The following is an interview with writer Tina LeCount Myers on the release of her novel, Dreams of the Dark Sky, through Nightshade Books. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with LeCount Myers about the creative process of developing the sequel story to The Song of All, what she hopes that readers will take away from the story, what’s to come in The Legacy of the Heavens series, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your novel, Dreams of the Dark Sky, through Nightshade Books! As this is the sequel to The Song of All (and part of the larger Legacy of Heavens series),how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired this latest addition to the story?
Tina LeCount Myers: Thank you so much! When I finished writing the first draft of The Song of All, I was certain that it was a standalone book. That night, I went to bed and dreamed what would become the next two books of The Legacy of the Heavens series. At the time, I wasn’t cognizant of the underlying premise of the series. I just knew that this was the story that I had to tell. But upon reflection, there are evident themes at work. Initially, I had wanted to write about the evolutionary possibility of elves without ever using the word elf. But what I ended up writing was about family dynamics over generations with characters who just happen to be elves. At the heart of all the worldbuilding and sword fighting is an examination of foundational relationships. In The Song of All, the focus is on the parent-child relationship. In Dreams of the Dark Sky, there is more of what would be considered a sibling rivalry that must be worked through.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in writing the sequel, and what have been some of your creative influences?
TLM: To be honest, when I wrote the first drafts of each book, I didn’t know how to write a sequel. I’ve read many fiction series, but I hadn’t ever given the process much thought. So, I analyzed some of my favorites in science fiction, fantasy, and mystery to see what those authors did. What I learned is that it is a fine balance between reintroducing crucial information from the first book without it turning into an info dump. In writing Dreams of the Dark Sky, I was constantly asking myself “Is this enough?” or “Is this too much?” I also relied heavily on my storyboards to maintain continuity in the worldbuilding and character arcs. Some of the series that I looked to when writing the sequel were Robin Hobbs’ The Farseer Trilogy, Kate Elliott’s Spiritwalker Trilogy, and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle.
BD: Given your return to the world of The Legacy of the Heavens, did you find that there was a shorthand to writing the characters and the story?
TLM: In some ways, there’s a shorthand for the characters that carry over into the sequel. They have established descriptions, but my two main characters were evolving in the second book, and I was learning more and more about each of them as a result. I also introduce a number of new characters, so I definitely experienced a journey of discovery with their arcs. The world in which the characters inhabit stays the same in the sequel, and that lets me refer to existing descriptions and notations. In the third book, that will be changing. I’ll have a broader world to describe. Always something new!
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from book two of the series?
TLM: I hope readers connect with the question of belonging and how we try to fit in. In the story, there’s the individual’s struggle to understand who they are and their place within the group. But there’s the larger struggle of the group as political and environmental changes press up against their traditions and definitions of who they are. I think these are relevant contemporary issues that we all encounter in one way or another.
BD: How did you work on Dreams of the Dark Sky impact your approach, if at all, to the forthcoming books in the series?
TLM: Because I introduced a number of new characters in the second book, the story arcs have gotten a bit more complex. But at the same time, I see so many new possibilities for expansion and resolution.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
TLM: I’m in the middle of writing the third book which will be called Breath of Gods. If everything goes according to plan, which it hardly ever does, it will come out early part of 2020. Once I turn this book in to my publisher, I’ll begin research for a quartet of books which I can’t really say much about at the moment.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Dreams of the Dark Sky?
TLM: Readers can find more information on Dreams of the Dark Sky at my publisher’s website, Nightshade Books, and my website (www.tinalecountmyers.com), where they can download chapters from both The Song of All and Dreams of the Dark Sky. The Legacy of the Heavens books are available through your favorite independent bookseller (indiebound.org), Powell’s Book, and major retail chains like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Target Online. Readers can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@tlecountmyers).