The King Trials is a new queer fantasy release, and we at B Proud PR are beyond excited about it! This gorgeous book was released on January 7, and we are celebrating that with a spotlight and guest post by the author D.L. Sims.
Where did it all start?
“I started The King Trials after a ‘shower’ thought I had about a kingdom that functioned under a non-traditional monarchy. I don’t know how long ago I had this thought, maybe 3 or 4 years ago, but I wrote it down in a notebook where it festered and nagged at me while I worked on other projects. In 2017, I didn’t do much writing. I focused a lot on figuring myself out as a person, but that idea in that notebook in the back of my closet always called to me. So, at the end of 2017 to the beginning of 2018 I began researching, and coming up with the kingdom and characters, and in late 2018 I started working on the plot. I didn’t know what I truly wanted to happen as I typed out the words “Chapter One”. I had a basic idea of this Hunger Games-esque competition, and characters that I had been thinking about for so long that they had became dear to me like children. But as I began writing the words just came to me, and The King Trials was created. Granted, that first draft had a very different ending and some characters had changed from that first draft to the final book, but it was real and I was so proud.
But then came that voice that told me something about the ending was not right. There needed to be more. So for months I just thought about what was lacking at the end. Surely, the Champions just fighting and one becoming the new monarch wasn’t going to be the whole story. I felt like I needed a big climactic battle, and one day another ‘shower’ thought came to me: The Mezerans. They were the ending I felt was lacking, and they also became a way to tie the series together.
When I first started writing The King Trials, I had planned for it to be a prologue to a larger series. I had planned to write four books altogether, but the original draft I had for The King Trials didn’t fit with the series. I needed a common enemy, something that would have the Welhmirans banding together, and thanks to The Mezerans I found that enemy.
When I start developing characters I have a general idea of what they are going to look like and I have placeholder names until I can come up with a name for them. I start with a list: age, name, profession, orientation, love interest, skills, description, family. Then I flesh out the character from there.
The first character I developed was Grantham Sinero. I wanted someone charming and didn’t take anything seriously, but he had this pain and sadness about him. Grant is the typical ‘class clown’ who didn’t take his studies seriously, and coasted by on his charms and looks. But he’s also dealing with so much, such as his mother’s death, and coming to this age where he is meant to start making big decisions about his life. In Elthare, Nobles are expected to be married and start producing heirs by the age of twenty-five, so that they’re family name will live on to participate in future Trials, but Grant doesn’t want a wife; he’s very much in love ith his best friend, Lonis Hesito, but fears the idea of letting go of this idea people have had for him as a noble, and the outside hatred that comes with two men loving each other.
When I started with Grant I had his last name, his age (23), orientation (pansexual), description (curly hair, green eyes), but that was all I had. Eventually, Grant developed into the charming smart-ass in the book, but he grew from just a few words written on a piece of paper. This is my favorite part of writing: taking this small details or idea you had one day, and making a fully fledged person with feelings and interests and pet peeves.
Ikar was easier to develop. I knew I wanted someone who would be an alternative kid if the book were set in modern times. Ikar would definitely be a mix of goth, metal and emo if the book took place today.
I like writing stories about the type of people that aren’t seen that much in books, the goth kids, the outcasts and ‘weirdos’. That was the reason I started writing. I wanted to see more people like me in stories. I wanted more people with alternative styles, girls who were bigger and learned to accept their curves and stretch marks, characters who were LGBTQIAP, and we have come far in many ways, but I always think there is room for new voices to be heard, and I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be an author that wrote the kind of stories that I wished I could have read in highschool.
And Ikar was very much a character I would have wanted to see in the books I read in high school; all of my characters are, in some way, someone I would have wanted to read about. I wanted to see more Alt people, so I wrote Ikar. I wanted more curvy girls in books so I wrote Nixema and my characters for another project I’m working on. I wanted more LGBTQIAP characters so I wrote Grant, Andalen, Arlen, Lonis and so many others. I wanted more black characters so I wrote Andalen and Arlen. The best way to insure seeing something you wished was in books is to write about it. So, that’s what I did.
Andalen Amadon is who I wished I was. She’s so strong and fearless, and I think we all need that. But I didn’t want to make her this perfect female warrior. I wanted her to be flawed, and I found those flaws in not being able to commit to Nixema fully, and focusing so much on herself sometimes she doesn’t see how it affects those around her. On her list under traits I wote: FIERCELY LOYAL. WEAK IN EMOTIONS. She’s willing to give up everything for her brother, but when it comes to anyone else she can’t say how she feels out loud. In her world there is her and Arlen, and everyone is just another face in the crowd.
Last we have Khett Pedgram, the former Prince of Elthare. Khett’s entire purpose in The King Trials was to die. He was supposed to sacrifice his life for Andalen’s in the first few drafts, and then he was supposed to die while fighting the Mezerans, but something gnawed at me to keep him alive. Maybe Khett has more to offer in Book Two?
What’s next for the Chronicles of Wehlmir Series?
The Mezerans become more powerful in Book Two. They become a plague that takes over country after country, and the rest of Wehlmir has to band together to stop them. Book Two will be the last of the Chronicles of Wehlmir series, and takes place years after The King Trials. We’ll see some familiar faces and meet some new characters. We’ll visit other parts of Wehlmir, meet different magical beings, and see some more dragons. And true to the aesthetic of The King Trials, there will be a lot of death, romance and twists.”
About me, D.L. Sims:
When I was a child, every type of profession sounded great. I wanted to be everything from a chef, to a teacher, to a counselor. But the one profession that always stuck was to be an author. When I was in eighth grade I fell in love with the process of writing. It all started with a short story that I had to write for English that year, and the rest is history. Over the years I have written poetry, short stories and novels. Some of which have never seen the light of day, one that did see the light of day, but didn’t last long, and some of which I am so excited to share with the world.
My name is D.L. Sims. I write Young Adult and New Adult stories that are set either in this world or in other worlds. I love animals, oddities and curiosities, and going antiquing. I am an avid reader, candle smeller, and rock and gems hoarder.