Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is a viral campaign to help bring awareness to writers and their works in progress and hopefully find new fans to their work.

1. What is the working title of your book?

Fate of the Saracen Knight: volume two in the Bradamante and Ruggiero series

2. Where did the idea for the book come from? 

Recently I wrote an entire blog post on this subject about my participation in the online Harry Potter fandom debates (back when the series was incomplete).  I began researching the symbolic meaning of hippogriffs. That led me to read the epic poem Orlando furioso.

I was amazed to discover an intricate tale of medieval knights in battle, and was drawn to one storyline in particular that featured a warrior maiden in love with a virtuous knight who was on the opposite side of a holy war.  Part 2 of this answer will be finished in Question #9.

3. What genre does your book come under?

Epic historic fantasy or Carolingian legend.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My hero Ruggiero needs to be young and handsome. I like the idea of Ruggiero being played by Ben Barnes, best known for his role as Prince Caspian in the Chronicles of Narnia films. Here is a publicity still from that movie.

For my heroine, I would love to have Jennifer Lawrence play the part of Bradamante. Her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies demonstrates the strong and determined nature of Bradamante as well as her beauty. The character is also tall, and Jennifer Lawrence is about 5'8" a good height to play the role.

©Harper Smith
From Jennifer Lawrence's Facebook page Consider this another share.

I do not want to spend too much time discussing other characters and respective actors, but there is one in particular I must mention. The famous Frankish warrior Orlando, I imagine being played by the popular French rugby player Sebastien Chabal. Perhaps once his rugby career is finally over, he will consider becoming an actor. He would be convincing as a ferocious Frankish warrior.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ruggiero has two different prophecies of divergent fates and dueling magical forces attempting to influence which one will come to pass.

Now to elaborate a little and discuss his two different potential fates:   

He will either convert to Christianity, marry Bradamante, sire a line of heroes with her, but die tragically before the birth of his son OR he will remain a Muslim, bring about the defeat of Charlemagne and the fall of the Frankish Empire which will devastate Christendom.

6. Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Volume one was published by a small boutique publisher. Volume two will be as well.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Yikes, still going on writing the first draft of the sequel. Volume one was finished in one year, but it took me another five years to edit/wordsmith/finish obsessing over it.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

A friend of mine suggested that my story reminded her of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. I believe that is because both series are complex with a large cast of characters, interweaving plot threads, and multiple POVs. The tone in my novels is far different in that I strive to have a heroic classical style rather than Martin's grittiness. Comparatively I also have far fewer characters than he does.

This Bradamante and Ruggiero series is based on the legends of Charlemagne which are not all that well known today. It should appeal to fans of Arthurian legends. The source material is just as luxurious as Le Morte d'Arthur, but there is the added benefit that most people will not know what to expect next in the story.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Part 2 of Question 2. I was captivated by the tale of impossible love between Bradamante and Ruggiero.  While reading Orlando furioso, I kept asking myself why I had never heard of this incredible warrior maiden. I was astounded that a man wrote such a strong heroine back in the 16th century. I was also impressed by the depth of the love between Bradamante and Ruggiero was staggering, and the sacrifices they were willing to make for each other.

I remember reading the climax of the story and having tears run down my face as I sat on the patio during my lunch break. If a story can bring tears to my face while I read in a public place, it is something worthwhile.

I decided that I should not complain about the character of Bradamante in literature not being widely known. Instead, I would spend my time, talent and energy into adapting this story into one that is accessible for modern audiences.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Orlando furioso was originally published in 1516, so we are nearing the 500th anniversary of its publication. 

It was popular in its day and Ludovico Ariosto is still looked at as one of Italy's most famous poets. 

Queen Elizabeth I discovered that John Harrington had translated a passage for the amusement of some ladies in her court. It was a bawdy passage, and Queen Elizabeth commanded him to leave the court and not return until he had translated the entire poem. So that is how the first English translation came about.

People might be interested in hearing me read from my current novel, the first volume in the series. I was recently interviewed on a local National Public Radio affiliate and the interview is now available as an iTunes download. The host led me on a fun chat about fantasy writing, medievalism, chivalry, as well as prompted me to read several passages.

I am also uploading a video to Youtube of a reading at a Wine and Dine with Authors event from last night. It is currently uploaded on my novel's official Facebook page and I will embed the Youtube version here later once it has finished loading.

Now to tag next week's participant on this great viral experiment:

Rob Loughran, a prolific writer of novels and joke books.


Sandy Baker said...

Great interview, Linda. Loved Quest of the Warrior Maiden. Amazing amount of research and writing went into it, obviously. Loved your actor character choices. Looking forward to the sequel.

Erika M said...

Great post, Linda! I love learning that reading Orlando Furioso made you cry in public on your lunch break. I also agree that the rugby player has a great actor's presence.

Linda C. McCabe said...

Thank you Sandy. I appreciate it.

Linda C. McCabe said...

Thanks Erika. Another good thing about Sebastien Chabal playing the part of a Frankish warrior who goes berserk is that he is French and a fierce player on the field. He even broke an opponent's jaw by tackling him. Yikes, I would hate to come across someone his size and his ferocity on the battlefield.

Rob Loughran said...

Great interview! I'm looking forward to reading the sequel. Thanks for tagging me, Keep Writing! Rob

Linda C. McCabe said...

I look forward to reading your responses. Have fun!