KNIGHTS OF RILCH Release Day: Interview with Rachel O’Laughlin

Hello gentle reader,

KNIGHTS OF RILCH, the sequel to COLDNESS OF MAREK, and the second book in the SERENGARD Series, is out today!


Add it on Goodreads

Buy it on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble

Win it! Giveaway here

To celebrate this release, I’ve interviewed Rachel O’Laughlin about the process of writing a second book in a trilogy…


Did you always know Serengard would be a trilogy or not?

Awesome question! I actually had no idea it would be a trilogy. When I drafted Coldness of Marek, I thought I was writing a standalone. Several months later, I felt like there was so much more to tell in order for the story to be understood. I went back to the drawing board and fleshed out a sequel. After drafting Knights of Rilch, I had so much more world building and character development that I wanted to incorporate into Coldness of Marek, so I went back and rewrote it from scratch. That’s when I knew the sequel wasn’t going to be enough and it needed to be a whole series. It’s quite a commitment, but I am thankful I made it. There’s so much more to Serengard than the short adventure I started with.

How did you go about writing this second book?

I made a rough outline via notebook and Scrivener in the month leading up to NaNoWriMo 2012, then I fast-drafted 70k that November. One of the unique things I did with this novel that I haven’t done before or since was having two non-writer friends read each chapter as I wrote. I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again, but it definitely gave me a lot of extra perspective. Early revisions were actually a joy with this book. I loved exploring how a scene could become deeper and darker, even if I had to cut some of it later. I had multiple writer friends and critique partners look at it after each revision — so many I can’t count — and they all had useful feedback for me. From first draft to final draft was exactly one year.

Is your final draft very different from your first one?

Very, very different. (As actually EM can attest! I think you read the second draft, didn’t you?) I had a major epiphany after my third or fourth revision — I chopped off the last half of the book and went an entirely different direction. It turned out to be the best decision ever. The villains are twice as strong, and the action builds up to a point at the end that I could never have envisioned with the first version. I did end up cutting several scenes and chapters from the first half. It was a lot of battle and build-up, and the detail was just bogging it down. My CPs and my editor helped me unsnarl some of the most complicated, touchy scenes, in addition to being total heroes on the line edits. I love how clean and snappy the finished novel turned out.

Would you say writing this second book was harder or easier than writing your first?

Harder. The story centers very much on the brother/sister bond, and that’s a relationship I’ve been driven to write ever since I was fourteen. The action is more complex and intense than the first book, the death toll higher by far. All of that contributed to me shredding scene after scene and reworking my timeline again and again whenever something just wasn’t working, but even more so, I felt this whole novel far deeper than the first. A couple of scenes always make me cry like nothing in Coldness of Marek has. Over all, Knights of Rilch was full of a lot of growing pains, and I think I pushed myself far harder than I have before.

As Knights of Rilch is coming out, is your state of mind different from when Coldness of Marek came out?

I am way less nervous about looking like an amateur, that’s for sure! Coldness of Marek was well received, and that’s made me pretty excited to see what everyone has to say about its sequel. But I’m still a little scared, to be honest. It’s hard to explain why, because having my work out there to be loved or hated is my ultimate dream. I guess it’s a good scared, because there’s really nothing awful that could happen. I appreciate “liked” reviews as much as “disliked”. I’m queasy and thrilled and desperate to hear how readers feel about my sophomore baby.

Rachel O’Laughlin grew up writing adventure stories in which heroines tend to get their hands dirty, bad guys sometimes win, and someone always gets kidnapped. Her passion for history morphed into a love for fantasy in her mid-teens, when she took a brief pause from reality for immersion in the arts and a hands-on education in sustainable living. She lives in New England with her husband and two boys, listens to The Fray, and drinks too many lattes. Two novels in her SERENGARD fantasy series have been released, and a third is scheduled for October 2014.

Author Website:



Knights of Rilch Swag – Trzl’s Trading Card Reveal and Giveaway!

Hello gente reader,

Remember when I revealed the cover of Knights of Rilch (Serengard: Book 2) by Rachel O’Laughlin?


Today, I’m delighted to share with you one of the trading cards that have been designed to accompany Knights of Rilch‘s upcoming release!

There are two sets of trading cards, each featuring 4 characters from the books:

– Set of COLDNESS OF MAREK Trading Cards (Trzl, Hodran, Gernan, Colstadt)

– Set of KNIGHTS OF RILCH Trading Cards (Kierstaz, Pier, Ric, Romianz)

Without further ado, here is Trzl’s trading card:


Original Artwork Copyright Dan Tare 2014

Isn’t it beautiful?

There are 100 limited edition cards of each character (artwork on the front, stats on the back – stats contain spoilers!). All cards are available now to Rachel’s street team or with proof of book purchase while supplies last. You can check out the other cards here.

KNIGHTS OF RILCH will be released on 25th February 2014. You can pre-order it here.

And, last but not least, the giveaway! Enter here for a chance to win one or both sets of cards. Good luck!


Knights of Rilch Cover Reveal!

Hello gentle reader,

Today I’m revealing the cover for Rachel O’Laughlin’s second book, KNIGHTS OF RILCH (expected publication: 25th February 2014 by Dublin Mist Press). The cover reveal was supposed to happen over at IceyBooks but Hafsah is experiencing some technical difficulties, so I’m happy to step in!


Nearly a decade ago…

When Serengard rebelled and the Orion monarchy fell, former crown princess Kierstaz Orion’s love for her people became a burning desire to set things right. With a price on their heads, Kierstaz and her brother Mikel led a handful of Border Guard against the new army along the border of Dreibourge. But months of heavy bloodshed forced her small band of knights to abandon the border — and all of Serengard — to the rebels.

Nine years and a thousand betrayals later…

Kierstaz and Mikel again find themselves on the run, only this time, they’ve a boy in tow: Malcom, the son of two of the Seren rebellion’s strongest leaders. The new regime wants him dead, Mikel wants him alive, and it’s all Kierstaz can do to keep their tracks covered. Desperate to preserve the innocent life she’s sworn to protect, and afraid Mikel’s may be forfeit, Kierstaz must gamble the last thing in the world she owns — her identity. Secrets are a staple of the Orion family, and those Kierstaz keeps are as dangerous as the ones kept from her.

KNIGHTS OF RILCH is the sequel to COLDNESS OF MAREK, and the second in the SERENGARD fantasy series.

And now for the cover reveal…
Original Artwork Copyright 2013 by Dan Tare
Rachel O’Laughlin grew up writing adventure stories in which heroines tend to get their hands dirty, bad guys sometimes win, and someone always gets kidnapped. Her passion for all things history morphed into a love for fantasy in her late teens. Lattes and The Fray are daily dwellers in her home in New England, where she lives with her husband and children.

Book Links:

KNIGHTS OF RILCH on Goodreads:


And here is the link to the giveaway!

So what do you think? Make sure to leave a comment for Rachel below!