A little bit of a retrospective on my first book The Little Queen. A little bit of a review of my own work, I suppose (may contain spoilers). The sequel, Asterion, is undergoing another rewrite and I’m nearly to the end of the first act. Maybe then I’ll let some beta-readers take a look at it. There’s also a few novellas. These are mostly just written for fun or when I have a random idea that I don’t think I could fill a whole novel with (not every random idea as then I’d be writing a hundred novellas every day).
But yes, The Little Queen is a fun adventure with fun characters. Most people who’ve given feedback seem to rather enjoy it. I personally had a few issues. I went about writing it in a very disorganised way, and I first put it up on Kindle, it was wrong. There were a lot of mistakes and I’ve changed and corrected things a few times since (always let me know if you have an outdated version, although for now you can just download the latest version for free or whatever in a few different formats from Smashwords).
I read a lot of writing advice as well. One said that the first story in a series shouldn’t be too long, so I imposed a limit of 70,000 words. This meant that a lot of scenes were compressed and would have been a lot longer. One example is when Jen and Kay enter Tenley’s house – originally it would have been a much longer sequence where she’d have captured them, then other characters who came to find them, like Delainy and Daramy, then all of them trying to get through to the girl while she wonders what on earth to do with all these people showing up. But it had to all be stripped down for ‘time’. The ending would have probably more drawn out too, with Jen and Kaya going their seperate ways for a bit, Kay confronting Candace and splitting up the band before going back to Jennifer. Another bit of advice was to say up front what the story was all about as it’s a first novel, which is why I tacked on the introduction (which is one of the things I’ve rewritten a few times).
Still, if you enjoyed it despite all of that, then who am I to tell you’re wrong.
Although not fantasy, fairies and elves are a theme of course. Titania, Alvin Stag, Changelings, Irongate, and lots of other references to elf and fairy tales. Genetic engineering and synthetic biology are what it’s actually about. GMO’s are mentioned a couple of times. Again because it’s short I didn’t get to go massively in depth into all these things, focusing on the characters and their adventure instead.
Some people wonder why Tenley turns on the others. Well that’s simple – Tenley is a child. She’s a child who’s deeply hurt, and when children are hurt what most of them want is to be, well, mothered. She’s smart enough to see that Titania is really just using her, and so uses her as well. So, yeah, she basically just decides to help Jennifer because Jennifer is nice to her.
So anyway, depite the issues I have, it seems most people still find the story enjoyable, which I suppose as a writer is all you really want.