It’s hard to believe it. We wrote it, and edited it, and loved it into existence. Countless hours spent on the phone and in emails and chat, working and playing with it. We’ve created a whole world in Persis, one that is so real to me it seems as though I should be able to open a door and step into it like walking through the armoir into Narnia.
Emerald Fire, the first in what we hope to be many novels about Persis, is available now from Torquere Press! We are very excited and pleased to bring it to you and hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.
While a brief blurb and excerpt are available on the website, I thought I’d talk a little about the process of worldbuilding that we developed as we worked and played on this novel. I grew up reading mysteries by Phyllis A. Whitney and fantasy novels by such authors as Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, and Ursula K. Leguin. Patricia McKillip and Steven Brust are two more of my favorites. Rachel grew up reading fantasy as well, like the Sword of Shannara and other quest novels, as well as a lot of romance like the Harlequin white-covers. We got to talking one day and wondered what it would be like to write a world of Sheikhs and Harem Girls, only where the Girls were Boys – since we write M/M romance.
Persis is based from that concept. We looked at ancient Persia and developed our culture from there. Our two main cities are Cyrus and Darius, after two of the greatest rulers of ancient Persia – and the world. Darius I, known as Darius the Great, ruled over much of what is now Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. We wanted the settlers of Persis to know that and want to honor their ancestors. The third city, newer than Cyrus or Darius, is Reghdad and is a name we made up based on Baghdad.
One of the first challenges we came across is one of distance: first, how far apart are these cities? Second, how long does it take to travel between them? After all, if there aren’t paved highways and modern cars, how to folks get around? (“What’s the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”) We drew a map and estimated distances, then estimated how long each of our styles of vehicle would take to travel between the cities.
Another challenge is how to keep everything organized as you’re developing it. We decided to write a “Concordance” for our world, in which we track everything from geopolitical relationships and macroeconomics to the Keeps and their customs of dress. It’s great fun, especially if you enjoyed learning stuff like this in school but never really figured out how to apply it in the real world. The made-up world. Persis. Whatever. You get the picture.
We hope you enjoy the story as much as we do, and that our efforts to make it come to life are successful. Enjoy!
Wikipedia article on Darius I, accessed 06/11/2012
Monty Python – Airspeed Velocity of a Swallow, accessed 06/11/2012