By: Jill Criswell
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Release Date: September 22nd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other.
Lira of Stone watched her home burn and her clan fall beneath the sword of the warlord known as the Dragon. She believes the man she loves, a warrior who defected from the Dragon s army, is dead. Alongside her exiled brother and his band of refugees, she will fight the forces that conquered her island. But the greatest danger may come from Lira herself with the blood of banished gods running through her veins, she s become a weapon, and no one is safe from the power of her wrath.
Reyker Lagorsson thought he was done being a Dragonman. That was before he saw Lira leap from a cliff and vanish into the sea. Determined to honor her memory by protecting her people, Reyker must feign loyalty to the warlord, undermine him at every turn, and seek alliances with renegade soldiers without succumbing to the battle-madness that threatens to possess him once more.
When the Fallen Ones offer Lira a chance to defeat the Dragon, her quest leads her to a place she never expected Iseneld, the warlord s homeland. Her journey into the heart of the Frozen Sun will put her on a collision course with Reyker, costing both of them more than they ever imagined, and leaving her with a terrible choice: to save their countries, she must forsake everything she loves.
Agony and Ecstasy: An Insider Look at Sequel Writing
All authors have fond stories to share about “the call”—that magical moment when they first heard they were getting a book deal and their lives were forever changed. But here’s a story we don’t often hear: the moment of panic when you realize, “Oh, crap, I have to write another one.”
While there is a thrill in knowing your characters’ stories will continue past whatever condition they were frozen in at the end of your first book (especially if it ends on a cliffhanger, as mine does), there is also a lot of self-doubt that goes along with writing a sequel. What if you only had one book in you, and all your talent has been expended? What if you blew your most interesting storylines on book one and now all you have left to work with are duds? What if by giving your first book that crazy, fiery, dramatic ending, you’ve written yourself into a corner, because—like most writers—you were so focused on book one you couldn’t spare a thought for what might have to come after?
Personally, I had to shove all those doubts to the back of my head and just move forward. The first thing I did was re-read my first book, Beasts of the Frozen Sun, and make a list of ideas and things that needed to be addressed/resolved. I have two main characters—Lira and Reyker—who were separated at the end of book one. I started thinking in terms of ripple effects: Lira and Reyker have their own paths, so I need them to move forward on their own, but I also want their actions to cause ripples that effect each other, even though they’re unaware of these impacts. This was tricky, but also a lot of fun.
Here’s what wasn’t so fun: tying up loose ends. The whole first book takes place in Lira’s home country of Glasnith. I knew for the sequel, Kingdom of Ice & Bone, I wanted Lira and Reyker to travel to Reyker’s home country of Iseneld. I was dying to get them there. If I could have had my first sentence be “Lira and Reyker are now in Iseneld” and go from there, I would have. But there were so many loose threads from the first book that had to be resolved before that journey could happen. I was quite annoyed with first-book-me who left that giant mess for sequel-me to clean up. I’m not going to lie—writing Part One of the sequel was sometimes a slog for me. But with each new chapter I wrote, a clear path emerged. It felt like playing a game sometimes: move Lira here in this chapter, move Reyker there in that chapter, with each move edging them closer to stepping on those ships that would carry them to Iseneld.
Another issue I had was correcting mistakes from book one. Some readers complained that the first book meandered: there was no clear goal. Giving your characters a goal to move the plot forward is like Novel Writing 101, but it’s something I’ve never been great at. I’m an ambler, and so are my characters, but this time I knew I had to do better. This time I had to give my characters clear motivation. For Lira, it’s saving the young women who are imprisoned by the warlord, Draki, and achieving her revenge against him for the destruction of her homeland. For Reyker, it’s seeking redemption by protecting Lira’s island and her people, and saving his own island from Draki’s reign. Once I found that motivation, it gave me focus as my characters stumbled through the obstacles I’d set before them.
Finally, I knew better this time around that I wasn’t just writing a self-contained book. This is a trilogy, so I had to know where I was headed in the third book in order to set up those threads in the sequel—not every detail, but at least the basics. This was another tactic that helped with writing the sequel, illuminating a path for me to follow.
In the end, I’d say that writing the sequel wasn’t easy, but it proved easier than writing the first book. Now, writing a finale—yeah, that’s another story. Cue the cliffhanger…
About the Author
Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida.
Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).
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