Author Eleanor Herman talks to us about the world of LEGACY OF KINGS and what fans can expect from the future of the series.
MISS LITERATI:What is your favorite part of the writing process?
There are so many parts of the writing process I love! First of all, the imagining. I picture the scene, not just the action, but the setting. Inside or outside? Day or night? If at night, what is the light source? Torches? Lamps? The moon? What does the room look like? What does it smell like? Fire? Food? Sweat? Roses? What sounds can my characters hear? Voices? Birds? Insects? The wind? What are they wearing and what does it feel like? Is the armor heavy? The wool scratchy? What I envision is so real to me it’s like I am also living in that world.In writing the tens of thousands of words that create a book, there are always certain moments, certain turns of phrase, that make me want to cheer and weep at the same time for the sheer beauty of them, the summing up human courage and pain, sacrifice and frailty. Not often, mind you! But sometimes. And that makes all those other words worthwhile. Getting down the first draft is always the hardest part. It can be arduous, just getting your basic materials out there. It’s more fun to come back with fresh insight and edit it, rearranging, tweaking, sharpening, excising. It’s like the final chiseling and polishing of a statue.
MISS LITERATI: Which character in LEGACY OF KINGS do you relate to the most?
I have to relate to all of them in some respect of I couldn’t write them. To be a decent novelist, you need to be keenly aware of all parts of yourself—especially the very bad parts you try to keep leashed—and bring them out to make your characters real. So I ask myself, what makes us all human? Hope. Fear. Anger. Love. Disappointment. Bravery. Jealousy. Kindness. Despair. These are the ingredients needed to cook up a character. And each character has different amounts of these same basic ingredients.I relate to Alexander for his intellect and the pressure he puts himself under to become Great. I relate to Kat for her fierce loyalty, her strength and cleverness and courage.I relate to Jacob for trying so hard to get what he wants and not getting it, yet making new plans to forge some kind of a life for himself anyway. (We all have to do that several times in our lives.) I relate to Heph for his weaknesses and for always trying to make things right afterward. I relate to Cynane for kicking butt and mouthing off. I relate to Zo for being a hopeless romantic.
MISS LITERATI: What are some of your favorite YA authors?
I really enjoyed Sabaa Tahir’s Ember in the Ashes, which has that ancient Roman thing going on. I also loved Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. There are so many wonderful YA fantasy authors these days! And I love how the heroines show teenage girls that young women can be strong and successful and make a difference in the world. Don’t get me wrong—I love Jane Austen—but sitting around embroidering waiting for a guy to marry you just doesn’t cut it these days.
MISS LITERATI:What would you tell a teen that’s looking to become an author in the future? Any advice?
If you want to be an author, read and read some more! Read anything and everything. Ask yourself, why did you like this book and not that one? Write an essay on it just for yourself. Was it the characters? The plot? The writing style? Get very specific in your quest for what you like because that will be part of your own writing style. If you are suffering from a head cold, practice writing what that feels like. Go back and edit it. Make it so clear that anyone reading that paragraph really feels the stuffy nose and pounding head and sore throat. Take every writing class you can. Ask people to read your stuff and offer honest criticism. The hardest part is toughening up your skin. Writing is such an intensely personal, intimate experience, when people don’t like your efforts it’s as if they are saying they really hate your soul and you just want to bury your head under the pillow and never come out. But you have to keep going if you want to achieve any kind of success. And remember, the more success you have, the more people will crawl out of the woodwork and say they don’t like your soul!
MISS LITERATI: What can we expect in the future of the LEGACY OF KINGS world?
I am finishing up Book 2 in the series, Empire of Dust. In it, Alex has to deal with an unknown traitor in his close circle. Kat and Heph go on a dangerous trip down the Nile to help him. Zo finds something horrifying and something magical in the Eastern Mountains. Cynane will do anything to become a ruler in her own right, kicking butt as only she can do. Jacob rises in the Aesarian Lords and learns all their astonishing secrets, as well as one disturbing secret about himself. Queen Olympias gets a long overdue come-uppance. There are two more books after that, in which conflicts intensify, romance heats up, friendships are torn apart, and the stage is set for an epic battle that will determine the future of the Known World! Other than that, it will be pretty boring.