If you’ve read Auralia’s Colors, you may have questions about the sequel, Cyndere’s Midnight, which will be in stores on September 16.

Over the next week, I’ll be revealing some of the shocking secrets of Cyndere’s Midnight.

So read on, but beware! Some may consider these to be very minor spoilers!

And yes, every single one of these questions has been raised in some email or letter or review. I didn’t make up a single one.


Do we get to see more of the ale boy?

Yes, the ale boy returns. Ah, but the real question on everybody’s mind is this: Is he still serving alcoholic beverages?

Um… okay… is he still serving alcoholic beverages?

You’ll just have to wait and see. I will say this: It’s a bit difficult to serve drinks when you’ve been locked into an small iron stove and left for dead in the middle of a wasteland fraught with predators.

Do we learn what happens to Cal-raven and the people of House Abascar?

Yes, eventually. We don’t spend a lot of time with them until late in the book. But the third book is called Cal-raven’s Ladder, so don’t worry. Cal-raven’s story is far from over.

Who is the woman on the cover?

If my evil plan works, there will be some confusion about this, at least during the first several chapters of the book. After all, Cyndere’s not the only beauty in this version of Beauty and the Beast.

The woman on the cover… what’s she’s kneeling beside?

Personally, I think that’s kind of obvoius, but I’ve heard some interesting theories. And it hasn’t stopped me from affectionately referring to the book as Cyndere’s Hot Tub.

There’s been a woman on two book covers in a row. Is this chick lit?

Hardly. Unless your “chick lit” includes stories about murderous beastmen, extravagant battle scenes, and descents into monster-filled labyrinths.

Is Auralia in this book?

She’s the very first character you encounter. Well, she’s the very first human character you encounter.

Are Krawg and Warney in this book?

What, do you want me to spoil all the surprises?

[Submitted by a 10-year-old in a handwritten letter.] Will Cal-raven and Auralia get married?

Umm… maybe you should read Auralia’s Colors again and decide if that question really makes much sense. Ah, but this is fantasy, isn’t it? Good for you for having a big imagination! We’ll see.

We didn’t see much of the wizard, Scharr ben Fray, in the first book. Do we see more of him here?

My mage is a shifty and devious fellow. He may be far more present than you’ve realized. He just likes disguises. Unlike a lot of other famous wizards, he doesn’t know everything. He doesn’t have all the answers. He does, however, have a lot of questions.

If Auralia’s Colors¬†ever becomes a movie, you won’t let Michael Bay direct it, will you?¬†

You have my solemn promise.¬†Now… if John Sayles, or Scott Derrickson, or Guillermo Del Toro, or Ridley Scott, or Danny Boyle were ever interested…

I kept expecting a big battle scene in Auralia’s Colors. Is there a battle scene in Cyndere’s Midnight?

With all of the devastation at the conclusion of Auralia’s Colors, you found yourself wanting a war as well? Are you okay?

Those disappointed by the lack of battle scenes in Auralia’s Colors will finally hear the clash of swords in this one. Personally, I don’t think you have to have a good fight scene to tell a good fantasy story. I think there are far too many duels, dragons, wizards, and wars in fantasy literature. There are so many other ideas things to explore.

But okay… ¬†there is a scene concerning Cal-raven that gave me a chance to write a long, elaborate fight scene. I felt like a ten-year-old again, staging an epic battle between man and monsters. (I have boxes full of those stories that I typed out when I was a kid. It helped me cope with being intimidated by the bully at school.) That kind of scene didn’t make sense in Auralia’s Colors. In this one, it takes place at a very crucial moment, and the outcome of the fight is a major turning point in “The Auralia Thread.”

Does it end with another cliffhanger?

Sorta. But wait until you see the end of the third book.

You said it took you ten years to write Auralia’s Colors. Was it hard to write a sequel in less than a year?

Yes. But hey… am I going to complain? I was so consistently surprised by the characters in Cyndere’s Midnight that I had a hard time saying “The End.”

And I’m still thunderstruck and overjoyed that I get to share these stories with you. I keep waiting to wake up and find out it was all a dream. Thank you for the emails and letters and Facebook notes, etc. This part of the writing life is an unexpected development, a tremendous blessing, and an inspiration to try and make each story better than the previous one. I hope to offer this series as a “thank-you” to the storytellers that inspired me, and it won’t be any thanks at all if I don’t make them worth reading. So I’m grateful for all of the encouragement.

Lots of reviewers misspelled the name Auralia as “Aurelia” in their reviews. And then they misspelled your name too. Why didn’t you put a simpler name in the title of¬†Cyndere’s Midnight?

Well, it was pretty stupid of me to publish two books in a row that have titles with names that are hard to pronounce. (It’s SIN-der, not sin-DARE. And please… don’t say chin-DARE-ay.) But hey… those Bel Amicans like to end there names with silent “e”s.

I’ve contemplated introducing a character who misspells and mispronounces everything, and then sending him to a nasty demise. But hey, I’m a reviewer as well as a storyteller, and I’ve made my share of mistakes in my reviews. So that wouldn’t be very fair of me….

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