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Local historical fantasy authors gather at Trident

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Local historical fantasy authors gather at Trident

Lyra Selene, author of “Amber & Dusk,” reads from her novel at Trident Booksellers & Cafe.

Lyra Selene, author of “Amber & Dusk,” reads from her novel at Trident Booksellers & Cafe.

Riana Buchman

Lyra Selene, author of “Amber & Dusk,” reads from her novel at Trident Booksellers & Cafe.

Riana Buchman

Riana Buchman

Lyra Selene, author of “Amber & Dusk,” reads from her novel at Trident Booksellers & Cafe.

Riana Buchman, news correspondent

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Under dimmed lights at Trident Booksellers & Cafe, New England historical fantasy authors read excerpts from their novels for a handful of attendees on the second floor of the bookstore Thursday night.

The event was a combined networking event and reading series run by Speculative Boston and Bookbuilders of Boston.

“This time it’s working out perfectly,” said Caitlin Kling, an event coordinator for Trident. “It did last time as well, where an hour before the Spec Fiction event starts, the Bookbuilders come and do some networking and have name tags, so everyone knows each other, and then it kind of transitions seamlessly.”

Speculative Boston, or Spec Boston, is a reading series founded last April by Andrea Corbin, who was also at the event. Bookbuilders of Boston is a nonprofit organization that organizes events for those interested in book publishing and manufacturing.

“We have a lot of literary fiction series and poetry series. I wanted one that was about sci-fi, fantasy, horror and all the different genres that I’ve loved all my life and so many of my friends do,” Corbin said.

Corbin handpicked authors for the reading event Thursday. As the sole coordinator at the start of the series, Corbin gathered a list of New England authors from her own connections or based on recommendations from others.

“When I was trying to do it at the beginning, I just started emailing people, whoever had a public email address that I thought could be involved. I just emailed them and said, ‘I’m a writer in the area, I want to start this reading series, do you want to help?’” Corbin said. “Everyone was super eager to help; it’s a great community around here.”

The three authors at the Trident event were Elaine Isaak, author of “Elisha Barber,” Lyra Selene, author of “Amber & Dusk” and N.S. Dolkart, author of “Silent Hall.” The authors read short excerpts from their respective novels. The night concluded with a Q&A segment with questions from both the host and audience members.

Isaak, who often writes under the pseudonym E.C. Ambrose, read from “Elisha Barber,” which focuses on the protagonist Elisha, a surgeon and barber set in 14th-century London. She crafted the whole series after envisioning a scene of Elisha standing with his hands bloodied and in awe of his actions. She said she did not outline, but instead wrote frantically, initially producing five books around her character.

“In fiction circles, we often talk about plotters vs. pantsers,” Ambrose said. “So pantsers are people who fly by the seat of their pants. I wrote three other books that way first, so when I came up with the idea for Elisha Barber, I sort of immediately sprang into it.”

Dolkart spoke next, sporting a black t-shirt printed with the cover of “Silent Hall.” He read from his book, focusing on the reintroduction of a “dragon-person” in the series, which was received with laughter. He said his inspiration drew from his readings of the Torah.

“That was the kind of world I wrote, where the gods might kill you or chase you or terrify you for mysterious reasons, and you might never find out why,” Dolkart said. “Humanity in my series is just trying to appease multiple gods without really any knowledge of what will work.”

He said he was not an outliner either, but created stories as he went. He said he surprised himself when he found all the loose ends in his novels came together.

“I felt like I was a not-juggler, like someone who doesn’t know how to juggle who just chucked a bunch of stuff in the air and then magically caught it all,” Dolkart said.

Selene read from her novel “Amber & Dusk.” Her inspiration mainly drew from the Sun King, Louis XIV.

“The one thing that really fascinated me was the emphasis on modes of decorum,” Selene said. “There are really rigid rules of polite society where every hour of the day was rigidly structured as a way for Louis XIV to control his nobility.”

The Q&A portion of the night covered a range of topics including outlining techniques, what their upcoming novels would be as drinks and the idea of magic.

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