(Today, I have C.S. Boyack, who is here to promote his newest book. It is called Serang and is a prequel to Voyage of the Lanternfish. It’s his first prequel, so I asked him to talk about this experience. Enjoy.)
Thanks for having me over again, Charles. I decided 2019 was the year I dove into series work. I’m taking on two of them, in two different styles. One is the kind that uses the same characters in new stories and can last as long as I have ideas for them. The other one is intended to be a classic trilogy, and that’s the one I want to talk about today.
Voyage of the Lanternfish is a pirate adventure/fantasy. I’m knee deep into the second story right now. One of the things I tried to do is pepper the crew with a colorful cast from all over the world. In my mind, pirates were kind of the downtrodden and outcasts of society. To that end, a character named Serang joined the crew.
I made an effort to give the more important pirates a line or two of background, but nothing that would be considered an info-dump or excessive backstory. It all worked out pretty well, allowing me to keep focus on the main tale, but the character of Serang fascinated me.
We visited her home country to pull off what amounts to a big con job, and the country itself had a lot of potential. It occurred to me that it’s popular to write a supporting story for a series these days. One of my partners over at Story Empire did it, and they were good stories in their own right. It made sense for me to write Serang, and it has the added bonus of holding fans over until I can finish the next book in the trilogy.
That’s where the problems began, or so I perceived. On the one hand, Lanternfish has a lot of comedy elements. Serang is not one of them. She’s a very serious, and even dangerous character. You can see this problem taking shape in the form of what to do with reader expectations. New readers won’t have expectations, but Lanternfish fans will. Will they expect the ass kicker version of Serang they already know, or will they expect more of that Lanternfish undertone of humor?
Splitting the baby might seem like a reasonable option, but that’s not what I did. This is a coming of age story about a girl who’s seen a lot of violence and suffered great emotional trauma. She went through the fire and came out steel. Serang is the story of that fire.
It’s still one of my stories, so there are some light moments and some fun banter, but I knew whatever I wrote had to lead toward the character Serang is in Lanternfish. It’s a neat exercise for an author, because you have to think a bit deeper about where you’re going to wind up. At the end, she has to be the person we saw in Lanternfish, or nearly so.
Lanternfish has fantasy elements, like sea monsters and magic, some of which is Serang’s magic. She doesn’t completely understand it, but I had to include bits about how we got there. This book has bits and pieces of an explanation that will let readers understand the basics without totally explaining it. That’s also a tightrope, because magic shouldn’t be completely explained.
I needed to keep that compass pointed toward the version of Serang we saw in Lanternfish, so I added bits about one of her masters who plays an odd clay flute, this is how she came to adopt her own bamboo flute. I added snippets about her strange attire, and readers will understand why she wraps her fists and forearms all the time. (She’s hiding something.)
I’m pleased with the end result, but readers will be the true judge of how I did. Serang is a stand-alone novel, which is something I built my writing career around, but it also supports the Lanternfish trilogy. I hope your fans will give it a whirl.
Monastic life is all about duty, service, harmony. For Serang, a young girl abandoned at the temple by her mother after the death of her father, that life becomes all she knows. The monks give her purpose, and become her new family.
When political upheaval causes chaos throughout the land, Serang again loses everything and everyone she loves. Alone, she struggles to survive. She convinces a wandering monk to take her under his wing and complete her training. Thus begin her adventures through strange lands and her trials to become a confident, capable, independent adult.
This is a coming of age story set in a fantasy world. It’s filled with monsters and martial arts, difficulties and dangers. The serious situations preclude the story from the levity of its predecessor, Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it provides a compelling look at the origin of one of the saga’s most fascinating characters.
Purchase Link http://mybook.to/Serang