Seriously, who came up with the whole concept of an 'afterword', anyway? The first person to do this must have quite an ego, thinking people would enjoy them reminiscing about their work. Also, why is it 'afterword' singular and not 'afterworlds' plural? I have more than a single word here!
That being said, I'm going to do one anyway, since my ego needs stroking.
Titan War. Boy, where do I start. There's a lot of history in this series, from Keep Walking to The Number 139, and finally ending with this book. The Titan War trilogy is my attempt to bring to breath the artwork of Facundo Diaz. His piece, Nice to Meet You!, Showing a girl in a long red scarf standing on a lush plain greeting two Titans the size of mountains while hot-air balloons floated by created the image of Katoki and The Titan Plains. It was also the capturing moment in the final chapter of Keep Walking as an homage to the source material - the balloons working themselves into Josh's backstory.
There are a lot of fan fiction in this story. Luce and Josh were characters I originally wrote over 6 years ago as an attempt to bring Diaz's paintings into tale. The Leviathan, the harsh battleground, golems and mechs, the Twin stars, the Frozen North and Burning South, Citi, the Helm, and even the title of the book, Titan War, were all inspired changes of Diaz's paintings.
If you were to read Deck of Clover, future book Born and Made, and future planned series, The Clover Saga, you'll see the differences between what I deem the east and west of Tearha. While the west is filled with futuristic magic-tech and fantasy, the east has a survival punk-esque motif. From the steam of Eltar, the cyber of Citi, and the slums of Ampyre, Diaz's artworks gave inspirations to a lot of these places and culture.
That's not to say they did not eventually become their own works. The shape of Tearha's west really only changed when Nadier - a character we will not talk much about here - and Adelle came along.
Nadier and Adelle were created as roleplaying characters for an online game I used to play. Their history as outcast drow and last of the sentinels respectively grew into lore of the world around them. The lost history of the sentinels gave rise to the backstory of how sentient Titans came to be and the extinction of the dwarfs merged with Nadier's history. Adelle herself grew from isolationist to discoverer of life and adventurer of world, giving a reason for me to write about a character out to see more of the unique, and sometimes, downright epic scenes.
While Josh and Luce's adventures ends here in Titan War as their search for peace reach its conclusion, Adelle's journey continues. She's not searching for peace, or for adventure - at least not yet. She's looking for something else, and that breathed new life into the world, giving me the room to develop more pass what original inspiration I got from Diaz's artworks.
The idea of sentience within mechs and golems, the racism between species, lost histories, repetition of war, super-weapons of the past such as Exodus, founding of religions, all of these came after Adelle.
Oh, there's another group of characters we had not much a chance to talk about. Shou's gang.
Shou Kenta, Arnold Wyndham, and Miu Hotaru. These three, oh boy, do they have one heck of a whirlwind history behind them that you're never gonna read about because I'm too lazy to write it.
What I can tell you is Shou and Miu comes from my old Air Gear fan fiction, Lost Regalia, which I think you can still find online today. I'm not going to tell you where because, holy crap, my writing back then was terrible. Granted, I was only 13, but still, you'd think I'd have more shame about my failures, as I do now.
My shame is now never-ending.
The thought of integrating these two characters into the Tearha-verse was like a bolt of lightning. Good lightning, of course. They were some of my earliest creations, and it never sat right with me that I could never finish their story properly. But now they had a home, and an adventure befitting of their stature rather than copy/rewrite of something else.
Arnold on the other hand is a little more special. He was a character created by a friend of mine, Brent Evesson, who is a talented writer in his own rights. It never sat well with me that I managed to eek out a foothold in the writing world while he was never really given the same chance to. I think if he had been given more opportunity and room to develop, he would have been a great writer.
So Arnold plays the straight man to Shou the same way my knowledge of Brent's talents grounds me, as a constant reminder that there are people, who if given the chance, can easily surpass me. A humbling, if you will.
So where does The Chronicles of Tearha go now? Well, I'm not really sure. Of course I have an outline for the entire series, eight books in all, three books down. But the plot always changes as I write. That's one of the great joys of writing serialised novels. I don't have to plan too far ahead. The characters, the route they travel and choices they make, those always overwrite any decisions I planned for them.
For example, originally, Reggie was supposed to have survived, but Josh would have died. Yet the road simply did not lead there and the opposite happened. Eccles was also meant to have become president, but Luce took that role instead. These guys are troublesome like that, granting me many frustrating days of writing their choices into the plot.
Looking back, each book in The Chronicles of Tearha have had their own distinct narrative style. The Number 139 had flashbacks mixed into its main story, while Deck of Clover had 15 different POVs. Now, Titan War takes place entirely in a single focused time frame, with only a single flashback scene. And the next book planned, Beastmaster, will be a story that spans across two time periods 200 years apart. I'm quite excited for that technical challenge right now. Writing these different narrative structures has really helped me grow as an author and expanded my skill sets.
Whatever happens next though, I guarantee Tearha isn't ending soon. I hope everyone will continue on this journey with us.
From myself, Adelle, Luce, Josh, Shou, Arnold, Miu, Reggie, and Galia, thank you for reading.
We'll see you next time.