Please join me in giving a very warm welcome to my friend, Savannah Jezowski! Today, I am helping her celebrate the recent release of her novel: After. You might remember that I read and reviewed the book earlier this year, and that Savannah is one of my fellow Five Enchanted Roses sister-authors. If you have not yet become acquainted with this author, I would like to take this moment to tell you that you are missing out. You definitely need to pick up one of her books post-haste!
At the very least, you’ll want to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!! You could win a signed copy of After!
But today is not about what I have to say. I invited Savannah over to talk a little bit about After and how it relates to her Five Enchanted Roses novella: Wither, so let me step aside and give her the floor….
Thank you, Jenelle, for inviting me to share this post today. When you asked if I’d like to share which story idea/set of characters came first, After or Wither (in the Five Enchanted Roses collection), I was immediately intrigued by the question. It’s actually a complicated question.
The original concept of the Neverway came with After. I wrote a novella called After for the Five Glass Slippers contest by Rooglewood Press like five or six years ago. I can’t even remember now. But the story I wrote for the contest (and the characters in it) only vaguely resemble to story I published as a full-length novel. As I said it, it was a Cinderella story with a gender swap. Conrad Ellis the Third was my masculine Ella and there was a feisty Asian princess instead of a Prince Charming. But the plot was forced, and the characters just didn’t want to work with me or the story I was trying to tell. Conrad did NOT want a glass slipper, and Fen didn’t want to be a princess. So I put it away.
Then I wrote Wither for the next Rooglewood contest instead. I was so in love with the world of After, I was determined to give it a second try. This time I went far away from the ancient city of Pandorum and deep into the mountains of the Neverway. And this time…the characters and the world just blossomed. The Neverway and the overall plot thread began to take shape in my mind as I realized how I could take my original concepts and turn the world of the Neverway into a series. Corwin of Briarstone Abbey and Bet Haverly and her family became as familiar to me as family.
I had intended to simply pick up where Wither ended (with Specter, which will be coming later this summer), but I couldn’t get Conrad and his family out of my head. There was so much backstory that needed to be told before I could move on with the plotline I began in Wither. So I went back to After. It took me two editors, more betas than I can count, and more revisions and tears than I care to admit…but the characters in After finally became real to me. They had their own story to tell, and it wasn’t until I gave up trying to tell a Cinderella story and a Rapunzel story that the true heart of After revealed itself. This novel isn’t a fairy tale retelling, but there are elements and hints from several tales sprinkled throughout which will be revisited and developed in later stories. After finally became a story of its own. And it was in the last round of revisions that Ivan emerged from the background as a static, minor character into a living, breathing major character. The story is Conrad’s (or Eli’s, as his friends call him), but this story is almost equally Ivan’s. He had his own story that needed to be told and I’m so glad I finally listened and let him tell it.
And that’s it, folks. The Neverway’s journey is kind of a mess of dates and facts and stories all running together…but isn’t that what all stories are in the beginning?
So perhaps you’re now wondering…what order should you read these stories in? Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you begin with Wither or After. They are each stand alone stories that hint at more to come. I consider After to be Book One and Wither is a sort of stand alone novella. My advice, read which ever one interests you most. You see familiar faces in both stories, no matter which order you read them in. I hope you enjoy your adventures in the Neverway, and the characters you find trying to survive in this dark, but magical world.
Thanks for having me today, Jenelle! I’ve enjoyed sharing the journey of The Neverway Chronicles with you.
So happy to have you over, Savannah! And thanks for explaining how these stories came to be… I would never have guessed After was originally supposed to be a Cinderella-type story!
“Some people might say that there are worse fates than death. In some worlds, perhaps that may well be the case. But in mine, it would be a lie. There is no greater horror than that which comes after death.”
On the streets of an ancient city, with creepers wandering at will and a mysterious assassin leaving corpses all over Pandorum, a young Spook with a dark secret will do anything to keep his brothers safe, even from forces that threaten to tear them apart from within. While others are searching for impossible cures from outlawed Spinners, Conrad Ellis III does not believe in fairy tales and miracles. But when he discovers a strange girl with shrouded ties to the Assassin, Eli is forced to leave the streets he loves and travel into the very heart of Pandorum in order to save a member of his family. With his health failing and the danger escalating, there is no escaping the inevitable truth. Today, he may hunt creepers.
Tomorrow, he just might be one.
About the Author
Savannah Jezowski lives in a drafty farmhouse in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor, a wee warrior princess, and two English Springer Spaniels. She is the author of When Ravens Fall and The Neverway Chronicles. Her work has been published in Ray Gun Revival, Mindflights and in the student publication of Fountains at Pensacola Christian College. She is also a featured author in Five Enchanted Roses from Rooglewood Press and Mythical Doorways from Fellowship of Fantasy. She likes books, faeries, writing hats and having tea with her imaginary friends.
Follow Savannah online:
Explore the world of After by entering to win a signed paperback from the author! (US only.)
What do you think, dear Reader? Does this story sound amazing? (Spoiler: It is!!!) It is high on my list of “recommended reads”! Also, Savannah mentioned Ivan a little bit in her post… well, as an extra-special treat, I will be interviewing him later this week, so make sure you swing by, because you won’t want to miss that!