The story that was to become the Civilands series did not start with a vision of natives who control animals. It did not start with a desire to build a world inspired by Manifest Destiny and the Industrial Age. Nor did it start with any thought of the greater plot of what are now 4, and ultimately 5, books.
The Civilands series, and my writing journey in general, started with nothing more than a young girl being chased through the woods by an unknown group of men and their hounds. Why was she being chased? Where was she coming from and going to? Who was she and who were her pursuers? I didn’t know the answers to any of these questions. But after weeks of attempting to figure out what kind of book I should write by formulating high level genres and concepts, suddenly I was no longer tasking myself with creating a world. Instead all I needed to be was the messenger of what happen within one, simply writing down all the questions I wanted answered about this character and her environment. The Civilands series started with Jeannie Morrell.
Who is Jeannie Morrell?
Jeannie is the thirteen year old daughter of Adonis Morrell, a prominent businessman in the chilly northern Murrieta Territory town of Harran. Harran is a Riverlands settlement of Easterners who traveled west into the Murrieta for a new life. It is one of the only places in the Territory where Easterners reside in peaceful proximity with the native clans. This is thanks solely to relationships Adonis established with the nearby V’ahani clan of the Riverlands. With influence in the region, Jeannie’s stoic father came to develop trade routes beneficial to all its inhabitants.
The Morrell home where Jeannie grew up is located just outside of Harran. Ever since she was a little girl, she enjoyed taking trips into town with her father, mother, and older brothers, Harrison and Donovan. The people of Harran have a great affection for the entire Morrell family, but Jeannie in particular is a hit for her scrappy nature.
Jeannie has an adventurous spirit as well. Her favorite activities are any involving other people. She is an extrovert who made a habit of dragging her brothers out to explore the forest around their home, playing games and searching for anything fun they could find. While her impulsive curiosity can get her into trouble at times, her wit is usually sharp enough to help her cause.
So What’s to Come For Jeannie?
As I mentioned, we begin with a chase on a dreary morning. Before the clouds, the sky is filled with smoke pouring out of the Morrell home. Escaping out back and into the forest is Jeannie, who we follow as she is on the run from those who started the fire: the Keagan gang. But what lies ahead beyond the trees? Well, you’ll have to read the series to find out!