The King Trials
Written by: D. L. SIMS
The king of Elthare is dead. Invitations have been sent out to the noble families to put forth a Champion to participate in the 43rd King Trials, a grueling competition that has left former competitors permanently injured, disabled or dead.
Who will be king?
Grantham Sinero, a man skilled in hand-to-hand combat and armed with the ability of telekinesis.
Andalen Amadon who can inflict pain and suffering with a single touch and is a highly trained archer.
Khett Pedgram, the former prince of Elthare, able to control the four natural elements and has an immense knowledge of the kingdom's history.
Ikar Dominikov who holds no special powers, but is a great hunter and tracker.
A kingdom at war.
When soldiers from the empire of Mezerah invade Elthare, the Trials are cut short, and the Eltharians must prepare for a war no one ever saw coming. Many lives are lost, but with the help from their allies to the north, Elthare may have a fighting chance against the Mezerans.
At the end of the Ten Day Battle one Champion will be crowned the new monarch of the now fractured kingdom.
But who will be left alive to claim the throne?
About the author: D. L. Sims
When D.L. isn't writing the latest idea that pops into her head, she can be found in New Mexico, gazing at the stars, lost among the trees, or cuddling with her dog. D.L. is fond of tea with too much sweetener, books with a lot of heart and happy endings, and looking at antiques that have a rich history.
Available for Purchase:
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What was the inspiration behind The King Trials?
For The King Trials, I knew I wanted to write a story that didn’t have a traditional monarchy, but I wasn’t sure where to go with it until it just came to me one day in the shower, like all great ideas. After writing the first two or three drafts I wasn’t really satisfied with the ending, I didn’t want it to be so predictable, like “Oh, so and so is going to become king because they won The Trials.” So, I needed an enemy, and out of my love of World War Two history, the Mezerans were created.
Can you explain your writing process from concept to completion?
I tend to come up with concepts when I’m doing other things like dishes, shopping or working at my day job. The idea starts really rough at first, it’s just a broad concept that nags at me until I can flesh it out more. Take The King Trials for example; Years ago I knew I wanted to write about a non-traditional monarchy system, so I jotted that down in a notebook that didn’t see the light of day for months, but the idea nagged at me. I still have the notebook, it reads:
“Monarchy, but not past down from father to son?”
I’m such a great ideas person.
I came up with the world, researching countries in our own world that I wanted to inspire the villages and kingdoms of Elthare and Wehlmir. After that I came up with my main characters, jotting down what they would look like and act like in several different notebooks and index cards before I typed it all out in a document on my computer.
Then came the writing, the longest, hardest process. It took me nearly a year just to write TKT. I revised it so many times I lost count, and I found some awesome critique partners and beta readers along the way. Once I sent it off to the editor, everything became a blur. I know there were a lot of notes from her, and a lot of fixing and revising, and drinking tea, and feeling like a failure that didn’t know English very well.
All through this, I was working with my cover artist. I knew what I wanted, and she was so awesome in giving me everything and more that I could dream of in a cover. Like, seriously, I sometimes just stare at my cover because she did such an amazing job.
And, finally, TKT was ready. It was real, and out, and I was so happy I cried.
What processes do you use for world-building and character development? How do you keep track?
I usually start by knowing what sort of inspiration I am going for when it comes to the world, and then I research places that are real and look at pictures of the architecture and landscape to get an idea of what I want my world to look like. For example: One of my favorite villages in Elthare is Palamar. The architecture is based on the multicolored buildings you can find in Germany or Holland, but it has the stoney feel of Italy, and also has the carefree, celebratory feel of the Holi festival in India. Palamar is a place that is vibrant, carefree and colorful. It’s sort of the mecca for those that yearn to be free and to be themselves.
But each village in Elthare is different: Oszerack and Odenmal are inspired by the architecture of Barcelona and Rome; Rivland is inspired by Greece; Palamar is a mix of everything; and Alithane is inspired by a small town in New Mexico called Ruidoso.
As for characters, I start with a general idea of what I want them to look like, whether that be having blond hair, brown eyes, or their ethnicity. Then I start to construct them using a list, starting broad (What is their name?) to detailed (What is the one thing they can’t live without?). Then I work on their relationships with everyone else in the world. Who is going to be so-and-so’s love interest? Who hates them? Who are they friends with? And so on.
Fun Fact: For Yvney Dominikov’s character on the Who Do They Hate question, I wrote one word: Everyone.
Everything, world-building, character development and outline, go into a folder on my computer marked: Chronicles of Wehlmir Notes. That way it’s all in one spot. I used to keep it in a notebook, but then I would tend to jot things on different notebooks or on napkins. It was a mess.
What strategies have been most successful in launching your book?
Talk about it early and often. I started dropping hints and sharing bits of each character last February. Sharing as you work is awesome for generating buzz. But make sure you don’t give away too much or no one will buy a copy of your book because they feel they already know what is going to happen.
Also, don’t share so much that people feel like they are being bombarded with your novel. People want to know you’re a person and not just a robot.
Meet author friends. Authors are readers too. And readers love nothing more than discussing books and getting new book recommendations. I can’t tell you how many times I have bought an author friend’s book just because I heard about it through their Instagram or Twitter.
Do you have any advice you can offer to authors who are yet to publish?
There seems to be this rule that to be a true author you have to write every day. I think that rule is bologna. Some of us have lives that demand our attention for a lot of hours of the day, some of us deal with mental illness, or have families. So, it becomes impossible to write every day, and only adds to your stress when you don’t get that word count in for that day.
Write when you can. Write when you have a moment to really sit down and churn out something without having to rush. Write on a schedule that is feasible for your life.
Sometimes, I don’t write for weeks, and sometimes I do nothing but write for months. Only you know what method works for you and what doesn’t. If you can write every day, then great, that’s awesome. If you can only write on the weekends when you have a glass of wine and the house to yourself, then that is also great.
We are not machines made to churn out words every twenty-four hours. We are human, and sometimes that means that we need to lounge on the couch for two days bingeing something on Netflix while stuffing our face full of nachos.