As always, new names come from fantasynamegenerators.com, except for the horses, Rowan, and Sedge. Those I just made up. Of course, Rowan was intended to contrast/play off “Hazel,” and Sedge needed a name related to grasslands. (A sedge is a kind of plant very similar to, but botanically distinct from, a grass.)
I did not intend for this book to be sapphic. I’d assumed there would be no romance in it. I’d brought Rowan in as a representative of the forest-dwelling community(tm) and as a person Hazel could learn to deal with on a platonic level, but it kind of ended up here instead. I’m not mad about it, predictably. The next book has an aroace lead, so we’ve still got some variety.
This is the first and, so far, only book in the series narrated by a non-Visitor / otherworlder, which was refreshing. The challenge lay in lightening it up every now and then (Sedge helped a lot).
Speaking of Sedge, they are also an attempt to close a plot hole and to reuse a briefly spotted character from the first book. At one point, Lavender, learning about dragons, says something about how they’re very powerful, but the small ones are OK to keep as pets. Basically forgetting this line, I went on to depict the dragons as nearly-infinitely powerful nature spirits that watch over their environmental niches. Which makes keeping one as a pet pretty fucked. So here we’re positing that “keeping dragons as pets” is the human view of the situation, and that dragons consider it more of a cultural exchange. Or maybe the humans are the pets.
Sedge, as yet unnamed, also appears at the beginning and end of book 1: as Lavender enters the market, and at the autumn festival, where they have the last “spoken” lines of the book.
Books 5, 6 and 7 were written in reverse order, so this one was the last in the batch. Then I went back to add the epilogues to books 6 and 7 to braid the three together.
I went back to circa 2012 a lot for this one, I’m not sure why. The heyday of Hey!. Coming off book 6 (see above), I also listened to a lot of ‘80s alternative, which had made up a lot of my writing music for that book as well.