Several months ago, I ran into a problem with writing the sequel to The Dark Thorn, The Everwinter Wraith.
It was a simple problem with a simple solution that I thought was complex. The Everwinter Wraith takes place five years after the events in The Dark Thorn and much has changed in Annwn. A devastating winter grips the land, the result of the Cailleach’s centuries-long perpetual war summer, and Annwn is trying to balance what has been unbalanced for so long.
There are any number of entities in Annwn that want to take advantage of the Everwinter at the detriment of others. I knew I would introduce one of them, the major antagonist for the third book, in The Everwinter Wraith. But I quickly ran into a problem.
I didn’t know that antagonist. Not at all really. Oh, sure, I knew his basic plan but I didn’t know him, his motivations, his origin story.
The Everwinter Wraith has been outlined for over a year and, as usual, I started writing linearly from the beginning. Several months ago, I finished Chapter 6 and I looked forward to Chapter 7. It’s a great scene. And I hit a wall. Because that is the chapter that features that antagonist, Tathal Ennis.
Those of you who are astute will recognize that name. Tathal Ennis is mentioned one time in The Dark Thorn. He is a wizard, like Merle, but he makes far more selfish choices. I didn’t know why he made those choices. For three months, I struggled with not knowing Tathal Ennis. To write Chapter 7, I had to know him. It is a pivotable moment and it had be written correctly for the set-up to work for The Splintered King. But due to the success of The Dark Thorn and Unfettered, I had several other short stories to write for other editors. I jumped into those short stories, hoping an answer would come concerning Tathal Ennis.
It did. Finally. Grim Oak Press will be publishing an anthology this November/December titled Neverland’s Shadow. It is an anthology filled with stories told from the point of view of the antagonist / bad guy / villain. I wrote 9000 words about Tathal Ennis and his trip to the village of South Cadbury, England—nd I discovered everything I needed to know about him and more in The Dead’s Revenant.
But it got me thinking. I have these other short stories that I’ve written. The Twilight Dragon. The White Rose Thief. The Unfettered Knight. And an idea for one more featuring a Druid named Aengus Doughal. What if I wrote one more and then packaged all four? And all four would be preludes to The Everwinter Wraith?
I asked readers on Facebook if they would buy such a book. They liked the idea. Now I think I am going to do it. And I will publish four or five short stories that lead into The Splintered King as well when it becomes time.
Feel free to comment below. The word count for the book will be about a third of a normal Annwn Cycle novel. I’d produce a limited hardcover with Todd Lockwood artwork as well as an ebook.
I’m happy I know Tathal Ennis now. Time to get back to writing The Everwinter Wraith!
More news soon!