Ahh, today is the day! Happy book birthday to Reign of Mist, the second book in the epic fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles. I’m lucky enough to have been able to receive an early copy of Reign of Mist, as well as having the opportunity to interview Helen as well, and I’m so excited.
Reign of Mist Synopsis
The realm’s darkest secret is out.
The cruelty of the capital and the power-hungry King Arden have scattered Bleak and her companions across the continents.
On the run in a foreign land, Bleak finds herself tied to some unexpected strangers. When the answers she yearns for are finally within reach, she must face the hard truths of her past, and take her fate into her own hands before it’s too late.
Meanwhile, secrets and magic unravel as a dark power corrupts the realm. Bleak’s friends are forced to decide where their loyalties lie, and who, if anyone, they can trust.
But one thing is certain: war is coming, and they must all be ready when it does.
Intriguing and action-packed, Reign of Mist is the second instalment in Helen Scheuerer’s epic YA fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles.
My Interview With Helen Scheuerer!
Can you remember when you had the lightbulb “I want to be a writer” moment, or has it always been something you wanted to do?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I wrote my first story when I was seven. But I also remember the first time I was “published”… It was in a school newspaper when I was about 10 and I remember thinking, this is pretty great. I’ve been writing ever since!
How do you come up with the names of your characters? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed your mind about it?
Coming up with character names is such a weird experience. For me, it almost like how I imagine coming up with your child’s name feels like. I brainstorm, I tweak existing names, I look up meanings and origins, but sometimes they just come to you. Pretty sure I have actual ‘baby names’ sites saved in my bookmarks…
I actually never meant to have my main character, Bleak, referred to as Bleak in the novel. I always meant to go back and change it. But by the time I thought to do so, I had grown oddly attached to the name!
Do you have any unpublished/unfinished novels? If so, would you ever consider trying to get them published?
I sure do. All up I probably have around 7 or so… Three of those are an incomplete fantasy trilogy I wrote in my early teens (absolutely terrible), however… I did take the word ‘Ashai’ (the term used to describe magic wielders in the Oremere books) from them.
As for if I’d publish them… I can comfortably say no. One of those books was signed with a publisher a while back, but the rights were reverted back to me and I’m glad they were. The book and I weren’t ready, and none of my previous books were quite right for me. It’s all a learning process!
What’s been the most challenging scene you’ve had to write?
Ohhhh that’s a hard one. To be honest, I always find the end scene of each book hard to write. I think in part it’s because I know the book’s over, but also there’s this pressure of really leaving a lasting feeling with your reader in those final sentences…
Once you’ve finished the Oremere Chronicles Trilogy, would you get a tattoo in tribute? What would you get?
Haha, funny you should ask! When the Reign of Mist cover was revealed, I had a book blogger contact me saying that someone she knew wanted the crown as a tattoo, which I thought was incredibly cool. For me, I always fancied getting a date or something as a tattoo, but I’ve never settled on one idea.
Last year for the Heart of Mist launch, a friend of mine gave me a necklace with the date of the release date engraved on it. That’s tribute enough for me at the moment 🙂
You’re obviously an indie author, and I know you’ve said in the past that you enjoy being in control of how your books are marketed, but I found a quote online that says:
“The good news about self-publishing is you get to do everything yourself. The bad news about self-publishing is you get to do everything yourself.”
Would you agree with that quote? What has been the biggest challenge of being a self published author?
Oh I agree with that whole-heartedly! It’s incredibly challenging to juggle all the different aspects. Budgeting, marketing, writing, book production… You wear so many different hats, and sometimes you just think how much easier life would be if you’d published traditionally. But honestly, going indie is the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s so rewarding being your own boss and having complete control over how your books a produced and marketed.
I know you said you have a secret Pinterest board for your characters, so would you be able to say who would play your characters in a film?
Haha, I do! I actually have a board for each character. But in terms of actors who would play the characters… I always thought of Chris Hemsworth for Bren, and I like the idea of Luke Evans or Michiel Huisman for Swinton (can you tell I love a rugged leading man?) but that’s as far as I got really!
If your characters were here now, what do you think they would say is their favourite book?
Oh that’s so tricky! I don’t have specific titles in mine but I think they’d have very different reading tastes. Some examples…? Bleak isn’t a big reader, she grew up on the seas and learnt to read with navigational books with her caregiver Senior. Unfortunately she missed out on that one book that makes a person fall in love with reading. For some reason I think Fi would be into poetry (he’s a romantic at heart) and Dash would love anything with knights and dragons.
In Heart of Mist, you managed to create wonderfully complex female characters (and you managed to carry that on in Reign of Mist!), but if you could steal one strong lady character from another book/series, who would it be?
I’m so happy to hear you thought that, thank you! A stand out for me is Lila Bard from V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic series. She’s clever, unconventional, flawed and intriguing 🙂
If you were to play match-maker for your main characters, which fictional characters from other books would you pair them with?
I love this question! Hmmm… Let me think…
Bleak – Arin from The Winner’s Curse
Henri – Princess Lira from To Kill A Kingdom
Swinton – Lysandra from Throne of Glass
Fiore – Lila Bard from A Darker Shade of Magic
Bren – Eowyn from Lord of the Rings
That was a very surreal exercise! It’s weird thinking about characters from different series and times crossing paths…!
I had SUCH fun thinking up the questions for this interview, and have loved reading through Helen’s answers – I now have a burning desire to reread A Darker Shade of Magic for Lila, and am an official shipper of Swinton and Lysandra!
You know a book is good when it has your heart racing, your palms sweating, and you fighting the urge to read ahead because you just need to know what’s going to happen.
Reign of Mist is one of those books. I finished it and just sort of stared at my kindle, trying to digest everything that happened.
(Warning: this review is gonna contain a shit load of gushing.)
We pick up right where Heart of Mist left off, with Bleak arriving in a land that holds the key to her forgotten past. But the land hides more than just Bleak’s secrets; it hides a false queen who resides in a forgotten castle, and an underground rebel movement, determined to save their prince from the queen’s clutches.
While Bleak is trying to figure out her place in the upcoming war, we also follow Henri, Swinton and Dash as they all move into their roles in the war.
Henri journeys to the winter land of Havennesse, where she employs the help of the Queen Eydis, after King Arden’s threat against Henri’s kindred.
Swinton journeys with Princess Olena to Battalon, where she is to marry Prince Nazuri, who is ten years her senior. Swinton has been tasked with gaining the prince’s confidence and getting him on the King’s side.
Dash is still at Heathon, learning to live with Olena’s absence. He still writes letters to the princess, still helps his dad around the stables, but Heathon is thrown into panic when a plague hits the capital.
Characters Old and New
I loved these characters in Heart of Mist, but I love them even more now! The chapter POVs are the same, but we get to find out lots more about Bleak and Swinton’s pasts, as well as being able to see different sides to all of the characters.
I particularly love Bleak’s addiction battle; while in the first book she was doing everything possible get her hands on some alcohol, to quiet the voices in her head, in this book she embraces her magic, and fights her addiction. I love the way that Bleak decides that she wants to stop drinking, but she still struggles a lot with her cravings.
While Bleak is definitely my favourite character, I absolutely adore her relationship with Henri! Their relationship has grown so, so much and it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s a scene where Henri and the kindred stand with Bleak, drinking water instead of wine during a meal, because they say they’re stronger in numbers and it gave me so many chills! I love how Bleak has gradually wormed her way into the kindred’s lives, how they support her – I live for strong female friendships, and Helen’s books have them by the bucketload.
Swinton and Fiore’s friendship is still going strong too, and Swinton finally opens up to Fiore about his past; about his son, about his lost love, and about his magic.
While I do love Dash, I’m not really gonna comment too much on him because his storyline is something that I totally didn’t see coming, so I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. I will say, however, that I’m desperate to see where his character will go to in book three.
And we have new characters! Queen Eydis is one, who is an absolutely fantastic character, and there are a few who I’m not going to name because I don’t want to spoil anything but rest assured; they’re awesome.
Helen’s female characters are incredible; a lot of authors seem to think that in order to be a strong character, they just need to be able to kick somebody in the face, but that’s definitely not the case here. They have so many qualities, they’re so realistic; they argue and they clash and they have their faults, but that just makes them all the more charming.
“Not all wars were fought with blades and shields. Not all courage was found in the heart of a battle.”
So I warned you at the beginning of the review that I was gonna be gushing a hell of a lot through this review, and this section is gonna be no different because I love Helen’s writing. It’s completely enchanting; it’s so vivid and colourful. I usually have a difficult time imagining all these different fantasy lands, and they often all blend together, but that didn’t happen with Reign of Mist at all. The pictures I had of the settings were detailed and vivid, but still easy to conjure.
Often when I’m reading a book on my kindle, I’ll end up checking the time and what percentage of the book I’ve read, which is why I always prefer reading a physical book. But every now and then I’ll find a book that’s so gripping that I don’t care how much I’ve read, because I don’t want it to end, and this is one of those books. Helen’s writing is addictive, and so clever; she weaves little hints (hints that seem insignificant at the time) about the plot and character identities into the story, and allows them to build up before bringing them to the forefront in a way that makes you want to go back and reread passages. It’s marvellous, but we’re still waiting for a few answers; like whether or not there has been a betrayal within the kindred, whether she has manipulated her way to the top.
What I also find refreshing is the lack of romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance in books, and I would love it book three did have romance, but I also know that I wouldn’t be disappointed if there wasn’t any in the next book, because the characters are brilliant characters are brilliant by themselves.
Does that make sense? I don’t know anymore.
So it’s pretty obvious that I love this book, and I’m absolutely desperate for book three! There are a few things that I really need answers to, like the betrayal I mentioned earlier and also more about that ending.
But if you haven’t read this series yet, then I highly recommend it; fabulous characters, brilliant world-building and gorgeous writing. What’s not to love?
Helen Scheuerer is a YA fantasy author from Sydney, Australia. Reign of Mist is the second book in her high fantasy trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles. After writing literary fiction for a number of years, Helen was inspired to return to her childhood love of fantasy thanks to novels like Throne of Glass, The Queen’s Poisoner and The Queen of the Tearling.
Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit (www.writersedit.com), an online learning platform for emerging writers. In its first year, Writer’s Edit reached thousands of new authors, and soon became its own small press, with Helen overseeing the production and publication of three creative writing anthologies, Kindling Volume I, Volume II and Volume III. It’s now one of the largest writing websites in the world.
Helen’s love of writing and books led
her to pursue a Bachelor of Creative
Arts, majoring in Creative Writing at
the University of Wollongong. While the Kindling books were being published, Helen also completed a Masters of Publishing at the University of Sydney.
Helen now lives by the beach and writes full time. She has many more books planned for the future.
Website – http://helenscheuerer.com/
Twitter – https://.twitter.com/helenscheuerer
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/helenscheuerer