By Michael Meyerhofer
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Purchase it: Red Adept Publishing
In a land haunted by the legacy of dead dragons, Rowen Locke has been many things: orphan, gravedigger, mercenary. All he ever wanted was to become a Knight of Crane and wield a kingsteel sword against the kind of grown horrors his childhood knows all too well.
But that dream crumbled—replaced by a new nightmare.
War is overrunning the realms, an unprecedented duel of desire and revenge, steel and sorcery. And for one disgraced man who would be a knight, in a world where no one is blameless, the time has come to decide which side he’s on.
Challenges of Writing a Sequel by Michael Meyerhofer
When I was working on Knightswrath and Kingsteel, the sequels to Wytchfire, it was important for me to build on the characters I’d already established (which readers hopefully already had a connection with) but I also wanted to introduce some new ones, along with some new conflicts and background scenery. Put another way, I didn’t want the sequel to just be a rehash of the first book. I wanted to branch out into some new territory.
At the same time, I didn’t want to introduce twists and turns that were unexpected simply because they were totally out of left field. Even when you’re dealing with dragons and magic, to some degree, things have to be believable. As luck would have it, I was putting the finishing touches on Wytchfire at the same time as I was writing the rough draft of Knightswrath, which allowed me to work in some foreshadowing and keep things consistent.
Whether you’re talking about a kingdom’s sigil, a piece of geography, or the color of a minor character’s eyes, it can’t be one way in one book and a different way in the sequel. Well… it can, but readers will notice, and even the slightest shift or hiccup in continuity risks being perceived as a sloppy mistake.
Here’s a small example. After the release of Wytchfire, when Knightswrath was about to come out, I remember having a conversation with two different editors at Red Adept Publishing over whether or not we should change Jalist’s WOC (Weapon of Choice) from “long-axe” (as I’d spelled it in Wytchfire) to “longaxe” or “long axe,” which fit a bit better with how I’d named some weapons in Knightswrath. Believe it or not, we spent a decent chunk of time debating this, and I probably lost a little sleep over something most people probably wouldn’t even notice unless I pointed it out… which I just did. Damn.
When it came to writing this sequel, another challenge was that when I’d originally mapped out the whole series, I envisioned five books, decided to condense it to three, then ended up significantly expanding an early section of Knightswrath. The result was that to get things where I needed them to be, I had to keep the story pretty fast-paced without sacrificing character development, which just so happens to be my favorite part about writing (right next to composing sarcastic dialog). While a challenge, I think this ended up being a good thing. Hopefully, readers will agree!
Michael Meyerhofer grew up in Iowa where he learned to cope with the unbridled excitement of the Midwest by reading books and not getting his hopes up. Probably due to his father’s influence, he developed a fondness for Star Trek, weight lifting, and collecting medieval weapons. He is also addicted to caffeine and the History Channel.
His fourth poetry book, What To Do If You’re Buried Alive, was recently published by Split Lip Press. He also serves as the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. His poetry and prose have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Brevity, Ploughshares, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Rattle, and many other journals. He and his fiancee currently live in Fresno, California, in a little house beside a very large cactus.
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