March of the Sequels: Erika McCorkle

28 Mar 2023

The Author/s

Erika McCorkle

Erika McCorkle

I am Erika McCorkle, she/her, living in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. I am a creator of fantasy worlds and a voyager to the worlds created by others. I spend much of my free time writing, reading, watching anime, and playing video games, all usually of the fantasy genre. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and currently work the night shift at a blood bank, meaning I am most definitely a vampire.

The Interview

First of all, tell me a little about your series and introduce us to the sequel(s).
I have a larger series that encompasses everything in my world, call the Pentagonal Dominion (that’s both the name of my world and my overall series). The smaller subseries within that is called the Merchants of the Pentagonal Dominion. The Merchants novels are three novels that occur simultaneously but in different parts of the world, then there will be a fourth book where the three heroes team up to take on a larger threat.


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 did all my worldbuilding prior to writing these stories and at this point, I rarely add anything new. Furthermore, any new additions are small things e.g local customs, family traditions, a plant that may or may not ever be mentioned again. The big picture has been set in stone for years now. For some writers, it might be easier to start from scratch, but I have no intention of doing that. I put so much into the Pentagonal Dominion that one book isn’t enough to show everything I made. I must create more and more stories, so that maybe when I die, readers can learn as much as possible about it.

While Merchants of Light and Bones is not strictly a sequel, it is in the Pentagonal Dominion. How would you relate both?
MoLaB takes place during the same year MoKaM takes place and there are subtle Easter eggs in both books hinting that Calinthe and Amiere have met each other in the past. Since they take place in the same world, the big-picture worldbuilding is the same. The two books feature the same magic system, the same Gods and Demon Lords, the same invented plants and animals, the same cosmology including things like the blessing system in which people cannot be hurt by fire until they become an adult heretic. This is only my second book, but I believe by the time I have several out, many of these aspects of the world will be like my brand. A person who has read 5+ books can go into one expecting many of the same familiar (and perhaps, in some cases, comfortable) worldbuilding elements.

You have several WIP at the moment. How do you manage to work on all of them?
Funnily, I try to only have one WIP at any given time. MoLaB is still technically in WIP state since it has one more round of edits to go through with SSP (my publisher, Shadow Spark Publishing). I can only focus on one story at a time, so when I have a WIP that needs to be done by a certain time, I work solely on it. I was working on a short story for SSP’s annual anthology coming out in June, so I had to get it done before a deadline. While I was working on it, I only touched my main project (cozy fantasy Memories of the Good Thyme Inn) when I was feeling down and needed its coziness to rejuvenate me. Since my main project is not on a deadline, I can safely set it aside when needed.

Would you say your craft has improved with the subsequent books?
Certainly. I’d also say I have a long way to go before I am satisfied with my craft. I hope to improve my prose with every book I write. MoLaB is a much more descriptive, emotional book than MoKaM was, though that’s partially due to the kind of people the narrators are. Calinthe was no-nonsense and intellectual while Amiere is thoughtful and more liable to think with his heart rather than his head. I feel like my use of descriptive and emotional language improved while writing MoLaB, and let us hope it stays with me as I write more books!

Do you have all the timeline planned for the full series?
If you mean a publishing plan, I have a loose one, though it’s more in regard to the order I plan to write these books. I also know that sometimes my heart wants to do something else, so these are flexible:
-Memories of the Good Thyme Inn (GTI series 1)
-We’ll Have A Good Thyme in Hell (GTI series 2)
-Good Thyme With Bad Company (GTI series 3)
-Merchants of Dance and Hedonism (Merchants series 3)
-(spoiler title) (Merchants series 4)
-Greed Wars 1
-Greed Wars 2
-Greed Wars 3 (featuring the characters from the GTI series, and somewhat GTI series 4)
-Greed Wars 4
-Greed Wars 5
After that, I have a few ideas for subseries I want to write, but I will follow what my heart wants at the time. Some stories I hope to write at some point:
-A trilogy about the apotheosis and court intrigues of the Mind God, Lucognidus
-The Terran series, an isekai/portal fantasy about humans who come to the Pentagonal Dominion
-A standalone about the Godblood Theolocus who fought against the eugenicist fascist Godblood Cherish
-Dating sim visual novel of the Good Thyme Inn characters taking place after the events of the Greed Wars

Do you have any marketing tips for sequels?
I wish! This book isn’t out yet, so I haven’t done anything yet except for what I always do: talk about it on Twitter. One thing I believe to be a boon in my favor is the fact that it’s a standalone novel. Readers don’t need to read MoKaM to enjoy it or understand it. It’s also less dark in certain ways and features more romantic scenes, so I think it will attract more conventional readers