The story of Ilbrea actually began a few years ago, long before I ever thought of writing the Ena of Ilbrea series.
The first series I ever wanted to place in the world of Ilbrea was a middle grade story about the Map Makers Guild. There was action and magic. I really enjoyed writing the story, and then I was told middle grade books were too hard to break into and not to bother submitting the manuscript.
That was…not the best feeling.
I had fallen in love with the characters from the map maker series and loved working in the world of Ilbrea. I didn’t want to abandon the Guilds, and I hated to shelve the project, but I did decide to take a step back to work on some other projects.
About a three years ago, I decided to dive back into Ilbrea, but on a much grander scale.
There is so much material available in Ilbrea―the country itself is large, each of the seven Guilds has its distinct politics and faults, the common people are their own separate entity, there are layers of magic available for exploration―it’s like my own, self-created treasure trove.
I want to dive into each of these fascinating levels and see what stories live in the shadows. I want to create a world so rich in detail, history, and people, that it’s easy for readers to forget Ilbrea isn’t a real place.
But that would be way too much plot for one book or even one series.
So, my plan became to write seven different series set in Ilbrea. Each series would be able to stand on its own but be connected to the main Guilds of Ilbrea series. Think of each of the stories like spokes on a wheel. All a part of the same thing, all aiming in different directions.
When the time came to jump back into writing Ilbrea, I decided not to start with re-working the the map maker series, but by creating the Guilds of Ilbrea series that will be the heart (and connecting point) of all the Ilbrean books.
The first book in the Guilds of Ilbrea series is Inker and Crown. I actually started work on Inker and Crown three years ago, but in writing that story, I realized there was another story that needed to be told first.
Ena Ryeland is not Guilded. She has no magic. She is a commoner who has survived under the rule of the Guilds. I love her heart, and her strength, and it didn’t seem fair to skip over the story of the people who have suffered at the hands of the Guilds.
As written in 1776, “A rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as ‘our rebellion.’ It is only in the third person – ‘their rebellion’ - that it becomes illegal.”
The story of those daring enough to rebel is as important as the story of those who rule. Ena represents the common people of Ilbrea, and I wanted to make sure she had the opportunity to tell her story of strength and survival before ballgowns and adventures took the stage.
With the final book in the Ena of Ilbrea series, Feather and Flame, coming out in less than a week, the time for Inker and Crown to fly out into the world is fast approaching. In fact, preorders have already begun!
I have so many plans for the Ilbrea series. There will be lots of special background details, maps, and other delights coming to this website. There will be a sorcerer series, a map maker series, a soldier series, and more.
Getting to expand Ilbrea is an absolute thrill for me, and I am so grateful to all of you for joining me on the adventure!
Ilbrea: A magnificent country that offers fame to those brave enough to seize their place among the Guilds—no one has worked harder to find their scrap of glory than Adrial Ayres. But being a prodigy and the Lord Scribe’s heir won’t be enough to find the secrets the Guilds would kill to hide. Adrial can’t face the dangers of hidden magic alone…
A sailor with a taste for adventure.
A soldier whose heart has been claimed.
A beauty they will never suspect.
A map maker with secrets of their own.
An inker who will change Adrial’s life forever.
The Guilds offer glory. The truth promises death. Adrial might be the only one who can save Ilbrea—if he can survive the shadows long enough to discover his true enemy.