A warm welcome to author TJ Nichols joining us today to talk about new release “Warlock in Training”.
Power, lies and family
In Warlock in Training Angus slowly comes to realize that a lot of what he thinks he knows is actually lies spun by the Warlock College as they assumed a more powerful role in Vinland. They haven’t always been in control and magic wasn’t always used by the college the same way as it is now. But in a world where information is controlled do the people around you believe the lies or do they see through them but refuse to say anything?
His father is part of the Warlock College, he’s high up but Angus doesn’t know if his father knows the truth or cares only for his own position and power—he learns that his father is quite happy to lie to him and manipulate his memories.
Angus knows what will happen to him if he speaks up, but at the same time he can’t stay silent. He is scared and he doesn’t know who to trust (should he even be trusting the demons and the underground?). That he acts against the powerful college, even in small ways, makes him a hero.
Here’s an excerpt of Angus trying to be a good son for his mother while at the same time seeing through his father’s lies.
“We have a family reputation to maintain,” said his father.
Three generations of warlocks before Angus. Had any of them ever questioned what was going on? The clock on the wall ticked, counting out the silence. That was a question he was never going to be able to ask his father.
His father cleared his throat. “I heard you saw Jim.”
Angus glanced up sharply. “Yeah.” There was no point in denying it, but he could certainly deflect. “He wanted to show off his new girlfriend. I don’t know why I bothered. It would’ve been better if I’d had someone on my arm.”
“You don’t have time to date. You need to get your grades up.”
“Thus the not dating, Dad.” Thanks for your concern.
Angus shouldn’t be surprised. It wasn’t as though he’d been worried about what might happen to his son’s mind when they were trying to play seek-and-destroy in there.
His mother placed chicken pie in front of him. She’d made his favorite. He smiled up at her. He’d missed her while living on campus. He hadn’t missed living with his father. In that respect living on campus was better than living at home. Before it had been clear he had magic, she’d encouraged him to chase his dreams. One of his favorite toys had been a medical set… He remembered his father scoffing ten years ago and saying something like in the future they wouldn’t need doctors for anything. It would all be done with magic.
Then when he’d been ten, he’d felt it. He’d be drawn to certain places because he felt better there. He’d said nothing. Everyone knew the signs to look out for, and he’d spent almost a year trying to hide them because even back then, he hadn’t wanted to be like his father.
A need to be outside. Restlessness. Intense focus. Anger that resulted in objects levitating. He’d shattered a mirror when his father had started hassling him. In hindsight his father had probably been testing him.
“Thanks, Mom. I didn’t think you’d remember.” Or care.
“Of course I remember. I haven’t made it since you moved out. How is life at college? I’m so relieved that nastiness is over. You are fully recovered?” His mother spoke fast, as though she could stop the silence from coming back.
That he was only here to spy on his father—no, fix things so that he could spy later—wasn’t fair to her. He needed to be here for her. He didn’t give a damn about his father. Angus didn’t get the chance to answer the questions because his father butted in.
“Of course he’s all right. Why wouldn’t he be? The best doctors checked him over.” His father picked up his fork.
Angus looked at the man he barely knew. That bullshit wasn’t going by unchallenged. If he was here, having to sit through dinner, he would get something out of it. “I don’t remember anything.” Certainly no doctors. “Can’t have been that bad.”
“Demons like to drug warlocks so they are less trouble. That’s why you don’t remember.”
Angus started eating, forcing down each mouthful without tasting it. He should be enjoying it. His mother was a great cook, and he loved the way she put cheese in her chicken pie.
His father had just lied to his face. And in front of his mother. His mother, like the rest of the general non-magical population, was buying into those lies. Why wouldn’t she believe her husband? She loved him and trusted him. His father was part of the college and all that stood between demons breaking through and killing humans for their own corrupt desires. People feared the demons. They should be worried about the warlocks.
And people like his father who perpetuated the lies.
The lies were so thick and pervasive. There was no room to question until, like a blanket, they were torn away. For Angus it had happened slowly over his time with Jim. Saka had removed the last bits.
Now Angus could barely breathe for all the misinformation that was everywhere.
Angus Donohue doesn’t want to be a warlock. He believes draining demons for magic is evil, but it’s a dangerous opinion to have—his father is a powerful and well-connected warlock, and Angus is expected to follow the family tradition.
His only way out is to fail the demon summoning class. Failure means expulsion from the Warlock College. Despite Angus’s best efforts to fumble the summoning, it works. Although not the way anyone expects.
Angus’s demon, Saka, is a powerful mage with his own need for a warlock.
Saka wants to use Angus in a ritual to rebalance the magic that is being stripped from Demonside by warlocks. If Angus survives his demon’s desires and the perils of Demonside, he’ll have to face the Warlock College and their demands.
Angus must choose: obey the College and forget about Demonside or trust Saka and try to fix the damage before it’s too late. Whatever he does, he is in the middle of a war he isn’t qualified to fight.
TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily, writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the everyday.
With two cats acting as supervisors TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.