Victoria: A Tale of Spain, my 17th-century lower YA adventure story, wouldn’t have come about without a European trip I took about 9 years ago. The concept for the trip wasn't mine--I hadn’t even thought about going to Europe--and none of the locations and itinerary were chosen by me. In particular, I’d never thought of visiting Spain and I ended up staying there about 7 weeks one summer. If I had considered a trip of my own, it would probably have been focused on the British Isles because that’s the Europe I’m most familiar with from books and movies.
But sometimes things in life just JUMP out at you. They fly in your face and you seem surrounded by a milling blur of impressions, people surrounding you, loud voices, and confusing activities launched at you. Sometimes a story is hiding somewhere in that blur. A story that is launching itself directly into your face. And when anyone is coming straight towards you, let alone a story, you might as well say, “Well, Hello There” and accept it.
At first I didn’t get a lot out of that trip. Secretly, I’d always assumed it couldn’t have the slightest usefulness to my storytelling and to me, writing stories is absolute as a grade for whether I care about it. As a trip it was fun, yes, and had memorable moments. But I didn’t feel they were USEFUL moments. I didn’t see any incidents or places that I wanted to write about after months spent abroad. And when I’m not getting an idea for a story, I feel like moving on. But several years later, I wrote a small draft of a story set in Spain. It wasn’t much good—very angsty and melodramatic, with tense and unhappy family relationships and symbolic action sequences. Later I merged it into a light-hearted little novella that had used some of the El Escorial palace setting as an influence, though not much else in Spain.
I didn’t want to work on the merge of the two because it was a lot of effort for a setting and type of story that was so unusual I couldn’t see much of a real market for the completed book. But the story continued to call my name and Boom, Fly in My Face until I worked on it. And in the end, I’m glad I did. Victoria is a more interesting story than I believed it was and it definitely occupies a place in my books. After all, I like to do unusual ideas once I realize they DO have an audience.
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.