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A Discussion of Creativity & Writing: An Interview with S.W. Raine

Today we are talking with S.W. Raine about her creative process. S.W. Raine is the author of The Techno Mage.

About Author

Raine is Canadian, born and raised, and constantly moved in between Ontario and Quebec with her military family. She moved to Michigan, USA, in 2004, where she currently still resides with her husband and son.

She has always had a vivid imagination and loved reading and writing from a very young age. She took courses in Children’s Literature through ICL in Illinois, and released her debut New Adult Steampunk adventure in 2020. She has participated in NaNoWriMo for over a decade and is currently a Municipal Liaison for the Detroit region.

So let’s get into the questions!

First, tell us about your book!

The Techno Mage is about a trio of friends, a mythical man, and a mission to destroy the mythical airship Faugregir.

How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you?

I’m a total Pantser, and the only inspiration I had was an image of an airship that appeared as a floating island instead.

Tell us a little bit about your main character(s). Were you inspired by anyone particular when writing them?

I had originally created the trio (Ikarim, Arteus, and Magaliana) for a Steampunk Role Play that never really took off. The only inspiration I had was a random image of a blond man as my avatar for Ikarim, and a woman with long blonde dreadlocks wearing tan overalls that I had seen long ago.

What about your setting? What inspired you to choose where the story took place?

When I created the trio for the RP, all three were mechanics. And since Arteus was the son of Doktor Gesselmeyer–a wealthier scientist–it just made sense to have them be in Germany, working as a side-gig for the old man.

Obviously, stories change from their initial inception. How has your story changed while working on it?

I deleted a few scenes, but I also ended up deleting an entire character, as well! It broke my heart, but he’ll make his reappearance proper in the spin-off. πŸ˜‰

What is your writing process like?

As stated earlier, I’m a total Pantser. I cannot outline to save my life. I like to think of myself as simply following the characters around and chronicling their journeys.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?

The actual writing. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) is my favorite part because I can just let the ideas flow.

What was the most difficult part in writing your book? How did you overcome it?

Revision and Editing were the most difficult parts. I had originally written The Techno Mage back in 2012 for NaNoWriMo, and every time I’d try to edit, I’d end up giving up after chapter 3 or 4. It’s because I didn’t truly understand how to properly edit, nor did I know that editing and revision were two separate things. It took years of trying and giving up off and on before I found myself up until 3AM learning about revision, macro edits, and micro edits via Pinterest.

Now let’s talk personal inspiration: did anyone or anything inspire you to be a writer?

I have always loved reading and telling stories. I’ve had a wild imagination since I can remember, and creative writing was always a favorite at school. I’d have to bargain with the teachers to let me write over the max word limit! I’ve had many different favorite authors as I grew up, and even took courses with ICL in Chicago, but I can say that even though I didn’t know the awesomeness of Neil Gaiman until the early 2000s, he is definitely my biggest inspiration. His storytelling is amazing, and the fact that he writes for all different ages was a definite win in my books.

Finally, do you have any words of inspiration or tips to new authors?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.

Thank you for joining us today! If you’re interested in S.W. Raine, check out the links below!

Social Media


Until next time,

E.S. Barrison

Book Review

The Techno Mage – Book Review

Book Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜† (3.25 / 5 stars)

Airships teeter in the sky. Alchemy fuels the mechanics. As two mechanics and an alchemist, Ikarim, Arteus, and Magaliana have ingrained themselves into society while under the wing of Arteus’s father. But after Art’s father dies and sky pirates raid their shop, the trio are sent on a whirlwind of an adventure, surrounding the mythical figure: the Techno Mage.

The mage is everything Magaliana thought was fantasy: charming, charismatic, and with the ability to perform true alchemy, he completely enthralls her. She wants nothing more but to master the art of alchemy just like he did. But will mastering it mean sacrificing her own values?

A well written, fast paced adventure, S.W. Raine’s debut novel will whisk readers young and old into a world of magic and technology. The characters are well defined: hot-headed Arteus, level-headed Ikarin, and tough-as-nails Magaliana serve as three different insights into the story. Then you have Josepheus, the slimy Technomage, who’s voice cuts through the paper like a deceptive breeze. The beginning is well thought out, giving the reader a chance to get to know the characters and see their motivations, as well as learn what brought them all together. Even if you haven’t read too much steampunk fiction, Raine does a good job at introducing the different elements to the world without inundating the reader with world building.

Yet, despite the well thought out beginning, the pacing grows muddy throughout the narrative. Parts will meander, before speeding up. While this often happens in many narratives, there were parts I would have enjoyed exploring more in depth: the Haze, the dichotomy between the above and below worlds, the second half of Mags’s arc, as well as the ultimate confrontation with the Technomage and his beloved Juliet. Yet, despite the fast paced nature of these part, I learned enough to still enjoy the story.

What did ultimately knock this book down to 3 stars for me though was a single trope. This is a personal opinion and might not impact most people’s thoughts on the book. Unfortunately, while Magaliana is a tough, powerful, and intelligent woman who I really adore, she falls into the “Smurfette Principle.” She is basically the only woman in the story. Yes there is Juliet and the characters mother’s, but they’re so brief in comparison to Magaliana’s role. While this occurs plenty in fiction, and often times is easy to overlook, the one issue I had was how so many of the male characters were infatuated with Magaliana, or used her to their advantage. Yes, Magaliana is endearing and intelligent, but it was something that personally made me a bit uneasy. This was made worse by how I interpreted the ages of characters, which are never blatantly mentioned, placing Magaliana’s fate at the hands of men older than her.

That being said though, Magaliana does receive some justice at the end by choosing her own destiny. I do hope to explore more of her adventures one day too, to explore more of her abilities as well as how her experiences shaped her into a powerful alchemist.

Still, The Techno Mage by S.W. Raine is a promising first novel that will captivate audiences. I definitely recommend that people jump on this voyage with Ikarim, Arteus, and Magaliana…it will be a fun time.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

She’s being held hostage and yet, Magaliana doesn’t want to be saved.

Close friends Ikarim, Arteus, and Magaliana always knew the dangers of sky pirates, but what they didn’t expect was having their airship repair shop pillaged and being separated when Magaliana, a noble, is sold for a hefty bounty.

Once in the hands of the Techno Mage, her world changes. He’s a mythical man with the ability to flawlessly combine both technology and alchemy, and his mythical ship is a haven for Magaliana. There, she discovers how to refine her craft.

Ikarim and Arteus are determined to escape the sky pirates to save her, but do they have what it takes before the Techno Mage initiates his grand plan?