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Well, it took a little longer than expected to put up, but I'm here again with the second of three installments of Meet the Books!.
And just in case anyone missed last week's and are wondering why the dickens I'm doing this rather long tag multiple times, I will explain it thus:
I have a rather long debt of honor to pay - having been rather absent for the past six months, I missed two of these linkups. And since this tag is so helpful to introduce my many many WIPs, I didn't want to get further behind. So when Belle Anne put up the latest installment, I made a rather rash promise to give her not one, but three to make up for lost material of sorts.
Today, I'm introducing one that is probably familiar to most of my older readers (or at least, those who remember the Rooglewood contest of 2017). And now allow me to roll back the curtain here....
What is the genre?
The genre is historical fiction...at least right now it is. Originally, I was thinking fantasy for this one, but it morphed more into a historical fiction as I researched for it. Maybe I'll add in some fantasy later on.....*shifts eyes*
Since I have been informed by Nicki Chapelway that Historical Fantasy is a real genre, maybe I shall morph it into a historical fantasy. I'll have to play around with it.
What is the title? Time period?
Ohh goodness. Please fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a bumpy ride.....
Originally this story was christened:
A rather unoriginal and boring title if I do say so myself. I suppose a naming wizard is allowed to have a mulligan or two....
When I loosened the rather gripping influence that Snow White had on the original piece, I created a new title:
This one had more interest and gave a somewhat better idea of where the story was going. I quite liked the title for some time.
However, as I was creating another mock cover for it, I began to re-thinking the title again. Seeds of An Orchard Invisible seemed long and rather confusing. It's part of a Welsh proverb that I'm using as a theme for the book.
A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible
I still wish to reflect that proverb in my title somehow, but not have it so long.
After a lot of reflection....I think I've got it. Let me know what you guys think of this:
Ya know - I quite like it. The book cover from Canva makes it even better :).
The time period of this piece is between 800-1100 AD. Which, for those who are not history nerds, is smack in the middle of the Medieval period.
How is it written (Point of view, MC, etc.)?
It's written in a third person limited, from the point of view of Eirwen, my MC. At the initial drafting stage, I thought that this was the best POV for this story...and to be frankly honest, it probably still is.
Who are the characters?
Eirwen - Princess Eirwen is the oldest child of King Aneirin and the late Queen Heulwen, and she is just about to reach the age of majority. She has really long dark hair, dark eyes and a rather slender 5'5" figure. Her resting expression is a little on the stern side, but once you get to know her, she warms up. She is an avid hunter, but she is also a very talented needlewoman. She desires nothing more than to be a good queen to her people.
Gareth - Gareth is the son of King and Queen of Ergyng, a rival kingdom to the west of Glywysing. He has just reached the age of majority (21). Gareth has a medium-light brown hair, and dark green eyes. He's rather tall (5'8"), but also on the lightweight side. Gareth strives to be as chivalrous as his namesake, the great Sir Gareth of the Round Table. Gareth has a very important mission tasked to him - he must make an alliance between the Kingdoms of Ergyng and Glywysing.
Aneirin - Aneirin is Eirwen's father, and the ruler of Glywysing. Aneirin has dark eyes, and dark hair and beard. He is rather heavy boned, but doesn't have much extra weight. He is about 5'6". He is a rather soft, kindly father and ruler. He is no pushover, but he is willing to let people have the inch.
Ceinwen - Ceinwen is his current wife. She is much younger than Aneirin, and is distantly related to Queen Heulwen, but from a lower family. She has a thing for green dresses, why nobody knows. Probably to match her cat-green eyes or something. She has straw-blond hair and is tall and willowy (about 5'8").
Sarnai - Sarnai is originally from a very far off land (An ancient province in northwestern China). She was brought to Glywysing as a conquest bride for a high chief that was a mercenary in the Germanic forces as a very young woman. Now an aging widow, she is forced to remain in the Queen-Consort's household as a handmaid against her will. Sarnai has extensive knowledge of plants and what they give. Her son, also in employ of the Queen-Consort, frequently travels in search of unusual plants for his mother to study. Sarnai has dark eyes, rather short (about 5ft) and rather heavy set. She wears loose bright clothing - her favorite color is pink.
Lilliwen - Lady Lilliwen is the half-sister of my antagonist, Ceinwen. Like Ceinwen, she has blond hair, but she has blue eyes instead of green. She's also not as tall as Ceinwen (she's around 5'6"). Lilliwen is a legitimate daughter of a baron of Cymru (Wales), while Ceinwen is illegitimate. Thus, Ceinwen acts a sort of lady-in-waiting to Lilliwen. Lilliwen makes friends with Eirwen fairly early on, and it is she that her father plans to marry.
Wulfstan - Wulfstan is a lower huntsman that is serving a debtor's service sentence in reparation for poaching crimes against the the lower townspeople. Wulfstan is a strapping man, with fair skin, dark hair and black eyes. While he doesn't look it, Wulfstan comes from Viking stock. He is a very fierce man, not one to meet in a dark alley. Wulfstan's parents left him behind as a child in the woods. It was by hard scrabbling that he learned to survive them. He knows how to be silent, and how to be loud. He can blend very easily into the underbrush, and is a very deadly shot if need be.
Taliesin - Taliesin is one of the oldest counsel members and also a Chronicler. He has a long gray beard, dark eyes, and a sad expression on his face. Every afternoon for several hours, he sits by a pool and writes out the Palace Chronicles. Underbrush around the pool hides him from view except his reflection......
And then there are the cadre of rogues...
Yale - A 14 year old lad with a freckled face, curly reddish brown hair, and dark eyes.
Emrys - A 18 year old boy with straw-colored hair and dark eyes. He likes hoods, they're a great disguise.
Merrion - A 15 year old lad with curly dark brown hair and dark eyes. He is a genial guy, who is a crack archer. His arch rival is Cadell.
Cadell - A 16 year old boy, with a heavy-boned figure, short dark hair, and light brown eyes. He is also a good archer, but not as good as Merrion. He also has a pretty hot temper and likes to pick fights with Merrion.
Brynmor - A 17 year old lad with a light tan complexion, chin-length red hair and goatee, and green eyes. He's tall (5'11") and rather slender. Has a tendency to drink too much.
Rhisiart - A 13 year old boy with bright blue eyes and straw blond hair. He stole a battleax from his poor father and ran away to become a knight.
Gethin - A 19 year old man with wavy shoulder-length dark red hair, bright blue/green eyes and a light tan complexion. He joins the Rogues extremely late in the story and is the most mature of them all.
What does the plot consist of?
It starts with a prologue detailing the death of Queen Heulwin from childbirth. Unlike many adaptations, Eirwen knows her mother well and is fond of her. Naturally, the death of both her mother and baby brother are hard to take.
The plot moves forward to when her father must marry again. Eirwen fights to rule by his side, since she is "almost" 18, and can take care of her siblings just fine. Her father insists on marrying again though. He grows attached to Lady Lilliwen, who has a genuine attachment to both the children and their father.
Unfortunately, Lilliwen's half sister Ceinwen has other ideas. Through subterfuge, Ceinwen takes Lilliwen's place....and makes life miserable. In the midst of this mess, Prince Gareth comes riding in to try to collaborate an alliance.
There is much more drama than this, but I don't risk spoilers by saying much more.
What is the setting?
The setting is 9th-12th century Wales. So, medieval time period in a section of the UK that really isn't novelized that much.
Though to be quite honest, I am taking a little liberty and mixing in some more earlier Welsh history too.
What gave you the idea?
*riffles through archives*
Apparently according to past posts, Rooglewood was the only thing that supposedly gave me the idea of the story.
Which I know that's not 100% true. Why, oh why didn't I document it better???
Maybe because I actually don't know where it actually came from. Other than staring at the Grimm version for a seeming decade and analyzing the themes.
That seems plausible actually......
Who are the favorite characters so far?
To be frankly honest, my favorite character is Lilliwen. It's really unusual for me to love a side character more than I love the main characters, but......it's true!
Lilliwen is a cliche-breaker. Instead of being that stereotypical evil stepmother, she genuinely cares about both Aneirin and all of his children....and may I say that Eirwen has a special place in her heart especially? She's very very motherly and feminine and.....I loves her to DEATH.
What is the favorite scene so far?
One of my absolute favorites is when Eirwen meets the first "rogue" which is Merrion. The poor guy was just starting his career of highway robbery - needless to say, he was a bit nervous.
Any themes of music for this work?
Of course! I have an entire playlist, but I won't share the entire thing.....it's 4 1/2 hours long.
I use a lot of traditional Welsh music and medieval video game themes for this WIP. This is actually probably my heaviest use of video game music in a soundtrack....
The main theme, I suppose would be Y Gog Lwydias (a Welsh song, translates to The Grey Cuckoo). The lyrics don't really have much connection to the story, but it's such a pretty song and it gets me in the mood to write SOI.
Now this version is a bit darker than the Sian James version that I have saved, but it's still a pretty song to write to.
There are indeed avatars that I'm willing to share again!
They can all be found in this post (with the exception of Lilliwen, who is below):
It was hard to find one that I haven't shared before, but I believe I found one:
Merrion’s head snapped back. He went down in a heap. A hand was thrust over Eirwen’s mouth. “Not a sound, my little miss. You carrying anything?”
Eirwen tried to shake her head to signify “no”, but the hand held her too tightly.
A low growl came from her left and the youth’s hooded head turned. Merrion’s fist slammed into him. Grunting, the youth released Eirwen’s mouth and fully faced his attacker. A yell sounded and a fully pitched battle of the fists ensued. Eirwen saw her opportunity and attempted to remount her horse. A rustle sounded to her right and her horse shied. Eirwen crashed to the ground, landing on her back.
She attempted to pick herself back up, but found it rather painful to do so. When she shifted in an attempt to get up, she found her horse being firmly tied to a tree by a short lad with a freckled face. A knife held her fast in a minute.
Strong point in story?
Well, according to my alphas, the strength of the WIP is in my characters. They have already adopted several of my rogues and have grown quite a hatred of my villain. I've added some extra snippets with some of their commentary for your enjoyment:
Weak point in story?
The weak point in this story is definitely my plot. Trying to make it original and make it believable really is where I failed when I was trying to write this story. It soooo could use a re-plot.
What are your plans for it?
Originally, this story was destined for the Rooglewood Five Poisoned Apples Contest, but it never came together in time.
So, when I ever finish it, I'll probably publish Indie-publish it. Because I somehow doubt that traditional publishers will be interested in this story.
Any particular writing habits for it?
No, not exactly. Except that this is the only novel that I will listen to Welsh music for hours on end....no other novel before or since has had that habit!
If it were made into a movie, what would be your ideal cast?
Eirwen - Sigrid Thornton (Jessica Harrison, The Man from Snowy River) is perfect for this role. She has that rebellious spirit down pat, as well as her sense of duty.
Gareth - Zac Efron. His performance in The Greatest Showman was wonderful - a perfectly flawed boy who has a heart of gold.
Aneirin - Sean Bean. Yes, I know, I'm cruel - since Sean Bean always dies. And I know he's already played a version of Snow White's father....but hey. I try.
Ceinwen - Tamsin Egerton is the visual inspiration for Ceinwen, so maybe she would be a good fit?
Sarnai - A much older version of Claudia Kim??? My knowledge of Asian actresses is horrible.
Lilliwen - Ummm, actually, I'm going with a slightly older Lily James. She's so gentle and a great strong female character. I especially loved her as Cinderella (and Lilliwen is kinda sorta a Cinderella character of sorts....)
Wulfstan - Oooooh, if Tim Curry could ever get a little buffer, I bet you he would play a very nice Wulfstan. Maybe. It probably is too minor of a role for such an A-list actor. The look is right though....
Taliesin - Liam Neeson. First, the deep voice is quite good for a soothing mentor. And the look is old enough to be a good age for Taliesin.
I'm afraid my rogues will have to be cast from teenage actors that I have no idea what the names are.
And with that, I close.
Now it is your turn to have the microphone ;). For those of you who wrote a story for Rooglewood, what did you do with it? Have you struggled with being too cliche? Is there a such thing as too many retellings of the same story? Chat with me in the comments!