I was writing a short story for LT3's If You're Reading This anthology call. The theme was a message in a bottle. My immediate thought was, what if I sent a message from beyond? As the plot began to unfold in my head I had images of the prophetess at Delphi, breathing in toxic fumes that made her high and possibly able to predict the future. That idea became the basic premise for the story I was writing. An Oracle receives a message from beyond the Veil of Time about a prince besieged by treachery in need of a little help to regain his throne.
So I had a message received, which meant I had to figure out a way for the message to be answered. I turned again to Delphi, where heroes were given important quests to complete. Why couldn't I do the same? The Dragon of Fire was the perfect hero, a young man just coming of age with a thirst to prove himself. I added in a dash of magic, some pirates, and an evil king to give the story some depth, and voila The Oracle's Flame was born. I had written phrases like: "Message received" and "Message properly responded to" in order to fit with the theme and I submitted it to LT3.
To my surprise, a few weeks later LT3 sent me back a rejection letter. I'm paraphrasing, but the email basically said they liked the story, but it wasn't a good fit for the anthology and they saw potential in it for a series or at least a longer work. I reread the email and I realized they were probably correct and my surprise was unwarranted. The added, theme based, phrases weren't doing much for the story and I did have a possible idea for a second story set in that world. So I agreed with LT3 that The Oracle's Flame should be released on its own, with no anthology connections.
If The Oracle's Flame was supposed to be a series, then I thought I ought to start writing the second book, The Oracle's Hatchling. My fledgling idea began to take shape on the page--another quest dictated by the Oracle and another hero to bring justice to the world--but I realized that there wasn't any depth to the series as a whole. Flame and Hatchling were two disparate stories that just happened to be set in the same world, which doesn't really make a cohesive series. By that time I had an idea about book three, The Oracle's Golem, so I set aside Hatchling to start work on Golem while I thought about how to tie everything together. Then I got the first round of edits for The Oracle's Flame back from my editor.
The first things that had to go in the editing process were those awkward "message in a bottle" phrases, but with those gone I didn't have any reason for the Oracle to send out her hero on a quest. As I was trying to figure out how to fix that rather glaring plot issue, a light bulb went on. The Oracle sent her Dragon of Fire out to combat evil, but what if his battle was only one fight in an entire war? What if Hatchling and subsequently Golem were other battles in that war, the fighting of which could carry the series to the end? So I started writing again. I eventually added an entire prologue to The Oracle's Flame and little tidbits here and there to really start building the series. With the plot-hole gone, The Oracle's Flame was ready for publishing. It arrives in stores on November 20th and is available for preorder right now. I hope you enjoy it!
March 21, 2018
Mell Eight is an author writing with LT3. For more information about Mell and her writing, please visit her website: http://melleightfiction.