(O) I conceived the idea for The War Queen In 2008. I'd gone for a midnight walk to the pillars above ISU campus in Pocatello, ID. I'm fairly imaginative and always creating stories and scenarios in my head, so while sitting beneath the pillars by myself, I imagined that some god had fallen on the pillars and that's why they were broken. And thus Fangbor came to be.
(Picture of actual pillars above ISU campus)
One thing to understand about me as a writer; I am a pantster 100% (which means I write by the seat of my pants instead of having a clear outline before I begin the story.) For me, as long as I have a shady beginning, questionable middle, and blurry ending, I dive in and begin writing. For the War Queen, I had a beginning and a middle, but no ending. This usually isn't a problem for me, since I've never had trouble creating the story as I write it. But so far in the story, I had ideas right up to where Altarn and Kaelin revealed themselves for who they really were, but after that I had no idea, and continuing to write wasn't producing any more ideas for me, so I stopped writing.
I sat on The War Queen for 7 years. I mused about it sometimes, but it stayed in a notebook shoved in my bookcase and I really can't say how it survived 4 moves. I wasn't writing it and really didn't care to finish.
I was on writing.com one day, browsing through their contest listings so I could enter one, and I found a short story contest. "Well," I thought, "I've only written 20 pages in The War Queen and have no idea how to continue, so I could turn it into a short story, I guess."
I started to work it together in my mind how I wanted this short story to go. In the process of thinking about it, this thought punched me in the throat: "Kaelin kidnaps Altarn." An explosion went off in my head, and idea after idea tumbled into my hands and within 3 hours I had step-by-step process on how my story would end, to include all my side characters, their names, and word-for-word dialogue. I've never had a story come so clear and easy to me before.
I never did enter that short story contest.
(O) The only reason why I made Herten blind was so I could practice writing scenes using every sensory but sight, because as writers we rely too heavily on sight and not enough of the other senses. Making him blind forced me to exercise those other senses.
(O) Ratavia's comment about Jessom "should have been a woman's monthly bleed-rag" I took directly from my aunt. A guy told my aunt that he was God's gift to women, and she replied, "Then you missed your calling in life. You should have been born a tampon."
(O) Jessom saying, "he needed to ride the horse before he bought it" comes directly from something a guy said to me. This guy was moaning the fact that he feared his girlfriend might be pregnant, and so I replied with perfectly sensible wisdom, "You should probably not have had sex with her before you married her, then." And his reply, "You have to drive the car before you buy it."
(O) I hate romances. I think they are cheesy and predictable. So much to my dismay, then, when 3 beta readers for The War Queen told me, "What a great romance!" Romance? I didn't write a romance. I wrote a fantasy. Wanting to prove them wrong, I googled the elements of a romance... and The War Queen qualified. I was so mad. It took me 3 months to come to terms with this. I'd been rejected for publication 40 times already, and when I started pitching my story as a fantasy romance and not just a fantasy, 2 agents requested to read my whole book and I secured a publishing contract with a publisher.
(O) Ruidenthall's tattoo I took from a soldier I knew by the name of Austin Powers (Thank you, SPC Powers!) He had a tribal sleeve tattoo on his arm and I liked how it looked.
(O) I didn't know what the belldew flower looked like until the 5th draft.
(O) I created the shorns and the musicians to deploy them because I'd written a lot of battle scenes already in other stories of mine, and I felt the whole sword-charge-at-the-front was cliché and boring. I created the shorns and the musicians to bring a fresh take on how battles might be fought, and I like to be as original as possible.
(O) While creating the shorn, I wanted a metal that was super lightweight but super strong, could be mined easily and found in abundance and cheap to manufacture, and I wanted it copper-colored because, you know, I can. Nothing in real life matched my needs. And then I thought, "This is a fantasy. I make stuff up all the time." I named my creation lithalium.
(O) I was a deputy sheriff at the time I wrote my 1st draft to The War Queen. I worked in the county jail and for a full month it was my job to escort an inmate to court for her trial. Every day for a month I sat in the back of the court room for 8 hours with my only job being to make sure my inmate didn't get out of hand, which she never did. With all this extra time on my hands in the court room, I wrote the 1st draft to The War Queen in a notebook by hand. Weird enough, that's probably why my first chapter has a court scene in it.
(O) I've had to learn some skills while writing The War Queen that have no bearing on my real life, namely how to make shoes, dye clothes, and home pigeons.