Here’s hoping for an awesome week!!
Today, I am thrilled to welcome Dyane Forde to the site. Dyane is the author of the Rise of the Papilion Trilogy, and today, we get a little insight into the creation.
A Behind the Scenes Look at the Rise of the Papilion Trilogy
“At last! The day has come!” That’s what I was thinking on March 8, 2018, the date The Rise of the Papilion trilogy was complete and available for purchase. I looked forward to releasing the books and was filled with satisfaction and joy at seeing my dream come true, but the road to that unforgettable date was long and hard. So long, in fact, that when I released Wolf’s Bane and then Berserker, books 2 and 3 respectively, the pastor’s wife at my church suggested I write summaries to help re-situate her.
Those recaps are the inspirations for this post. I figured, what better way to introduce the books than a behind-the-scenes look at each one?
The Purple Morrow
The Rovers were sent to decimate the Southernlands. Instead, they awoke its savior.
Ten years have passed since the Rover army tore through the Southernlands, leaving behind a trail of devastation and death. Most believed the attacks were random acts of brutality. The wise, however, knew the truth: the Rovers sought to destroy the one thing powerful enough to thwart their conquest. They were searching for the Papilion.
A new commander, bent on completing the mission left unfinished by his predecessors, leads the Rovers back into the Southernlands. Fierce and determined, he comes armed with a precious artifact and a secret purpose.
While the Southernlands reel under the new terror, the Purple Morrow, a harbinger of hope, appears to Jeru, an unsuspecting and solitary clan hunter. Finding himself enmeshed in a series of incredible events beyond his control, Jeru is compelled to take the first steps towards discovering his ultimate destiny.
Why I wrote the book:
Every writer finds inspiration in their own way. When I started The Purple Morrow, I wanted to chronicle the journey of a man (Jeru) who begins the story at his lowest point and who, through various situations, finds resolution and transformation at the other end of the proverbial tunnel. So, why not write about a young man whose wife dies on their wedding night and, guilt-ridden, decides he can’t face the future? That is until his homeland is threatened by the same Beast-Men who destroyed his village years before, he comes face to face with someone from his past who complicates his already complicated life, all while dealing with the most terrifying thing of all: the threat of falling in love again. Somewhere along the way, he discovers that he’s the key to saving everyone. All he has to do it pull his head out of his…butt…long enough to do it.
The book includes elements I love: action, fantasy, relationships, values, different cultures and people groups, and all of it told through a Christian world view.
The Characters: Jeru and Nyssa dropped into my head during a church service, and I knew immediately what their relationship was going to be about and why they needed each other. Kelen, the villain, came to me while I was walking home from the bus. I pictured him kneeling by a lake and staring at his reflection. His personality, pain, and personal dilemma sprung from that image and I couldn’t wait to get home and write the scene. It’s one of my favorite moments in the book.
Painting of Jeru by Amy Hands
Unexpected Directions: The idea to make a trilogy instead of a standalone book was suggested by my sister, Amy Hands, who illustrated the image of Jeru above and the cover art for books 2 and 3. Thanks, sis, for setting me upon the most arduous, torturous experience of my life.
* * *
Excerpt from Ch. 14: Crossing Paths
In the few seconds it took for Kelen to take up his axe, he had already assessed his foe. The man was strongly built and was as lithe as a panther. He stood with his weight balanced between his feet, and from the stance alone, Kelen gleaned he was trained in some form of the fighting arts. The man’s breathing was steady, unhurried. He grasped his swords comfortably, ready to change grips at a moment’s notice. For a moment, Kelen concluded that the coming fight would not be fair. He knew he outweighed the other by at least fifty pounds and that a good, solid blow to the chest or head would quickly end the contest. But as he assessed the look in the other man’s eyes, Kelen checked himself. The clansman showed no fear. He is dangerous, either desperate and not caring about his life and is therefore ready to throw it away. Or he is a man with something to fight for and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
Kelen liked these new odds.
“Beast-man of the North,” the man said in an even tone. He raised his right hand, pointing a sword-tip at him. “I have come to reclaim what you have stolen from me.”
Kelen smiled to himself, satisfied that his hunch had proven correct. He had come for the woman. Was he her husband? Her lover?
Kelen took a moment and formed a response in his mind. He had always been amazed that he could understand the Southland’s languages and dialects with an ease that surpassed his brethren. To him, accessing the skills needed to understand and to speak them was like delving into a long-forgotten chest which had suddenly sprung open, revealing its secrets.
“What have I…stolen…from you?” he asked with only a little difficulty.
The man advanced a step. “A woman. She was taken from our woods. I want her back.”
Nonchalant, Kelen lifted and dropped his shoulders. Then he swept a hand in a semi-circle, indicating they were the only ones in the area. “There is no woman here.”
The black-haired man advanced a few steps more, his sword still pointed towards Kelen. “You are a liar. I know she was taken by your people. You will return her to me.”
“Ah, yes. I seem to remember the face of a pretty, new slave. I was thinking she might make a good wife.”
The Rover laughed. “If you want her, you will have to go through me.”
A thin, mean smile carved itself across the clansman’s face, and his eyes glittered. Green eyes, Kelen realized with some surprise. He did not have long to consider this, as the man flicked his wrists, propelling the swords into a series of arcs. The blades split the air with sharp sighs as they spun.
Kelen felt the thrill of the impending clash pulsing through his veins. He lifted his axe into position.
Yes, he liked these new odds very, very much.
* * *
The Purple Morrow is destroyed. However, its promise endures in the form of a champion, mankind’s only hope against the destruction spawned by an ancient, sinister evil.
The Rovers have invaded the Southernlands, sending its inhabitants fleeing for respite. Waylaid in a defunct desert town, and reeling from revelations about his past, a powerful, emerging evil lures Kelen to seek vengeance. Though he resists, Kelen soon learns that the Shadow Man will not relent until a terrible, ancient claim is fulfilled.
As Marathana quails under the burgeoning darkness, Jeru’s clan looks to him to lead. Jeru, however, knows his path lies elsewhere. Leaving everything behind, he braves the Badlands, a hellish desertland only the hardiest dare tread, to awaken the latent spirit of the Papilion within him. Jeru learns much in that place of desolation, including one truth which could turn destiny on its head. Now more than ever, Kelen, the Wolf of the North, threatens everything he holds dear. Jeru must choose: save the people he loves or sacrifice them to save Marathana.
Wolf’s Bane. More like Dyane’s Bane, because that’s exactly what it felt like to write this beast! The book was hard to write, hard to edit, and hard to publish. I’m amazed I survived!
One major challenge with Bane was how to write a ‘bridge’ book, meaning a book that links the events in book 1 and the trilogy’s conclusion. How do you keep the story interesting while not giving too much away? And how do you end the book so that it’s satisfying to the current story while not actually ending the overarching story prematurely?
I dealt with it by introducing new, fantastical elements, characters, and deepening the world-building. I really enjoyed bringing that wretch, Oren, to life, as well as building the antagonistic yet nurturing relationship between Seylem and Kelen. Working on Jeru’s development was harder, as he’s my Every Man who needed a believable hero arc, something I’d never done before.
A new element: This was the first time I had to develop a magic system. I was extremely lucky to have a friend to guide me through the process.
Style: What fun! I experimented with tone, lyrical style, and integrated elements of poetry at some key moments. They joy of writing is using various tools to tell the best tale possible, and that’s what I worked hard to do.
* * *
“Love…can destroy, it can build, or it can do both at once…”
With the Papilion’s whereabouts unknown, the Shadow pursues its plan for Marathana’s destruction. In control of the Northern tribes and strengthened by allies in the Deep Southernlands, the Shadow prepares to unleash its ultimate weapon, the berserker.
Jeru’s sudden reappearance reveals the presence of a powerful, new will at work. Blessed by the Lightbearer and supported by a ragtag group of survivors and unexpected allies, Jeru prepares to lead the small army into enemy territory.
As war breaks, Kelen and Jeru clash one last time. One seeks to destroy, the other to save. The strongest will prevail, sealing Marathana’s ultimate fate.
By the time Bane was done, I badly needed a break. Over next 3-4 years, I periodically went back to the unfinished Berserker manuscript. I wrote when I could, but often in short bursts before I had to put it away again.
I think this taught me that, though it might be ideal to write everyday, you can still write a good book even if you don’t. Not everyone has the luxury to write every day, and it’s important to know that, if that’s you, that you shouldn’t quit. In the end, it’s hard work and perseverance that pays off. When Berserker was finally complete, not only was I thrilled that I had finished the trilogy, I was thrilled with the result.
Inspiration: I’ve always had a cinematic style in my writing, and this developed further after watching anime. I find anime’s visual storytelling resembles how I picture scenes in my mind. Also, anime takes time to develop their characters, even the antagonists, so that you connect with and understand them even if you don’t always agree with them. I used these elements to inspire aspects of Berserker.
I’ll finish with an excerpt from Chapter 39. In the backdrop, Jeru and Kelen are engaged in their final battle, while everyone else stands in awe of the result. This short scene revolves around Nyssa and Jurgan, a Storyteller we meet in Wolf’s Bane…
Nyssa was in the middle of changing Dilla when the Storyteller suddenly got up and went to the mouth of the cave. He stumbled, though there was nothing in the way to hinder him. Samson raised his head, quietly observing.
“Jurgan? What is it?”
At the entrance, he pulled aside the flaps to look outside. He gasped and put his hands to his mouth. “In all my years, after all the effort it took to paint, I never thought I would actually see it.”
Nyssa hurried to tie the diaper before handing the baby to Trelina, then joined the Teller. She noticed that Samson had moved from his spot, but the clouds over the mountain and thunder rumbling overhead distracted her from inquiring into where he’d gone. Bursts of lightning illuminated the sky.
“What a storm!” She drew back, stifling a shudder. Nyssa had heard of windstorms and even tornadoes occurring in the plains, not to mention the destruction they could wreak. Ab-clanners sometimes lost homes, lands, and livestock to them. Homeless, they were known to tramp from village to village, refugees depending on the kindness of strangers.
Jeru is out there.
“That is not a natural storm.” Jurgan’s gaze remained fixed, giving Nyssa the impression he was privy to a sight that she was not.
“Teller, what do you see?”
Jurgan’s voice dropped to a whisper, as though seeking the softest way to deliver difficult news. “I see the Wolf and the Butterfly at war.” He turned to her with tears running down his face. “Just as I had painted it.”
* * *
About Dyane Forde:
Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. She writes short stories, novels, flash fiction, poetry, and she blogs.
Dropped Pebbles is Forde’s usual writing blog. It features her stories, the supernatural fantasy trilogy, Rise of the Papilion, as well as writing tips and author promotional opportunities. Visit her at: http://www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com.
Under the pseudonym ‘Delia Talent’, Forde also hosts the Christian Creative Nexus, where Christian Creatives go to promote their work and find support in the pursuit of their God-given creative calling. Visit her at: www.deliatalent.wordpress.com.
Thank you so much for visiting with us today. I ask that you help in supporting our guest with likes, shares, and comments.
Until next time…………………………… Stay Creative!!