Teen and YA author Christina Farley discusses her thoughts and emotions as she wraps up the Gilded series. The final book in the trilogy, "Brazen," is available on Kindle September 29.
I think back to when I was sitting on the floor in a library in Seoul, Korea reading the myth of Haemosu and Princess Yuhwa for the first time. That myth took hold of my imagination and started me on this fantastic journey to write the Gilded series.
When I wrote Gilded (book 1), I hadn’t expected there to be two more books. But during revisions with my editor, she asked me questions that got me thinking. I realized that there was so much more to Jae Hwa’s story and the world of the Guardians of Shinshi than I first realized.
The moment I turned in my edits, I frantically began writing Silvern (book 2) because though each book has its own storyline, I realized there was a much bigger story here and the characters were screaming at me to write it.
At this point in writing the series, I was completed invested. The world of Gilded was real to me. I could smell the blossoms, hear the wind cut across the mountains, and feel pain cut into my characters to the point that I found myself crying as I wrote some of the scenes.
By the time I wrote Brazen (book 3), the characters in my books had become my best friends, my family, my world. So when I wrote the final chapter of the book, it was one of the hardest moments I’ve had as a writer because it was time to say goodbye. Jae Hwa’s story had come to an end. Even still, I know that through writing her story, it’s challenged me as a person to be stronger, tougher, and not afraid to stand up for what I believe in.
As I was completing the Gilded series, I thought back to the trilogies that captured my imagination and heart. These authors created amazing worlds and real characters that I wanted to hang out with so much so that I wish the authors hadn’t stopped at three books!
A few of my favorites are:
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien- Absolutely brilliant. This is a world that I desperately wish I could go visit. I was actually in New Zealand when they were shooting the movie. My husband and I took our rental off-road to try to sneak onto the set. I’m sad to say I wasn’t successful.
The Ascendance trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen- This series has humor, incredible world building, and memorable characters. It was painful to wait for Nielsen to release each book.
The Song of Albion trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead- I love how Lawhead melds ancient Celtic lore with modern day life. Someday I’m going to visit Scotland and search its misty glens for the secret gateway of the time-between-times.
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins- How could I not mention this trilogy? It’s a series that you literally can’t put down. These books delve into the deeper issues of our society while giving the reader nonstop action. Although I’m not so sure I want to live in Katniss’ world!
It’s my hope that when readers of the Gilded series finish Brazen, they’ll be left with the sense of magic, mystery, and love that I have for Jae Hwa’s world. And if they ever find themselves wandering the streets of Seoul, perhaps they’ll catch a glimpse of Haechi standing on an ancient wall, scales glimmering in the sunset.