When I was writing The Burning Bandit, I took lots of inspiration from different aspects of Asia. The First Empress was inspired by Empress Dowager Cixi of China, as was the mythology and architecture.
To create the protagonist, The Burning Bandit (otherwise known as Rayan), I looked at some of the world's most iconic warriors, the Samurai. It was their history I used as a basis for the bandit's weapons, clothing and style of combat. I would definitely recommend Shogun, by James Clavell, if anyone is looking for a similar read (while it's not fantasy, it is a great adventure story).
I like the theme of magic vs non-magic, and so in The Burning Bandit, Kai was designed to be Rayan's opposite. Rayan was from a large powerful family, Kai came from a farm. Rayan was a warrior, Kai a priest. Rayan was frightened by the power of The First Empress, while Kai was inspired by it.
The contrast between Rayan and Kai is what drives the story...and pushes them apart!
See the Pinterest board here
Thank you for reading!
Lauren Louise Hazel x