So, this morning I had what you might call a moment of intense panic.
I always do, before publishing or running a promotion. I spend days poring over everything, trying to fix all the problems, streamlining things, and generally pulling my beard out. I can be very intense when it comes to my writing, and I tend to get wrapped up in things. The last four or five chapters of my book usually go in a couple of weeks–and my readers know that means hundreds of pages.
I’m the kind of writer that can’t really produce much on a subject or story that doesn’t mean something to me. So whenever I start a promotion and I start to see downloads happening, I have this moment where my brain does a little back-flip and I think “Ye Gods, someone is actually going to read this thing.” I doubt my every decision that led to me putting it out there.
What is Beneath the Burning Sky and The Sageward Exordium? Well, you might call it Military Fantasy. Or, you might call it Science Fantasy…or maybe Military Science Fantasy. It’s not quite Steampunk and it’s not Contemporary. To tell the truth, I have a hard time putting it into a category that can describe it in essence.
Bear with me while I attempt to describe the setting. Imagine the world of The Seven Signs around 600 years into its future–a time perhaps comparable to WWI. Things have evolved considerably, including magic and those who use it. Magic has weaved itself into technology, and vice-versa, and this strange marriage has created a truly unique setting to tell a good story.
There’s also a huge conflict going on between two opposing factions on the continent of Alderak. War has been raging for an entire generation, and as we all know, war is a huge driver of innovation. Something of an arms race has ensued, and both sides are scrambling for advantage.
Beneath the Burning Sky is the story of one soldier and her experiences during a pivotal battle of the conflict. It’s the first installment in a prologue of stories that will lead up to the release of a new series. The Sageward Exordium is the prologue, and is itself a series of short stories.
You’re writing a series of prologues? Yes, as crazy as that sounds. When I came up with the ideas for the upcoming series, the first thing I did was sit down and start fleshing the idea out. Once I got to the point where I needed to put something on paper, I realized that the prologue to the actual book would be huge, considering the backstory that needs to be told. In short, it would be as large as an every day novel on its own, so that’s why I decided to put the prologue out as a serial. The Sageward Exordium is the prologue–it’s just in serial format.
So you’ve described the setting, but what is The Sageward Exordium truly about? Well, the Exordium itself is just the bedrock for a larger plot arc. But taken with the series it precedes, I would say that what the story is really about is war itself and the larger effects it has on those who wage it. Each installment in the serial will tell the story of one of the main characters and what happened to them on the same day, during the same fight.
I wanted to tell a good war story, and I wanted to do it in an exciting way. But, as a veteran myself, I know the real-world effects that war has on people. I’ve seen some of that in real life, and so I wanted to tell a deeper story than one of blood and glory. It will certainly have plenty of that, but there will also be larger implications at hand, and deeper emotional ramifications for the characters in the story.
How many installments are there in The Sageward Exordium? Right now there are five planned installments, but I reserve the right to add another as they come to me. I’ve written a number of very interesting characters, but the project is still in the infancy stages at this point. I plan on putting a new one out every four to six months during the times when I just can’t stand to write another chapter of The Seven SIgns (haha). The Exordium has to be planned to coincide with the larger series it will precede, so it can be slow-going at times. It’s a story that speaks to me on a very deep level, though, so I have a feeling that it will be huge.
The Seven Signs is pretty big. Will the new series be that large, as well? In a word–bigger. The rough plot line I’m working with now puts me right at about five books, though those books won’t be quite as large as your basic Seven Signs book–which come in at about 340,000 words. These will be around 150,000-200,000 apiece. Which is still huge, I know. The Seven Signs is Epic Fantasy, which is supposed to be huge. The new series, though, may be chopped down a bit. It all depends on what happens during the developmental edits, too. So stay tuned!
I hope that answers a few questions about Beneath the Burning Sky. As always, don’t forget to like me on Facebook, check out my website to join The Conclave–my mailing list–and follow me on Twitter. Much love to all of you, and I’ll talk to you soon.