Frequently Asked Questions

Sherwood Smith at a Tea House, summer 2017

What’s the Reading Order for the Sartorias-deles Saga?

That seems a simple question, but it’s not simple to answer when one has been writing this long story all one’s life. I started writing in this world as a child, so the early stories are kids’ adventure stories. But when I reached my teens, I began playing around with why this or that happened, or how things got the way they were. Originally, INDA was going to be pretty much a kids’ story at the academy, for ex.

The thing is, everything is interconnected.

Many readers don’t want to read the kids’ stories, but they hit A SWORD NAMED TRUTH and feel they’ve been plopped into the middle of a series. Which, *kaff* they have. To get up to speed, my suggestion is to read SPY PRINCESS (and perhaps its sequel SARTOR), which is from a kid POV but it actually touches on some serious themes; POOR WORLD, which again, is from a kid POV, but leads straight into world events, and SENRID–if you can’t stand Kyale’s voice at the beginning, skip to the second part–this is four different novellas tied together, centered around Senrid. The first three parts present Senrid from the outside, and the fourth gets into his head as he fights to regain his country–and his life. A STRANGER TO COMMAND next, and possibly FLEEING PEACE. After that, A SWORD NAMED TRUTH might make a whole lot more sense.

That said, here is a list of all the Sartorias-deles stories in timeline order. They are grouped in arcs:

“Lily and Crown”
The Fox
King’s Shield
Treason’s Shore

Time of Daughters (two volumes)

Banner of the Damned


CHILDREN’S STORIES, (written when I was a kid) which introduce many of the characters central to later arcs.

CJ Notebooks
Spy Princess

Fleeing Peace
A Stranger to Command

ROMANTIC STORIES, which mostly stand alone:

Crown Duel
The Trouble with Kings
Sasharia En Garde


A Sword Named Truth
The Blood Mage Texts
The Hunters and the Hunted
Nightside of the Sun

The Wicked Skill


Ship Without Sails
Marend of Marloven Hess
Seek to Hold the Wind
All Things Betray
A Chain of Braided Silver

The POST-WAR books and stories:

Let the Torrent Dance Thee Down

“Beauty” [published in Remalna Stores
“Court Ship” [published in Remalna Stores
“The Art of Masks” [Published]

Are you on Facebook?

No. I started it when it first began, then found out that they are busy data-mining all your personal information and selling it to the highest bidder, no matter how venal. Though I have a page still there, I do not go there, haven’t for years.

Why don’t you make a movie of Crown Duel?

Nothing easier. I worked in Hollywood for years and I know exactly how to turn it into a TV serial. So, if you provide the budget, I’ll write the screenplay!

Where can I be found online?

I post most often at Dreamwidth. I’m sherwood_smith at Twitter. You can write to me at sherwood-at-sherwoodsmith-dot-net.

Are there any more stories about Mel and Vidanric?

Yes: the story of Vidanric’s early training, A Stranger to Command, is available as an ebook and audio book. The two novelettes about Mel and Vidanric’s two older kids, “Court Ship” and “Beauty” are published together as an e-book in Remalna’s Children. And Vidanric and Mel show up again in The Norsunder War arc and the aftermath, though they are not the main focus.

There are several “Outtakes” from Vidanric’s point of view in the definitive e-book edition of Crown Duel and the updated paperback.

Where is your biography?

I don’t like putting personal information on-line. I don’t think the details of my life are relevant to the books, but sometimes young readers are doing book reports and need to include information about authors, so here is my standard “biography”:

I am a retired teacher and now write full time. I am married, have two kids, various rescue dogs, and a house full of books. I started making little books out of paper towels when I was six or seven, and began writing novels about another world when I was eight. I tried sending out my novels when I was thirteen. I typed them on a manual, and wow, did that take a long time, especially since I was (and am) a terrible typist. I got encouraging rejections, so when I reached college, I figured I needed to learn something about writing that I didn’t yet grasp: revision.

Learning how to revise is an on-going process for me as I am a visual writer, but while I’ve been working at that that I went to college, lived in Europe, came back to get my Masters in History, worked in Hollywood, became a teacher, some of those concurrently. I still teach at workshops, in particular Viable Paradise.

I discovered that studying history was a good thing for an author. One begins to see how cultures are shaped, how people thought, acted, ate, and lived.

Do I ever put real people in my books?

Never. I don’t think I could if I tried. That isn’t to say that familiar traits don’t show up in this or that character, derived from experience, but I don’t consciously take someone’s real life trait and stick it onto a character like a band aid. Every writer’s process is different, of course. My characters walk into my mind fully formed—they have their pasts, their families, likes and dislikes, and I can’t change them any more than I could make my kids taller or myself younger! My job is just to write their stories.