Skyblade’s Gambit, unlike the Monkey Queen books, doesn’t lend itself to a “behind the scenes” blog post, mostly because it’s not jammed with pop culture references the way Michiko and Beth’s adventures are. I did have some observations, though, along with a Big Secret to reveal about the Skyblade Saga. So, I decided to write an FAQ about this first adventure for Annabel and Victorie. No spoilers this time, but if you were to read Skyblade’s Gambit first, I wouldn’t mind (and if you missed it, head to Amazon and get your copy!).
So, me fine pirate lads and lassies, hoist the mainsail, load yer pistolere, and find out more about the makin’ of this fine pirate treasure of a novella…after the cut! Yarrrr!
Okay. First off: Will you knock off the pirate talk already?
I have a question about Willow. Why didn’t she do the cover for Skyblade’s Gambit?
Two reasons. One, I was advised that Willow’s art style wouldn’t fit the overall tone of the Plundered Chronicles, which does skew towards an older audience. And two, the time factor; I was under a tight deadline, and Willow has some real life things going on (which I won’t discuss yet, but which are pretty cool) and wouldn’t have had time to do the cover anyway.
Willow is fine with this, I should add. And she will be drawing covers for the Monkey Queen books for as long as I write Michiko and Beth’s adventures.
How did you get involved in the Plundered Chronicles?
Dumb luck. Actually, it’s due to Shei Darksbane, fellow writer and awesome pal. She was invited into the original authors’ group by Melissa Storm, who’s been working with Alex Westmore on organizing this. When Melissa mentioned that the members could recruit other authors, Shei contacted me right away.
I have to admit it did take a little persuading. When Shei contacted me, it was only a month before deadline. The thought of turning out a 25K word novella in just a few weeks was a bit daunting.
She asked me on a Thursday, I had a premise on Friday, and I had written several thousand words by the following Sunday. I officially joined the next day.
Where did the idea for Skyblade’s Gambit come from?
When Shei told me about the Plundered Chronicles, there was one rule: “Lesbian pirates”. (As it turned out, it was “LGBT pirates with some sort of connection to Alex’s original Quinn Gallagher books”, but close enough.) I started mulling over ideas, and the setting – sky realms, airships, a pirate captain – came quickly.
During my initial mulling, I decided that there should be a romantic angle. I tried to figure out what sort of matchup I could work that could create tension and would be fun to write. When I came up with the idea of a naval officer, the kind of person who would oppose and be opposed by a pirate, as a romantic foil, the story came together. Annabel and Victorie soon had names, and then backgrounds, and the rest fell into place as I wrote.
Enough chit-chat. What’s the big secret about this you alluded to earlier?
The Skyblade Saga is also part of the setting for the Monkey Queen series, or to put it informally, the Michiko-verse.
Yep. It’s the spinoff series you weren’t expecting.
How does this work?
It’s simple. In the Michiko-verse, there are three ways (that you’ve seen so far) to travel between worlds/dimensions: Auldgates (permanent portals), porths (temporary portals created by magic) and interdimensional facilitators (people with the ability to travel between worlds). Aldarre is one of many worlds that can be accessed by porths or facilitators, though as far as we know it has no auldgates.
And remember: Unlike many other Kindle Worlds properties, the Plundered Chronicles has no centralized setting. All that unites the stores is a tie to Quinn Gallagher and the other characters, a tie that’s stronger in some cases, weaker in others. In a way, it’s more like a brand than a setting. And that allows all sorts of different settings to flourish there, everywhere from “Neverland” to cyberspace…and my own little corner, Aldarre.
Sweet! So Michiko and Beth will be showing up soon in The Skyblade Saga, then?
No? How could you destroy the crossover of my dreams?
Just dream up another crossover. I’m hoping for “Rincewind Meets Squirrel Girl” myself.
Seriously: It’s for copyright reasons. Anything I bring into the Plundered Chronicles, except for the characters I’ve created, is technically not mine. So that means that a lot of concepts, including auldgates and porths, and settings such as Aloc, Cloudsoar and the Wonderland Diner, would no longer be mine were I to bring them in.
In fact, to make Skyblade’s Gambit work the way I wanted it to, I had to change the names of two major concepts from the Monkey Queen series. File off the serial numbers, if you will. Once you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean.
Is that why you didn’t use Captain Ash?
And the Blade of the West Wind from Under The Stars Of Faerie, and its crew. If I did use them, I’d lose the copyright to (my version of) Faerie and anything else I brought in except for the characters. (I do have a fondness for Ash, Brennan, Jake Appleton, Rosie, Munch, and the rest, and I’d like to tell more stories with them. And if they ever perfect the 48 hour day, I just might.)
So there won’t be any crossovers, then?
Never say never.
Really. I do own Annabel and Victorie, after all. And if I come up with the perfect story and the perfect way to bring them in, they could show up in the Monkey Queen series, or some other book I write.
One last question. Will there be a second Skyblade Saga book?
All I can say at this point is: Keep watching the skies, me hearties! Yarrrr!
Er, check back here, or watch my Facebook page or Twitter stream. Sorry.