Another of my wonderful followers and author friends, Adam Beswick, suggested that my next post be about ‘how I came about wanting to write my series’. So I’ll be answering that question today!
If this site is your first experience of my writing, firstly I promise it gets better than this, you may not be entirely aware of my main Work In Progress (WIP) or where Eleri’s Kingdom came from. For the past six years, a young woman called Laila Cairns has been floating around in my mind. She is a feisty, strong girl with a dark past and an uncertain future. She is featured in my first ever novel which is yet to reach complete first draft status. So far, I have around 25,000 words of Laila’s story. She is the centre of my writing universe and her story is the one I have been desperately trying to tell. A synopsis of her story, if you’d like:
Laila Cairns fled her home of Asile, persecuted for powers she did not know she possessed. Years in hiding gave her a new home, a family, and a fiancé. Now her past is catching up with her in the form of her ex-lover Damon and various factions who require her help in the brewing civil war. Will she choose to stay and live as a human, or go back home and learn who she really is?
Laila’s book has a provisional title which I have been keeping under wraps. Publicly, it is called Book One. Hopefully her story will be a trilogy. If you want to learn more about the magic systems and individual characters, you can visit my Instagram or please let me know if you’d like a post based on Asile in the comments below.
Eleri’s Kingdom is the prequel to Book One; set around 150 years prior. It had dawned on me that within Book One we learn how Asile used to be ruled by a monarchy of elite magicians, d’Elysian magicians, before they were overthrown. Eleri would be one of those elite magicians and this would be her story. A story of how the monarchy set itself up to be destroyed.
Why this story?
I am quite an emotional writer. I write from the heart and often leave little notes, like the one on my welcome page, on Instagram. At sixteen I had a lot of emotions and to be honest I was optimistic to think I was just ‘being a teenager’. Laila is an extension of me in many ways. Her experience, her attitude, her refusal to compromise herself, and her voice are all developed from myself. In truth, I felt compelled to write Book One. I have written stories of various calibre throughout my childhood and adolescence, but it wasn’t until Laila that I felt I had surpassed my somewhat immature work. It was the first piece of writing that I felt connected to emotionally, and felt committed to. She’s been here for over half a decade, she isn’t going anywhere.
Eleri’s story is a bit more lighthearted in conception. She was a break from the emotional, more dramatic, storytelling. She’s also a chance to experiment with a younger style of writing. She is very much still a teenager and experiencing her first love in a very regimented situation. I don’t treat her story as a literary project, but more a pastime. It will be a short and sweet snapshot of the d’Elysian monarchy at its greatest, right before its fall. There will be drama and emotion, but it is much more about a young girl finding herself.
Where did I find Eleri and Laila?
Eleri came to me in a random moment, which has come to be my usual method since I began writing. I was at work in April this year and a colleague mentioned that they knew somebody called Eleri. Apparently this person is Welsh and Eleri is derived from their full name, Elizabeth, which is my name. I knew immediately I had to do something with the name and, unless I fancied surprising my family with a new addition, she had to be a character in my next work.
It happened pretty quickly from there; as if she had been hiding behind a curtain waiting for me to have this epiphany. I realised that she lived in Asile, but that she came before Laila and her story. The idea that she was a prequel seemed pretty natural. I toyed with the possibility that she was Laila’s daughter but that required me knowing who she ends up with, and whether she even wants children. I disliked the idea of planning the other side of Book Three so I stuck with the prequel.
I don’t actually remember finding Laila. I’m pretty sure she found me. A bit of behind-the-scenes knowledge: I had absolutely no clue what Laila’s backstory was for about 18 months. I was about to go on holiday with a friend and decided to scroll through old writing for a laugh. I then found a piece featuring a girl who was on the run from the Council who ran her country. I took one look at it and knew it was her story. That was when things really reignited for me with her. That was August 2016.
Why a serial?
To be honest, writing a novel is really hard. And time consuming. And emotionally draining. Having built up such a great number of followers on social media, I felt as if I wanted to give you all something instead of more sneak peeks and aesthetics about a novel that was nowhere near the shelves. I also kind of got the idea from Gossip Girl. When Dan Humphrey publishes his novel Inside in Vanity Fair in installments of chapters, it really impressed me. It was a unique way of getting his work out there after struggling to get the novel off the ground traditionally. For me, it means that I can write it in shorter prose and release it to you guys much more quickly. Currently it is looking as if Eleri’s Kingdom will be a short story, coming in at around 20,000 words. It is my way of properly introducing you all to Asile and its history without giving any of the game away for Book One. So I really hope you like it!