with teenagers even though my writing was still developing. I wrote that book from my heart, but over time I forgot that my heart was what people wanted. Instead, I tried to write what everyone else was writing. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what people wanted, what the market was looking for, and not enough time listening to that voice that was uniquely me. This was a bad habit I needed to break, and I think I did with Eiagan’s Winter – I accepted that my voice is just fine the way it is.”

Eiagan’s Winter is Padgett’s first adult epic fantasy novel and writing it stretched her in several ways.

“I had written young adult urban fantasy and had a blast, but tackling Eiagan’s world was more intense and took a lot more planning–and imagination! The tone is also different because the protagonist is, shall we say unlikeable, initially. It has darker and harder-hitting undertones than any of my other work, which is primarily light-hearted, or at least the stakes are not as seriously portrayed.”

Altogether, Eiagan’s Winter guided M. J. Padgett to new heights in her writer’s journey.

“I call this my ‘growing up’ book because I grew so much writing it. During that time, I managed to control my anxiety, learned I can write adult fiction, and learned how much I love creating worlds. I also learned that everyone’s path is winding, and what works for me might not work for others. That’s okay, we’re all just trying to survive what life throws our way.”

Like many authors, Padgett was able to relate to her main character and pulled from some of her personal life experiences as she wrote.

“I am an introvert to my very core, and much of my personality comes through in Eiagan’s thought processes (except the murdery bits, of course). I suffer from anxiety, and the character of Eiagan embodied those horrible feelings and made them a real character.”

Throughout all of her work, M. J. seeks to instill some sense of hope and forgiveness. These themes ring out especially strong in Eiagan’s story.

“In Eiagan’s Winter, the queen is utterly alone, though we discover it is not wholly her fault. I think it is important to remember that people are often products of their environment, even if they do not intend to be. Living in a reactive place can project the wrong image of who a person truly is, and in my work, I try to give the “villains” a redemption arc worthy of forgiveness. Or, at the very least, a thread of hope that they might grasp to pull them into a better place.”

“What do you hope readers come away with after reading your book?” I asked. 

“I pray readers will see that people are not all bad or all good, that there is a God who loves us more than we can ever love ourselves, and that even in the darkest of times, there is hope. There is always time to change your perspective, and in doing so, there is time to change the outcome of your story.”

*Reader Advisement: It is strongly recommended that readers have a box of tissues, chocolate, and puppies on hand when entering the realm of Eiagan’s Winter.

Book Blurb for Eiagan’s Winter

The land of Goranin has survived the rule of the dreaded Allurigard bloodline for centuries. Suffering perpetual winter at the hands of a tyrannical, bloodthirsty queen, the people seek out a savior to restore their land to its former glory. They find one in Moriarian of Varrow. Moriarian makes grand promises, and the people of Goranin invite him in as their new leader.​

Eiagan Allurigard, the feared dragon-riding Winter Queen, wants nothing more than peace and quiet. Her people push her to the edge, stage uprisings, and revolt against her absolute authority. When her immortality is stolen and Moriarian attacks, Eiagan barely escapes her castle alive. With a gaping abdominal wound and nowhere to hide, she seeks out an unlikely ally in her quest to reclaim her throne.

​Moriarian’s promise of salvation is too good to be true, and the people are subjugated to a fate worse than death. As Moriarian ravages her land, Eiagan seeks revenge against him and those who betrayed her. Haunted by memories of her past, Eiagan joins forces with a band of rebels, a healer who believes he can save her blackened soul, and a den of dragon-shifters determined to free the land of oppression once and for all.

​Traitors, a wicked sorcerer, and deadly creatures threaten their survival, but the queen is determined to win back her birthright at all costs—even if it means sacrificing everything.

Purchase the Book: Eiagan’s Winter

Connect with M. J. Padgett

Author M. J. Padgett shares about the development and themes behind her latest fantasy book on Heart-Soul-Mind.org

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