The Madion War Trilogy is based in a world torn apart by war. But as with most wars, it's not just about the land and the resources. Any student of history can tell you that conflict is rarely black and white, and ending conflict is even more murky. This blog post talks about how I managed the political worldbuilding in the trilogy. Designing the Players For the Madion War, I drew on several real-world conflicts. Kylae, I see as the traditional European/American country. One that has a lot of wealth and military power but whose people are too preoccupied with other matters to really pay attention. You can see a bit of that in Galian, who has a very blasé outlook about the war at first. You can also see it in Olivia Collins, who has the simple idea that if the Ravens would stop fighting, things would get better. (Sound familiar?) Much like in the US, most Kylaens have little interest in the war. The Ravens, for all their justified grievances, are not completely innocent either. They've elected exactly the same number of presidents as Kylae has had kings. Bayard, the current president, has been in power through three elections. There's also a clear difference between the haves and have-nots. For someone like Theo, born in an orphanage with no name or parentage (hence the Kallistrate last name), she had no choice but to enlist. On the other hand, Emilie, the Raven president's PR lead, was sent to a private school. Give War a Chance Creating a believable war means creating believable reasons for it. For Kylae, they use a material called barethium to strengthen their buildings. Problem is, barethium in Kylae is buried deep in the mountains. But in Rave, it's much more accessible. The other downside of barethium is that it's highly toxic when inhaled. Kylae wants to reclaim the hundreds of thousands of Raven laborers who used to work for them in the barethium mines. It was this abuse of their people that finally pushed the Ravens to declare independence in the first place, and why they still fight. So now we've got a war that's been raging for 50 years. Logically, this war has also sprouted a war industry in both countries. Industry, as a whole, is slow to change, and even slower to give up its steady income stream, which complicates any push toward peace. [...]
Today, I wanted to share a little bit more about my girl-crush, Captain Theo Kallistrate. She’s one of my favorite, most complex characters, and I’m so excited to share how her story ends in The Union. Read about this feisty, patriotic pilot who captures the prince’s heart. […]
I'm not your typical fantasy writer in that I sit and dream up worlds, then write within them. I start with characters, situations, and then flesh out the world as my characters explore it. In writing my fantasy romance series, the Madion War Trilogy, I was faced with a few unique challenges when it came to worldbuilding. Issue #1: The whole Island Thing First and foremost, the biggest issue to worldbuilding was trying to describe a world before we got shut off from it. In The Island, my characters Theo and Galian are marooned on an island at the end of chapter two. That gave me one whole opening chapter to set the stage before making it disappear. While I did some preliminary worldbuilding up front, I left a lot of the nuances in the world to later dialogue. I like to think of The Island as a book of conversations. I mean, let's be real: there's not much else to do when you're stranded on a deserted island. Within the phrases and perspectives that Galian and Theo have, the world becomes even more fleshed out. And then, when we finally get to see the worlds in person in books 2 and 3, it's somewhat familiar. Issue #2: Perspectives One of my favorite aspects of this series is the idea of perspective. Two people can look at the same event and have wildly different reactions to it. Even in the opening chapter, Galian refers to the war as their colony uprising and Theo describes it as the war of independence. The hardest part for the two of them is to come to agreement on these basic perspectives. And that makes for a challenge. Just as in real life, fantasy worlds are rarely exactly as our protagonists thinks they are. I love fantasy books that build themselves as utopias, only to pull the curtains back and showcase the undercurrent. Theo, in particular, goes through this realization in the second book. Issue #3: Countries, Borders, Oh My! After I'd finished The Island, I had some fun making a map for the trilogy. I envisioned Kylae being a giant continent, overshadowing Rave in size and wealth, but equal to Herin and Jervan. I ended up using pieces of a camouflage pattern to create the continents themselves and some mapmaking paintbrushes to add mountains, rivers, and forests. Add on some texture and voila! Creating the map was helpful [...]
It's that time again! To celebrate the release of the final book in the Madion War Trilogy, I'm running a little friendly competition! This time, we're pitting #TeamPrinceling against #TeamTheo! What's the game? Two teams will compete with each other, earning points by sharing, tweeting, posting, and participating in the two readalongs! The more the teams participate, the more points they get! Winning teams will win a Madion Trilogy prize pack. The top 2 point-earners on each team will also win a SPESHUL prize of a Madion Trilogy bag or t-shirt in their team name. How do I pick a team? If you know your team, simply sign up using the form below. If you haven't read The Island yet (more on that later), you can use this handy quiz! Okay, I have my team, what now? Now it's time to earn points! First, sign up here to let us know which team you're with. The best way to keep up with the latest in the competition is to join the S. Usher Evans Street Team. If you're not a FB user, we'll also have group Twitter DMs lead by our fabulous Team Captains, Emily from Emily Reads Everything (#TeamTheo) and Chelsea from Books for Thought (#TeamPrinceling)! Each week, we'll have a different competition for how you can earn points. This week, you'll want to make sure you're declaring your loyalties for #TeamTheo or #TeamPrinceling via the Google Form. Whichever team has the most sign-ups at the end of the week will be the victor, and that entire team will receive a signed bookmark from Yours Truly. Your team leads will be responsible for tracking your points, and they'll be super awesome cheerleaders, too! How do I participate in the readalong? First, The Island is a free download on all eBook stores and it's also available in paperback and hardcover. Captains Em and Chels will have more information on their blogs and Twitters, so make sure you're following them. The readalong will begin on January 14th and run until Valentine's Day. Anything else? Try not to get too competitive, kids. The fur was flying during last year's competition!