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Building a Continent

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

How the Map of Teren'vei Came to Life for The Forbidden Scrolls

In exactly one week, my next novel, "The Forbidden Scrolls" comes out! This is going to be the first novel of a trilogy, and I'm already well into working on the first draft of book two. I'm aiming for an April 2020 release on the currently untitled second book, but both the release date and lack of a title may be subject to change as things develop.

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to talk about this amazing map I had made for the series. Check it out:

It's gorgeous, right?

Well we can all thank Richard at FantasyMapInk for that. Richard is also the artist who has done the covers for both of my books. His graphic design work can be found at Decagram Design.

To say I'm over the moon with Richard's work is a dramatic understatement. The first project he did for me was retooling the cover of "The Stairs in the Woods" from the cover I made with the free Amazon tools, into something that I can truly be proud of. And he was extremely easy to work with as well. So there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be using him for this project as well, and I intend to keep using him into the future.

The starting point for this map began once again, with my own creation. However, while I have many artistic skills (writing, singing, guitar, and bass), the ability to draw is not among them. So I originally created the map for my world in Campaign Cartographer, a mapping program for creating worlds for games such as Dungeons and Dragons.

Now, I write fantasy. So the fact I play D&D should come as no surprise to anyone. And the last game I ran with friends was set in the same world as this series of novels will be, just using the Norse Pantheon of deities. And for a guy who doesn't do graphic design, I though the original wasn't bad:

But there were things I wanted to change for the books. And I also wanted a more classical look for the map in the series. And just like Tolkien's Middle Earth, the continent of Teren'vei might be but a small piece of a larger world we can visit new parts of in later novels.

But back to this map.

Richard's process is impressive. First he hand draws the coastlines. Then the mountains and the trees. He inked each step along the way once I approved the look. Then he uploaded it all into his computer and photo-shopped in the cities and added the color. What's amazing about the way he does this, is he makes it extremely easy to make any changes. Should say, a city get destroyed in one of the books, he can just photo-shop it out for the map in the next novel.

How impressed am I with Richard's work? This impressed:

I've had the map printed out, and will be getting it framed later today. My intent is to hang it above my desk to give me inspiration as I continue to write this tale through books two and three, and to whatever may come after that.

Below, I've focused in on one section of the map so that you can see the progression from my homemade version, to the amazing professional one Richard did up for me. You can see I renamed some places and removed others. But in the end, this finished product is amazing, and I hope that you all love it as much as I do.

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