Today's Darklight On is... Rowena Cory Daniells
The Author’s Dilemma
We all grow as writers. The book we wrote fifteen years, five or last year is not written the way we would handle the same basic story today.
How much do you rewrite, when a book is reprinted?
The Fall of Fair Isle is a reprint of my original trilogy, and is being released as an omnibus. It tells the story of Imoshen, last of the old royal family of mystical T’En, and how she comes to terms with General Tulkhan when he invades her island kingdom. Intent on smoothing the transition of power, things become complicated for Imoshen when she learns that her once-betrothed, Reothe, has survived and he comes to her to help him reclaim Fair Isle. To who does she owe her loyalty?
The sale of this manuscript sale was the thing that took me from a published author of short stories and children’s books to an internationally published fantasy author. Back then I struggled to be a romance writer. Try as I might, I could not keep the narrative focus on the two main characters, I kept veering off into subplots and action.
This trilogy was written over a three year period and you can see from book one to book three that the focus of the story veers into a battle to save their island kingdom. In fact the ending of book three is not the original ending. I wrote a fourth book at the time and asked the publisher if they would be OK with a quadology instead of a trilogy. They said they wanted a trilogy so I had to come up with an ending to book three and put book four aside.
After book three sold out the publishers closed down the line and the editor moved on, leaving me ‘orphaned’ and book four in limbo. This happens and back then there were less opportunity for authors to self-publish.
Despite this setback, I kept writing using the history of the T’En that Imoshen discovered in book four as a basis for the world building of The Outcast Chronicles, which is set six hundred years earlier. I was intrigued by the idea that what we are told in the history books is a sanitised version of events.
After the success of King Rolen’s Kin and The Outcast Chronicles, my publishers came to me to ask if they could reprint my original trilogy. This raised some interesting problems as readers of The Outcast Chronicles would wonder at the apparent inconsistencies between this trilogy and the world building in Fall of Fair Isle. (Much mystical knowledge had been lost or deliberately hidden and Imoshen had to discover her gifts and uncover her people’s past). In the end I decided to insert a few hints from book four into the trilogy to explain the apparent discrepancies.
After fifteen years there is always the temptation to rewrite but apart from smoothing out a couple of sentences and inserting those clues as to the fate of the T’En, I let the books stand.
Hopefully, this will be enough to please both readers of the original trilogy and those who have read the prequel, The Outcast Chronicles. Has anyone been in a similar position with the re-print of an earlier edition and wondered how much tweaking to do, if any?
Rowena Cory Daniells
Buy Links: Rebellion Books / Booktopia
About the Author: Website / Twitter