Listening to set playlists helps me quickly reenter the world and tone of the novel. Because my novels are character driven and because this duology had four distinct POVs, I ended up with four playlists on Spotify:
In January 2019, I started watching the Chinese drama Ashes of Love. It was the first Chinese epic fantasy that I had encountered, evoking a sense of wonder that I hadn't felt since childhood. I immediately started imagining other stories set in such a world, and it wasn't long before I wanted to write a novel. However, at this point I hesitated, wondering if, as a white American newcomer, it would be acceptable. But as I continued to learn about wuxia (martial fantasy) and xianxia (immortal fantasy), and the more I wanted to create my own fantasy world, inspired by these Chinese stories. I finally decided that some of my favorite takes on Greek mythology and European chivalry come from Japanese anime, and that I wasn't going to give up on a story that really excited me because someone might label it cultural appropriation.
The world of the Immortal Beings is not xianxia; I definitely drew from East Asian mythology and aesthetics (possibly more from Japan than China, as I studied Japanese and lived in Japan after college), but in the end, the world and the story don't fit that genre neatly as my own identity must influence them more than any inspiration. (If you are interested in xianxia and wuxia, I recommend The Legend of White Snake (I saw the 2019 version), The Untamed, and Handsome Siblings (I saw the 2020 version). There are many Chinese fantasy novels but few official English translations of them).
In the end, I wrote this novel in pursuit of fun, adventure, and wonder - I hope it provides those to you!
Writing and Publishing
I originally intended this to be a single standalone high fantasy, even though having four equally important POV characters seemed like a lot for one book. I plotted it only loosely, discovery writing in pursuit of that sense of wonder that I so wanted to capture. When I hit ninety thousand words in the first draft, I realized that I needed at least sixty-thousand more to finish the story that was unfolding. I did some reflecting and decided to commit split the novel, creating two climaxes. That being said, book one has a cliffhanger ending.
I decided to try my hand at the interior maps because I thought a simple aesthetic suited the books. However, while I designed the cover, I could never have created artwork as beautiful as Goldfinch1 of Fiverr. She was a pleasure to work with. To read more about the cover, check out my Instagram post. The paperback was formatted using Microsoft Word, the eBook Sigil. The audiobook was produced by Zachary Zaba via ACX.Back to Top Read More Buy Now