Reign of Beasts, the third book of the Creature Court trilogy, is about to land! I’m crazy excited about this. There’s something incredibly satisfying about lining those three books up next to each other. Possibly I carry them around the house, arranging and re-arranging them in fake casual poses…
Other authors do that, right?
If Power and Majesty was the book that set up the city, the characters and the magic, and The Shattered City was the book that tore it all down and hurled the bits at the feet of my poor characters… well, Reign of Beasts is the book that puts it all back together, but it’s not an easy path for any of them. Another city is going to pay the ultimate price… because yes, I don’t just go around destroying individuals in this series, I tear down whole cities. That’s just how I roll.
As well as visiting some new geography, indulging in a little steampunk, and allowing certain characters to get hot and heavy with each other (in between battles) Reign of Beasts also slips into the past, revealing all manner of secrets through the eyes of one of the more mysterious members of the Creature Court: the one with many names, and far too many guises.
Back when I was regularly teaching creative writing, an exercise I would suggest early on was to make your ‘list of awesome,’ a stack of bullet points about your favourite themes, topics, hobbies, obsessions, historical periods, nouns… basically everything you think is awesome. And then, of course, to write something that crams as many of those things in as possible.
I think that experienced writers often do this as a matter of course, without bothering with the list – we build up all our favourite obsessions, and spread them across our writing, trusting (as much as we CAN) that we can spend our themes freely and there will be new ones along to fill up the well… and if not, well, it’s not like it hurt Dick Francis or John Grisham to always be writing about the same thing, right?
I never made that list of awesome when writing the Creature Court books – they grew far more organically than that – but if I had, then the list would look something like this:
secret society of sexy shapechangers
Rome, Rome, Rome
gothic city with many rooftops
women who craft
sentinels with paired weapons
Victorian music hall, pantomime & commedia dell’arte
bisexual heroes and villains and… other
a sky that’s trying to eat you
flappers with swords
All ideas, themes or images that I love, or have been wanting to write about for years. I’m particularly happy that, having seeded the importance of theatre in the lives of some of my charactes, I spend a lot more time in and around a certain theatre in the city of Aufleur, as well as getting outside the boundaries and visiting a new city, and introducing my readers to Ashiol’s home and mother, before we spiral into the final, devastating battle.
Also, words cannot express how delighted I am that the final cover of this trilogy features a flapper with a sword. It sums up the books themselves very clearly in my mind.
Filed under: Author guest blog, Guest Blogger, New Book Releases, on writing, Tansy Rayner Roberts, World building | Tagged: Creature Court, Power and Majesty, Reign of Beasts, Tansy Rayner Roberts, The Shattered City |