*Disclaimer – this post WAS written on St Andrew’s Day, but due to abrupt internet failure could not be posted until today. And for the record it’s EVEN COLDER NOW! This post didn’t have a title initially, but I now christen it with the famous last words of a certain grim Arctic expedition.
It. Is. So. Frikkin. COLD in Edinburgh right now! Because the motion of typing and my overheated laptop are the only sources of warmth available to me in the flat right now, I thought it would be a pleasant distraction to spend this Saint Andrew’s Day evening doing a bit of housekeeping. But first, a disclaimer;
Yes I love St Andrew’s Day, as do all True Scotchmen. Yes, I know how to dance at ceilidhs because, yes, we Highlanders have actually been taught the steps in school since we were five years old. Yes I possess the full regalia, kilt and all. And no, I’m not attending any ceilidhs, hoolies or doos tonight or for the foreseeable future because I have an essay to write. And this post to finish. Don’t take it so hard, there’s always Burns Night in January.
Anyhoo, recovering from the Jukepop induced voting fug (see the post below, I still love you all!) I remembered I had a post backlogging which needed to be done by the end of this week. And since the end of this week is RIGHT NOW I’ve kinda hit the deadline. I’ve also written the 500 words required to keep my essay on track for its December 13th deadline, so right now the only thing keeping me from playing Shogun 2/freezing to death is this post.
The post in question is courtesy of Mr Craig Schmidt. Attentive readers will recall his name from previous blogging adventures. He’s the writerly chap responsible for reading over my novel, and has a blog full of interesting insights in the craft of writing. What’s his credentials? Well, he’s a teacher, and since I’m but a humble student you’ll probably glean more from him than you ever will from me; http://whyawrite.wordpress.com/
We’re heading into week 27 of The Next Big Thing, a blog networking operation aiming to boost the audience of fledgling writers like myself. At the core of the pass-it-on post are 10 questions about novel/novel writing for everyone to get their teeth into. So if you 1. What is the working title of your book? Covenanted.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book? As a history student I’ve always loved historical fiction. Moving down to University at Edinburgh I found myself studying the Scottish Revolution of 1638, a little-known yet vitally important part of our history. Imagination fired by those long-gone days, it was around the same time that I came across the stall of an independent press based in Edinburgh at a University publishing event. Inspired to write something I thought they’d like about Edinburgh during the period of the revolution, I started digging for real-life characters to build my story around. That’s when I discovered Jenny Geddes, the young peasant stall-seller who threw her stool at the deacon in Edinburgh’s Saint Giles cathedral, thereby sparking the whole uprising…
3. What genre does your book fall under? Historical Fiction, though viewed from a certain angle it could easily be a Historical Romance too (as much as my boyish mentality shies away from such yukky girly stuff).
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Karen Gillan (of Doctor Who companion fame) would definitely play Jenny, she has the red hair and the fiery temprement for it. Plus she’s from my home city, Inverness! I’d probably have Eddie Redmayne (Google him and you’ll probably recognise him) as the young fanatic, Jamie.
5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book? Drawn into Scotland’s 1638 national revolution, Jenny, a young peasant girl, must choose to either stand up for her principals or save her family.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Originally (as mentioned) I wrote Covenanted for an indy press, but since I finished it I’ve been submitting to agents as well. Basically, whoever wants it first wins!
7. How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript? A bit under four months.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Literally a week before writing the final chapter of Covenanted I discovered a successful Scottish author, S. G. MacLean, who lived barely ten miles from me and had written a series of books about a Scottish detective in the 1630s. After overcoming my initial terror at the fact that she might have already covered Jenny’s story (she hasn’t), I actually got the books and started reading them. They’re awesome.
9. Who or What inspired you to write this book? In brief, the fact that history is always better than fiction. As mentioned Jenny was a real person, and her impact on our past was truly inspiring. She helped spark vast civil, religious and even cultural changes throughout both Scotland and the rest of Britain, all through one act of defiance. As soon as I read about that I knew it was a prime subject for a work of historic fiction.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Want to know what a Tron is (hint: it’s nothing to do with computers)? Want to see a Scottish guillotine in action 150 before it put Paris on the map (and you can actually go see the real thing in the National Museum)? Want to know how long it takes to travel from Edinburgh to Aberdeen by cart? Want riots, executions, murders, love and hate, religious zealotary and pitched battles? Just like Scotland today? Covenanted has it all, and more!
I now nominate the following blogs, sound allies one and all, for next week’s “The Next Big Thing.” Check them out around December 5th!