Welcome to the Inside View, a blog series where Riley S. Keene discusses the Heroes By Necessity books, and shares unique insights into their thought processes behind story, character, and worldbuilding decisions.
Today, we're talking about Bargain, Book Two in the Heroes By Necessity Series, and what influenced us to write the Overseers.
As we talked about last month, Bargain didn't exist before we started writing the series. Which is a problem. Kristen (the 'Keene' of RSK) does all of the series plotting before the first book ever sees the light of day, and so this was kind of a panic moment for them.
After much soul searching, they were able to plot a book that worked.
It was missing something, and they weren't sure what.
See, Bargain was going to just be about Elise, Ermolt, and Athala breaking into the Temple of Teis and overcoming His forces to win the day. It was boring. Absolutely dreadful. There was no "bargain" there, and there wasn't even enough words to make it a book.
So, it fell to Kristen to do some real thinking.
The first thing they came up with was Merylle, a swashbuckling master thief. She was originally designed to be a female pirate, leading a group of stragglers who fought back against the tyranny of the Temple.
Which was fun, don't get us wrong.
But it was also just not slightly enough.
Now, around this time, Kristen had been playing a bunch of Elder Scrolls games. And the idea of the Thieves Guild being approved in some cities really interested them.
And so the question was born - what if Neuges had a state-sanctioned thieves guild?
There were so many worldbuilding moments that had to be figured out. The why's, the who's, etc. But once the idea was spawned, there were so many more that followed.
And then also, there was the question of why Merylle led the Overseers. What drove her, and what would cause her to be a character of interest?
We don't want to spoil the whole darn book here, but if you want to discuss how Merylle's particular motivations evolved through the outline, drop us a line.
The Overseers are a homage to the thieves guilds of Tamriel, but that's not the only influence. Merylle and her band of miscreants were also a nod to all of the pirate movies and fiction that Kristen had absorbed over the years, as well as many western gangs (including, funny enough, Jon Bly's gang from Brisco County Jr.). There's some weird references in Bargain, and upcoming books, that showcase these a little more.
Kristen has even thought of doing a spin off series completely devoted to the Overseers.
You know, when they get time.
Ultimately though, video games and a desire to write a woman who fought against her ex for what was right were what made Merylle and the Overseers come to life. And speaking of Merylle...
That's it for this installment folks! Over the next few months we're going to explore why we regret Merylle ever existing, how Ibeyar evolved as a villain, and how one throw away line sparked the best chapter in our library.