In Brian Staveley’s recent Reddit r/fantasy AMA for Skullsworn, the standalone prequel set in the world of The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a question about writing different characters’ perspectives led into conversation about possible standalone novels. Skullsworn stars Pyrre, the assassin who played a pivotal role in The Providence of Fire (the second book in the series), as she earns her stripes within her religious order by killing ten people in a month. (Or, as Staveley described it when revealing the cover, “a romance novel—some kissing, some heartache, some sex—but with monsters, murder, and buckets and buckets of blood.”) But there’s at least one other side character who Staveley would be interested in exploring down the line.
Redditor BigZ7337 asked:
Hi Brian, I read your books and really enjoyed them, but like many books that have multiple viewpoints, I ended up enjoying some of the viewpoint characters more than others. Specifically I loved all of the parts with the Kettral (Valyn and Gwenna), and didn’t enjoy as much Adares’ sections. I was curious whether as an author, while writing for very different viewpoint characters, did you end up enjoying writing for one character more than the others? Also, would you generally just write one viewpoint character’s story at a time, or jump from character to character?
I have Skullsworn pre-ordered, and from the info it looks like its a prequel featuring one of the side characters from your first trilogy. Do you have any other ideas for expanding on side character’s stories? For example I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing The Flea’s Kettral team in their prime. :) Also, do you have plans to write more stories after what takes place in your main trilogy, or do you think you might craft a new world for your next series?
Staveley’s response gave fascinating insight into how he identifies with different characters, and revealed who he plans to get more in touch with sometime in the future:
This is a great question, and a tricky one. There are definitely POV characters that are easier to write, although which one is easiest varies from time to time. For instance, Kaden became very difficult to write as he got better and better at eluding his emotions; it’s tough to create any drama about a character who has no feelings! I know that Adare is the consensus least favorite of the siblings, but I’m actually very fond of her. I relate to all the characters in some way, but she’s the one who’s the most like myself. I’m not a badass warrior; I’m not a monk; I’m a sort of clever guy who probably thinks he’s more clever than he really is. That reminds me of Adare. Still—just because I like her doesn’t mean she works for all readers. My hope would be that people’s favorite POV character would be evenly distributed between the four, although I think the truth is that in Book 1 it’s Valyn, in Book 2, Kaden, and in Book 3, Gwenna.
I usually work on one POV line until it reaches an obvious break point (or until I reach my breaking point), then I jump over to another and work on that for a week or so. I need to keep them all at vaguely the same place or the plot starts to unravel.
I’ll definitely be writing a prequel about the Flea at his Wing at some point. Might be the book after the one I’m working on now. Or the one after that. Some part of my current contract, at least. And the book I’m writing now picks up after the events of [The Last Mortal] Bond, so I’m trying to keep the story moving forward.
Which supporting character would you like to see get their own adventure?