Ginger Nuts of Horror
The Folded Land is the second book of the Relics trilogy. Relics was book one, and next year's The Edge will be book three. This makes The Folded Land, undeniably and irrefutably by all laws of maths and reason, book two. And that's fine.
But it's also the middle book of the trilogy, and any writer will tell you that a middle book is always a tough one. Book one has established the world and rules, the characters and their arcs, and it has hopefully left readers wanting more. Book three will bring the story to a satisfying conclusion, giving characters the resolutions they demand and deserve to end the story.
Book two needs to do a lot more than just bridge the gap.
I've read trilogies where the second book feels something like a pause, or which often expands and pads out a story where no real expansions and padding is needed. I never wanted The Folded Land to feel like that. In my head, these three books have always been standalone adventures in a wider world. There's a background story arc of course, but it's the spine upon which the more diverse stories are expanded and hung, a connecting thread that I hope will offer as much enjoyment as the individual books and their tales.
I thought a lot about The Folded Land before starting it. To begin with, I knew it was going to be set somewhere other than London (the reasoning behind the USA setting is subject of another blog post). That in itself would make it distinctive, because I think Relics is a very 'London' novel. I also knew that as well as characters familiar from Relics––Angela and Vince, Lilou and Mallian, and of course Fat Frederick Meloy––I needed to introduce new characters and, in some ways, make it as much their story as well.
I think that this introduction of new point of view characters give The Folded Land a very fresh feel. We're still following the story of the amazing Kin and their possible exposure to the wider world, but in doing so from fresh eyes (a new character), there's still that sense of wonder which I think gave Relics such a powerful feel and atmosphere. Sammi was a fun character to write, especially because of her link to a character readers will recognise from the first book.
And Gregor is terrific fun. I love writing bad guys, and Gregor is one of the baddest.
So, The Folded Land is the Difficult Middle Book, but one in which I've done my best to incorporate much of a standalone story, an adventure that can be told and enjoyed independently of Relics and forthcoming third book The Edge. The bigger, wider world is still there, and The Folded Land is the solid core of the story. Without everything that happens in this book, the events of The Edge––still to be written, but taking a very definite shape in my head––would be very different.
The Folded Land awaits you. Step inside.