The world of Tapestry, the setting for my first novel (Escaping Destiny) and its sequel (Lost Within, February), has a history that predates the novels by several years. Both the geography and the history of the world were well-defined before a single word found its way onto the page. Since I rarely approach anything in the "normal" fashion, let's start from the end of our tale and work backwards to the beginning.
The current map of the world of Tapestry is based off of a map originally commissioned in the late 1800s. I actually planned this approach in advance, the lands in my novels mirroring real world geography. If you consider that the Firedrake River is Tapestry's equivalent of the Columbia River that separates Oregon and Washington, the entire map suddenly comes into focus. There are hints of this connection between the two worlds in both Escaping Destiny (the Gate and maat's close regulation of the artifacts that pass through it) and November's Remembering Tomorrow. While the latter title is a stand-alone novel, one of the characters appears in both novels. This connection is also hinted at in the original first chapter of Escaping Destiny, which was deleted during the editing process but appears as an extra on my personal site.
Because I chose to use geography from our world for the world of Tapestry, my maps were already drawn for me - they simply needed some serious first aid. While I'm completely self-taught, I'm very comfortable in Photoshop and removed all of the place names and the creases in the map before adding my own locations. (It wasn't quite as simple as it sounds as I had to rebuild the geographic features that had been covered by folds and text.)
You'll also notice that there are only a handful of locations indicated on the large map. The map reflects all of the locations that are mentioned in Escaping Destiny, the entire tale taking place in only three locations: Cathedral, Raven's Roots, and Node. With each subsequent novel, more of the map will be filled in. The series is currently projected to encompass eight books, but that's the minimum estimate. Lost Within will add additional locations, both in the mortal realm and the lands of the fae. The third title, A War of Ghosts, will complete approximately a quarter of the map by the final page of that novel.
And so ends Act One.
The Tapestry Chronicles is currently projected to include three acts, which would logically extend the story to nine books. That's why eight is the minimum number of titles. I don't want to promise more than I'll deliver. That said, there is a lot of story left to tell.
Like numerous fantasy authors, I got my start running tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs). As early as junior high (which was a very long time ago), you could find me with paper and a pencil, a group of friends, and a collection of geometric dice, weaving stories out of pure imagination. Much like R.A. Salvatore did with his New York Times Bestselling series about Drizzt Do'Urden, the books in the Tapestry Chronicles flesh out a preexisting world. Mr. Salvatore's focused on the Forgotten Realms campaign from 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons. I'm expanding on a game world of my own.
Between the second and third books in the Tapestry Chronicles, I'll be releasing the core rules to a desktop RPG simply called Tapestry. Each novel will introduce new character races and classes as well as playable adventures that go beyond the stories in the novels and continue to flesh out the world. I'm actually very proud of the mechanics as they are simple to use, address countless complaints that I've had with RPGs over the years, and give the player unprecedented control over their character, their skills and development, and how their own story unfolds.
My intent is to establish the core rules, create modules and expansions based on the novels, and open up the development of additional aspects of the game to the desktop gaming community. Think of it as an open-source RPG.
So there you have it. If the world of Tapestry seemed to come alive in the pages of Escaping Destiny, it's because there is so much more to the world than appeared on the printed page. Lost Within will introduce new portions of the world including new races and classes. After all, what's a fantasy roleplaying game without the ability to play a character who wields magic or is capable of healing your party?
And like everything else I create, expect the unexpected. Lost Within intentionally shatters some existing paradigms in the fantasy genre, especially where sorcerers and healers are concerned. I'm excited to share more of the story of Tapestry with you this coming February - and a game centered around the world later this summer.