AUTHOR’S NOTE: contains spoiler for TRINITY RISING, so bear that in mind if you read on!

Most of you know by now that I am a discovery writer, what GRRM calls a ‘gardener’. I do not build my books out of 3×5 index cards, beat sheets and 16 different-coloured pens. I mean no disrespect to those who do, I’m just not one of them.

Anyway, I took part in a recent thread on r/fantasy (one of the more civilised corners of Reddit) where someone was asking the resident writers how we chose our genre and what themes we explored in our books. I’m one of those who doesn’t consciously choose a theme, but finds it evolves organically over the course of writing. Sometimes the theme isn’t even clear to me until the book is done.

Which leads me to this, which happened last night as I was working.

Obviously, I can’t go into too much detail about this fourth relationship, because the exact circumstances are a mahoosive spoiler for THE DRAGON HOUSE, but it concerns a lost daughter. She has a name but is never described, and has no lines to speak. Nevertheless she casts a subtle shadow across the whole Wild Hunt Quartet. Not so much for who she was or what she did, but the how of her loss, and the guilt her father feels over it, are a driver for why everything in the Quartet happens the way that it does.

Tanith & Lord Elindorien. Teia & Teir. Ansel & Selsen. I didn’t set out to include so many dads and daughters. There was actually going to be another one, just for this final book, but I’ve had to drop it, for reasons. It also took me an embarrassingly long time to catch on to it being a theme at all — 3-anna-bit books of a 4 book series, or well over half a million words, in fact. But this fourth one had been there since the very beginning. And I didn’t see it unfolding, even as I was writing it.

Discovery writing, yo. Sometimes it’s frustrating as hell, and sometimes I blow my own mind.