Published 2022-01-12Camilla Ochlan
Between the patch of flowers and an old oak tree, they spotted several nailed-together wooden boards. The word warning had been painted across in neat script, with the mark of the Untouchables just beneath it. Lily knew that any Melian seeing the sign would respect the barrier. I'm not supposed to go against the orders of the Untouchables. Lily wasn't entirely certain how to rationalize her way past this dilemma.
"Good advice," Sable said respectfully. "We are now suitably forewarned and shall be on our guard." Sable lifted the boards and set them aside, revealing the hole beneath.
She is technically right — it's a warning, not a keep out sign.
When Omen's little sister, Lilyth, throws her very first tea party and nobody shows up, she imagines that disaster has befallen her Melian friends. Trouble is . . . she's not wrong.
LILYTH'S DANCE takes place at the same time as WYLDWOOD FATE but can be read as a standalone story.
Initially when we started writing WYLDWOOD FATE, we thought about including Lily in the story somehow. The entirety of LILYTH'S DANCE was going to be included in the book (along with numerous chapters from Nikki's point of view). But after a while we felt it was distracting from the main plot of the book. Our core characters were trapped inside the castle -- that was the story, and anything outside that felt like a separate story.
Which is of course what we ended up with. Lily's story is her own and deserved to stand by itself. We had a lot of fun with this. Lily, Shard, and Sable are fun characters to write about.
If you've read this story and the book you know there is a chapter in the book that is sort of repeated in Lily's story -- from Lily's point of view. That was a blast to write. How different the scene seems through the eyes of an eleven-year-old girl whose tea party has been interrupted, versus Shalonie, who knows fully how much danger they are all in.
Naturally we needed a cover for this story as well -- Lily has had several covers, but we were still sort of searching for a different look for her tales. I like playing around with different art styles, but I wasn't really certain what direction to go with any of this. Camilla suggested we try something more 'storybook' for Lily.
I think maybe it's more Disney than storybook, but close enough. The simpler art style was a lot quicker to paint than what I usually do. The cover of WYLDWOOD FATE took me five months to complete. I finished the Lily cover in about two weeks.
Of course, part of that was because I was able to reuse the castle in the background that I had painted for WYLDWOOD FATE. That castle alone took me forever. The original is a huge file -- larger than the finished cover. And then I took it, shrank it down and pushed it so far into the background you can't see any of the details (I painted each brick individually -- which was probably foolish). So here you can see a bit more of the details.
And of course, there is adorable Shard -- I've done several versions of Shard. It's quite different to draw a cat with folded ears -- the profile just looks off, so I struggle with the design. I keep second-guessing myself that she doesn't quite look cattish enough. But that's the beauty of Shard -- round and plump and silly.