To date, I haven’t ever planned everything out. I usually have the major story beats set up, and I know where things will begin and try to figure out how they’ll end.
Beyond that, once I get into (or am close to) the next chapter, I’ll start plotting out the details. Since the characters are generally on the move, often from one world to the next, sometimes just from one place to the next, I try to have a framework for how long they’ll be in any given place, and try to make sure the story has moved forward within that time frame.
Where did you get the inspiration for "Killers, Traitors & Runaways"?
It was the second half of Outcasts of the Worlds, originally, so some of it just kinda came from there.
I suppose one thematic element though, that separates this book from the first even if it was always there to begin with, is I kinda aimed to put my characters through a bit of hell. Much of the first book was establishing the cast and explaining who they were, so while they were challenged (and pretty harshly, at times), they always held together.
This was the point where I wanted to put a strain on them and their relationships between one another, to see how close at times I could get them to breaking.
I <3 my characters.
How did you come up with the title?
My general goal with the tiles, at least thus far, was to pick something with a unique sound that says something about the characters. Outcasts of the Worlds took me a bit to figure out, and it came to me halfway through writing Book I.
As for Killers, Traitors, & Runaways … it actually came pretty easy. I think I had it in mind before I even finished its predecessor, and it worked nicely since pretty much each member of my core cast encompasses one of these qualities, if not more.
Please tell us a little about your book.
The Outcasts Saga (as I’m kinda loosely referring to it) is what I like to call ‘cosmic fantasy,’ as it errs on the side of using fantasy devices, but since the characters move from world to world, they might be somewhere more scifi one day and someplace more old world the next.
So to speak. It generally takes more than one day to find the way to another world.
My biggest focus is always on the characters first, how they relate to one another and how they’re affected by the things going on around them. Flynn, the main protagonist, is a former manipulator trying to redeem himself for a long and sordid list of things he’d done, but is becoming worried he might have to fall back on those same techniques to do what he has to do and keep his friends alive.
Zaja DeSarah, as another example, is a blue-skinned girl from the world of Oma, who joined in the later half of Book I. She was forced to live an insular life to slow a terminal condition she suffers from, but as a result, hasn’t hardly lived at all. She wants to get out there and do her part, but the visual differences between her and everyone else makes it hard for her to do so.
And then there’s Guardian Poe, whom the main plot revolves largely around. He was something of a mass slaughterer, doing so in the name of his family’s vow to guard the gates of Heaven in the realm he hailed from. Yet he’s learned he is uniquely qualified to inherit the mantle once belonging to a fallen goddess, and believes doing so will absolve him of his sins. Yet doing so also means he’s accepting the duty of another murder—that of the benevolent Taryl Renivar, another god, and one who has amassed countless followers, on the promise that he will birth a new world—one that will come from the destruction of ours.
Are you working on another book now?
I’m working on Into Darker Hearts, which will be the third book in this series. Along with a few familiar faces, it’ll be introducing several new ones, characters whom I’ve wanted to get around to for some while now.
Title: Killers, Traitors & Runaways (Outcasts of the World II)
Author: Lucas Aubrey Paynter
Genre: Cosmic Fantasy
As reality nears its final days, worlds fall to ruin. A benevolent god is shackled, and when freed, will create a new one … allowing only the pure of heart. A company of seven have united on a bloody quest to stop him, but have little hope of emerging victorious.
The outcasts are adrift—they have a mission but no means to fulfill it. Airia Rousow, the fallen goddess who set them on their path, is gone. Guardian Poe, her intended successor, believes deification will absolve him of his sins and his remorse alike. And Zella Renivar, daughter of the Living God, is still hunted by her father’s agents, drawing danger on them all.
Trapped in this storm, Flynn is able to find and open the ways between worlds, but cannot discern which path is the right one. Since losing the trust of his closest friend, the temptation to fall back on his former, deceitful ways grows with every crisis he faces.
These are heroes not of virtue, but of circumstance—and it will fall on Flynn to keep them all together.
Lucas Aubrey Paynter hails from the mythical land of Burbank, California, where there are most likely no other writers at all.
Back in 2014, he published Outcasts of the Worlds, and he’s now releasing its follow-up, Killers, Traitors, & Runaways.
A fan of gray-area storytelling and often a devil’s advocate, Lucas enjoys consuming stories from a variety of mediums, believing there’s no limit to what form a good narrative can take.