Next week is the general release for my fourth novel. The Princess and the Odium is the final installment in the Odium trilogy. It’s a fantasy/adventure series with a romance between the leading ladies, Princess Aurelia Diarmaid and Jastyn Cipher.
I’ve written about the books in this trilogy before. This time, I found myself reflecting on what it took to finish a trilogy; something I’ve dreamed of doing and can’t quite believe I accomplished. I still remember the first seeds of an idea before I broke ground on book one. That’s the best feeling; when the idea is new and it seems like there are dozens of potential storylines buzzing around, waiting to be followed. Of course, the actual task of writing three books with cohesive and coherent plot points was quite a challenge.
The first book, Daughter of No One, introduces readers to the magical realm where the characters live. It’s a benevolent but strict monarchy where people can use elemental magic and have ostracized the fae population. It was so fun to meet Jastyn and Aurelia, their families and friends, and reveal their world over the course of the book. The second installment, Broken Reign, was possibly the most fun I’ve had writing, so far. It’s pure adventure. A journey across their realm in search of a cure leads Jastyn and Aurelia to new places and they come face-to-face with fae and other magical, mythological creatures. I introduced selkies, which I’ve only seen depicted in a few books (if you have recs – let me know!). One of my favorite parts of writing fantasy is trying to put a new spin on familiar mythologies, and I enjoyed creating my own version of selkies.
That brings us to the third book. My biggest challenge writing this one, aside from not wanting the story to end, was the fact that there are a lot of characters involved. Without giving too much away, Jastyn and Aurelia are reunited with their families. At one point while writing the first draft, I realized there were nine characters in the same place at the same time. My first thought was, actually, what the hedgewitch, Eegit, screams when she sees everyone together: “Out! Too many, out!” I was overwhelmed. Where does everyone stand? Who speaks next? Wait, where did that one person go? Fortunately, I remembered some wise advice from my editor about blocking a scene. While the advice was applied to fight scenes, I figured it could work for a conversation around a campfire if there were nine characters involved.
My main goal in this book was to give my characters a satisfying ending. Of course, that may mean different things to different people, but I wanted the story to end in a way that made sense for who the characters are. Often, particularly in a television series, the ending leaves me wanting. Characters make a decision that seems out of left field, or the writing seems hurried, or – my least favorite – it was all a dream. The Odium trilogy, I was determined, would not end in haste, or with rash decisions being made by the characters. I wanted an ending fit for the queer, fantasy romance reading community. An ending they (we!) deserve.
To celebrate the release of the final book in the trilogy, I’m giving away one e-book and one paperback (US and international) of The Princess and the Odium. Leave a comment with your favorite book series or let me know your thoughts on satisfying/unsatisfying story conclusions (book or television). Winners will be drawn Tuesday, April 13 at 7pm CST.