March of the Sequels: Emma L. Adams

7 Mar 2023

The Author/s

Emma L. Adams

Emma L. Adams

Emma L. Adams spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy novels. She has a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing from Lancaster University, where she made it her mission to insert a dragon into every story she wrote.

Now, Emma lives in the middle of England and is the international bestselling author of over 30 novels including the Changeling Chronicles and the Order of the Elements series. When she’s not immersed in her own fictional universes, Emma can be found with her head in a book, playing video games, or wandering around the world in search of adventure.

The Interview

First of all, tell me a little about your series and introduce us to the sequel(s).
The Relics of Power trilogy is a fantasy adventure series set in a world where some humans derive magical abilities from Relics containing power that once belonged to the gods. In the country of Zeuten, there were believed to be no surviving Relics, and the last Sentinels who guarded their power were mostly obsolete.
Until Zelle, granddaughter of the current Sentinel, learned the hard way that the gods weren’t quite as absent from the world as they might have seemed. When her grandmother disappeared, Zelle fell into possession of the Sentinel’s magical staff, and without getting too spoilery, she had to form an allegiance with both the staff and with a magic user from the distant country of Aestin against magical forces not seen in Zeuten for countless years.
This is where we ended up when Book 1, the Lost Sentinel, came to a close. In the sequels, I got to expand the world and delve more into the other nations outside of Zeuten, as well as the far-reaching implications of the events of the first book.


Do you find that most of your readers continue to read the whole series? Why do you think that is?  
I’d like to hope they do! Relics of Power was my first epic fantasy trilogy, and I intentionally kept the first book centred on a single country/location so that it wouldn’t be too overwhelming. In the sequels, I had the chance to explore locations and elements hinted at in the first book, and each new entry in the series grows the scope of the story. 

How difficult is it to add new characters in a sequel into already established relationships? 
I found that exploring new locations naturally brings in new characters as a result. I think the challenging part was when the major characters ended up in different locations. It was tricky to balance all the plot threads while keeping track of where everyone was at any given time!

Is it difficult to continue with worldbuilding for a world you have already built in book 1?  Do you find it easier to switch locations for the sequel and start again with worldbuilding? 
I try to do most of my worldbuilding upfront so I had a ton of notes on the areas I wanted to explore in the sequels, which made it easier. I tried to strike a balance between introducing new settings and continuing to explore ones that were already familiar.

Have you ever been stymied by a worldbuilding or plot detail from book 1 that is very inconvenient to deal with or write your way around in subsequent books? 
I’ve had this issue in other series, but I sort of cheated with Relics of Power because I wrote all three books before publishing the first one, so I was able to edit all three closely back to back and make sure I hadn’t contradicted anything from earlier books. Usually, if I end up in a plot-related bind, I have to walk away and think for a while before I figure out a way forward.

Would you say your craft has improved with the subsequent books?
I hope so! I feel like I really hit my stride in the second book once a lot of the initial setup for the series was done.

From what I know, you will soon announce a new series. Can you tell us a little bit about?
Sure! My next fantasy series is called Death’s Disciple, and it’s a bit darker and grittier than Relics of Power. It’s set in a world of fierce war dragons and the disciples of dangerous gods, and I’ll be launching the first book on Kickstarter in April.

Do you have all the timeline planned for the full series?
When I’m starting a new series, I start with a rough outline for the whole series and a more in-depth plan for the first book. I’m a loose outliner and I build in enough flexibility so that I can rearrange things if need be, but I need to have some sense of where I’m going.

Do you have any marketing tips for sequels?
The best way I’ve found to sell sequels is to market the first book. I still haven’t found anything better than that!