The Dark and Forbidding Land was the first of two books that I squeezed between the events that happened in the original outline of Senta and the Steel Dragon, the other being The Young Sorceress. I enjoyed writing TDAFL and I think it works well. Part of that was because writing about Senta as a pre-teen was my favorite part of writing the entire series.
One of the challenges of writing this book was not to top the events in The Drache Girl. I didn’t want Senta aged 10 to be more powerful and experienced than Senta aged 12. Remember Star Wars, where we watch R2-D2 trudge around in the desert in episode 4, only to find out in episode 1, that he could fly.
The other challenge that I had was that I knew there were going to be characters who were going to die, based on my single book outline. But I was limited in which characters I could kill, because some of them appeared in The Drache Girl and The Two Dragons which were already written. So I sat down and created a whole pack of characters who, unbeknownst to them, were doomed. The down side of this was that I ended up liking several of them and was sorry to see them go. Not all of them ended up dying. So, there are a couple of characters who appear only in books 2 and 4.
I haven’t read The Dark and Forbidding Land in a while, so I have to go back and take a look. My son though, tells me it is his favorite book in the series.