The two Palladia stories weren’t originally written as companions. In fact, the first draft of Consuela had a historical setting and was a filler in between the first and second parts of Victoria: A Tale of Spain. But after a number of years, Consuela quietly migrated over into Palladia. This made me able to explore something we don't get to see in City of the Invaders--the Invader point of view.
In the first book, Invaders are shown as bad. Katia probably feels this way because the only Invaders she personally knows tried to set up her family. But the situation is a little more complicated than good-EC and bad-Invaders, as Miss Plummer discovers in Consuela. Unlike Invaders, EC who are bad have the element of surprise, because people tend to root for minority groups. So Mr. Lazeemboi is able to sneak up on everyone and this time we get to see an Invader's viewpoint on that.
Consuela wasn't needed where it was anymore once "Victoria" and "Alyce" merged into one book, and adding it into the mix of Palladia gave more focus to both it and to Palladia generally. The story is now from the perspective of a young Invader, so it offers some fairness and clarity that balances City of the Invaders. After all, the more we see of the world, the more we notice this unlikely blend of closed-off literati and scummy, drifting street criminals actually have a great rapport with each other. The majority of people in Palladia belong to two groups that have the least possible in common.
Or maybe they have a lot more to do with each other than meets the eye.
And there will be more updates.
When dealing with anything set in modern times—today for instance—you have to start taking computers and phones and medical equipment and transportation and all that sort of thing into account. It’s going to impact the character’s lives in a personal way, and in a way it wouldn’t if you were writing, say, historical or fantasy.
This is even more true for a futuristic world.
As I worked on Palladia, what was foremost in my mind was creating a sense of realness, of normal daily life, to this very advanced kind of society. It’s several hundred years in the future, so you’ve got lots of devices these young people and their families have around them that we don’t have to deal with or think about at all. I want Palladia to feel like a real place you could live. That instead of being an expansion of all kinds of technology for the future, from our point of view, this is just ordinary life for these kids. They have to make schedules, fill out paperwork—wouldn’t it be fun if a societal collapse could get rid of that by bringing on a simpler time? But I doubt it will happen.
And in the midst of all this abundance of what is slick and gadgety and high-powered, they’re jumping off of little starships to go into an old church and practice plays based on moldy classics. They have this symbiotic relationship with the past too. They aren’t self-conscious about what surrounds them and that’s important to me to show about the characters because they wouldn’t be. Self-consciousness shows our minds poking into the story and going, “oh wow, look at their weird world!” But they wouldn’t feel that way. It’s daily life in a fantastic world, so it feels daily as if you were living there yourself.
And there will be more updates.
A large part of the plot of City of the Invaders concerns a group of teenagers who are required to put on a play. A backdrop of politics in a gangster-led city provides some action, but most of the character dynamics comes from the Wyncon EC’s mandatory theatricals. The teenagers in this little group have an acting club and when Katia moves to the city with her brother, they are forced to take part. With comic results, of course. In spite of being amateur, these Wyncon productions are presented to a wide general audience and there’s nothing funnier than having people stuck in assigned roles—which may or may not be comfortable for them— without their consent.
Frank’s audition gave me a chance for some great character interactions, and the theatrical scenes throughout the book were fun to write. When I was younger, I was involved in dance performances. I wasn’t any good and only did them because it was recommended for my feet, so I guess I turned that into a bit of a comedy. Not that any of the book’s situations really happened or are even based on anything real. But the backstage, the milling around before performances, the feeling of “I look stupid, but I have to be here,”—maybe a bit of that did seep into the story at times. And of course I had ample exposure to great plays like those of Shakespeare. I studied many of them seriously to learn good writing tricks, but if you read something enough to know it in your sleep, you’re likely to find it funny now and then too.
From this came “The Works of Charles Glassware” an appendix I wrote years and years before the story itself. I summarized plots of famous works I thought were silly, however old they were, and invented an author for them—Charles Glassware. Eventually one of these works was reused as “The Pirate,” a bombastic historical play Frank, Katia, and Co. perform. “The Pirate” is a collision of lush ancient world movies like Ben-Hur with Norse-based epic fantasy, and you can easily imagine it wouldn’t be easy for a team of mismatched amateurs to pull it off. As the director, Mr. Coughing, says, “this year’s production will be one of our most challenging, considering our cast and budget.” And many of the lines from the play are sprinkled through the story. Just fun, fun to write.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
This blog serves as the newsletter for Sarah Scheele.com. Posts are delivered to your inbox every Saturday. For fast subscription instead of visiting a link to another website, fill out the form below and you will receive the 9-Chapter Sampler shown above, in PDF. To get the book in Epub or Mobi formats you will need to use the external link above.
When I set about defining my books, I wanted them to be positive places where a gentleness emanated from the pages. A hopeful safety lies in gentleness and there's also an honesty to it. A whirlwind of pushy book blurbs and hot characters (or whatever type character the author wants you to admire) can conceal a reality underneath. A quiet--possibly even lurking--reality that's more visible if you dial down the volume. That lurking reality isn't necessarily bad, but like anything quiet, it gets drowned out by conflict and angst. Peaceful fiction can help explore the truth that noisy books ignore.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.