Most people think the fae are gone. Most people are wrong.
Owen Williams wakes after a horrific car accident to find his wife is dead—and somehow turned into a gryphon—and his kids gone after a home invasion turned horribly wrong. Shattered and reeling, he vows to do whatever it takes to find them.
When a fae scout appears and promises to reunite him with his kids, he doesn’t hesitate before joining her. But she warns him that if he wants to protect his family, he must follow the fae to their city, the hidden haven of Tearmann.
With enemies on the horizon, Owen needs to set aside his fears and take up arms to defend their new home alongside the people he’s always been taught were monsters—or he’ll lose everyone he’s trying to protect.
What inspired you to write the Fae Queen’s Court?
The Fae Queen’s Court was mainly inspired by old Scottish legends about people and fairies having children and a few too many late-night Wikipedia binges about de-extinction. In a sleep-deprived haze, I wondered if it would be possible to bring back the fae in the same way scientists are bringing back wooly mammoths or passenger pigeons.
The idea took hold of me and refused to let go, leading to the creations of twelve unique species, each with corrupted versions alongside the standard ones, and a culture that only had fifty years to find its feet. Honestly, some might say I went too far with the worldbuilding, but I had a great time getting there.
How long did it take you to write each book?
I wrote Haven in six months during college and edited it over five years. It was my first completed writing attempt ever and it suffered from my lack of experience, which is why it took so long to get into a publishable state. I love what came out of it though, even if it was a struggle to get there.
Avalon took longer, nearly two years, because I was editing Haven at the time. About midway through Avalon, I decided I should approach writing in a more dedicated way, so I began reading craft books and actually outlining where the story should go so I would have less to do when the time came to edit. It paid off, because it only took s year and a half to edit it.
Hiraeth, the third book in the series, only took me five months to draft. I’d improved a lot as a writer when I was working on it and my rough drafts are a lot neater now. I’m still editing this one but I’m very pleased with how it’s going so far.
What made you decide to write the books in Owen’s point of view? Was writing it from that point of view hard or easy for you?
When I started writing Haven, I decided I wanted to write an everyman style character. Someone that most people could see themselves in, but not a chosen one. Additionally, since I wanted them to have a lot of kids and I wanted to lean away from the fantasy cliché about female characters adopting/taking care of/only wanting children, my MC should be male. That would differentiate him from other male leads in the genre and the kids would give him a motivation beyond revenge, wanderlust, or prophecy.
So, I landed on making my MC a father with a lot of kids and someone who is more of an outsider to the world he finds himself in than his children.
Owen’s POV wasn’t hard to dive into because his motivations were quite clear cut. He wants to protect his kids. Everything he does is focused around that. Even in Avalon, when he’s in the Corps and actively running from his grief, he justifies it by saying he’s doing it because he doesn’t want another family to suffer like his family did.
Which characters were easier for you to write?
Owen and Beira were very easy to write, mostly because by nature of what they are they’re very similar. They’re protective people who are willing to do what it takes to keep those they love safe.
Also Dorothy, because she’s cute and small and four.
Which characters were harder for you to write?
Honestly, I really struggled with Tiffany. The initial response to her in Avalon from my alpha readers was so negative I ended up completely revamping her arc a week before I sent Avalon to my beta readers. She was originally very angry and lashed out at Owen for joining the corps in a more aggressive way, but no one liked that so I had to tone it down.
Ashley’s quiet and constant grief was a hard thing to balance because I didn’t want it to overwhelm the other characters but it also needed to be obvious because her role is fairly small in both books.
Were there any parts of either book that were harder for you to write than other parts?
I struggled with the early scenes a lot. I joke in my writing discords that I always end up starting my books way too early. It was most obvious with Haven(which used to start even slower and 10k longer, believe it or not), but I dealt with it in Avalon too.
I probably cut 15k just from the first five chapters of Avalon. Originally, there was supposed to be a lot longer sequence with Ashwind’s soldiers and we actually got to see the mission that Owen is returning from at the start of the book, but it took attention away from the main story and I had to leave it out.
Which character did you resonate with the most? You can name more than one if you want.
That’s hard to say. In many ways, I put a bit of myself in all my characters.
That being said, Beira is probably the one I understand most. She’s in between a rock and a hard place. The fae rely completely on her and the various oaths she’s sworn have left her with fewer options than she would like. She’s carries herself with a lot of internalized tension and the very real knowledge that messing up will have catastrophic effects on everyone she knows and loves.
What can we expect for the rest of the series? Especially book three.
Hiraeth is in the beta phase now! It picks up a few months after the events of Avalon and sees Owen struggling to master his new abilities as he learns more about Merlin and the creation of the fae. I’m planning on publish it sometime in the spring of 2023 and hope to release an omnibus with art of each fae generation sometime afterward.
Long term, I’m planning on writing a prequel about the first fae war and sequel duology set a few centuries after the events of the third book. The sequel series would follow Owen’s halfling great-great-great granddaughter after Beira disappears from the public eye.
What advice do you have for authors and writers out there who may feel discouraged?
Perfect is the enemy of done! The first six chapters of Haven actually ended up being the roughest because I kept fiddling with them to “improve” them instead of writing new stuff. It’s a lot easier to fix things when you know where they’re meant to lead instead of making your best guess.
Also, I highly recommend finding a core group of people to write with. You may not actually talk about your project much but having someone you can throw a rant to about how your characters aren’t behaving is so refreshing. The rubber duck process is fantastically helpful even when the rubber duck doesn’t quite understand what’s going on.
Can you tell us about your other works or works in progress?
Outside of my work on the greater FQC universe, I’m working on a gaslamp fantasy about a group of pirates hired by a dragon to retrieve some property that was stolen by a Dutch merchant prince. It’s tentatively called Fortitude’s Prize and I’m hoping to release it sometime in 2024. I’m also world-building for a hopepunk epic fantasy project I’m calling the Fallen Knight. I’ve got a busy writing schedule ahead of me!
About The Author:
Ceril N Domace is an accountant, the owner of a cat with more zooms than brain cells, and a dedicated dungeon master.
As a lover of fiction works great and small, Ceril has been reading age-inappropriate stories since her father failed to pull The Silmarillion from her grubby little fingers at age five. As a grown-up accountant, her spreadsheet compiling gives her plenty of time to make plans for a fantastic world that isn’t plagued by balance sheets . . . and also has dragons.
On the rare occasions she manages to free herself from an ever-growing and complex web of TTRPG, Ceril enjoys taking walks and griping that all her hobbies are work in disguise.