Okay, I’m cheating a bit on this letter. But I’m also writing this post in response to a formal request, which was the following:
“I would really like to know what you think of your book. I’d like to know what your favorite scene is, and why. I’d also be interested to know what scene or chapter gave you the hardest time writing, and which characters you like best.”
What do you think of your book?
Obviously, I love it. I always intended to write something I would enjoy reading. An epic fantasy adventure quest that I could read with my whole family at the time I wrote it (from my little sister, who was 11, to my brothers, who were 15 and 17, to my parents). It was a challenge to write to such a diverse audience, but it was also a lot of fun. Some of my favorite memories will always be of my dad reading each new set of 10 pages out loud to the entire family as we lounged around the living room, or laid out on the dock at Mayen’s Northvue at the end of the summer.
What’s your favorite scene in King’s Warrior?
It is very hard to choose. I love the scene where Oraeyn dumps Kamarie in the river. This scene was just so much fun to write as it gave Oraeyn an outlet for his mounting frustration with Kamarie, and it was a good opportunity for me to let Kamarie know in a not-too-subtle fashion that she really wasn’t being very kind.
I love the scene with Brant and his family at the beginning. Even though it tore my heart out to write it, and it makes me cry every time I read it… it was necessary, and it set the tone for a lot of the themes within the book.
And, of course, any scene with Kiernan Kane in it is always going to be near the top of my favorites. He is such a spectacularly enjoyable character to write. I love his sense of humor as he allows Yole to think he buys his story, all the while subtly letting the audience know that he knows exactly who Yole is… and that he, himself, is more than he appears.
What chapter was hardest to write?
Chapter 19, was by far the hardest chapter to write. It is the culmination of the story, and although I knew how I wanted everything to end, I also had an incredibly difficult time writing this, the “Battle Chapter.” I believe my battle-writing skills have improved somewhat, from where they were 12 years ago. (At least, I hope they have!) But this chapter was very difficult for me. It needed a lot of revision during the big re-write/edit and I still don’t think it is totally where I wanted it to be, but eventually you have to put it down and declare it “good enough” or you’ll never move on or write anything else.
Which characters do you like best?
You ask very tough questions! Oh… I love them all. They are each a part of me. I use the best parts of the people I admire most and pour them into my characters. I don’t “base” characters off of single people… but I do take aspects of them, sometimes.
Kiernan Kane and Brant definitely top the list. They were the most fun to write. The enigma that surrounds them both, the warrior and the “fool” and the way they play off each other just makes me chuckle. I love the way Kiernan totally annoys Brant most of the time. And I love how their relationship changes over the course of 4 books.
Kamarie and Oraeyn would be close seconds. I originally meant for the books to be more about them. but the best laid plans of an author don’t always pan out. The story is more fun when it takes on a life of its own. However, Kamarie and Oraeyn do have their important roles throughout the series, and I really love them.
How has the story changed from the way you originally planned it?
The biggest change was definitely Brant. Brant was only supposed to be a simple farmer (in fact, his name wasn’t even “Brant” to begin with, it was “Ramstrand”). He wasn’t supposed to make it past chapter one. However, when my family decided they LOVED him after that first chapter, they dropped not-so-subtle hints that they would like him to be in the story some more. Hints such as, “Who is this Ramstrand guy? I really hope we see more of him!” and “Please tell me that Ramstrand comes back!” and “Ramstrand had better be a big part of the story, or we’ll be really disappointed.” Well, I was writing the story for my family, and so… Ramstrand became Brant… an enigmatic warrior with a mysterious past… around whom the entire series eventually revolved!
I threw in that last question/answer for free