Behind the Book: The Birds of Anjdur

The city of Aulis, setting for The Jealousy Glass.

When I decided to write my second novel, The Jealousy Glass, one of the things that I considered was symbolism. The Universal Mirror contains a lot of small cultural details that I’d placed in the story but never picked up on–one of them was the use of different motifs for different noble houses in the nation of Cercia.

I loved the idea of retaining that concept as my characters traveled to a different land but debated about what to do with it. The land to which they go, Anjdur, is heavily based on my own research on the Byzantine Empire around the year 1200. Because of that, many of the symbols reflect Byzantine cultural values–emphasis placed on the eyes as a source of power (in this case, magical) and also on the sun. But how could I change that, I wondered, and fit in some of the symbols that had been used in Mirror as well?

That was when I came to the idea of birds. Birds struck me as a symbol of flight and also of travel towards a better destination, a perfect metaphor for one of the main characters of Jealousy Glass.

Creatures of the air, they also seemed to fit the delicate but surprisingly strong empress Irena while also befitting her mysterious sister, the former Empress Sophia. Different birds are woven throughout this story for each Anjduri character–from eagles to phoenixes, the characters with that heritage in their veins each have a bird figure as pivotal to an artifact either belonging to them or interfacing with them at some crucial point. Like the characters, the birds that appear in the Artifacts of Empire universe are sometimes magical and a few will have a recurring role in what lies ahead.

As I continue the series, I hope to incorporate more of these ideas so that readers can follow the threads and begin to gather clues about some of the bigger mysteries yet to come. Will there be more magical animals ahead? Perhaps. 🙂

The Jealousy Glass, book 2 in the Artifacts of Empire series, will be released December 1, 2012. Feel free to add it to your Goodreads list.

This blog entry is part of World Animal Day.  Visit the link below to take part in the giveaway!

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The light at the end of the tunnel

When I first decided to write a book this year, the prize was not completion but rather, to determine whether or not I could develop a rhythm and a discipline that worked for me to ensure that I write daily. It says something about my newfound faith and confidence in working that I can allow myself to be gleeful because I only have three more chapters to write and… I AM DONE.

(Done with the actual end of the novel. Revisions, query, synopsis… all of these things will take a lot of time and love. Fortunately, I’ve been concurrently mapping all of those out as I go.)

The challenge from here on out is, I suppose, to find the next novel to write and set a new goal for myself of balancing that story with editing and actively seeking a home for the first. Whether or not it gets rejected by a million agents and/or publishers, however, I still feel very good about having written that story. There is much in it that’s good and I’m proud that I was able to get so much out on paper and complete the project.