Behind the Stories: Once and Storytime

Behind the Stories: Once and Storytime

So, today’s post is going to be a little bit different. I am hoping to feature a book later this week, but I thought I would take today and talk a little bit about the world building of Once and Storytime. I have done smiliar posts with other authors, but never one where I talked about books that have really influenced my writing. It’s not all of them, but I really do think that without these books, the world of Once and Storytime would be very different.

Now, in the back of the books, you may nor may not have noticed that I do have a rather lengthily length of sources that helped me write. Now, most of them are not actually on this list, but it doesn’t mean that they weren’t a big help. These books are not in any special kind of order.  Most of the ones that I have seen done focus on the big three, so that is what I have done here.

So, enough of that. Here we go.

Oh, the summaries are the ones I got from the publishers.

1. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
What’s it about?
Ø  Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, an 18-year-old assassin in the kingdom of Adarlan. After being imprisoned for a year by the king, she accepts his son's offer to compete with other assassins and thieves for a chance to serve as the king's champion, after four years of which, she would be granted freedom. This leads her to form unexpected bonds with Chaol, the captain of the guard, and Dorian, the crown prince of Adarlan. Over time, Celaena is drawn into a conspiracy and a series of battles, leading to discoveries surrounding both the kingdom and herself.
What did I take from it?
Ø  If you have read Once and Storytime, then you know that the series follows Ryanon Cinderspear, an assassin, and Dak Morninghelm, the rejected son of the king. What I liked and used from Throne of Glass was the complex world building and how the plot can change. For example, Once stares out with a very simple plot: break the curse on Trelia and kill the Trelian king. However, as Ryanon and Dak quickly find out, things are bit more complicated that what meets the eye. I also took the idea of making my main character an assassin, because it just seemed like a really cool idea. I was also drawn to the character of Calaena, but I felt like she was kind of missing something. When, I started developing Ryanon’s character, I did have Calaena in my mind. (A few reviewers have pointed that out.) I wanted a strong female character, who did not let anyone get in her way. Ryanon is that character. While sometimes, I felt like Calaena let the males in the series order around, I wanted Ryanon to take center stage and for Dak to be her sidekick.

2. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin
What’s it about?
Ø  A Song of Ice and Fire takes place in a fictional world in which seasons last for years and end unpredictably. Nearly three centuries before the events of the first novel , the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros were united under the Targaryen dynasty by Aegon I and his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys, with Aegon Targaryen becoming the first king of the whole of the continent of Westeros, save for the southerly Dorne. At the beginning of A Game of Thrones, 15 peaceful years have passed since the rebellion led by Lord Robert Baratheon deposed and killed the last Targaryen king, Aerys II "the Mad King", and proclaimed Robert king of the Seven Kingdoms, with a nine year long summer coming to an end. The principal story chronicles the power struggle for the Iron Throne among the great Houses of Westeros following the death of King Robert in A Game of Thrones. Robert's heir apparent, the 13-year old Joffrey, is immediately proclaimed king through the machinations of his mother, Queen Cersei Lannister. When Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark, Robert's closest friend and chief advisor, discovers that Joffrey and his siblings are the product of incest between Cersei and her twin brother Jaime "The Kingslayer" Lannister, Eddard attempts to unseat Joffrey, but is betrayed and executed for treason. In response, Robert's brothers Stannis and Renly both lay separate claims to the throne. During this period of instability, two of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros attempt to become independent from the Iron Throne: Eddard's eldest son Robb is proclaimed King in the North, while Lord Balon Greyjoydesires to recover the sovereignty of his region, the Iron Islands. The so-called "War of the Five Kings" is in full progress by the middle of the second book, A Clash of Kings. The second story takes place in the far north of Westeros, where an 8,000-year-old wall of ice, simply called "the Wall", defends the Seven Kingdoms from the Others. The Wall's sentinels, the Sworn Brotherhood of the Night's Watch, also protect the realm from the incursions of the "wildlings" or "Free Folk", who are humans living north of the Wall. The Night's Watch story is told primarily through the point of view of Jon Snow, Eddard's bastard son.[8] Jon follows the footsteps of his uncle Benjen Stark and joins the Watch at a young age, rising quickly through the ranks. He eventually becomes Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. In the third volume, A Storm of Swords, the Night's Watch storyline becomes increasingly entangled with the War of the Five Kings. The third story follows Daenerys Targaryen, daughter of Aerys, the last Targaryen king. On the continent of Essos, east of Westeros across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys is married off by her elder brother Viserys Targaryen to a powerful warlord, but slowly becomes an independent and intelligent ruler in her own right. Her rise to power is aided by the historic birth of three dragons, hatched from eggs given to her as wedding gifts. The three dragons soon become not only a symbol of her bloodline and her legitimate claim to the throne, but also devastating weapons of war.

What did I take from it?
Ø  So, I do absolutely love the complex and politic nature of these books. I like how everything just comes together and how everything just fits. I wanted to create something like this, but a young adult format. Like A Song of Ice and Fire, I didn’t really want to have a competition over something.  In the original outline of the Once series, I did have book four as having a competition, but that changed rather quickly. I wanted my own books to be a straight, classical high fantasy. I struggled to find a series that was like this. As many of you know, the Lord of the Rings just did not give me that feeling. However, Martin’s books did. Granted, he did model a lot of his writing after history, which is something that I have picked up in my writing.

3. The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones
What’s it about?
Ø  The first Plantagenet kings inherited a blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic narrative history of courage, treachery, ambition, and deception, Dan Jones resurrects the unruly royal dynasty that preceded the Tudors. They produced England’s best and worst kings: Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice a queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; their son Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and his conniving brother King John, who was forced to grant his people new rights under the Magna Carta, the basis for our own bill of rights. Combining the latest academic research with a gift for storytelling, Jones vividly recreates the great battles of Bannockburn, Crécy, and Sluys and reveals how the maligned kings Edward II and Richard II met their downfalls. This is the era of chivalry and the Black Death, the Knights Templar, the founding of parliament, and the Hundred Years’ War, when England’s national identity was forged by the sword.

What did I take from it?
Ø  Um...Have you read about the Morninghelm family? Does any of it sound familiar? Granted, this isn’t the only royal family that the Morninghelm clan is modeled after. (I do think you can guess who the other one is.) So, whenever I read this book I thought there is some good stuff in here. I took a lot of the uprisings and planted them right into Once and Storytime. This rocky family ruled England for three hundred years, much like the Morninghelm family has ruled Xandria. They had old enemies and some hidden within their own household. What I really liked was the strong women, who were actually pulling the strings. Queen Ariana’s character was actually based on a few of these women. Let’s think: she have a favourite son and stage an uprising against her husband. Sound familiar? Now, Amberfall was kind of modeled after the queens, but there is one from a much earlier who I had in mind for her.

Well, there you have the first look behind the scenes of Once and Storytime. Maybe I’ll do one on documentaries influenced the books.

Both books are currently out. Book three, Upon, will hopefully be out sometime this summer.