Archive for January, 2010

Galleys Arrive for The Queen’s Pawn

Friday, January 29th, 2010 | The Writing Life | 2 Comments

As I smooth and polish TO BE QUEEN for Claire (due next week…yikes!!), my galleys arrived for THE QUEEN’S PAWN.

For the non-publishing folks out there, galleys are copies of the novel that have not been corrected yet. But they are bound, sometimes withcover art. My galleysdon’t havecover art, but my words are in there when I open the pages…which I find myself doing a lot, savoring the novel and the result of all the hard work of the lastfour years.

It is a thrill to hold a proto-type of my finished novel in my hand. In March, I get to see the real thing.

Christy in the Hall of Louis VII, Princess Alais’ Father

Monday, January 25th, 2010 | The Writing Life, Video Blog Entries | No Comments

As you may have read earlier on my blog, I was fortunate enough to go to Paris last April to celebrate the sale of THE QUEEN’S PAWN. While I was there, I shot a video diary for myself and for my future readers. Here is the second entry.

Atfter visiting Notre Dame, I went to the Conciergerie where Marie Antoinette met her fate. But before it was a prison, in the time of Princess Alais and her father Louis VII, it was the Palace of the City. That palace has changed a great deal since Louis VII’s time, but I took some video of the old great hall, so you can see it. The Parisians use it an as art gallery now; the architecture is really beautiful.

Please pardon my hair in this episode. It is the worst comb job of all the video blog entries. I was so excited when I got there that I simply turned the camera on and started talking. And when I had finished, I was so in love with all I’d filmed, that I figured, my bad hair was second banana. As usual, the places to do with Eleanor and Alais, Louis and Philippe Auguste, are the stars of my show. I hope you enjoy.

Christy in Paris: Notre Dame

Monday, January 11th, 2010 | The Writing Life, Video Blog Entries | 4 Comments

Here’s the first video I took while in Paris, visiting Notre Dame cathedral. Please pardon my lack of a hair comb…that difficulty runs rampant throughout the videos I took during my travels.

I was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate the sale of my first novel by going to Paris this April. I had been there before, but never when spring was in full bloom. I made a few videos of my time in France, as I visited different sites related to Eleanor’s life.

I went to Notre Dame first, my favorite building in Paris. It was an interesting experience to go there, and to see it from Eleanor’s point of view. I love that building, but she associates it with her first husband Louis and her rival for power, Abbot Suger. To me,that churchis a beautiful Gothic symbol of faith and lightin a time of darkness. To Eleanor, cathedrals like Notre Dame were symbols of the Church’s power.

The whole time I was in Paris I had similar experiences. I reveled in the beauty of the place, the food, the architecture, the wine andthe art. But during this visit, I also saw all those things from Eleanor’s point of view. She never liked Paris and was always glad to leave the city I adore to return home to Poitiers.

Of course, the medieval Paris Eleanor knew was very different from the modern city I visit, but still, the differences in our perspectives is fun. When I am working, this kind of duality happens a good deal, especially with a character as strong and with a voice as powerful as Eleanor’s. She had divorced Louis by the time the cathedralthat stands today was begun. But when I see that place now, and for the rest of my life, I will think not just of my own joy in the space, but of Eleanor’s more cyncial perspective. My life is richer for occasionallyseeing things fromher point of view.

Closing in on a First Draft

Friday, January 8th, 2010 | The Writing Life | 2 Comments

After months of delving into Eleanor’s early life, Iam closing in on the first draft of TO BE QUEEN. I find myself moving into high gear, as I always do this close to the end of a novel. Of course, once I have the draft completed, re-writes begin.

Re-writes are an adventure, too, but a different adventure altogether. Writing is hard. Staying in the chair with a deadline looming is harder. But there is a special magicto a first draft, akind of alchemy. Though I love each incarnation of my novels, in the first draft, I get to hear the story, unedited, from the lips of my characters. In re-writes I have to go back and fix all my mistakes, and the mistakes that my editor finds. With this first draft, there is only me and Eleanor, working together toward a shared goal: making her live again.

I have almost reached that goal once more. I am almost sorry to see this first draft completed. But along with a sense of accomplishment is the joy that, soon, I will sit in the chair again, and start on the second draft.

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