I have had so much fun with Bronwyn Eley’s Relic Trilogy over the past month or so – first my friend Shan (@allshereads) and I hosted a readalong of the first book RELIC, and then I was lucky enough to get my hands on the second book in the trilogy – RIVEN – before it was released last week (you can see my review here). Tonight the fun continues, as Bronwyn was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the books and here writing process. You can see what she had to say below!
Hi Bronwyn! First I just wanted to say a big thanks for joining me on Bookish Bron today, and congrats on the release of RIVEN, the second book in your RELIC trilogy!
Hi Bron! Thank you so much for having me!
I’m always curious to know which part of a book has first inspired an author to start writing – in the case of The Relic Trilogy, did the idea for the setting and story came to you first, or was there a character who came to you that you then went on to build the story and world around?
Great question – I love the idea around this kind of thing too! The origin of the story, as it were. In this case, it was the relic that came to me first. This idea of a dark magic and a suffering soul who pays the price – aka the Shadow.
The initial story idea I had for this book was quite different actually! It was still about the relics and Shadows… but it was almost like a big conference for the Lords and all the various Shadows came together and there was going to be a coup etc. As someone recently commented – it could be ‘LordCon 2020’ hahahaha which I just love!
So it was definitely the idea of the relic and the magic system that came first. Kaylan formed out of the idea and out of the necessity to have a mentally and physically strong person become the victim of the relic. *insert evil laughter here*
When you first started writing RELIC, did you have an idea of what would happen in the next two books, in terms of what the characters would do and how the trilogy would end? Has much changed from what you first planned, and have there been times that characters and events have surprised you?
I had a rough idea of how I wanted it to end – nothing specific – but more of a ‘vibe’ for an ending. Basically, I knew how I wanted people to feel at the end of the series.
It slowly developed over time, as I wrote books one and two – edited them – and, of course, once Relic was out in the world! Once it was published, I got to see what people really responded to and what they were hoping for/looking for, which does have an influence on where the story goes! I’m writing for me but I’m also writing for my readers.
My characters also surprise me all the time! I like to plot the big things, but the in-between moments I prefer to keep spontaneous. I like to be surprised while I’m writing too – almost as if I’m reading the book myself. And I’ve definitely had moments of ‘oh daymn Kaylan who said you could do or say that’ – which, I have to admit, are my favourite parts of the book sometimes!
One of the things I have really enjoyed as I’ve read RELIC and RIVEN is how rich and detailed the world building is, including the increasing amount of information Kaylan learns about the legends behind the Relics. Is this something you think about a lot in advance, or create as you need it for the story? And how do you keep track of everything?
A bit of both, to be honest! When I first created the idea of the relics, I had more of a feeling about them, as if they were a real part of this world and I just knew instinctively what they were all about. But, of course, writing the book and getting it published meant I had to figure it out in a little more detail. I needed to have a more solid idea of them. And since I didn’t plan everything out, it’s been necessary to do more planning for the relics and their magic as the story has changed. Suddenly, the story will take me to a place where I go ‘Oh, I need to know this now. Better come up with something!’
I’ve definitely learned a lot from writing this series and especially from having it published. I think with things like magic systems, it’s essential to have it all planned out first haha lesson learned!
RIVEN is your second published book, after RELIC, and I understand you are currently working on the final book in the trilogy. Was the experience of writing it very different to working on your debut novel? And has writing your next one been different again?
Riven was actually already written before I got my publishing deal! However, I did a rewrite before I submitted it to my publisher because I had all these new ideas and wanted to change things. I’m so glad I did because I think it is a much stronger second book now.
It was a completely different experience in a lot of ways because I’ve never written a second book before! Or a series before. So continuing that story? That was a weird experience. Having the same characters go on a different journey? Meet new people? Develop their character arcs? Oh, unknowable universe! What an experience. I love it, though. This is why I love book series and tv series – I love being with characters for the long haul.
Do you have a preferred writing routine, or any tips for other writers who are trying to fit their writing in around their day jobs?
It honestly just comes down to motivation and self-discipline. There will always be an excuse – something getting in the way, something ‘more important’, something easier. I was working 6 days a week while I was writing Relic and Riven. I would work after hours and on the one day off a week I had to get it done. It was easy for me because I absolutely love it. Writing doesn’t feel like work to me. Some days are really hard but other days it flows… and either way I love it.
I can have a full day of work, seeing friends, being a boss at my workplace… but NOTHING makes me feel as accomplished as having a good day of writing. I can have the most productive day but feel like I’ve accomplished nothing until I do some writing.
So my advice, I guess, is just to make sure that what you’re writing is something you love. Write for you. Don’t put that pressure on yourself of having to be published now. It’ll happen when it’s meant to. For now, just get the words out, that’s the most important (and hardest) part.
Obviously you’ve still got book three to go, but have you started to think about what you might like to write about after you have finished with Kaylan’s story? Do you think you will always write fantasy, or have you thought about writing in other genres?
I think fantasy is where I belong. I’ve never had so much fun writing before! But I am a huge fan of crime too, and I have considered writing a fantasy crime book. I have one idea… more on that one day!
I have about a dozen other ideas! Some are within the Relic world – prequels and spin-offs. But I have heaps of new ideas in new worlds too. I’m not sure where to start! I want to write them all now. I’m tinkering with a few and, honestly, I can’t wait to see what people think!
Lastly, I’d love to know what you are currently reading, or whether there is something you have read recently and loved that you would like to recommend to us?
Oh my gosh, can I just admit… I’ve had the worst reading year imaginable! I usually read hundreds of books a year. But this year… nope. I guess it all started because I moved to Scotland and I think I was just so overwhelmed (plus I left all my books at home in Australia) and busy trying to get a job/find an apartment/make friends/function as a human being, that I barely read. And then COVID hit. I moved back to Australia. I was editing Riven, writing book three and trying to find a new job.
I think I’m just exhausted, so I’ve barely read. I’ve been watching a lot of TV this year haha
BUT I have read some books! I read The Ninth Sorceress by Bonnie Wynne, which is this dark magical adventure that simply just sucked me in. I’m currently reading The Institute by Stephen King which is really eerie and addictive. I also read the first GoT book, which was awesome – I love the TV show but it was great to finally read one of the books.
Every time I talk about needing to read more, I get so motivated! Thank you for motivating me. I will read tonight. I shall! Must. Because I do miss reading a lot. I just need to find that gateway book to hook me again.
Thank you so much!
Thank you Bron!
It was such a pleasure to get a look behind the scenes of The Relic Trilogy – I can’t wait to find out how this series is going to wrap up (to be honest I’m a bit scared too! haha
Bronwyn Eley :: Author Bio
The Relic Trilogy
In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow.
As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.
It’s an appointment that will kill her.
As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.
A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…
As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.