Friday, October 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing - tagged

I was tagged by author Lizanne B. Sowards in "The Next Big Thing" game to share a little about my current work-in-progress. Here are the questions and my answers:

What is your working title of your book?

I nearly always refer to my WIPs by the main charracter’s or characters’ names, so for now, I’m simply calling it Acelet’s story.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Acelet was a character in my second medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart. He was a rather silly and romantic young man at the beginning who went through a painful growing up process by the end of the book. He was still very young (20 years old) at the end of that story and I wanted to follow him further down his path and watch him grow some more.

What genre does your book fall under?

Medieval romance, although it may lean a little more towards medieval fiction with a strong romantic subplot when I’m finished. I’m not entirely sure how it will turn out yet.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I never have an actor/actress or model in mind when I write a book. None of them ever look quite the way I picture my characters in my mind. But it’s always fun to see how readers would cast my stories.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Hmm, I really haven’t thought that far, and since the story isn’t finished yet, I don’t know how accurate a one sentence synopsis would be. How about:

A young squire turns his back on knighthood to pursue his love for music, not knowing that his choice will make him the perfect catalyst in a plot against the crown.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

There won’t be an agency involved. Depending on how long the book turns out to be, it will either be published by a small publisher or I’ll self-publish it.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m still working on my first draft.

May we see an intro?

Well, this could easily change in revisions, but here’s the beginning of my current draft:

Gravel spit up from the pivoting heel of Acelet’s boot as he spun to meet his opponent’s steel. Metal screeched against metal as the blades locked together. The swift rotation of his body had swung one of his long flaxen ringlets into his mouth. He blew it free and tautened his muscles, feeling his sword vibrating in his mailed grasp as he sought to force the squire opposite him into a retreat. The squire resisted with a familiar strength. They had fought before. Acelet knew exactly how many seconds their swords would remain locked together before his opponent would attempt to thrust him back with a powerful shove. But first the squire’s lips drew up in a snarl, his teeth parting to issue an equally familiar jibe. Acelet barely registered it as his gaze slid over the squire’s red, perspiration-slicked face to the cap of glittering gold curls that sat, tightly crinkled with sweat, atop his head. Yes, he could use that. Just so would his hero’s hair gleam after battle on a late spring morning such as this…

“I have you this time, de Cary,” Lucas growled. “This time the Lady Lisette will see what a woolgathering fop you really are.”

Acelet’s attention snapped back. Not if you can’t learn to vary your attack better than this. Like all the other times, he was ready for the shove. He sprang back a fraction of a second before it came, sending the squire into a stagger as Acelet whipped his sword’s resistance away.

A roar erupted from the edges of the field, shouts from the other squires in support of his opponent. Lucas recovered as he always did and whirled about. Their blades fluttered together in a shower of sparks, but in the end Acelet’s blade proved fastest. The blunted tip slipped beneath Lucas’s wrist and flipped it up with a blurring speed Lucas should have been expecting, for Acelet always disarmed him in exactly the same way.

The roaring turned into a collective groan from the other squires as Lucas’s sword spun and hit the ground, all except for one happy, musical cry and excited clapping of dainty hands. Acelet de Cary turned. He looked past the fallen faces of his fellow squires, each of whom he daily disarmed in their turn, and gazed into the beaming countenance of his beloved. Someone—most likely the defeated Lucas whose angry curses now posed a shameful counterpoint to his angelic halo of hair—had provided the Lady Lisette a box to stand on, so that she could view the competition clearly over the fence that closed off the area where Duke Richard’s squires honed their battle skills. Her shining, light brown hair, fine and sleek as silk, trailed over her shoulders in the manner permitted, even encouraged in a maid of sixteen in the court of Poitiers. Her brown eyes, soft as a doe’s, glowed with pride as Acelet strode towards her.

“Oh, Acelet, that was splendid!” she cried. “You shall be the most brilliant of Duke Richard’s new knights. Do you not agree, Joslin?”

“No doubt,” a dry voice spoke from Lisette’s side, “if the duke chooses to arm his knights with staffs and blunted steel.”

Acelet felt the warmth that rose in his cheeks. His stringent code of chivalry forbade him from casting Lisette’s companion a glance he knew would be filled with dislike if he surrendered to impulse, but from the corner of his eye he could see her with her ever-present wimple, standing a head lower than Lisette. It did not surprise him that none of the squires had bothered to find a box for the tart-tongued Joslin las Vals to stand on.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It fits neatly into the world of my loosely related previous books set in medieval France: Loyalty’s Web, Illuminations of the Heart, and Dangerous Favor.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The character of Acelet himself and a desire to explore through him the world of the medieval troubadour.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

There will be a secret code embedded in the long narrative poem Acelet is composing. A reader can try deciphering it before the characters do, if she likes.

Thank you to Lizanne B. Sowards for tagging me. Please check out her blog, Shadows of Montségur.

Now I tag five other authors to continue the game!


Jeannette said...

Well, Joyce, you know what I think about Acelet's story. I wonder which fair lady will win his heart int the end?

Tina Scott, author, artist said...

I shouldn't have read the first part of your story. Now I'm more anxious than ever for it to be published.