“We are tied down to a language that makes up in obscurity what it lacks in style.”—Player, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard

Ambri-Qis - The Phoenix Factor

Ambri-Qis is the sequel to Avenari, and is told entirely from Andris' POV. It follows events that take place immediately after the first book, but builds a bit more on the world that Avenari seeded.

Fun Fact: I'm on my third draft--yes, draft, as in rewrite--of this book. The first was on paper, the second was the transcription to digital, and the most recent is an overhaul that ultimately pleases me.

The original version of this story was started in 2004, pretty much immediately after I wrote Avenari. This, too, was written in a pair of spiral-bound notebooks that sit quietly on my shelf, judging me. I transcribed about half of it onto my computer before deciding to focus entirely on editing the first book. The story wasn't too different in terms of plot, but after a few edits of Avenari, I realized that the second book needed an overhaul. There were entire characters who hadn't been written in the original version of the first book, and they needed to be addressed. However, doing so meant that I needed to adjust the plot accordingly.

In the first version, a completely different antagonist was driving events, and I ended up scrapping that idea and picking a character from Andris' past. I also hadn't written Ambri-Qis, the character, until later in Avenari's editing cycle, so I altered the majority of the first half of the second book to reflect his presence. There were also some dumb things involving the military, which I ultimately decided to scrap. I decided that the main focus should be Andris' development as he struggles to solve the conflict, and at this point I think I've got a good thing going.

Thanks to these overhauls, although it kills me whenever I have to do them, I now have a spectacular character in Ambri-Qis. In the original version of Avenari, he was barely an afterthought. He was Andris' thirst entity, but didn't really play any sort of role in Andris' life other than to screw it up royally in the past. With his fleshing-out and some added scenes in the first book, I was able to insert him into the second book and make things much more interesting. His role as Andris' shadow, as Andris' perfect foil, allowed me to take Andris' back story and beginnings to a unique new level.

Actually, he's become important enough now that his name is the title of the book. The original name was going to be the name of the antagonist in the first draft, but now I can use Ambri-Qis as a sort of metaphor for what Andris is to the Shimari world, and the pains he has to take to prove that he's no longer the same monster that plagued the Empire for so many millennia. After all, it's the nickname that the Shimari Empire had given to Andris centuries earlier, a reference to his incredible power and the threat he posed to them at the time.

All in all, I think this one is going to be just as good as Avenari. The overhauls are a good thing, because they've allowed me whole new avenues to take in terms of character development and world-building. Also, I adore Ambri-Qis as a character. His calm, collected nature is just fun to write in juxtaposition with Andris' hot-headed, antisocial personality.

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