War of the Wilted (Garden of Thorns #2)
by Amber Mitchell
Publication Date: October 1, 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Like flowers denied water, people are wilting under the emperor's tyranny.
Rose will not rest until the Gardener is dead. But there are bigger battles to fight, and Rayce—leader of the rebellion and the only man Rose has ever loved—believes their best chance at winning the war is to join forces with her sworn enemy.
Saving innocent people is more important than her quest for revenge. But their new ally can’t be trusted—and he knows her darkest secret. One betrayal could leave the war and Rayce’s life hanging in the balance, and Rose will need to make the ultimate sacrifice to save them all.
The world of … Garden of Thorns
World building is absolutely essential in every novel but it makes or breaks fantasy books. If done right, it can make an entire novel feel real and fresh. It has always been one of my favorite things about reading fantasy. I wanted to explore them, learn their quirks, understand their history and eat my way through an entire feast of food!
I knew when I set out to write Garden of Thorns that it was going to be about two countries that had been at a standstill war with each other for hundreds of years. So I started to carve out that history first. A lot of it didn’t make it into the book but it definitely informed different choices I made and helped me craft the character’s backstories.
I really like when books take me to different parts of time and blend historical influences with fantasy. So I modeled Delmar, the main land books 1 and 2 take place in, after influences from the Chinese dynasty periods. A lot of Delmar’s architecture is influenced by ancient China, as well as their food. I took bits and pieces of culture from the time and added fantasy flair to make it feel more like its own world. For instance, I wanted the main city to be broken up in sectors so I created a religion that worshipped the four seasons. There are temples for each of the gods of those seasons and they dictate the sectors.
In the final installment, the characters will finally be heading to Rose’s home across the desert and I’m in the middle of fleshing out what that city looks like now. They were once part of the same culture as Delmar but split off long ago. That means that they will be influenced by the first city but with a lot of differences since they split off almost a thousand years ago.
After creating the places, it’s also important to give the people customs and I love making up extra little bits. For instance, in Garden of Thorns, the rebellion fighting against Delmar uses what most normal folk consider magic. It is really a mineral they found in the abandoned mine they live in that, when mixed with their body heat allows them to shoot their stunning weapons. They embed it in their skin like tattoos. It also glows on contact with body heat so sometimes the rebels appear to glow green.
There is so much that goes into building a world… from the flowers and vegetation to the architecture, food and customs of the people, but if done right, the world can feel like a character of its own. A lot of people read fantasy for the adventure and there is nothing more adventurous than exploring a whole new world!
Amber Mitchell was born and raised in a small town in Florida. After briefly escaping small town life by attending the University of South Florida where she earned her degree in Creative Writing, she decided to ditch traffic jams and move back to her hometown. There she writes Young Adult novels, usually with a bit of magic in them, rolls D20s with her friends on Thursday nights and enjoys hanging out with her husband and four cats. Her other job involves crafting cardstock in to 3D art and has allowed her to travel all over the US vending at comic conventions which has only increased her love for fantasy and fandoms. She is represented by Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literature.