Hello hello lovely readers! As part of the week-long festivities celebrating Heart of Mist turning 6 months old, I wanted to share a few secrets – six, in fact!

Heart of Mist a bookish peach

A stunning bookstagram shot of ‘Heart of Mist’ by @abookishpeach over on Instagram.

So let’s not beat around the bush! Here are 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Heart of Mist.

1. Heart of Mist was originally titled Bleaker’s Orphan and after that, Finding Oremere.

Yep. Heart of Mist had not one, but TWO working titles.

I have numerous drafts of the manuscript with these titles on them.

Bleaker’s Orphan was first, but as the novel progressed, I realised that Bleak’s caregiver, Bleaker Senior wasn’t referred to as ‘Bleaker’ often enough to warrant being in the title. This title also didn’t scream YA fantasy to me either.

So I moved onto Finding Oremere. I liked this title much more, however as book production started, I realised it still wasn’t quite right. While I liked the concept, I thought having a made up word like ‘Oremere’ in the title might prove problematic, especially considering I was an unknown novelist. My name was already hard enough to spell, I wanted the title to be simple enough to search. I also realised that ‘Oremere’ would be part of the series title.

After dozens and dozens of brainstorming sessions, and running the title by my trusted writing friends, we settled on Heart of Mist.

2. HoM was originally a NaNoWriMo project

For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month – where writers from all around the world try to write a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days. Madness, I know.

However, back in 2015, Kyra Thomsen, Claire Bradshaw and I undertook this challenge together.

For me, it resulted in the very messy, 68,000 word manuscript which would go on to become the bestselling, 108,000 word novel, Heart of Mist 🙂

3. The ‘Ashai’ is a race of people I made up when I was 12 for another trilogy

When I was finishing up primary school and going into high school, I was working on a trilogy called The Rider. This series was a terribly written rip-off of Lord of the Rings but…

In it, I created a race of magic wielders called the Ashai (though back then I think it was spelt ‘Ashi’ with a funky accent over the ‘i’)…

Isn’t it weird to think that something I created 13 years ago managed to find its way into my work today?

4. HoM born out of the need to escape another novel

Back in 2015, I was working on a literary fiction novel. I had a contract with a publisher and was going through some really tough edits.

Truth be told, I’d fallen out of love with the book. My heart just wasn’t in it. There was no joy in working on it, and it felt like it was going nowhere.

The Heart of Mist NaNoWriMo project was in a way, my way of escaping all the crap that came with the other book. It offered me the freedom to write what I loved, for myself and myself alone.

It was such a liberating experience that when the news broke that my lit fic book rights were being reverted back to me, it came as a relief. I was now free to write not only Heart of Mist, but the rest of the books in the series.

5. The original HoM map was created with uncooked rice

I’m not particularly artistic when it comes to drawing and designing, so when it came to envisioning the Heart of Mist realm, I turned to the internet for advice.

I read a lot of info on creating maps for RPGs which were all about forming organic landmass shapes on the page. The best way to to this was by spreading uncooked rice or pasta across art paper, forming your continents and tracing the outline…

It’s probably one of the nerdiest (and best) things I’ve ever done.

Of course, this was just for my personal mock up of the realm. Once the book went into production, I handed my pathetic sketches off to a professional designer, who made the map into the incredible artwork it is now.

6. There will be more HoM prequel stories published

Some of you are probably aware that I’ve been publishing Heart of Mist e-shorts for some time now.

There are currently FOUR available for free (you can get them here).

However, what you might not know, is that there are more of these in the works.

The publishing plan for the prequels is to publish three stories in between the release of each book.

The events in all of these prequels take place before Heart of Mist (Book I in The Oremere Chronicles).

So, there are at least 5 more prequel stories scheduled for release between now and the publication of the third and final book in The Oremere Chronicles.

As if I didn’t have enough to do already… 🙂

Andddd that’s a wrap!

Remember you can find Heart of Mist at the following sites:

Amazon US -> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07556VD4Y/

Amazon UK -> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07556VD4Y

Amazon CA -> https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07556VD4Y

Amazon AUS -> https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07556VD4Y/

And don’t forget to stay tuned for the title reveal of Book II!

Until next time,

– Helen