My steampunk world has expanded incredibly, considering where it started.
It was originally designed as a one-off book like most of my original concepts—available for a series if need be, with the thought of doing single standalone adventures on an airship as Zaira and her crew traveled the world and explored strange wonders. The Blood of Giants is the book that most exemplifies the original plan of the series and where I wanted to take it.
When For Steam And Country blew up in popularity, I added in Knight Training to flesh out the Knights of the Crystal Spire a little bit better, and give James Gentry his own development and motivation, since readers were calling for it after the first book featured him a little, but most of what happened with him occurred off screen. This was the first major expansion in the world, and, because of the nature of what the knights do, it shifted the focus of what I then wanted to accomplish.
This paired with the end of The Blood of Giants, which left a cliffhanger of an invasion while the airship was away and couldn’t defend her country. The Wyranth war grew a lot faster than I’d originally anticipated and pushed into the much grittier The Fight For Rislandia, which spilled over into Guard Training as the two stories overlap with what’s going on for Zaira and James. This added a complexity to the story, as the two characters were diverging into their different fronts of a war, both needing their own development, extra worldbuilding, and to maintain continuity more than ever before. This is where I had to start mapping out a lot of different stories, backgrounds, histories, and more to make sure everything fit into place.
Over the course of this, I’d set up a lot of characters, a lot of questions, a lot of interesting world stuff that was hinted at but couldn’t be featured within my two narratives, since they’re very tight first-person perspectives of what’s going on around them. We can’t get a full account of the war from either James or Zaira because they’re both in very special positions, and their views are limited.
Short stories have really helped to build the world around the two characters, and are crucial to getting the detail of some of what’s glossed over in the main books. As of now, there’s 5 full short stories, and a shorter flash fiction that tie into Rislandia and build events that matter for the books to come. Those are on Patreon and I highly recommend reading them.
But there’s still a ton of unanswered questions. I just finished Spy Training, which is a bridge between the first trilogy of the Von Monocle series and what’s to come. My thoughts had always been to start in a more grounded perspective (a farm girl’s limited view of the world), and then as she goes out and explores, the reader goes out and explores as well, with more fantastical elements seeping in as she grows in her understanding of the world.
That’s being accomplished here.
Over the next two trilogies—one from Zaira and one from James, you’ll see the development of more fantastical, pushing the reality of these characters’ worlds into some really crazy stuff which is super fun. I won’t reveal it yet but a lot of it centers upon the question: how does the airship fly? The answer is hinted at very subtly in the texts so far but in book 4 of Von Monocle, we’re going to dive into it.
And Spy Training sets all that up. If you’re on Patreon reading the short stories I’m coming out with, following along on the wiki-style website I built, and reading the books, you’re going to be in for a huge treat because of what I’m weaving together. It’s very complex, and the work is only getting better. I really think it’s going to blow your minds.
Spy Training is going to be out on Tuesday, so I hope you’ll at least catch up on the main series in the meantime. This wild ride of epic steampunk is just beginning.
Best Reading Order (including shorts only available on Patreon currently):
“The Battlecry of the Liliana”
“Baron Von Monocle and the Island of the Fae”
For Steam And Country
The Blood of Giants
The Fight For Rislandia