Alyce is one of the heroines that people probably remember the best, because she appeared in two of my stories at one time. One of those stories, called (guess what?) “Alyce,” eventually blended with a historical story called Victoria and—as an individual entity—disappeared. But the other Alyce story is still very much around. I just haven’t posted on this heroine before.
"Millhaven Castle" is similar to the now-vanished “Alyce” story in showing a period-historical type of fantasy world called Milland. Milland is divided into the majority, who belong to the mainstream culture under the rule of the Falknor house, and a small minority, mostly rural, called Sherbans. These people are dwindling and remember the old days before the Falknors came to power. When Alyce and other Sherbans are invited to a dance by the Falknor king, she finds he’s extremely rude to her and his castle and guests are absurd. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t very important to them.
Alyce tends to get into a lot of ridiculous situations and is given a lot of lemons, so to speak, so she’s very good at making lemonade. She has a calmness in the face of whatever’s thrown at her that isn’t passivity—it’s dismissing these situations as not going to have any effect on her. Although quiet, Alyce has a firm personality and you can’t change her. That actually bothers a lot of people she knows, such as Mistress Dickson, her mother’s friend. If Alyce has her own plans for the future, she’s never let on about them. Instead, she drifts with the people that she’s stuck among, seemingly without minding it. But in reality she is always on her own path. And Lord Timson finds this to be quite true when he tries—very ineffectively—to set her up.
And there will be more updates.
One of the areas I had most fun with when working on A Year with the Harrisons--when it was first drafted or this year when it was published--was the music theme. Music is something I've always loved (I am practically glued to my MP3 player and I've run through more pairs of earbuds over the years than could be counted.) But it hasn't played a large part in any story except The Harrisons, at least so far.
There are two aspects of music that spiral their way through The Harrisons. Mainstream popular music--a blend of pop and country, very likely to be heard on the radio or even in grocery store background music; and music played in churches. The church scene is quite diverse--classical cantatas, traditional choir music, modern worship choruses, and a dash of instrumental and orchestra, and a lot of story is generated by the conflict between people who argue about these different kinds of music. On the mainstream music end, a prominent subplot concerns the Harrisons' cousin Betty and her family, all of whom do popular music professionally.
Snatches of lyrics poke into the story now and then. Music isn't just a plot device in A Year with the Harrisons--it's part of the story's heart and one of the reasons it might continue to resonate with people. Music has a unique way of capturing emotions that no other medium can express and keeping a musical tone throughout the story is a way of trying to describe things best said through song.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
I write peaceful stories with happy endings. When I started writing, I wanted to write the kind of books I like to read. I wanted them to be upbeat and friendly books that make you feel like you're being whisked off on an adventure with friends. And there's also a purposefulness in that because many stories already written miss out on a great deal of what people experience every day.
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