Victoria: A Tale of Spain started as a rework of “Millhaven Castle.” Before MC got published, there had been a much longer manuscript about Alyce and I wanted to include a few things from that unpublished book in a rewrite. The resulting story, called “Alyce,” was followed by a draft of Victoria a year later and (briefly) an early draft of Consuela. But “Alyce,” rather than an MC rewrite, became about totally different characters even though they appeared under the same names at first, like Alyce and Lord Harry. Realizing I had a unique story springing up where it hadn’t been expected, I merged these new characters into Victoria and dropped the MC names to finalize an independent book that has, I’ll admit, some of my personal favorite characters out of what I’ve written.
It’s tricky to define the five central characters for a book in which people’s initial idea of these characters as part of the Millhaven Castle world has been replaced as the story moved into its own identity. But some things have remained constant and have risen to the top: 😊
Duke Carlos is the crusty, slightly enigmatic father of the book’s protag, Duchess Victoria. He heads a large family of girls along with his shy wife and while he seems easily duped by a con man working nefariously for the King, it’s true the family ends up none the worse for it. Often seeming critical and bluff, it’s possible Duke Carlos is much less vulnerable than he looks.
Roderick is the King’s younger brother. Hardly an enviable position at a court run by his angsty brother, so Roderick, like Duke Carlos, is not as easy to know as he appears. When rescuing Victoria, he often seems a bit blind to how she might feel. But he’s a genuinely caring friend and gives her some good guidance on how to deal with things.
Victoria is a young girl who seems withdrawn and quiet, but she’s surprisingly tough. Like many in this story, she conceals her true feelings, but in her case it’s part of her personality. She’s a reserved and stubborn person who is able to endure several scares, a lot of travel, and situations of hardship without being phased.
King Felipe is the greedy king who will let nothing—even a threat only he knows exists—keep him from enjoying his life as monarch. As one of the most really villainous characters I’ve shown, he’s also one of my favorites. Very entertaining as he tries to keep what is essentially stolen, he’s a selfish and at times self-pitying ruler who is very human as well.
Araina is the youngest of Victoria’s many sisters. She’s only about 11 or 12 and is a spunky, active, slightly daredevil girl. Victoria sends her to Venice with family to keep her safe—but it’s not easy to keep a girl safe when she almost managed to fall off a cliff outside her own home. When Victoria’s adventures end up taking her to Venice, Araina is right there along for the ride.
And there will be more updates.
Pleasant Fiction in an Age of Noise
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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.