My next novel after the Magic of the Lost trilogy has been officially announced! Enter, WARMONGERS, a “heart-wrenching epic fantasy set in a kingdom in a cycle of eternal war, where two women—once lovers and warriors at arms—are set on a collision course when years after their separation, one is crowned king and the other vows to kill her.”
I’ve mentioned this book periodically in tweets:
oh, haha, annnnd this:
But the book is still a long way off! So I thought I’d tell you a little bit more about my process and give you some hints of what’s to come.
A Little Behind the Scenes
This entire story started back when I first bought my Story Engine Deck. I fell in love with it and it was great for shaking out the cobwebs when I was mired in the harder parts of writing. It reminded me of what I loved about making up stories–the fun of possibility. So back in 2020 while I was working on The Unbroken, I would periodically pull some cards and brainstorm on them a little while, take some notes, keep building layers.
Here are some pulls from that first day, using the different configurations outlined in the guidebook (Circle of Fate, Clash of Wills). They created the seeds of the relationship and the conflict and the beginnings of a world to work in.
The Clash of Wills draw places two characters in opposition to each other, fighting over something in the middle.
The Circle of Fate shows two characters locked together over conflicts they have with each other. In the end, the two were similar enough that I conflated them a bit and the personal issues that bind the two characters to each other will just so happen to control the fate of a central kingdom, too.
I also have a shot from a later layering session with the final, very gorgeous Story Engine deck! It’s chaotic enough that you probably won’t be able to piece much together from it, and anyway, as the book is still under construction, any or all of it can change.
The above picture also includes some of the worldbuilding I did with an early copy of the Story Engine: Deck of Worlds, which Peter Chiykowski sent me so I could work on an illustrated story for the Deck of Worlds launch. (The Deck of Worlds is available for preorder now!)
Some of the rest of the origins were me leaning into what I love most and what I’ve been dying to write: battle buddies, lovers turned enemies (they know exactly where to stab!!), and hot warrior women in furs and blades. For the characters’ vibes themselves…I wanted characters that felt badass like Eivor and Kassandra, and since we didn’t get to see them kiss in the Assassin’s Creed DLC, I thought I would rectify that.
Stay sharp, my friends.