Once I’d planned the world, the story, and my characters, I nervously started writing. I had no idea if I could write a book, whether the words would flow, or if it would be such an embarrassing process that I would give up before I’d really started. To my surprise the words came easily, and not only that, but I loved the process. I found it liberating to be in creative control of what I was doing; something rare in my daily life.
The journey was constantly surprising. Initially, I’d thought I was writing a standalone book, but soon realised there was just too much content for this, so it turned quickly into a trilogy. Furthermore, characters who I’d thought wouldn’t play a main role to start with (Marcus for example), ended up taking centre stage, and new characters (like Anderson) appeared out of nowhere.
I’m a very visual person, so I imagined everything as I wrote, taking inspiration from things and places familiar to me: St Andrews for Kingdom, Devon moorlands and Scottish highlands with their bleak landscapes and meandering rivers for the land around Empire, Tuscany for the weather and feel of Empire, and cathedrals for the Temples.
I wrote a little at a time to start with, re-reading several times what I had written before moving on. As I gained confidence, I wrote much more quickly, getting down a few thousand words per sitting. Having a clear plan for the book was extremely helpful. This way, I always knew what was coming next and could easily refer back to what had gone before. It provided me with obvious goals, and meant I could track progress, ticking off sections as I made my way through, with a clear idea of how far I was from completion.
There were new and unexpected twists and turns that happened along the way too, so it was exciting. I would daydream on my way to and from work, imagining (as I do when I read other peoples’ books) what would happen next. But the wonderful thing was, when I got home, I could write my thoughts down and incorporate them into the story.