The realm’s darkest secret is out.
The cruelty of the capital and the power-hungry King Arden have scattered Bleak and her companions across the continents. On the run in a foreign land, Bleak finds herself tied to some unexpected strangers. When the answers she yearns for are finally within reach, she must face the hard truths of her past, and take her fate into her own hands before it’s too late.
Meanwhile, secrets and magic unravel as a dark power corrupts the realm. Bleak’s friends are forced to decide where their loyalties lie, and who, if anyone, they can trust.
But one thing is certain: war is coming, and they must all be ready when it does.
Intriguing and action-packed, Reign of Mist is the second instalment in Helen Scheuerer’s epic YA fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles.
You can read my review of Reign of Mist (spoiler alert; I loved it!) here.
A lot of series’ suffer from “second book syndrome” which you seem to have avoided! How hard was it writing this book compared to Heart of Mist?
It feels surreal looking back on the challenges of writing the second book now… At the start, I thought it was going to be easier; I knew the world, I knew the characters far better than I had before starting Heart of Mist. However, after the first draft, I started working with my beta readers and realised just how much work there still was to go. I’m so so lucky that I got such honest feedback from my betas because the book wasn’t nearly ready for publication. It definitely suffered from second book syndrome at one point! With my betas’ suggestions and encouragement, it took another six months at least to rework the manuscript. It felt much harder to finish than the first book!
If you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of advice before starting the series, what would it be?
Haha, hindsight it such a bitter sweet thing! For me, I always thought I had planned the series quite well. Turns out, I hadn’t even scratched the surface. I wish I had of taken more time before putting pen to paper to plot not only the first book, but all three. Writing the second, and now third book, has been an exercise in problem solving thanks to my lack of extensive plotting!
Putting your book out in the public domain must be pretty daunting. How do you deal with the reactions to your book, either positive or negative?
Ahhh… Honestly? It really depends what day you ask me. I like to think that I’ve developed a thick skin over the years, but some days you can feel more fragile than others. Daunting is definitely the right word there.
It’s always wonderful to receive a good review - there’s nothing that brightens my day more than that. As for the bad… Most of the time I try to either a) take feedback on board, some reviewers are constructive in their critiques! or b) laugh it off, or c) don’t read them at all!
Your cast of characters is getting pretty long and your world map must be huge! How do you keep track of everything and everyone when you’re writing?
Haha, don’t remind me! When I started writing Heart of Mist I just had a list of characters and where they were from. Nowadays… You’re absolutely right, the cast just keeps growing. Now I have spreadsheets to keep track of names, origins, who they’re related to, who they’re friends with and any physically distinctive traits like scars and unusual eye colours.
Who’s your favourite character in RoM to write and who’s your favourite character to read?
Ohhhhh that’s a great (and difficult) question! This is another one that really depends on the mood, as well as the extent of the plan I’m working off, but… I actually quite like writing from Swinton’s point of view. I love writing the banter between him and Fi :)
As for my favourite to read… I do love Olena. She’s underestimated by all those around her (except Dash) but then she comes out with these burns that leave everyone in shock… I love those quiet girl-power moments.
What are some of your favourite fantasy books or series when you’re taking a break from writing?
I love a bit of SJM (Sarah J. Maas). She’s my guilty pleasure author. Hot fae guys, kickass action and all the sass in the world. Her books are the perfect escape material.
I also love V.E. Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic trilogy and Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes. Authors like them leave me in absolute awe at the depth of their characterisation and worldbuilding. Their books are definitely something to aspire to.
Where’s the strangest place writing inspiration has struck you?
Generally if I’m feeling stuck on a particular scene or plot point, and am feeling quite frustrated about things, inspiration tends to strike when I’m doing something mundane, like doing the dishes or cleaning the apartment. Actually just this morning I had a bit of a plot breakthrough while I was refilling the soap dispensers…
What’s the best and worst part of writing a book?
There are so many highs and lows when you’re writing a book, which makes this question really hard to answer. I think for me, particularly being an indie author, one of the worst (or hardest) parts of the process is finally deciding when the book is ready. As I’ve mentioned, I work with a great team of beta readers, but at the end of the day, the one who draws the line in the sand and says the book is finished and ready for readers is me. I find that incredibly daunting.
As for the best part of writing a book? The days when your imagination is soaring and your fingers are flying across the keyboard… There’s absolutely nothing better than that feeling. The feeling of having created, of worked hard and having something to show for it at the end of the day.
I know you won’t leave us on that ending! What’s next for the Oremere Chronicles?
Haha, I do love a good cliffhanger! Well to be honest, all I can really say without spoiling things is that the third and final book will be out in 2019.
I’ve also been publishing prequel e-shorts to the series, there are currently six available for free. Readers can sign up here to receive them. The plan is to publish three more in before the third book is released, so readers can still get their Oremere fix ;)
Sum up Reign of Mist in ten words or less.
Action-packed, intriguing, suspenseful and addictive (hopefully!).
Reign of Mist is on sale now!
There are six (yep, six!) free (also yep, free!) prequel novellas available which you can get from Helen's website. Happy reading!