Dadewalker by Lissa Bilyk.
What more resources do I need other than time, effort, imagination, and a way to store what I’ve written?
I first started what would eventually turn into Book 1 of a five-part series in 2002, when I was sixteen years old. The character Innocence Frostcaller came to me from nowhere, and was originally an elf with sharp, pointed teeth. At first, I couldn’t figure out the relationship between her and her shapeshifting sidekick Tagodan because it was at once a kind of guardian older-brother role, and advisor, protector, and confidant, and at the same time with a love so deep it could never be shattered. Later, as I delved more into Paracelsus‘ elemental theories and changed Innocence’s race a few times, I realised they were two sides of the same person. They were never, ever love interests. That’s just gross.
Rome was originally two characters (and after he was combined, his name was Lake). Laysa, Danu and Tai were inspired by my own friends at the time. It wasn’t until I realised Rome had to be just one character that I realised Innocence needed a romantic love interest: that’s where Prince Garuth came from. He sprang fully-formed into my head and in two weeks when I was supposed to be writing four essays for Uni, I wrote 15K words detailing some of their experiences as love interests.
A lot of the series has changed since I first conceived my heroine. I’ve been through several plots, added characters, deleted others, changed a few more. As I grew older and read more books, I realised that I could afford to make things more grown-up with darker themes, and not just write an adventure book full of fluff where no one ever got hurt. My four years at University helped me understand and develop the world.
I didn’t want vampires, werewolves, fairies, dragons, or wise old wizards in pointy hats, even though it’s a high fantasy with paranormal elements. Sure, the banshees are vampiric, Tagodan’s shapeshifts into a wolf, Fury was originally part sylph and had a dragon totem, Laysa and Rome are sorcerers, and the six Fae races are somewhat inspired by fairy tales, I knew I needed to write something much more original. I didn’t create any of the six Fae races, I simply took a basic idea and moulded them into what I needed in this world.
I finished Dadewalker in 2010, thinking it was a 122K word book. Then I thought harder about what I was trying to achieve: get people reading paranormal and fantasy that’s not run of the mill vampire crap or male-led quest stories. To write fantasy that’s more approachable for women fantasy lovers. So I split Dadewalker into two and re-wrote huge chunks of it. I’m still working on Darkwalker, Book 2. Both books will be put on sale this year, along with some other things I’ve written, while I work on writing the rest of the series.
I hope this makes other people realise that to write a novel all you really need to do is WRITE IT.