By: Rebecca Gomez Farrell
Publisher: Meerkat Press, LLC
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017
To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.
When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancee of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.
To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.
Readers of all ages will enjoy Wings Unseen, Rebecca Gomez Farrell’s first full-length novel. It is a fully-imagined epic fantasy with an unforgettable cast of characters.
A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete. What are some fun facts or behind the scenes info you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
I love this question! There are so many different steps in writing a novel, and revising it for publication can be another beast entirely. But don’t be afraid of change, especially in publication! Revision is a very, very good thing.
Here are a few things about Wings Unseen that changed along its way to becoming the completed epic fantasy that it is today:
#1. Wings Unseen was originally a trilogy. What fantasy writer doesn’t think “trilogy” when coming up with a story? It’s such an established form for our genre. But once I began seriously writing Wings Unseen in the late 2000s, the conventional wisdom was that a new author could not sell a trilogy to a traditional publisher, so I had to re-organize the plot I had envisioned. What ended my original Book #1 now ends Part 1 of Wings Unseen. The novel is a standalone, achieving what I wanted in terms of story arc, but I did cut out a good 60,000 words from my original draft over the course of revisions—that’s two-thirds of a second book right there!
#2. Prince Janto was originally Prince Lanvel. There are other smaller name changes in the book; Vesperi used to be Vespera, for example, but that name was too similar to my other female protagonist’s, so a vowel change made sense. But Lanvel-to-Janto was a bigger shift, and a surprising one coming after I’d written most of the original draft. Practically, Lanvel was too derivative of Lansera, which is the name of the primary kingdom in the book. It also recalled Lancelot, and I did not intend for any comparisons to be drawn between that iconic character and Janto. But the main reason I changed his name is because Lanvel didn’t have a strong masculine sound to it, and I knew that might undercut how strong of a feminist he actually is—give a man a flowery name, and it’s easier for some people to deride him. But a strong, hearty name like Janto? That just might make his powerful respect for women come across more appealingly. I wanted an acceptance of women as equals to be the norm for Lansera, and the name Janto is a better one for coasting past people’s misperceptions.
#3. There is a number of flora and fauna in Wings Unseen that I name but don’t explain at length, beyond establishing a detail or two that I felt necessary for differentiating them from animals or plants on Earth. But in a few places, I didn’t end up including those details at all in the final draft…by accident! They were the casualty of cutting out those 60,000 words I mentioned earlier. The anecdotes explaining them more fully were so clear in my mind that I was shocked when I realized the final draft didn’t include them. Oh well, maybe I will explain them more fully in a sequel?
#4. Serra, one of my main characters, lost a whole subplot to revisions! I revised out that story arc because I was cutting down the size of the book, and ultimately, the arc wasn’t necessary to the central plot. But it was a heroic moment for her, with a resounding speech and everything. She lost it because Serra’s choices of how to respond to what fate throws her way are already heroic enough.
#5. Similarly, I removed an entire chapter from the final draft because it was a smaller, quieter chapter without much forward momentum…and with a lot of religious and historical background for the world of the book. It’s a funeral chapter with a long procession and what I think is a pretty awesome ritual for laying a lord to rest within the royal barrows, but it slowed down the pacing too much in the first few chapters of the book. And Janto, from whose point of view it is told, already deals elsewhere with the self-doubt the chapter prods. But this chapter is available as bonus material for readers! Simply click here to sign up for Meerkat Press’s newsletter and the chapter is yours for free. If you are completely spoiler averse, I’d recommend reading the book first!
#6. The prophecy at the core of Wings Unseen was the hardest part for me to write. Prophesies are often considered cliché in the fantasy genre, but I wanted one of the themes of my book to be the intersection between free will and destiny, and prophecy was a natural way to explore that. So I incorporated it into the book, but I also wanted it to be an old song, like a nursery rhyme, which meant poetry, and poetry is not my forte. My prose tends toward the poetic in style, sometimes too much so, but actual poetry is a foreign land to me. The prophecy went through SO MANY revisions. I think – hope – we caught all the inconsistencies between different versions of it after multiple rounds of editing and proofreading.
I’m sure there are a great many more details that changed in Wings Unseen over the publication process, but those are biggest ones I can think of for now!
In all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe sea captain was the right choice after all. Currently marooned in Oakland, CA, Becca is an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her short stories, which run the gamut of speculative fiction genres, have been published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Pulp Literature, the Future Fire, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and an upcoming story in theDark, Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing among others. Maya’s Vacation, her contemporary romance novella, is available from Clean Reads. She is thrilled to have Meerkat Press publish her debut novel.Becca’s food, drink, and travel writing, which has appeared in local media in CA and NC, can primarily be found at her blog, The Gourmez. For a list of all her published work, fiction and nonfiction, check out her author website at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by Xpresso Book Tours.