How climate can impact the way your story evolves.

Climate is a hot topic on everyone lips at the moment, from the horrendous floods in Germany to the raging fires in Canada, the climate is not behaving as we expect. Even here in the UK the weather is more changeable than usual, (and you know how much we love talking about the weather!) veering from a scorching hot mini heatwaves to torrential rain from one day to the next. It feels like we have our own monsoon!

We all react differently to the weather and the changing seasons. We even had favourite seasons – when they used to be distinct and reliable.

When world building, the expectation is that the world will behave predictably dependent on how you set it up, how many suns or moons do you have? How does the planet rotate? How much water covers the surface? The pull and push on your world should follow scientific expectations, and if not then you need to have a good reason for it that you can explain to the reader.

My world evolved as I travelled through the story. Trees were my starting point. Trees are very important in my story and my world. They stand for hundreds of years, persistent guardians of history and lore, seeing everything around them and holding it close. I wanted that longevity and sense of continuation to reflect in the Sentinals as Guardians of Remargaren.

Because I had these long lived coniferous trees, I needed a cool temperate environment with plentiful water and rich soil. The forests and timber plantations of the Watches evolved, plentiful in the west of Vespiri and petering out as they reached the hotter borders of Terolia in the east, and the parched and arid deserts.

The deserts, and the lack of resources, especially water, drove the evolution of the Familes, and the need to travel where the resources could be found. Although as knowledge of how to find and hoard water grew over time and towns and cities took root, the inherent need to move around remains, and the nomadic Families of Terolia were born.

In Sentinals Justice, we travel north, to the icy wastes of Elothia. A harsh and cold environment where it never rains, it snows. Most of the time! Here people hunker down and hibernate for the winter, only poking their noses out in the spring. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but they have to live in the cold, and tend to group together in the cities, the land is too harsh to live off of.

As you can see below, even my covers are influenced by the environment the book is set in. Book Two – Sentinals Rising is currently in the AllAuthor cover competion, you can vote for it here. (Note if you can’t log in using facebook, it is quite easy to create a reader account, and then you can vote.)

The Sentinal Series

I’m hoping to finish book four in the Spring of 2022, where will be introduced to the mysterious Island Empire of Birtoli. The Sentinals don’t remember Birtoli being islands, it used to be joined to the mainland so what happened? Expect turquoise seas and white sands and plenty of adventure.

Just for a bit of fun I created a quiz to see where you would live in Remargaren. Complete the quiz and see which country you hail from. Let me know on twitter or Instagram, or on my facebook page using the hashtag #Sentinals.

Novella o.5: Sentinals Stirring (Free if you sign up to my newsletter.)

Book One: Sentinals Awaken

Book Two: Sentinals Rising

Book Three: Sentinals Justice (Preorder-Available September 7th)

Book Four: Name to be announced. (Spring 2022)

Summer Solstice-What does it mean to you?

The summer solstice marks the middle of the year. Midsummer or ‘Lithia’ is the longest day on our calendar, and to many, not only heralds the start of true summer but also a period of renewal.

The long sunny days (for some!) help us recharge. I think the idea of taking time to re-energise ourselves after a tough year is an important one. Longer days not only make us feel lighter and more engaged with everyone and everything around us, it gives us a chance to reconnect with whatever is important to you.

Personally, I like the idea of spending the symmer solstice with your loved ones. A day to celebrate each other and the life we lead. We may not be dancing around a bonfire to herald in the new summer, but there is no reason we can’t celebrate each other anyway. And for those of us who may be alone this summer solstice, lighting a candle and appreciating the light can be your own personal celebration.

Musing about the Summer Solstice made me think about some of the celebrations I created for the world of Remaragen, most of which revolve around the Goddess Leyandrii. The key celebration is the Confirmation of a Lord of the Watch.

Under the gaze of the Lady, the new Lord swears his life to the protection of his people, the Land and the Lady. By becoming a guardian, the Lady imbues them with enough magic to connect them to their Watch, joining the guardian with Her and the Land, each sworn to protect the other.

Guardians protect the people, the people nurture the Land, the Land provides for all and the Lady watches.

There are many guardians from different walks of life, guardians of lore and history, of the Lady’s sacred places, to the Watch guardians, and those that revere the tall sentinal trees found in the Lady’s groves. Then of course there are the Sentinals themselves; the men and women who swore thier lives to the Lady Leyandrii to help protect the world of Remargaren.

Who are the Sentinals and what happened to them? How did they end up encased in the tall sentinal trees for over three thousand years? As Jerrol travels though Remargaren trying to understand what the Lady expects of him, he wakes some of the Sentinals. Through his interaction with the Sentinals we get a glimpse into their previous lives, and a sense of continuation through the Watches and their adherence to the Lady’s Lore.

Passing down the guardianship though their familes, celebrating life through bornings (birth), joinings (marriage) and leavings (funerals) follows the cycle of life and the progression of the year from Janu through to Decu and the turning of the year, a year end celebration. The waxing and waning of the moon guides the Lady’s attention and has a much stronger presence in Remargaren than the sun.

The Sentinal Series

The Sentinals Series will have at least five books and two novellas, as I wrote book four I needed to understand the details about how the Sentinals ended up in the trees, and so was born the prequel.

Protection and protecting those who can’t protect themseves is a key theme of my epic fantasy series. Building a world, complete with beliefs and a history, adds more depth and context for the adventures that occur. I hope you have joined the journey.

Novella o.5: Sentinals Stirring (Free if you sign up to my newsletter.)

Book One: Sentinals Awaken

Book Two: Sentinals Rising

Book Three: Sentinals Justice (Preorder-Available September 7th)

The Joys of World Building

If you’ve read my novels, you’ll know I created the world of Remargaren. A diverse environment comprised of four kingdoms: Vespiri, Terolia, Elothia and Birtoli. Each has its own political structure, landscape, setting and culture, which drives the behaviour of its inhabitants.

The fun part of world building is that you get to create everything! A lot of the time you are creating backstory, so the story you are writing has depth and makes sense, but it doesn’t mean it is all included in the book. Even though some characters are only mentioned as a legend or ancient history, once upon a time they lived the events that made that history. I have so much backstory that one day there will be a prequel so I can use it all!

My starting point was the deities who created the world of Remargaren in the first place. The sisters Leyandrii and Marguerite. Goddesses who did everything they could to protect the people of Remargaren and its people, and I had my religious structure, and the source of the ancient magic. 

As I started to write the first book, the environment began develop and the idea of basing it on the diverse countries found on the European continent was born.

Vespiri is predominantly forested; a land of trees and rich timber, lush green growth, plentiful water and arable fields. The sentinal trees are scattered across a system of Watches which divide the kingdom into manageable areas. Vespers, Greenswatch, Deepwater, Stoneford, East Watch and Marchwood.

Each Watch has a lord responsible for defending the land, who looks to the king, and each Watch has a council to help with day-to-day management.

Terolia is a hot and arid desert territory ruled by the nomadic Families. Water is scarce as are towns and cities, and sentinals. The Familes are led by a Medera and Sodera, the mother and father, and the family structure is core to their way of life.

There are six Families comprised of three main Familes: the Atolea, the Solari and the Kirshan, and three affiliated lesser Families: Kiker, Gusar and Miner. 

Elothia is an icy territory to the north. Flat plains of icy tundra stretch all the way to ridges of snow-capped mountains. Most of the year, snow covers the land; only the southern reaches are ice free and arable. Food can be scarce when the winters are harsh, and the land remains frozen shortening the growing season and causing strife in the villages.

The Grand Duke rules Elothia, supported by his ministers and the generals that command his army.

Birtoli is an archipelago of islands extending to the south. White sands and turquoise seas, although beautiful, mean that without a boat, the islanders are constrained to the island they born on, and tend to coalesce in tight knit clans. The Birtolian Empire is ruled by an Emperor.

Diverse settings provide the opportunity to create different cultures, political structures and of course the vivid landscapes my characters live in, which also contribute to setting the mood an ambiance of a scene.

You can create a world as complex and diverse as you choose, or as simple as needed.  It becomes the canvas on which your characters live their lives. They react to and manoeuvre through the different territories, and the setting provides the opportunity to create more obstacles and conflict and we enjoy their adventures as the characters deal with them. The reading experience becomes immersive because you can imagine the world, and you can picture yourself in that environment, and you can compare your reactions to those of the characters.

World building is a core component of high fantasy as we need to explain the world our characters live in. High fantasy means that the book is not set in the real world. It is not set on Earth; it is not real. An integral part of this is a map. A map helps a reader visualise where the characters are, and as they traverse the world, you can follow their journey as well. The majority of the time, a high fantasy novel will have a map.

The author uses a map to keep track of distance and locations. One of the hardest parts is consistency when writing a novel. It is so easy to be inconsistent, and a map helps you to see that actually Old Vespers is in the west of Vespiri, not the east for example, or that Stoneford Watch is in the east and borders Elothia to the north and Terolia to the east, and that is where it will always be!

I hope you enjoy the world building in the Sentinal Series and fall in love with the wonderful world of Remargaren and its diverse peoples and cultures.

Book One: Sentinals Awaken is set in Vespiri.

Book Two: Sentinals Rising starts in Vespiri and ends up in Terolia.

Book Three: Sentinals Justice, due to release in the fall travels to Elothia.

Time to talk about books!

I’m so excited that I just had to share! I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Anna J Walner on her YouTube channel ‘The Author Library’. Anna’s channel provides Indie Authors a platform to talk about their books and their love of writing and the processes that go into writing and publishing their own books.

If you want to find out more about my books, and the world building that went into creating them, then check out my interview here or click the image.

Make sure you check out some of the other Indie Author interviews, each offers their own insights into the world of writing and self-publishing.

I enjoyed chatting with Anna, another win to celebrate! Roll on launch day! Sentinals Rising will be available soon, make sure you add it to your Goodreads to be read list along with the first book Sentinals Awaken.

Or if you are Bookbub you can find them here:
Sentinals Awaken
Sentinals Rising

Or better yet order them now via Amazon.