Wow. What a year this has already been. It’s gone by so fast, but so much has happened! We are finding that fall and winter is our time to write, create and launch new epic works, and this year is no different. Last winter we brought you the first of The Nightfall Chronicles, a dystopian fantasy superhero series set in the future of a fantasy-based world like ours. We are continuing that adventure with more books and novellas in that series, so stay tuned.
But we are also bringing you something entirely new. Today we launch the first in a brand new epic fantasy series that is near and dear to our hearts. This is a series of novellas set in a unique world we’ve been creating for almost two years now. Epic fantasy was our first and most enduring love–as readers and writers–but it’s taken us a few years to actually start publishing in this genre. We’re so excited to come back to our roots with Part One in The Shattered Islands series, The Rakam.
A few years ago we began creating a magic system that was based on gemstones charged by either the sun or the moon (or both, in some cases.) Different stones allowed the practitioner to cast different kinds of magic, and the use of those stones altered their physical appearance. Nails, eyes and hair would slowly change colors, matching the stones they were using most regularly.
As we slowly built this new world, with maps and sketches of creatures, and as we developed cultures and political structures that felt fun and interesting, we also spent many hours watching a series of classes Brandon Sanderson taught on writing epic fantasy. For those not familiar, Brandon Sanderson is one of the best epic fantasy authors of our time. His books are some of our favorites in this genre (which is saying a lot, considering how much we read in this genre), and he is a genius at world building, plotting and character development. If you haven’t read his work, we recommend starting with either Mistborn or Warbreaker. Both are great. We learned so much from his classes, and they really helped us more fully create the world in which this new series takes place.
We originally thought we’d write a full length epic fantasy, and we had some early concepts for plots centered around two sisters. While those ideas are still on our list of possibilities, we knew this summer that we wanted to start with something different. Something that would be more ‘bite-sized’ to woo our readers to a new genre (for many of you), but would also be something meaty and exciting for long-time epic fantasy fans.
This novella, while short, is packed with story and intrigue. As one reviewer put it, “It is like a big story in a little book. I think that they throw a little bit of magic in to their stories to keep you coming back for more.” ~Nancy (The Avid Reader)
While shorts are more standard in science fiction, they can work in epic fantasy as well. In fact, our other favorite epic fantasy writer, Patrick Rothfuss, won the Writers of the Future Award for a novella length piece that ended up becoming part of his wildly popular Name of the Wind series. And Hugh Howey, a NYT bestselling science fiction author we love, is killing it with his shorts, such as his international bestselling WOOL series and his latest (and incredible) BEACON series. So, we thought it would be fun to experiment with a shorter series of works following the same character in the same world. These are stand alone stories that tell a bigger story in the end. The advantage is a fast read with a compelling storyline, and because we will continue to write them, you will also benefit from being immersed in this world and this character, to ultimately enjoy the depth of story and world-building so rich in this genre.
We hope you enjoy this newest creation of ours. We certainly loved writing it. And good news, Part Two will be launching on October 22, 2015, so mark your calendars. Shells & Stones should be up on preorder any day now!
Also, stay tuned for more blog posts where we will discuss the world-building of this series and share sketches of what we imagine the creatures and places we’ve created would look like! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, if you haven’t already, as today we sent out the first of those sketches!
THE SHATTERED ISLANDS: PART ONE: THE RAKAM
I have seen a fallen ship once, heard the bone chill screams and swam in the blood red water. I have fought the rakam and lived. I have loved a woman and lost her to the waves. I have seen the black kiasheen. Now, I am on a ship I do not recognize with people I do not call friend. They ask me who I am. I tell them little…
For I am here for them.
I must find their secrets. I must speak to the woman with the blue eyes. When I am finished, perhaps I will tell them who I am, for they have heard my story, and they think they know the end.
They are wrong.
This is only the start.
And tonight, I begin.