This week Prince of Spires released my first novel, Defender of Gilgin. It’s the tale of Finn, a ranger who unearths a 1.000 year old creature. When he does so, he accidentally sets the second apocalypse in motion. He scrambles to save mankind from the forces of Darkness, even as he is at the same time pursued by those who blame him for everything that happens. Can stop the apocalypse before he gets hanged for heresy?
The Manhir, rock-like creatures as seen on the cover, play a central role in this novel. They sit at the heart of the mystery surrounding the second apocalypse. And they are where the story started for me. A few years ago I came across the following drawing by Matthew Klaas de Witte, a wonderful fantasy artist (I first saw it posted on Ulthuan.net).
This image hooked itself in my brain where it spun all sorts of wonderful and magical tales. It made me curious about the kind of society where these kinds of creatures lived.
I let all these ideas simmer for a few months, where they formed a short story about a guy named Finn who accidentally digs up a Manhir named Henge. Together, they set off on a quest to discover why Henge is the only remaining Manhir in the world. As I came to the end I had in mind, I found that the tale itself wasn’t done. I was left with more questions about what was going on and about where Finn and Henge would go next. Which is how this short story morphed into the novel which would eventually become Defender of Gilgin.
This short story was very different from the eventual novel. For starters, Finn started his life as a dwarf, with Gilgin being a great, underground dwarven hold. As I wrote the larger tale, I discovered that he worked better as a human, so I changed his race. Another big change was that a whole host of primary and secondary characters made an appearance. There were more friendships and betrayals in the eventual novel then I originally imagined when I started the short story.
It’s still a fun read I think. If you’re interested, it’s one of the extra’s you get access to if you subscribe to my newsletter.
Creating the novel
I started work on the novel itself by creating a rough outline of all the different storylines which were going on. This helped me keep the motivations of the different factions clear and took the vague idea in my head and turned it into a tale. From there it was mainly a matter of sitting down and writing. And a lot of editing.
I was lucky to come across my editor, Floyd. He pointed out several issues with the novel as I had originally written it. By fixing these issues I strengthened the tale immensely. And in the process I even discovered a couple of new characters.
The last thing to do before publishing (besides another edit) was to get a cover. I ran a contest to find one I liked. And I got lucky I think, because I ended up with a cover I love. The artist, Petya Mitreva, captured my vision of Finn and Henge exactly and created a window into a world where Mahir wander freely.
Though the tale does end at the end of Defender of Gilgin, I still feel there is more to the story to tell. I have enough material in my head for at least another novel, maybe two. I’ll find out when I sit down to plan the next tale, which should be somewhere in the next few months. First, I’m working on a story in a different world, featuring flying pirates and magical dust. I’m currently editing that tale, and once that is done I’ll revisit Finn and his friends to see where they go next.