Can you believe it’s been almost four years since this book was released? I certainly can’t! I’ll have more of a “retrospective” post up for the actual anniversary itself, but as a lead-in, I thought we’d do another round of “Did you know…?”, this time for my very first published book-baby: The Lady of Souls.

  • Everything about this book and this series started because in Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” movie from 2009, there’s a scene where Sherlock is wearing old-timey black sunglasses as he investigates a tomb that’s been broken open. I absolutely love the visuals of that movie, and seeing that particular aesthetic, combined with the smart-but-obnoxious character stereotype, just really made me want to write THAT. So I built up someone who would wear those sunglasses, placed her in a time period where the clothes and aesthetics fit, and ran from there.
  • Kaedrich developed because any sufficiently Sherlock-ish archetype needs a grounded counter-part to balance them out.
  • The name “Praxis Fellows” came about because there were two names I absolutely loved that both followed a similar convention: the first name started with P, the last name started with F; the first name was slightly quirky and used a few “harsh” sounds, and the last name was more normal, rounded, and mellow. Paxton Fettel was one, from an old video game. The other was from a real person Graeme works with.
  • The Lady of Souls underwent about 5 major revisions—and I mean ripping it down to the bones and completely changing the plot. Several locations and concepts from those old version ended up becoming part of later books, including the city of barges.
  • Kaedrich’s gender and sexual orientation also shifted around when I was first plotting things out, though when I actually started writing, it settled pretty fast.
  • The design and aesthetics for the land of the dead were inspired by an episode of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”, where we see halls of extinct creatures, and massive museum displays of forgone species in their natural habitat.
  • Some of my earliest fans may remember, but the series was actually published under a different name at first, and changed the The Beacon Campaigns when the paperbacks came out a few weeks later.
  • What I call “bone lakes” are real things, though they’re usually not white. In the real world they’re called alkali lakes, caustic lakes, or “soda lakes”, and you can read up on them here, but these three photos by Nick Brandt inspired the use of them in my book.
  • The cover also went through a lot of permutations before I settled on the final version. For one of them, I actually had to get artsy and give myself a fake Praxis tattoo for a wrist photo shoot. Pro-tip: the trick is to use an eyebrow pencil.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for you today! As you can see, this book was quite the learning experience, going through a number of huge changes before it finally became the copy you can hold in your hands now. But it was all worth it. While there’s a few things I wish I’d done differently, on the whole I wouldn’t change my experience with it for anything.

Haven’t read it yet? That’s okay! You can read the first chapter for free!