Author Spotlight: Helen Scheuerer talks War of Mist
I'm so happy to welcome Helen Scheuerer on today's blog! Her debut novel, Heart of Mist, was the bestselling first installment in her trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. After writing literary fiction for a number of years, she was inspired to return to her childhood love of fantasy by reading the work of Sabaa Tahir, V.E. Schwab and Sarah J. Maas.
Helen holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing, and a Master of Publishing. She is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, one of the world’s largest online learning platforms for emerging writers. She is now a full-time author living amidst the mountains in New Zealand
WAR OF MIST, the epic conclusion to Helen Scheuerer’s The Oremere Chronicles is slated for release July 25. Check out the synopsis below and add it on Goodreads here.
War is here.
Toxic mist drives all life to the brink of destruction and the conqueror queen, Ines, has her talons in the kings of the realm.
Bleak, having discovered her true heritage, must now scour the lands for the one thing that might save them all. But the search is a treacherous one, one that will push her to the very limits of endurance.
Amidst secrets, lies and the intricacies of battle, Bleak and her companions learn just how far they’ll go for the ones they love. But will it be enough? As deadly forces grapple for power across the continents; families, friends and allies unite to take one final stand.
Explosive revelations, heart-wrenching betrayals and breathtaking magic soar in the epic conclusion to Helen Scheuerer’s bestselling trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.
And now, here's my chat with Helen!
Hi, Helen! Welcome and congrats on the release of War of Mist, Book 3 in The Oremere Chronicles. Can you share a little about the story and what inspired it?
Thanks Megan! Of course :)
The Oremere Chronicles is a young adult fantasy trilogy that centres around 19-year-old protagonist, Bleak. In a realm where magic is forbidden, all she wants is a cure for her power. Everything changes when she’s snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army and she realises that the fight on her hands is much bigger than she ever anticipated.
The three books follow Bleak’s story, and the narratives of some other intriguing, flawed characters, where the stakes only get higher.
As for inspiration, the first book, Heart of Mist, was born out of a need for me to escape edits on literary fiction book which weren’t going so well. I fell in love with the freedom of fantasy and never looked back.
What does your world building process look like? Do you keep a story bible?
It all started with a map sketch for me. Done with grains of rice on an A3 sheet of paper at the kitchen table. From then I thought about seasons and climates and the cultures of the various continents.
I learnt a lot over the course of the three books about worldbuilding, things that I’ll definitely apply to future novels.
I didn’t keep a story bible for The Oremere Chronicles. I had various spreadsheets documenting various details of characters and places, but it wasn’t nearly as organised as I would have liked.
My worldbuilding, at least for this series, occurred in layers. Each draft I would add more detail and refine the existing elements of the world. I will definitely be using a story bible for future projects though!
What do you enjoy most about writing a series, and what’s the most challenging aspect?
What I love about writing a series is being able to launch straight into the action with the sequels. I find the initial setup of a novel quite hard to get into, so that’s definitely one thing I revelled in with books two and three.
I also love seeing the development and metamorphosis of characters over the course of multiple books. As an author, you’ve got so much more room to work with.
As for the most challenging aspects… For me, writing this series has spanned across about four years of my life. In that time, I’ve changed as a person and as a writer, and sometimes it can be hard trying to marry up who you are now with who you were then as an author.
It’s also hard to be still working on the same series and same characters and not be overly critical of your previous work.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that every story teaches the writer something new, so what did writing War of Mist teach you?
I’m absolutely a firm believer in that as well. War of Mist definitely taught me about the importance of planning. By the stage I was writing War of Mist, the second book Reign of Mist was in production and I was still promoting the first book, Heart of Mist. As you can imagine, I was feeling burnt out. Every morning when I sat down to write, it felt like pulling teeth. That was until I started planning out the chapters scene-by-scene in an excel spreadsheet. After I started planning, I soared through the first draft. I think there was one day where I wrote something like 8,000 words… Which for someone who is also running a publishing house and promoting other books is a massive feat.
What are you reading, watching, or otherwise currently infatuated with?
At the moment I’m amidst the chaos of an upcoming new release and during these more stressful periods, I tend to re-watch and re-read old favourites rather than commit to starting anything new.
On high rotation on Netflix at the moment: all the Harry Potter films, Gilmore Girls and oddly, the John Wick films. All films/series that don’t require much thinking on my part.
As for reading, I’m reading a friend’s thriller manuscript at the moment, which is a great change of scenery for me from the usual fantasy reads. And I’m also doing a lot of non-fiction reading in terms of books on marketing and the writing craft.
Besides those things, I’m really into cooking at the moment. So much of my job is words and screens, so being in the kitchen and making a hearty meal is keeping me sane right now.
And finally, what’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned (so far) in your publishing career?
That’s a really difficult question as I feel like every day is a learning curve for me. One I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is balance and how important it is to find balance in this line of work. I’m talking about the balance between promoting and creating, as well as finding the balance between multiple projects, and the balance between work and play.
Like most things in this industry, there are no hard and fast rules or answers. It’s more about working out what’s right for you and what you can handle.
Many thanks go out to Helen for taking the time to tell us more about War of Mist, as well as sharing a bit about her own writing process and journey! Be to sure to add this thrilling high fantasy to your Goodreads list.
And, as always,