Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2)
By: Erica Cameron
Publication Date: December 5th, 2017
Know your enemy if you want to survive…
The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.
Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.
1) What is on your desk or where you write? What do you need to write? Do you have a writer’s survival kit?
Nearly all my work is done on laptop, so that’s a priority. When I’m at my desk, I have a dual-screen setup that makes editing a lot easier because I can see multiple pages of the book plus my notes. I pretty much always carry a water bottle with me, but when I’m going through marathon writing sessions there’s caffeine, too. And something to munch on. And, depending on my mood and level of focus, something to watch in the background or something to listen to.
2) What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster? Which do you prefer: drafting or revising?
I’m working on what will be my ninth published novel, and the one thing I know for sure is that my process changes. No two books have happened the same way. For me, the most important part is pushing through the first draft and actually finishing it. Drafting never feels like it gets any easier, and connecting the various pieces often feels like doing a 3000 piece puzzle without a picture to guide me. Which is probably one of the reasons I had to rewrite Sea of Strangers three times before I finally got it right. With the third draft, I finally got to the point where I had an outline my editor had helped me lay out. It’s not something I have ever been able to put together and follow before, but it definitely helped with both Sea of Strangers and book 3 in the series. Revising is definitely easier, so long as life actually allows me time to work.
3) 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?
Honestly, at this point I have to really think to remember what stayed in Strangers and what came out! It’s hard to pick something to share from all the lost bits and pieces, though, because some of it is spoilery, some of it is now irrelevant, and some of it has now been repurposed and moved into book three! I can tell you that version 1 is very different from version 3, and that a lot of my problems came from becoming too enamored of my own world. I may find the politics and social intricacies of my fictional universe fascinating, but that doesn’t mean it makes a good book!
4) How was writing SEA OF STRANGERS different from writing ISLAND OF EXILES? Was it easier or harder? What did you enjoy most about getting to add more to this world you created?
Definitely and absolutely harder. Like I mentioned above, I had to write this book over again twice. Three versions with very little saved from one draft to the next. The only chapter that stayed more or less the same was chapter one. Also, the only book I have had to rework this much was my debut novel Sing Sweet Nightingale. But despite the challenge, I still loved getting deeper into the world Shiara occupies. In Island of Exiles, readers only get to see a sliver of what exists in this universe. Sea of Strangers opens up so much more, and even that is still only a small portion of the whole map.
5) Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble?
It honestly is so hard to pick favorite characters in this series! Khya is obviously the heart of the story, and I cannot do anything without thinking of her reactions to it. Rai and Sanii are human balls of snark and sarcasm, and that is utterly fantastic, especially when paired with Etaro’s pragmatic voyeurism. The resigned wit of Tessen as he helps Khya deal with everything they face. I love this cast! Especially since none of them gave me the trouble some of my characters have caused me in past books.
6) If you could ask a character of your choice from SEA OF STRANGERS one question what would it be?
I think the only thing I could ask any of them is, “Do you forgive me? Because I’m sorry for everything. Mostly.”
7) What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?
After the turbulent writing process, I am most proud of the first chapter, partially because it’s the only part I got right the first time around. There’s also a bit in the middle with Khya and Tessen that is pretty wonderful, but I don’t want to give anything away.
8) Is there a scene that you had difficulty with and just had to “power through” to finish the book? Or a scene that made you very emotional?
The whole book. All of it. Nothing about this book was easy, but I’m so happy with the way it all turned out!
9) What is next for you? What are your currently working on?
Currently, I’m editing book 3 of The Ryogan Chronicles before I get back to writing my first true science fiction novel! It will also be coming out with Entangled, and I’m really excited about it. I even had someone custom build me a massive spaceship with intricate, detailed floorplans and everything. It’s going to be amazing.
10) Can you leave us with your favorite line from SEA OF STRANGERS?
I have a thing about doing quote art for my books, and Strangers is no exception. You can find all of them on the book’s page on my website, but for now I will leave you with this one.
Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.
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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 Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours.