I'm occasionally asked where I come up with stuff, and I often answer sarcastically just because a) it's funny (to me) and b) I like saying the word "Schenectady." But the truth is, as so many of us know, ideas are all around us. The problem, really, is to pick the one we wish to write about. Then we write about it, and as the story line is clicking along we make other decisions based on the silly stuff our characters are doing. In the end, what looks like a single plot arc was really a series of more or less considered decisions.
So all that said, I want to go through a little bit of why I've done what I've done and published in a sort of "Origins" type of series. This first? Why Kiirajanna.
I've already kind of touched on the overall reasoning behind the Dragon Queen series in several interviews I've been in. The short version is this: we (my family) were at Disney World a few years ago. The kids were off doing something far more energetic than Heide and I had the ability to do, and so we sat and consumed a couple of adult beverages while talking about the future of my writing efforts. We both wanted to see an elf story, because we hadn't read many good ones lately. So--what kind of an elf story?
I'd already written an alternate history storyline in Return of the Gods, and as much as I enjoyed (and still am enjoying) writing on that line, I wanted something else. As we discussed it, I looked around marveling at what goes into a single day at the Magical Kingdom. It's no secret that there are miles and miles of tunnels underneath, along which the "cast members" travel in order to pop out into public view when/where needed. That got me to thinking about a world behind the world--a shadow place, similar to the Earth but not exactly like it, a world where magic exists. A world, to go further, that is run by elves.
Now, that's all well and good, but the problem with any story is that you need compelling conflict. That's where I came up with the succession plan the elves have, where half of the new royalty has to come from Earth stock. Genetically it's a brilliant idea, but emotionally and sociologically it would be problematic, as Alyssa rapidly finds out.
You can't just have one conflict, though, which is why the Cult of the Wyrm was inserted into the story. I won't ruin the plot for any who haven't yet read Prophecy, so I'll just leave it there. The interesting thing about that insertion, though, is that I started at the end. There is a definite, central "villain" in the story, believe me. You don't see him in the first book, nor will you see him in the second book despite seeing significantly more of the conflict he is creating.
Thus was the primary plot line for Prophecy: Dragon Queen born. In future episodes of this Origins series I plan to discuss other things, like where the characterization ideas came from and why certain things are the way they are. Hey, I find it fun to talk about, and hopefully you find it interesting to read.
Till then, enjoy!