Since Legends of Windemere and War of Nytefall take place in the same world, I felt that I had to give a few nods to the previous series in the new one. This isn’t very easy though because Clyde and the Dawn Fangs were operating a few centuries before Luke Callindor and the champions were even born. Having Mab show up in The Mercenary Prince is one thing because she’s immortal, but how do you really do nods to a series that takes place in the future?
The most obvious thing is to use earlier version of the cities and common monsters. This locks in that both stories take place in Windemere. I mentioned the same gods and goddesses too even though they don’t physically show up. This helps to make it clear that Clyde and his adventure happen almost beyond the control of the gods. He is beyond the reach of Gabriel the Destiny God due to the Great Cataclysm, which is a trait he’ll share with another future protagonist. The difference will be that Clyde is staying under the radar of the gods, which means I can’t have them show up to give nods to what they’re going to do in Legends of Windemere.
Another challenge is that having any heroic bloodlines turn up is just asking for them to get killed. It would feel off to have Clyde run into a Callindor and not have a fight, which the mortal can’t possibly win. I will admit that I think I found a way to slip one in anyway, but there’s going to be a lot of stretching. It’s actually a little easier to bring in a few verbal nods like mentioning the Snow Tiger Tribe (Timoran Wrath) or having a character drink Masterson Whiskey (Kevin Masterson). Bringing up drites and gypsies can cover a little too, but you can’t really go specifically to Fizzle and Sari. So, it really made me think that the heroes can’t be the big hint targets.
That didn’t mean I had nothing though because I stumbled onto a few juicy nods. There are a few immortals involved in Legends of Windemere, so I can have them make an appearance or at least get mentioned. For example, I could feasibly have Stephen show up and try to recruit Clyde to the Baron’s cause. Obviously, that didn’t happen since that would change War of Nytefall. I also can’t see a meeting between Clyde and Baron Kernaghan going smoothly. This means I still have a problem with making direct connections, which might be for the best.
With a prequel, you don’t want future heroes to be too involved in the story. Having it be reversed with prequel characters showing up in another series possesses less risk of messing with continuity. You can’t alter the past if they’re in the future. The same doesn’t go for cameos in prequels. That can make a mess, which is what I’m always keeping in mind every time I write one of these books. One time, I nearly made a mistake by having Clyde talk about running into Dariana, which made no sense. She would have just become a champion and the location I picked didn’t fit with what I set up. A lot of these things have to be cleaned up in edits, which has left me with this system:
- Put in a nod/cameo because it’s fun.
- Sit down after writing first draft to decide if it makes sense.
- Realize that ‘because I think it’s cool’ is not good enough.
- Fix if I can’t rationalize it.
Maybe less is more here. Either way, I’ve had to add a few nods to maintain some type of connections. I have to decide if I should hint to future series too like Sin or Darwin who take place after Legends of Windemere. This really makes it feel like a juggling act too, which is both fun and harrowing.