She sits across the table from me, making a few swift scratching movements with a simple Sharpie pen. But somehow those tiny strokes become rivers—mountains—cities. A delicate curve becomes a cliff-lined shore. A three-dimensional city rises from the paper, its three tiers swirling upward.
“So, I’m thinking I should do the city like this,” she says, pointing with the tip of the pen.
“Yes.” I nod. “But smaller. And farther away. Like…”
I start pointing at the page, she sets the pen to the paper and jots a few notes, and we’re off to a different city, another river, another road.
And me? I’m the frazzled writer who loves to draw maps for his own pleasure (and sanity while writing in complex fictional locations). But if anyone but me tries to decipher those maps, they may as well be reading hieroglyphics or ancient Greek. I love maps. I love geography. I love the geography of fictional realms. But I know that a love for something doesn’t equal talent in it.
And she’s back at it again with, not one, but two maps for The Realms Beyond. While I can’t give you much of a sneak peak at the actual contents of those maps (not yet, at least), I can offer you an interview with the cartographer and a couple of hints into the story.
So, Kelsey, how long have you been doing art?
Since birth, haha.
What materials are you using to create the map?
Pencil, paper, watercolor paints—and my hand!
What are you doing differently from the first book’s map?
Well, I actually did a lot more research on a lot of fantasy maps and old medieval-style maps, and how they depict mountains and cliffs. Last time, I drew the map in pen, and this time I’m doing it in softer pencil—so the lines won’t be as harsh. I want it to fit the Irish/Celtic style.
Without spoiling anything, what do you think readers will find exciting about this book?
The plot twists! I feel like the story takes very unexpected turns that you wouldn’t expect from the first book, and it takes the story to a whole new level.
I’m extremely excited to be able to share the book (and the maps) with you guys in just two months! December 1st can’t come fast enough.
But you’ll have to excuse me. There’s a book trailer to edit.