Just a matter of hours now until we bid old November its final farewell and roll out the rugs for sweet, icy December. You know, the season of giving. Also gravel—gravel that will probably demand a new windshield out of my car at some point. A windshield that will cost money…(see economic rant to come)
But hey, we’re not talking the real world here today. We’re just borrowing its sense of giving for a healthy dose of fantasy.
As you may have seen earlier this week, Monday is the big day on my mind. In less than one week now my first novel, The Hollow March, will finally launch just in time for the holiday season. As such, I think the lot of us need to have a little sit down and chat. Oh, don’t look at me like that—it’s not a scolding. No—we’re going to be talking loose ends.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve ruminated on geography, covers, and even slapped up a full chapter preview of the book’s first chapter. While I gave you a look at the landscape, though, I never showed you a final copy of the land I’m going to be spending a great deal of my future writing on: Idasia.
Well, there she is, fellows. The Empire of Idasia. The central focus of The Hollow March. A nation of plains and forests, of feudal values, and an unfortunately large appetite. Not for food, of course—that would be silly. Idasia has plenty of food pouring out of its farms and ranches that abound from north to south. No, its hunger is for land, for trade, and for prestige—a combination deadly to its neighbors.
On this map, crafted by the talented hand of my good friend Nathan Hartley, you can spy the opening setting of the novel proper: the Ulneberg forest. From an overlook above the lumber town of Verdan—the home of the Matair family nestled along the first bend of the River Jurree—that setting will shift gradually northward, through the ancient forest. From there, it will spill out onto the plains between the Ulneberg and the Hanschleig, and continue to the easternmost border of the Empire and beyond.
Yet that is not all you’ll see of Idasia. A myriad of eyes will carry you to a castle in the Split Tooth Valley, to the great plains of the nation’s central expanse, and to the sprawling war camps Idasia’s armies now call home.
(The prologue, featured previously, actually centers a good deal deeper inside Idasia’s borders, in the castle of a nobleman who shall as yet remain nameless. This location will also form a recurring counter-scene to the journeys of our forest-borne troop).
Though the journeys are already written in stone, I tell you the faces and personalities of the people therein are still drumming through my skull. I dare say they can’t wait to get out into the world—and given the way I’ve already started plugging through the sequel, I’d say they’re getting their wish.
As to the land…well, it’s one that’s been crafted in my mind over the course of years. Long years (never mind the irony of a youngling like myself saying that). Painful years. Fortunately, the history and geography buff in me got a real kick out of the whole process—from landscapes to politics, from religions to cultures, there was not one facet of this world I did not love to forge.
Well, except where money’s involved. Economics, I tell you now, is the bane of me. Gives you an appreciation for why you see so many go for the simple, classic “gold, silver, copper” model, henceforth referred to as “DnDing it up.” And don’t tell me I’m wrong to title it that. I point my finger at you. I know who you are.
Bonus? The next party I go to, I get to tell people I’ve researched medieval monetary theory. Oh yes. I expect many applause. Or blank stares. Either way—I’ll feel shiny.
But my point is, I sincerely hope that all comes across well in the work, and helps it breathe as beautifully for you, as it has for this little author. Minus the feelings on all things monetary, of course.
As for what lies ahead, well…next week will be all about the book launch, but after that, expect a new feature called “Inside Idasia,” where I’ll be belting out a few more details of this troubled little land.
With that, though, I bid you all a fine day, and I hope to see you at the launch!