Hit “Send” to my editor at 2:15am PT today (5/1/2019).
124,183 Words. And it’s a good book.
“Royce Buckingham creates new worlds in his books as I would have imagined as a child. With attention to detail, very exciting and entertaining – I’ve rarely been able to put it out of my hands.” — Karateka, Reviewer
German fantasy fans love the world building in my newest epic fantasy novel, Die Klinge des Waldes (The Blade of the Forest). Now there is way for English readers to join in exploring it too–the Die Klinge des Waldes fandom wiki site, built by the fans themselves.
Here’s the coolest thing I found out about about the Die Klinge des Waldes wiki site. Anyone can contribute. For German readers, write in your favorite quote, storyline, district–you name it! For English readers, check it out, add your thoughts and questions and tell my agent John Rudolph why you would love to have the novel available in the United States.
The wiki site includes facts about all of the major or minor districts in the far off City of Filth, including primary character bios and quotes, as well as an entire page dedicated to all of the story’s characters. I loved creating this world and am gratified to see that readers love learning about it. Their comments (translated from German) speak for themselves:
“Each district is like a small kingdom with its own laws, customs, festivities, and methods of execution (Royce Buckingham is extremely creative, which is amazingly intriguing in a macabre way). In the course of the plot, you get to know quite a few districts such as the carpentry or the carnival district, but also over the other districts information is scattered over and over again, which I personally found incredibly exciting. This city looks like a mini-universe to itself…” Miss Page Turner
“With “The Blade of the Forest,” Royce Buckingham reveals a fantasy novel set in a very different world from his trilogy for “The King’s Will” and his followers. And that’s exactly where the great power of the novel lies, you can completely explore the strange world and explore numerous different cultures, locations and connections.” Poldis Hörspielseite
“World-building really succeeded in this novel. The map on the first page already gives an interesting insight about the individual lands. Among other things, there is the forest kingdom of Strata at the beginning, which impresses by the fact that the rich live in towers, which were built around trees and the simple people, who lives on the ground, are called Grundlinge (Grounders).” Steffi R, Reviewer
“Let’s get to the world Buckingham created: it’s fascinating. Partly an ancient variant of our world and yet somehow different. On the other hand fantastic and yet not so fantastic that it could not have been that way.” Daisy D
I’m excited and flattered that fans have created this site, and I’m eager to share it with you! Visit at: Die Klinge des Waldes Wiki.
We had some fun with friends and family making this book trailer. Enjoy.
Coming soon – a video of my book reading from Die Klinge des Waldes featuring one of the dukes from the novel!
by Guest Blogger, Cara Landi
Q: Why do you write?
A: Because I have so many stories in my head. If I don’t get them out, they’ll drive me crazy!
Q: What’s your favorite genre?
A: Medieval Fantasy. I used to like horror stories best. Then I had kids, and horror movies lost their luster. Teens getting killed in the woods doesn’t intrigue me now that I’m not a teen and I have a couple of them. I do still love a good monster story.
Q: What is it about Medieval Fantasy?
A: I like the idea of chivalry that is associated with the (loosely interpreted) time period. I’m not sure if people actually were chivalrous, but the concept makes for good character motivation, hypocrisy, and internal conflict. The other fun I have toying with the medieval genre goes back to Dungeons & Dragons, where I learned to imagine medieval scenarios. I have a strong vision of what fantasy medieval worlds can look like.
I also like the low-tech setting. In my new novel, Die Klinge Des Waldes (BLADE to my US fans), I have an inventor who designs and builds things that I get to dream up. They seem fantastical, but possible. It’s hard for me to write sci-fi these days. With the advances in the technology of our time, it’s difficult to imagine innovation beyond what innovators are actually doing. We’ve been wowed to death by amazing tech. It’s easier for me (and fun) to imagine what might be astound people in medieval times.
Q: What’s an example of that?
A: A mechanical elephant in a medieval world would be fascinating. In our modern world it would be an internet sensation for maybe a day. So when I create my mechanical elephant with flames coming out of its trunk and crossbow bolts shooting from its tusks my characters (and audience) say “how can that be?” or “that’s amazing!” instead of “huh, cool, what else is on youtube?”
Q: Where do your stories come from?
A: A couple of places. One is the drama of real life–problems anybody might have like, “oh no! I’m going to get killed and I don’t want to….” That’s a real problem now and in medieval times. In fact, it was likely extra-challenging to live and survive back then. Other everyday drama can include things like “I don’t love you” and “you’re fired.”
I also ask myself, “what if?” The answer is then the story. For Die Klinge Des Waldes, I thought “What if you took a Disney princess and had awful things happen to her? How would she handle that?” The answer in my world is: not very well initially.
The ways people deal with conflict is what makes for a good story. The more challenging, the better. The struggles of a fallen princess are especially awesome.
Q: Die Klinge Des Waldes (Blade) features a strong female protagonist. In your dozen or so previous books you’ve used primarily male protagonists. Did writing a female change your approach to this story?
A: The Mapper Series had a female protagonist in one book, and I enjoyed working with a female lead. Building on that experience, this character is even more well-developed. She should appeal to both men and women. Her struggles are very human and mostly genderless (such as “I don’t want to get killed”), but she lives in a world where being female has its own unique challenges.
Q: What drives your stories first–character, plot, world-building?
A: It used to be the plot, but now I am more character-focused. Readers like characters. If readers love the character, they want to see what that character will do, even if the conflict is as simple as, “what’s for dinner?” For this work, I focused more on our princess’s evolution than the events around her. But of course a zebra can’t change its stripes. There are still some big plot twists!
Q: How else has your writing evolved?
A: My world-building has gotten better. When you read Die Klinge Des Waldes, you experience a complete and detailed world. Having environments that are really developed is fun for readers. It’s very much like Game of Thrones, in which the world is extensive and has many distinctive characters and locations. The city I’ve created in Die Klinges Des Waldes has 35-districts, each with its own personality. It’s almost like Munich, Barcelona, Lagos, Seattle, Tokyo, and Rio all pushed together beside each other to form one big city, only its medieval.
Q: What is your favorite district?
A: The Carnival District! And it’s the favorite of the city’s citizens as well–parties, performances, politics, and a crazy/brilliant Duke who runs the show. I’m pretty sure it’s also the favorite of my editors who created a blow-up of the carnival castle and circus tent on one of two beautifully illustrated maps for the novel.
Q: Yes. Tell us about the maps! They seem to be an important part of your medieval fantasy books. Can you talk about that?
A: It started with my second best seller in Germany, Die Karte Der Welt (The Map of the World). My publisher, Blanvelet, asked me to sketch a map. I scribbled out an amateur diagram so they knew where the landmarks were, and they hired professional cartographer, Andreas Hancock, Bielefeld) to create a real map for the entire Map of the World series. Super cool. In my new novel, the world is so extensively developed that, even though the story subject wasn’t maps, my editors wrote and said, “I know you’re busy, but can you sketch up another amateur map of your world so a professional can draw it?”
Q: Was that a fun process for you?
A: Oh yeah. Yes! I have to admit I really dig making maps. In fact, I got a little obsessive and spent a week re-reading my entire 600 page novel to get every location right. Then I sketched it like a kindergartener…or at least a kindergartener with Photoshop. I also wrote three pages of detailed notes about the map. Random House hired a professional who translated all of the materials I provided into beautiful maps for the interior of the novel. It was awesome!
I don’t think every author gets that much creative input with their novels’ artwork. My publisher did, however, reject my cover idea. They said my concept was too polarizing, and then they sent me the beautiful cover they had already created.
Q: What do you love about Die Klinge Des Waldes?
A: I love Flora. She’s a complex person. She starts simple and becomes very complicated. It’s like watching her grow up, only there are wars and swordplay and mechanical elephants that shoot flame from their trunks.
Q: Why should other people love the story?
A: It’s big and cinematic and intimate at the same time. We get to know a lot about Flora, and then we get to see her on a huge stage trying to deal with disasters, triumphs, and everyday problems, like the overthrow of entire kingdoms and spats with her older sister.
Q: What’s different about this story from others that you have written?
A: This is an adult story, and so it is different than my bestseller Damliche Damonen (Demonkeeper) in the same way that Game of Thrones is different from Lord of the Rings.
Q: What’s next for you? Any new projects on the horizon?
A: Yes. I am always thankful that my editors believe in my work. I am currently writing another medieval fantasy with Blanvalet. It’s due at the end of the year, and I expect will be released some time in 2019.
Q: Is Die Klinge Des Waldes going to be available for U.S. fans to read?
A: I certainly hope so. I will be taking it to US publishers soon. But that’s a new blog entry entirely…. Stay tuned!
Thanks to Google searches and online translators, I get to see what German readers are saying about my stories. I recently found this little gem shared on the German Fantasy Review Site, fantasybuch.de for Die Rubinrote Konigin (The Ruby Red Queen). For English readers, Die Rubinrote Konigin is books 5 and 6 of The Mapper Series – Red Queen and Dark King – now available in the U.S.
Below is the review…just in case there is any trouble with the link.
When the veil Villagnan and Adara spit out, they do not know how much time they have lost. While Adara is still trying to kill her archenemy, who has slapped her family, even her whole people bestialized, Vill. He can hardly convince Adara that he has changed and is now one of the good guys. And good can Abrogan need now. After the Red Army has rolled over it, now a black man is ready to wipe out the survivors’ remains.
The cover shows Skye, the capital of Abrogan. The picture is a mixture of painted map and built city. I find it wonderful for the book chosen because it shows for me a mixture of unreality and tangible. A mixture that perfectly mirrors the event.
The Ruby Queen is part three of a wonderful series about the chart writer Wexford Stoli and the country Abrogan. With every band I thought that Royce Buckingham could not possibly improve, but somehow he managed to do it again and again. Perhaps it is because he has remained a child deep inside him and shares this with his readers. He takes us into a world that could not be more fantastic. Playful yet serious, light and yet thoughtful, fantastic and yet real. If Buckingham understands one thing, this is definitely a way of living life and amusing me.
His writing style is characterized by exciting tension, which keeps the entire book high. One event chases the next and leaves me hardly resting. Not only that, but also permanent change of scenery kept the tension upright and made it difficult for me to put the book aside. In addition, there were also the pictorial descriptions of the author, which let his world Abrogan arise before my inner eye. Abrogan is a world that is similar in many respects to ours and yet quite different. The buildings are slightly different, just like the forests and mountains, the people, beings and animals. A completely new and very lively world that captivated me and which I was very glad to kidnap.
The plot is hard to describe, because it is incredibly diverse and always new directions, with which I had never expected. War, feuds, personal destinies, myths and magic; Everything is represented and yet the event does not seem unstructured or confused, but comically, straightforward and goal-oriented. Again, a mixture that the author seems to love.
Villagnan and Adara are at the center of the events. Both of them had been trapped in the veil for a long time, and suddenly faced their home, which had developed without them. Friends, family, and acquaintances have died, and nothing else but the connection with the past. However, while Adara is only eating her hatred for Villeneuve, since he has slaughtered her people, a new life begins for Vill. For in the time before the shadow, he was a mass murderer and butcher. But when the darkness released him, she also let the shadow of his soul be lifted, and Vill returned his humanity. The development and how he is with all the knowledge of his atrocities, came close to me and I could build a deep connection to this truly extraordinary character. Adara also liked me very much, seemed alive and alive, but I believe that Royce Buckingham has laid all his heart blood and abilities in Villmagnan.
My little personal highlight was, of course, the reunion with the card writer Wexford Stoli and his cows. In the first part he stole my heart and since then he has taken a place that no one can take him anymore.
The Ruby Queen is a true masterpiece from the first to the last page!
Enter a world of uncharted lands, fantastic creatures, emerging civilizations and the darkness that will define it all. Enter Mapper – Royce Buckingham’s best selling German series, today! Download yours – Click Here!
The Demonkeeper Series
Demons are all around us – most of them relatively harmless, like ones that go bump in the night. But some are dangerous – some can kill. Since orphaned as a boy, Nat Grimlock has been trained by his aged mentor Dhaliwahl to be a demonkeeper controlling a menagerie of demons in their rickety house in Seattle. but now Daliwahl is gone, and Nat is on his own.
When Nat goes on a date with Sandy, a librarian’s assistant, it’s a disaster in more ways than one – a very scary demon called the best escapes. Can Nat get the Beast back to the house and make things right with Sandy?
With its fast-paced action, slapstick humor, and a winning, unlikely hero, the Demonkeeper Series is a high-spirited romp that will keep readers glued to the page!
Designing book covers is fun! I’ve always thought so but have not been so intimately involved in the process until recently. I’m working with ePublisher Gere Donovan Press to bring my best selling German series, Mapper, to the United States. We decided to expand the three book series into six parts for U.S. readers. Here’s the visual process we went through to come up with our final (and awesome) designs!
In August, Gere Donovan sent me this image with the idea that the cover would stay the same for all six books but with different titles.
It didn’t win my team over – spoiler, there is no giant spider in my story – it was a little busy for the eye, we wanted different cover images for each book, and there was something oddly familiar about the illustration. Upon some research, I discovered that it was the same image used for Author/Illustrator Walter Moers’ book, A Wild Ride Through the Night.
The illustration is in the public domain, as it’s one of hundreds of engravings created by Gustave Dore. That got me thinking…
….I looked up Gustave Dore and found other images. Did I mention there are hundreds?
While I messed around on Photoshop, I conducted a highly scientific survey of friends (a one-line Facebook post) about the proposed book cover from Gere Donovan. Many liked the artistic look of Dore’s work. But my team and I wondered…”will it sell books?” I recalled once talking books with THE buyer for a major retailer who said definitively, “I can tell if a book will sell by its cover.”
She then looked down at the copy of my soon to be released book The Dead Boys. Let’s just say she did not immediately place a big order. (Insert sad face here and shameless plug – if you loved the new series Stranger Things, you will also love The Dead Boys.) Anyway, back to the Mapper Series covers. My team decided to experiment with something more modern-looking.
We raided iStock and other photo sites to find some images with cool looking knights and came up with these.
We kind of liked them. But some of our friends from the follow-up Facebook survey thought they were boring. Too traditional.
We probably spent way too much time on this process (but hey, I was having fun) and then decided we should have a conference call with Scott from Gere Donovan. We fretted about letting them know that we weren’t sold on their first idea (the Gustave Dore image). But we shouldn’t have been so worried. Five minutes into the call, Scott said he was really happy that we didn’t like the cover! Upon reflection, he had already decided he didn’t like it either. Phew! After further discussion, Scott suggested that we could use more modern images and cited some trends he’d recently noticed in book covers. We liked his thoughts and, after several rounds of shuffling images between six books, Photoshopping, and further extensive surveying of our beta viewers, we loved what they came up with!
Oh…and by the way, they are Kindle-ready by by clicking here!
There is always an air of excitement around the house when a book is about to be released, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that not one, but two of my stories will be available for German readers in 2016.
This month — on January 18 to be exact — Die Rubinrote Konigin will land in readers’ hands or Kindles. It is the third of my first ever medieval fantasy series, entirely written and published first, and catapulted to best-seller status in Germany, by Random House – Blanvalet. For more details or to order, click here.
And later this year in September, my U.S. Adventure Thriller debut, IMPASSE (St. Martin’s Press), will be available for German readers as Kalt Gestellt. Click here for more info.
The two books couldn’t be more different from one another although both were equally entertaining to write.