On finding the sequel to Bones of Faerie: Liza’s story, after all

Tomorrow (Friday) is the last day to spread the word about the Faerie Winter paperback and possibly win copies of all my books (including the ones you maybe haven’t heard of)!

I’m also over at Suvudu with five true things about Faerie Winter this week.


A couple weeks ago I talked about my attempts to write a Bones of Faerie sequel from Allie’s point of view. It was sort of working and sort of not, but I wasn’t too worried about that, since all my first drafts are incredibly rough.

When the time came to talk with my editor about a sequel, I told him how excited I was about telling Allie’s story. And he said two things.

First, he pointed out that it was Liza’s story readers would want and expect to return to, because they’d want to pick up where Bones of Faerie left off. From talking to readers since Bones of Faerie‘s release, I knew this was true, but I also knew–thought I knew–that Liza was just too powerful for another book, much as I wanted to see more of her, too.

But then my editor also asked: “Have you thought about what it would look like if Liza weren’t so powerful? What sorts of problems might she be discovering, so that things aren’t quite as easy as they appeared they would be?”

I hadn’t, not really.

Even though this is, of course, is how we tell stories: however powerful a character is, we give them challenges that are equal to–or greater than–that power. I knew that, but in the way one does, I also didn’t know, or had forgotten. Because I hadn’t truly thought about what it would be like, if I upped the stakes, and gave Liza bigger challenges than in the last book, even though no matter who my protagonist was going to be, this new book needed new and bigger challenges.

So I thought about Liza’s magic, and what forces might be stronger than that magic. I thought, too, about the challenges that living with such powerful magic might create. And I thought about something else: the fact that even if she’d made it home safely in the last book, Liza’s emotional arc wasn’t complete, and there were all these tensions, especially with Liza’s mother, that I’d get to explore more deeply if she was the protagonist of a second book.

I realized that not only could I write a book from Liza’s point of view, but also that I very much wanted to. I started writing, and through my usual series of rough drafts Liza’s challenges came clearer and clearer, and they included not just the magic-hostile humans she’d dealt with in Bones of Faerie (and who she could indeed handle now), but also some extremely human-hostile faeries who’d survived the war, and who Liza was not at all prepared to deal with. (These included, by the final draft, the queen of the Faerie, who I’d been sure had died in the War–but it turns out the Lady of Air and Darkness cannot be felled by something so simple as the end of the world.) There were new challenges inherent in Liza’s world itself, too, because in this new book it was winter now, a sort of winter Liza had never before seen and, well, winter isn’t the sort of thing one can easily fight with magic.

Pretty soon I’d stopped wondering how any danger could pose a real challenge for Liza, and had started wondering just how Liza was going to survive to the end of the story. (It was a near thing.)

And now, of course, I can’t imagine the story any other way. Because once a book is finished, it becomes in some sense true, and so I’ve moved from wondering how it should happen to knowing how it did happen.

And it’s very much Liza’s story, after all. 🙂

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