Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fantasy Taking Flight!

Today I welcome Nicole Zoltack on her Champion of Valor tour!

Since writing more than one book was something I never planned, I asked Nicole about writing a trilogy.

Writing a Trilogy

If anyone ever told you that writing a series is fun, they would be right. After all, we all love our characters, right? And we all love to put them into sticky situations, the stickier the better. And as writers, we hate to say goodbye. So standalone novels turn into just one more book, and poof! A sequel! And then another and another….

Now if anyone ever told you that writing a trilogy is easy, either never wrote one, or is a liar.

The first book in my fantasy romance trilogy, Woman of Honor, was so easy to write. If you don't count the long layover in which I wrote half of it during Nano and then let it sit collecting virtual dust bunnies on my hard drive for nearly two years before finishing the rough draft in another month. So yeah, it basically took me two months to write it. Piece of cake. (Obviously it needed a lot of editing before I submitted it but that's besides the point.)

Book two, Knight of Glory, was fairly easy to write as well. Some of the characters were already introduced, and I introduced more, as well as new races - dwarves and trolls. Obviously not new new races as many fantasy books have dwarves, but my trolls aren't your normal trolls. For one thing, they have magic - they can dance on the wind. And the women always wear exquisite clothes. As a race, they are tall and have long features - arms, legs, noses. Anyhow, a war started at the end of Woman of Honor, and it continues throughout Knight of Glory. The kingdom of Arnhem is at war with Speica, and things are looking bleak for Arnhem.

Then it was time to write Champion of Valor. The last book. Which means everything needs to be tied up neatly in a bow. This book took the longest for me to write. It was the darkest, and I cried after writing some scenes, and during another. And I purposely made things hard and then harder on the good guys. I wanted to make them work to achieve their ending. Even wrote myself into a corner. For a little while, I didn't know how Arnhem could possibly be victorious.

In the end, there are still some things I did not explain fully. I plan on revisiting this world in future novel(s). This series focuses on the final war between Arnhem and Speica. But there are plenty of stories that can be written before and after the war.

So if you like dwarves (and would like to meet a dwarven woman, seriously why are they hardly ever written about? And no, she doesn't have a beard!) or knights (seriously, who doesn't like knights?) and mages (both good and evil ones), you might enjoy the Kingdom of Arnhem series. Just beware of any ponies with dripping wet manes. Those Kelpies will drag you down into a watery grave.

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win some signed post cards and magnets. Each comment during the Champion of Valor Blog Tour gives you an entry for the grand prize: a copy of the entire Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy - Woman of Honor, Knight of Glory, and Champion of Valor.

Visit Nicole at her BLOG and WEBSITE!

Any questions for Nicole? I bet she likes Hot Tamales as well!

81 comments:

Ted Cross said...

I like knights. I like dwarves. I'm a little leery about the wind dancing trolls, though!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'm a little curious about the dwarven women, actually...haven't run across those in my reading.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ted, they might be a little clumsy.

Elizabeth, guess we wouldn't have any dwarves without them, huh?

Dafeenah said...

All of the things I love when I read a book. Thanks for the introduction. You always have such great suggestions on blogs, movies, music, etc. Oh btw I watched 127 Hours btw the other day and OMG!!! I almost freaked when he did what he did. But loved the movie.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for this post, will pop over to her blog asap.

Have a good day,

Yvonne,

Ellie said...

Fascinating interview. I often thought writing a trilogy or series of books must be challenging yet fun. Thank you, Alex and Nicole.

Old Kitty said...

Love dwarven women - beards or no beards!! Yay!! Thanks Capn Alex for a fun and fabulous interview with the ethereal Nicole! Take care
x

Stephen Tremp said...

Best wishes for you and your trilogy. I'm writing one asn understand its challenging and rewarding. I'll skip on the dwarfen women. Thanks anayway.

Nebular said...

I love fantasy, so this trilogy definitely looks like my cup of tea...

Matthew MacNish said...

Those covers are awesome, and I love Nicole!

Chris Phillips said...

Agree about the covers.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Alex!

Wind dancing is just a fancy way of saying they can fly. Does that make you any less leery, Ted?

I tried to give a reason for why the dwarven women are so hidden away, Elizabeth.

Thanks, Dafeenah! 127 Hours is on my to-watch list.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks, Yvonne, have a great day!

That's exactly right - it's challenging and fun to write a series, Ellie.

lol, Old Kitty. Glad you liked the post!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Good luck with your trilogy, Stephen!

I love fantasy, myself, Nebular!

I adore my covers, thanks, Matt and Chris!

Hart Johnson said...

I've got a trilogy and I think there are things that are GREAT about it and things that are pretty darned hard. My original idea was the 2nd and it stewed a long time before the idea of the 1st suddenly came to me, but then it pretty much wrote itself (7 weeks). The 2nd took a little longer and the last was harder... then I had to rewrite the first to incorporate the later stuff... now the second two need total reworking because of changes in the first *rolls eyes* totally a circular process. So great job for succeeding!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks, Hart! Writing a trilogy isn't easy. Everything has to build upon itself and be consistent. Good luck with your!

Leovi said...

I have not read anything you, but I find it very interesting.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

it's crazy to me that you didn't plan on writing a sequel. Crazy I SAY!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dafeenah, thank you! And I need to watch that movie on NetFlix.

Ellie, if I have to do a trilogy, I'm in trouble.

Nicole, happy to host you.

Hart, that's admirable though!

Sarah, me? Hey, I just didn't think the first book would even sell!

Thanks everyone for stopping by and saying hey to Nicole!

M Pax said...

Sounds like a great trilogy, Nicole. All success to you. I'm jealous you can write a first draft so fast.

Donea Lee said...

Alex - thanks for supporting Nicole on her blog tour!! :)

Nicole - sounds fascinating! For a series, however, I hear that each book should be able to stand alone, no matter what order you read them in. What do you think? How did you tackle that in your series?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

MPax, I'm jealous as well!

Biff Tanner said...

Great suggestions!

Grammy said...

Hi, Alex, a really wonderful post... I really do need to check them out (the trilogy) and also need to read your book..
Alex, thank you so much for your support of my meandering posts. I am on overdrive now, trying to make up for lost time over the last month and catch up on a lot of blogs that I haven't read in a while.
love, ruby

Pat Tillett said...

It looks like an interesting series. Also, a TON of work! Congrats!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ruby, you're welcome, and take your time!

Jeffrey Beesler said...

I betcha anything wind-dancing trolls would be great to have as part of a bowling team! Thanks for sharing, Nicole!

Loren Chase said...

These sound really interesting, I really want to check them out now! Especially the Kelpies, I love Kelpies... ;)

Lynda R Young said...

Great interview. The hardest part of writing a series is that you can't change the rules halfway through. Apart from that, I'd agree it's a lot of fun writing series. (I get so attached to my characters).

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jeffrey, I think you're on to something!

Lynda, those rules can make it interesting for the next book - trust me!

katsrus said...

I have not come across a book that had dwarven woman and mages yet. Sounds interesting. Really enjoying following your blog tour.
Sue B

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks, Leovi.

I agree, Sarah. Sequels are great. Ya here that, Alex?

Thanks, M Pax! I would get nothing done without deadlines.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Donea, you're right, normally each book in a series should be able to stand alone. However, I pitched this story idea to Gail as a series so that was a little different. Despite that, I tried to write the books in such a way that you could understand everything without reading the others first, but that everything would have more meaning and the reader's understanding would be enriched if they read the entire series. I know of at least one person that read Knight of Glory first and understood everything. There are so many characters in Champion of Valor, though, that I'm not sure I completely pulled it off but I tried!

Bottomline, yes, each book should be able to stand alone unless you are contracted to write the entire series.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks, Biff.

Thanks for dropping by, Grammy!

Thanks, Pat!

LOL Jeff! Whe trolls would kick some serious bowling butt, the cheaters!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I love Kelpies too, Loren! Glad to find another Kelpie lover. Not enough people know about them.

You're right - the rules can never be changed midway through a series, Lydna. Everything has to be consistent.

I'm so glad you're enjoying the tour, Sue!

Jemi Fraser said...

The dwarven women definitely have my interest! Sounds like lots of fun :)

Jennie Bailey said...

You and your Hot Tamales! I'm intrigued and since I was looking for my next read, this will be it! Sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing, Alex...now I'm off to peruse her blog and website!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kasrus, now you have!

Jennie, happy to turn you on to a new writer! Wait, did that come out right? Crap. Just throw Hot Tamales!

Copyboy said...

I will indeed. I have so much admiration for you author types. Just one book to me seems like such a daunting, amazing task.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Nicole, what an interesting concept. You always hear about dwarfs being men. Of course there would have to be women to procreate, lol! I like the idea of them dancing on the wind.

I find it hard to torture my characters--I do--but it's hard.

I'm going to have to check these out.

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

Lydia K said...

I think I'd be scared to write a trilogy. Excited, but scared!

:)

Carol Kilgore said...

Congrats on your books, Nicole!

Hanny said...

I've always loved reading series, but I admit that writing one sounds rather daunting. (I'd have to follow my own rules!)

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Alex. Hi Nicole. I so agree with you about the trilogy. My book will be at least four and maybe five with a few novellas thrown into the mix. Trolls with magic and lady dwarfs oh my. I think your series sounds great.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Saumya said...

"And as writers we hate to say goodbye." SO true!! I don't think I could write a trilogy but I admire anyone who can!

Melissa Bradley said...

Wow! I am adding all three books to my must read now list. And I will have to get my fanny over to her site to learn more. Thanks for bringing her to my attention, Alex.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I'm in awe of anyone who's an author, especially an author who finds writing easy.
I think I'm following her blog, but will go make sure right now.
Thanks, Alex.
xoRobyn

Ciara said...

I love the covers and it sounds like a great read.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Copyboy, it is!

Sia, of course! We wouldn't have more dwarves otherwise, right?

Saumya, I'm not sure I could either.

Thanks everyone for welcoming Nicole!

Clarissa Draper said...

THis really isn't my genre but I love your covers and the stories sound intriguing.

And seriously, yes, they need more FEMALE dwarves.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks, Nicole and Alex, for sharing this! Appreciate it. Have a great weekend! :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Wonderful. I love the feminine take on the mythic heroes and villians. And, looking at the first photo gave me an idea. Authors could have photo shoots of their characters and display them on their websites and blogs. And, it would be fun to grab friends and family and dress them up like our characters.

Lauracea said...

I love the sound of dancing on the wind trolls and female dwarves. That's right - we never hear about female dwarves, like leprachauns. But there must be some, otherwise, how do they...um...you know...reproduce? LOL.
The books sound fascinating. Best kind of interview, Alex.

carol said...

Sound like great books. I will have to look into them further. Thanks for sharing.

Stephanie said...

Those books sound awesome, right up my alley. And good for you giving female dwarves a chance to get into the spotlight.

http://steph-wordbyword.blogspot.com

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mary, you may be on to something!

Lauracea, exactly!

LTM said...

wow, this sounds like an amazing trilogy, Nicole! adn that's how I know if it's working--if I'm crying, I know it's coming together.

Best of luck w/all~ :o)

Julie Musil said...

Writing a trilogy must have been a daunting task, and it was fun to read how Nicole pulled it off.

Helen Ginger said...

I haven't written a series, but I bet it is difficult to wrap up all the many threads!

Incidentally, I love the book covers.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

very intriguing to hear of the "hows and wherefores" of it all - writing a trilogy - and is it any easier to let your characters go even after the trilogy? ;)

Holly Ruggiero said...

Did you know you wanted this to be a trilogy when you started?

Kate said...

I have a lot of admiration for anyone setting out to write a trilogy like this. Strikes me as quite a challenge.

The books look lovely - great covers!

Cheeseboy said...

These books do not quite look like my cup of tea, but I will certainly be passing them along to my wife.

Jo Schaffer said...

Cool. Thanks for the intro to Nicole.
I'll go check out her blog right now. (=

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Julie and Helen, I know it scares me!

Cheeseboy, your wife the fantasy geek in the family?

damyantiwrites said...

This post made me curious, it is a fascinating concept. Alex, I love how generous you are with other writers on your blog, featuring them and writing words of support.

Susan Fields said...

Fun post! I was wondering about those dwarven women having beards. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm starting to think that maybe I should write a book in which the MC is a dwarven women. Hmm... maybe that could be the next book I set in this world! Anyhow, it is a lot of fun, Jemo!

I'm so glad to hear that, Jennie! I hope you enjoy reading it.

LMAO, Alex!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thank you, Copyboy, it is definitely both daunting but amazing. It's both wonderful but tear0your0hair out, too.

Thanks, Sia! Torture isn't always easy, but in order for our stories to be better we must be slave drivers! Torture = conflict and conflict drives the story. There was definitely a lot of torture in Champion of Valor.

Lydia, it's daunting but exciting. Why not try a sequel first and see how that goes?

Thanks, Carol!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I love to read series, too, Hanny.

Thank you, Nancy! I think series are great fun to read.

Thanks, Saumye!

Thank you so much, Melissa! I hope you enjoy them!

A.J. Walker said...

Back in the 80s there was a big debate in D&D circles about whether female dwarves had beards or not. It even made it into the pages of Dragon magazine. I can't remember if there was any "official" resolution.

Yes, writing a trilogy is fun and hard. I'm 20,000 words into book two of my own trilogy and it's a long way until the end of book three!

Hannah Kincade said...

I love Nicole's covers so much! A nice classic look.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thank you, Robyn. I love to write.

I love the covers, too, Ciara, thanks!

Thanks, Clarissa, and I agree re: more female dwarves. I seriously think my next story set in the world will have to focus entirely on one.

Thanks and you too, Karen!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I use one of my wedding photos as my author picture since we had a Renaissance-themed wedding. It fits. I think that's a really good idea, Mary!

Thanks, Lauracea! And you're right, you never hear about female leprachauns- why is that?

Thanks, Carol, I hope you do check them out!

Thanks, Stephanie! I hope you enjoy them if you do read them!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I feel the same way about crying and writing, LTM. If I'm moved enough to cry, hopefully the reader will too.

Thanks, Julie!

Thanks, Helen, I do too!

Actually, GYPSYWOMAN, it's still not any easier to let go of your characters after writing a trilogy. If anything, it's even harder since you've spent so much time with them!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great question, Holly! I knew I would be writing more than one story, that it would be a series. When I started on Knight of Glory, I realized that the crux of the series was the final war between Arnhem and Speica. Once I realized that, I knew then it would be a trilogy. But not until then. I want to write more stories set in this world, but some might be before the trilogy, some after. I think the rest will all be standalones, though. Of course, who knows? That's the beauty of writing!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Writing a trilogy is indeed a challenge, but a rewarding one at that. Thanks, Kate!

Thanks, Cheeseboy! I hope your wife will like them. :)

Thanks, Jo! I hope you'll like my blog enough to follow it.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Thanks, damyantiwrites, and Alex is amazing, isn't he? I love his blog and his support of other writers.

LOL Some people say that about dwarven women (having beards), but mine don't. Thanks, Susan!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Oh, that's funny, A.J.! I didn't know about that. (I was born in 84 so I wasn't worried about female dwarves' facial hair yet, lol) I'll have to see if I can dig up some information about that. Mine, don't personally, but I don't want to say too much about how mine look. You'll have to read the book to find out. Good luck writing your trilogy, A.J., and have fun with it!

Thanks, Hannah! I love the covers, especially Champion of Valor's.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Thanks Nicole.

Nicole Zoltack said...

You're welcome, Holly.