Victoria: A Tale of Spain (which I now call informally “Victoria/Alyce” because it is a merge of both stories) is an updated version of two stories that used to be in a series. But you can ignore that because now it is one middle-grade novel set in Spain in the 1600s. In fact, I made a new listing for Victoria/Alyce—Victoria: A Tale of Spain (New Edition.) One issue with “Alyce” was that it really plunked down in the middle of the story and didn’t give a lot of background on the characters. Putting Victoria on the front end of it helps to explain how “Alyce” happened and what motivates the characters.
And the first part of this new story is set in The Alcazar, a real castle in central Spain. I visited it about three times, years ago. I’m grateful for being able to stand in a real building of this sort and not have to rely on my imagination. Being there multiple times, especially, helped me emulate the feeling of living in this castle. It’s actually someone’s home—home of the family of Duke Carlos with his many daughters—and it might be difficult for us to imagine, with our very different houses and conveniences, that it was a place to live. Not a historical set, with historical costumes—I wanted an unselfconsciousness about it that is a major part of being authentic if you describe any type of family life. Those little details like experiencing the climate of central Spain (it gets really chilly at night!) flesh out the world in a concrete way that I’m glad about.
Victoria has to run away at midnight after learning her older sister has disappeared. Although I always saw this castle during the day, it wasn’t hard to think it could be very spooky at night. And when you’ve got an intruder stalking her—who she doesn’t know yet is a friend in disguise—Victoria is going to be pretty upset and it makes for the kind of unsettling atmosphere that is a big part of the journey. She learns there are things she needs to know as she gets ready for the King’s ball.
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.