By: Cait Marie
The Lost Alliance is out, which means The Nihryst trilogy is officially complete! It feels so strange saying that!
For this stop of the book tour, I thought I would share a bit of what happened to make this possible, as well as what’s to come in this world because I’m just not ready to say goodbye.
I’m going to start with the fun stuff before getting into the series/book specific details…
Everyone has their own process when it comes to writing. Mine includes a lot of Diet Coke, some M&Ms, and there has to be music. I also use Pinterest to create aesthetics and to help me with the visual descriptions since I can’t see much in my mind while writing or reading.
Want to check out the chaotic playlist? It started in order of the books, but once I was done with The Lost Legends, I just kind of started throwing music on there. Some are relevant to the story, many are just songs I wanted to hear to get me motivated or to inspire certain scenes. Listen here!
I will admit though, with this last book, I pretty much just had my Pirates of the Caribbean playlist on shuffle most of the time.
Want to check out my equally chaotic Pinterest board? There’s no system to it. Just a bunch of pictures add over the last couple years. Take a look here!
What’s On My Desk?
A lot of pens, notebooks, and books. A lot.
I have a dry erase board calendar specifically for school, social media, and meetings.
A tall, iron Eiffel Tower sits on one corner that I stole from my sister.
On one of the bookshelves, I have four coasters with characters from Shatter Me on them. Clearly, I can’t use them. I need to see Kenji and Warner always.
And then, along the top shelf, on either side of the row of books (held up by Shatter Me bookends, sensing a theme here?), are my Sansa Stark Funko, a couple tumblers/mugs I got as gifts that are too cute not to display, and a very dead succulent… oops.
Influences Of The Series
I’ve been calling the series a Robin Hood/Tangled mashup retelling, but there were a lot of influences.
Pirates of the Caribbean was a huge one. I took a lot of the pirate inspiration as well as character development from the first three movies, especially At World’s End. Ada and Lee are heavily inspired by Elizabeth and Will.
Lee’s personality was based more on Flynn/Eugene from Tangled and Hook from Once Upon a Time though.
The Princess of Thieves is a Disney movie from 2001 that featured Keira Knightley as Robin Hood’s daughter. This was one of my favorite movies growing up, and it was a big influence. Her name is even Gwen in the movie.
Yes, basically, it was a lot of Keira Knightley movies mixed in with Tangled that brought the series to life. The third book even started as a King Arthur retelling, an adaptation of which she was also in. However, in the end, that storyline didn’t mesh with what else was going on. It did inspire the dagger in The Lost Alliance though!
There are a lot of subtle Disney and Lord of the Rings references throughout the series as well.
How It Started
In October 2018, I had a dream about searching for a legendary group of fae alongside a band of pirates. The fae were called the Nihryst—a completely made up word that was immediately written down when I woke up. I then started writing out the idea in a notebook, building up the world, figuring out who the characters were, and changing the fae to cursed immortals because I was concerned people wouldn’t want another fae series (past Caitlin had no idea what was going on or that fae would be a huge trend when releasing the book).
I ended up writing 30k words within a week, which was almost half of the first draft, because I was so excited. I’d written bits and pieces of stories in the past, but other than a novella for NaNoWriMo that I now know is actually the length of a full book, I’d never finished a book. But I had never been so sure about a story before. I honestly felt like this was it; this was how I was going to become an author.
Spoiler alert: I was right.
In January 2019, I finished the first draft. In June, I queried a handful of agents after getting some attention during #PitMad, but shortly after, I started getting really involved in the indie book community and considered that route instead. In October, I self-edited the book, fleshing it out more, and in November 2019, I sent it to a professional editor.
And thus, the self-publishing career began.
One thing I hear most from readers is how much they love the characters in this series. This means the absolute world to me, not only because I love them too but characters are the most important part of a book to me as a reader. I really worked hard to make relatable, lovable characters, as well as horrible but realistic villains.
The book was originally a standalone just about a princess searching for the immortals with a bunch of pirates. As we all know by now, the story expanded when I started writing her brother’s perspective just to give me an idea of what happened in the kingdom while she was on her quest… but then he demanded his own storyline.
Princess Adalina – She’s the ultimate believer and is willing to do whatever it takes to save her family and kingdom. All her life, she heard stories of the Nihryst, who were supposedly cursed as immortals by her ancestors and abandoned on a lost island. Ada might love her ballgowns and dancing with handsome princes, but she also knows how to handle a dagger… and a certain snarky pirate captain.
Captain Lee – Said snarky pirate who captains the ship Ada boards to search for the Nihryst. He was the first character I really knew about because he was so prevalent in the dream. Figuring out his name was the trickiest part. SPOILERS ……….. I knew his real name was Loxley because he’s essentially Robin Hood, but I couldn’t figure out what to name him as the pirate. I wanted it to derive from Loxley while not being too obvious. I was still concerned about Lee being too close, but many people have said they didn’t put it together, so I’m happy.
Prince Shane – Thorn in my side, yet I love him with my whole heart. He basically took over the series, but he made it better. It’s a much more developed story because of him. People love him, and he almost wasn’t a major character! He’s the heir to the throne and genuinely good. There’s a lot he goes through, from working with rebels to facing his feelings about his best friend to fighting a secret depression.
Phillip – Hands down my favorite, and many of the readers’ favorite. Fiercely loyal, brave, and the best friend of both royal siblings, this guard becomes wrapped up in all the action and drama. He never sways from Ada and Shane’s sides. Also, he may or may not be in love with Shane… Just kidding, he totally is. Their ship name is Shillip, and they’re my precious babies.
There are several other important characters, such as Brienne and Ren (Lee’s second and third), Prince Michel (Ada’s almost fiancé in the beginning), and Gwyn (adopted daughter of the rebel leader).
Interacting With Characters
Many authors talk about how their characters speak to them. Mine do not. Though, they do run the show. They control the story, but it’s usually not until I’m writing or I’m thinking through a scene.
Future Books In This World
The trilogy is over, but the series is not! Books four and five take place almost twenty years after The Lost Alliance, and they have new main characters. We will see our favorites still though, don’t worry. I haven’t decided if there will be a sixth book yet or not… I’ll be able to tell when I get into the story more.
There is a collection of short stories in the works that will be releasing this fall. Along with the three already out, the backstories of Queen Elin, Phillip, and Mariella will be added.
Willa, Loxley’s sister was going to have a short story as well… but now she’s getting her own duology about forming O’ Chwedlau!
In The Nihryst series, there has been mention of Haevlan a few times. This is a kingdom on the other side of the world, and it was said to be the reason magic was banned centuries earlier. Well, the dark fae duology I started years ago takes place in Haevlan! It is about the war between humans and fae, and it is at least three hundred years before Loxley was even born, so there will not be much crossover.
I’m so excited to expand this world and share all the stories with everyone!
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Prequel Short Stories (Can be read in any order, and they do not HAVE to be read to read the main books)
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