Marian Thorpe is celebrating the launch of the second book in her Empire’s Legacy series. Empire’s Hostage was celebrated last week at the Bookshelf E-Bar. Marian was joined by Avril Borthiry, author of The Wishing Well, and Guelph poet Nikki Everts, in an event that showcased the positive reception and community support for Marian and her work. Empire’s Hostage is a continuation of Marian’s lovingly crafted world and characters, following Lena as she is again called by duty to support a threatened Empire.
Marian Thorpe is a writer currently living and working in Guelph. Originally from Southern Ontario in Essex County, Marian was born to British-immigrant parents and grew up thinking of the United Kingdom as a second home. Her father instilled an early love for British history, and Roman-British history informed much of the fictional world of Marian’s Empire’s Legacy series.
On her inspiration for the series, Marian shared, “I didn’t plan the novel, I started with this image in my head. It was an image of this fishing village in northern Europe somewhere and a young woman… I realized late in the writing process that a lot of where the story came from was what my mother and aunts experienced in World War Two. My mother and aunt served in the British army. Another aunt was a member of the Danish resistance. So I had these stories of really strong women serving their countries. They weren’t being heroines; they were just doing everyday things. This young woman, my protagonist, isn’t doing anything heroic. She’s just doing what her country is asking of her and doing it to the best of her ability.”
Empire’s Daughter, the first novel of the series, took over a decade to write. Marian explained that Empire’s Daughter was written in fits and starts. The novel was sometimes left for over a year, and was often written in small pieces during her vacations or travels. Marian shared that when she came back to the story, the biggest challenge was to re-immerse herself in the personalities and the setting.
The Empire’s Legacy series is an exhaustively researched fictional work inspired by historical societies and events. The series immerses you in an intricately woven world and its characters. The story centres on Lena, a young woman faced with a divisive choice and the consequences of her decisions in response to a threat to the empire and their way of life. Empire’s Daughter explores how Lena and her relationships are shaped by challenges and triumphs throughout this dynamic coming of age tale.
In contrast, the writing of the second book, Empire’s Hostage, took two years. Now familiar with her characters and retired, Marian dedicates another of the major differences to the support of the creative and literary community in Guelph. The Writing Room at the Bookshelf, where much of the book was written, Vocamus Press, and other Guelph writers provided a vital support system and spurred the completion of the book, Marian noted, “The Bookshelf has been such a focus of my cultural life.” Marian shared that she is very grateful to have realized her goals of seeing her books on the Bookshelf’s shelves and reading at Eden Mills Writers Festival.
The final book in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy is still in the early stages of research, but Marian already hears the call for the final book, she explained “Even though it's in the young adult section I have 96-year-olds asking me to write the next one. It seems to strike a cord with all ages.” You can find the Empire’s Legacy series at the Bookshelf, or through Amazon, and Marian details much of the historical inspiration behind the series on her website.