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The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles, #1)
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Achive > Sept 2013 Fantasy read: The Crown Tower: Q&A for Michael J. Sullivan

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Chris  (haughtc) Here's the promised thread for Michael to field your questions. Have at him...


Helen Hi Michael, where do you get the names from, people and places? Like Persepliquis, is that spelt right?


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments Hey Helen - you are pretty close it's Percepliquis. I have notebooks where I make list of names for people, places, all kinds of things. One of my biggest inspirations is actually street names. I can be driving somewhere and come across an interesting street name and it goes right into the notebook. Not far from my house is the crossroads: Niblick and Mashie which I thought would be great for two gobblins - and they showed up in the comic strip that me and my daughter do called "Plot Holes." Then I found out they were golf clubs and it totally ruined it for me.


Tony | 32 comments Why elves but no dwarves


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments Riyria has both elves and dwarves. It depends on the book how much of each show up based on who you bump into. For instance The Jester (short story in Unfettered Anthology) is all about an adventure that is started from a map of a dwarven court jester.


Helen Thanks Michael. My friend lives on Davnic road. We discovered that the builder's children were called David and Nicola.


Tony | 32 comments Oh is that another book in the series as I haven't seem that one yet ,I maybe a little strange but how the author describes the taste of dwarfish ale has been a bit of an ongoing obsession with me . I should really get around to quoting a few of my favourites on here one day


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments @Helen -that is really interesting.

@Tony - there are two series...although very closely related:

Th Riyria Revelations - which is six books told through three 2-book omnibus editions: Theft of Swords (contains The Crown Tower & Avempartha), Rise of Empire (contains Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm), then Heir of Novron (contains Wintertide & Percepliquis).

Th Riyria Chronicles - which are the newer books but take place further back in time consists of The Crown Tower followed by The Rose and the Thorn.

Whether there will be more chronicle tales or not I'll decide once I see how people feel when they are done with the second book in that series.


Chris  (haughtc) The Rose and the Thorn comes out this week, right? I'm looking forward to it.


Robin P The Rose and the Thorn audio is available for pre=order on Audible, available Sep 17 - tomorrow!


Helen Chris wrote: "The Rose and the Thorn comes out this week, right? I'm looking forward to it."

My kindle version has arrived, woohoo!


Lucinda | 183 comments Already finished it :D.


Donna | 11 comments Mine is still to arrive. The curse of living at the bottom of the planet.

Lucinda, is it fabulous?


Lucinda | 183 comments I'm a self-professed Riyria Fanboy (Team Royce)...so yeah...it was fabulous!

In "The crown Tower" it was the expanded character of Arcadius that added dimension to Royce and Hadrian (for me, anyway). In "The Rose and the Thorn" it's Albert Winslow. These secondary characters from "Revelations" become the glue and filler that allow the versions of events that we know from "Revelations" to actual work without a mountain of continuity errors and deus ex machina contrivances.


Suzanne I agree it is fun to learn more about Arcadius, but my favorite parts of "The Crown Tower" have been reading about Gwen and her friends - I'm loving those chapters! I kind of slowed down reading it because I didn't want it to end, but now that "The Rose and the Thorn" arrived, I can speed up again =).


Kimberly Read | 156 comments Suzanne wrote: "I agree it is fun to learn more about Arcadius, but my favorite parts of "The Crown Tower" have been reading about Gwen and her friends - I'm loving those chapters! I kind of slowed down reading i..."

I agree completely! I am fascinated by Gwen.


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Tony | 32 comments Thanks for the info Michael you deserve all the success in the world for the way you interact with your fans
Kudos


Donna | 11 comments Thanks Lucinda. :) (I'm team Hadrian but we love Royce too...as much as he will let you anyway.)

I enjoyed what we found out about Albert in the Viscount and the witch so this should be fun.

Mine will be with me tomorrow I have been informed. Just in time for my week long holiday.


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments I do enjoy giving more screen time to people who I didn't have enough time with in Revelations. The Rose and Thorn does give us more Albert but also Rueben Hilfred (Arista's loyal bodyguard).

With all of these plotlines what you are seeing are parts of my notes about peoples background that really couldn't come out as I only expose the tip of the iceburg. Now with more stories I have the ability to peel back and expose some of the things that only I know about.

I'm glad you guy are enjoying it.


Robin P Kimberly wrote: "Suzanne wrote: "I agree it is fun to learn more about Arcadius, but my favorite parts of "The Crown Tower" have been reading about Gwen and her friends - I'm loving those chapters! I kind of slowe..."
I agree completely! I am fascinated by Gwen.


I hate to admit it but the parts with Gwen were my least favorite. I felt there wasn't as much to learn about her that we didn't already know. Maybe it was the violence of her situation, which strikes me as somehow more real and therefore scary than the violence affecting Royce and Hadrian.


Robin P Gwen's situation also brings up the question of free will vs. destiny. She knows she could leave and go somewhere more welcoming but she follows the prophecies of her mother and the stranger. It's one thing to honor your mother's wishes, but if you have to follow destiny, does that mean there really isn't a choice? This conversation comes up in the Revelations also. The characters usually think they are making their own choices but some of them have roles to play in the greater scheme of things. And are those roles really destined by some force of the universe or just political machinations of other humans? (seems like some of both)


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments Robin said: Maybe it was the violence of her situation, which strikes me as somehow more real and therefore scary than the violence affecting Royce and Hadrian.

I can see that. One reviewer noted that she had two sets of threats (Stane and Grue) whereas Royce and Hadrian really had none (other than each other) up until the Tower scene. That might have something to do with it as well.


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments FWIW, in my mind people do have free will and if they choose a different path then their futures would also adjust.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 5387 comments Opps, missed when we started this one... It has (along with all these) has been added to my favorites shelf.


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments Hey - glad you enjoyed it.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 5387 comments My review if anyone wants to read it:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


Suzanne Nice review. My only issue with this book is I've been feeling a void when I think about what to read next. I KIND of want to wait on the Rose and the Thorn, just like I used to save my Halloween candy.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 5387 comments E just downloaded The Rose and the Thorn from Audible, but won't get to it for a while(library books first). Looking forward to it though.


Helen Wish I'd started it as opposed to the book I'm reading for the sake of series completion.


Chris  (haughtc) Michael, here's a question for you. Something you'd touched on with me a few weeks ago.

How did it feel to go into this project with the regular series complete and published? Was it daunting to write a sequel (or two) to a popular and successful series?

We all know how prequels sometimes scare people off.




Andreas Michael, I really liked this novel. Now, that I enjoyed it on my Kindle, I want it on my physical shelves. Is there a hardcover edition available?


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments Chris wrote: "How did it feel to go into this project with the regular series complete and published? Was it daunting to write a sequel (or two) to a popular and successful series?"

When I finished The Riyria Revelations I had no intention to ever come back to this world and these characters. I felt like that story was told...and told as well as I could - and I was happy with the results. I did have some "spin off" possibilities - Like the original war with the elves, Esrahaddon's origin story, etc that I toyed with doing at some point.

To be honest...I had no idea that prequels were such taboo. Yeah I'm an 'original' Star Wars fan and wasn't happy with the prequels but I looked at that as one failed attempt and not indicative of what would always happen.

I think writing anything after a successful set of books is intimidating. There is always the, "Can I do it again, or will I fail those who now have high expectations." The fact that the first series wasn't "highly anticipated" by anyone made it have the advantage of exceeding low expectations ;-)

Also if I'm honest, it's only now...as feedback comes in that I feel like I succeeded. Whenever I finish a book I know that I like it (or it wouldn't be published) but that doesn't mean much. It's what people say that really determines whether the book succeeds or fails (to a large extent).

The challenge for me in writing these books was to make the characters different then they are later on and to find a believable way for these two who probably would't like each other to take the first step in forming the very strong bonds they later have for one another.

In the second book...the challenge was to weave a story that has two plot lines running in the same town but keep a wall between them so that the plots just barely cross and touch but then separate and go their own ways.


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments Andreas wrote: "Michael, I really liked this novel. Now, that I enjoyed it on my Kindle, I want it on my physical shelves. Is there a hardcover edition available?"

To date Orbit has only released me in trade paperback. I'm not yet at a level where they would do a hard cover for my books (I'm hoping the next series might persuade them ;-).

There were/are hardcovers for the first set of books but only because sfbc.com (a science fiction and fantasy bookclub) bought the bookclub rights for the series.

the way subsidiary rights work, is the author has no say in whether, or under what terms, they are sold. This is only between the publisher holding the rights and the company who is buying them. I don't even get a veto approval - so I often don't know they even occur until eons later when a subsidiary sale shows up on the royalty statement.

Whether sfbc.com (or some other group) will buy the bookclub rights...and if they do whether they will release in hard cover or not. I just don't have any idea. I guess it depends somewhat on how the sales were on the last version - numbers which I hope will show up on my next statement. But for which I don't currently have.

That's a long way of saying...I just don't have a good answer for you. The trade paperbacks are of course a possibility and I'll be selling them on my website come Xmas for those who want signed copies. But for now, I just don't have any good information on that score. Unfortunately.


Helen I discovered last year how little say an author gets regarding his baby after the publisher steps in. Thanks for answering our questions, Michael.


message 35: by Kimberly (last edited Oct 01, 2013 05:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kimberly Read | 156 comments I have a question about plot development, Michael. I know in your author notes you comment about including goodies for those who had already read the first series. I expected a few aha! moments, but I was rather surprised at the level of detail in some of these goodies. In example, (view spoiler). So my question is a chicken-and-egg type ... Did you imbed these descriptive memories in the first series hoping you could further develop these as part of a plot later? Or did you add this level of detail in the republished versions of the first series? I recall that you wrote the whole original series before any were published so maybe you had the second series plots developing as well? I've always wanted to ask this of authors when they have multiple books set in the same world. So tag you're it! :)


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments @Helen - I'm really careful that I have a say over the important aspects - which is the content of the book. I always make sure that mine is the final word and no changes can be made except by me. The "packaging stuff" like what is on the cover, what the titles are, the format they are being produced in, etc and etc. I'm not nearly as worried about.


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments @Kimberly. You are correct in that I had the entire first series written before publishing any of the earlier books. This was really important as there were threads weaving throughout the books and mysteries that clues came in bits and pieces and so there were many times when I had to go back and add something to an early book to provide a clue or setup for an idea that occurred to me when writing a later one.

The republished versions are almost identical to the original versions (in other words I didn't have to add those details - they were already there). There are two notable exceptions. 1. Theft of Swords has a new opening. The original starts with Archie in his tower looking over the letters. From reader feedback it was evident that not starting with Royce and Hadrian was a bad idea, so I added the "robbery scene" that now exists. 2. In the original version Myron killed someone in self-defense. This was a decision I regretted as having blood on his hands is a burden he really shouldn't have had. So in the revised version it is someone else who kills that individual. There is of course, copy edits - the Orbit editors were exceptional at cleaning up my little mistakes. But from a story perspective those are the only "substantive" changes.

When I was done with the first series, I had no intention on writing anything else in that world or with those characters, so no I didn't have the second series plots developing during the first books.

What I did have...was a lot of background information that I came up with when writing the first series that never made it into those books. My world building is really extensive and I expose just a small amount of it through the writing (like an iceberg) so there was a great deal of information that I knew, but no one else did.

So when I decided that I really should do a prequel series I had a lot of stuff that I could pull from...stuff that I really liked, but just didn't fit in the book. For instance, in The Rose and the Thorn (view spoiler)

I can't speak to "all authors" but that is what I have done.


Kimberly Read | 156 comments Thanks for answering my question with such detail, Michael. All very interesting!


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Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments You are quite welcome.


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