The next few months are going to be pretty busy for JW Whitmarsh so we thought we’d give a taste of what is to come, along with a rough timeline and a short quote from the author on each.
Enchantress Destiny – due 1st of May, 2016
Nexus-Fiction: Is there much of a gap between Enchantress Apprentice and Enchantress Destiny?
JW Whitmarsh: No, none at all really. Chapter 1 follows on from where we left Apprentice. The first third is very much a continuation of what was set up previously. Thereafter we seen the quest heading towards its final destination.
NX: Is this the last we’ll see of Caleigh and her friends?
JW: Each Elemental Book, Water, Fire, Earth etc is set in a different part of the world so what comes after The Book of Water isn’t necessarily in sequence. That said, the events set in motion in The Book of Water will have a global effect and whoever is left standing is going to want to have a part in what happens after.
The Book of Water – due 3rd of June, 2016
NX: So we’re finally bringing out The Book of Water as a single volume. Is this how you see the story?
JW: Yes, absolutely. But I’m also a reader and I appreciate people like to break things down. The main advantage in having them together like this is people will approach them in sequence and don’t have to worry about having read something first.
NX: Will there be anything new?
JW: There may be appendices about some of the background information and characters. We shall see.
Valkyrie Rising – due 1st of July, 2016
NX: So Valkyrie Rising is volume 4. Is it necessary to have read 1-3 first to understand it?
JW: Short answer is no. It’s set in a parallel Norse world as opposed to the Celtic one and features a new set of characters. Valeria’s journey runs largely concurrent with Caleigh’s for the first part of the novel and then carries on for a few months after.
NX: Will readers of The Book of Water have a better understanding?
JW: They will have a better understanding of the world and how magic works and things like the Society of Shadows. Elsewise it’s a new beginning.
NX: So we shouldn’t expect any cross-over?
JW: Not yet with this one. Ultimately, there will come a point when all the distinct elements converge but you’ll have to wait and see precisely how they pans out.
Mars Fallen – due October 2016
NX: We have another origin story here. Can this too be read as a standalone?
JW: Yes. Less so than Valkyrie Rising but it’s quite possible to understand everything with no prior knowledge of the other books.
NX: So we should expect this one to be completely self-contained?
JW: Not completely. As it takes place a little bit later we will start to see some progression and consequences from The Book of Water.
NX: And we’re in ancient Rome this time?
JW: Well, Sena but yes the setting is the classical world. It’s not entirely the same. In this world the Empire in the west has clung on for a hundred years or so longer than its historical counterpart.
NX: Since we’re on the topic, when is the Elemental Cycle set precisely?
JW: You have to remember this is a parallel-world and one that has been hugely influenced by magic and magical turmoil. Some things have been invented much earlier as a natural consequence of magic use. For example, glass-working in a world where people can wield fire would happen many centuries earlier, I think. Likewise, religion would have developed very differently when most miracles were explicable through spells and learning.
Roughly speaking, the current time period in the world of the Elemental Cycle is somewhere in the region of the 5th to 6th centuries. Unfortunately, not that much is known about a lot of the world in this time so what I write about is illuminated by better documented periods. Valeria’s Scandinavian world is approaching the Viking era, which is actually 2-3 centuries later.
Ultimately, the world of the Elemental Cycle is a celebration of mythologies so it tries to reach the defining period for those. There is no century that would conveniently align with all of that.
NX: Does this convergence have an effect in terms of the current state of each culture?
JW: Yes, to a degree. We are not going to see samurai and hoplites alongside knights in full plate armour charging against cannons. The Senatian soldiers of this time wear mail; the lorica segmenta is acknowledged as something from the past. The knights of the west wear mail and haven’t started jousting, which, incidentally, already makes it more historically accurate than the medieval tales of King Arthur.
NX: This all takes us up to October this year. How far ahead have you planned with the series? Can you give us a hint what the following three books will be?
JW: Book six is A Clash of Gods, which will be the second book in the Book of Earth. At some point the second book of the Book of Fire (provisionally titled Venus Ascending) will branch off from that. The two may initially run parallel to each other. At the same time in another part of the world the first part of the Book of Air is due to start. It may have started already in terms of the timeline.
NX: Will all the Elemental Books be trilogies?
JW: That remains to be seen. I think that’s something that should be dictated by the story rather than neatness. Maybe it will be two books or one. How do Nexus feel about a tetralogies?