Today I wanted to talk a bit about the path to publication and even some aims I have for the Never series – especially now that the release date for book two is right around the corner.
Back in December 2014, I sketched an outline for an epic fantasy/adventure story that would follow its main character on a quest to discover his true name.
There was not a lot of detail back then, but what I did know was that I wanted a five part the story and that each part (or release) would feature a distinct setting with a specific goal and resolution, even as the main character’s search remained the unifying theme across the books.
I had a bit of a idea in mind too, that if someone asked me about series I could answer in two ways:
Epic fantasy without the epic length
Imagine Indiana Jones with magic and more sarcasm
In regards to the first statement, to expand a little – I wanted to keep the epic scope and sweep of world changing events common to epic fantasy, but I didn’t want to tell the tale across say, fifteen 700+ page books. (I have nothing against long books by the way, but the story I had in mind didn’t feel like that style).
And so The Book of Never is a five book series and the first three are novella-length, whereas the last two books are going to be closer to full-length novels. I felt this would better suit the adventure-feel to the series too.
For the second statement, I have to jump back to New Year’s Day, 2015 when I started the first draft of book one: The Amber Isle. (Most cunningly, I called that particular Word document ‘Never – Book 1’.)
By now, I had a name for my main character: Never and a central problem to go with it – Never didn't know his true name and before we meet him in the book, a long, futile search has already made him a little bitter, a quality which is shown through his frustration and sarcasm.
By the time I finished that first draft of The Amber Isle I knew both the treasure-hunting and time spent exploring lost ruins and ancient civilisations lent it that Indiana Jones feel. Thus, I had a well-established point of reference for readers. Assuming said readers also liked epic fantasy and magic, it was my hope that people would enjoy the mix of adventure and fantasy in the Never books.
If I jump forward to the 1st of March 2016, it’s the release of The Amber Isle and Never’s quest has started. For those of you reading this post who are unfamiliar with the story, here’s a mini blurb:
Roguish Never is on a quest to lift a curse on his blood and to learn his true name; but upon joining a group of treasure-hunters he soon finds himself unearthing world-altering secrets that have long lain dormant within the mysterious Amber Isle.
The story mostly takes place on and within a series of islands called the Grey Chain, as Never searches for the Amber Isle and the secrets within.
Each subsequent book features a different setting:
A Forest of Eyes sees Never heading into the White Wood, hot on the trail of more clues to the truth and then in River God he spends most of the story navigating rivers and the dangers within. By the forth book (The Peaks of Autumn, due in October) he has climbed into the mountains and finally, when Imperial Towers is released, you’ll see the bulk of the action take place in deadly cities.
Here’s the schedule if you wanted to keep an eye on the stories:
Book of Never 1: The Amber Isle - March 1st 2016
Book of Never 2: A Forest of Eyes - May 1st 2016
Book of Never 3: River God - July 1st 2016
Book of Never 4: The Peaks of Autumn - October 1st 2016
Book of Never 5: Imperial Towers - January 1st 2017
It's my hope that you’ll enjoy the central mystery surrounding Never’s name and heritage, but also the exploration and adventure offered by the world I’m developing :)
As I’ve mentioned earlier, A Forest of Eyes is out on the 1st of May and right now, draft one of The Peaks of Autumn is ‘resting’ while River God is with my editor.
While at present the books are only available as ebooks, July 1st will be a twin release – both the River God ebook AND an omnibus/collected print edition of books 1 – 3 will be available for purchase.
If you happen to check out Never, I’d love to hear what you think of his story :)
Thanks for reading!
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Ashley Capes is an Australian writer of fiction, poetry and very occasional non-fiction.
Imperial Towers (Never Book 5) - draft 1
Moss Dragon - draft 1
Reed Lavender (working title) - draft 1
Unnamed Spec Fic - draft 1
Whisper of Leaves (sequel) - Outline