|This is what I look like when I can't think of the right word. :-)|
As many of you may know, I love to write stories. I love words, sentences, books. I've been writing practically my whole life (well, not my whole life, but since I was very young), and one of my fondest dreams is to become a writer. I've been writing on-and-off for a while, not really working on anything seriously, but just recently I've begun something new. About a month ago I began with a clean slate, a new plot, a new heroine, and a new story. I haven't given it a title yet and it's still very new, but it's coming together faster and easier than anything I've written in the past few....goodness, years, I suppose it would be, and so I'm really, really excited about it. I saw this book interview on Naomi's blog and thought it looked like fun, so I'm going to answer the questions.
|The typewriter picture I pinched from Naomi's blog.|
~What's the name of your project? When did you first come up with the idea? And how long have you been working on it?
My story doesn't have a named yet-- I think I'm going to wait until I've written more before I decide what I'm going to title it, and as of yet I don't have many ideas. The idea first came to me about a month ago, while we were watching the Horatio Hornblower series. I wasn't currently working seriously on any writing project but I was just itching to write something, although I didn't quite know what. One thing I did know is that I wanted the hero of my story to be exactly like Archie Kennedy, and I wanted to write a story set in England in the 1790s because that's a time period and culture I know well. Then one afternoon I sat down on my sister's bed and started writing a paragraph about the heroine's first impression of this young naval officer when he comes to dinner at her parent's home, and from that came a whole wave of ideas and inspirations and pretty soon I had a whole novel just waiting to be written. Now the hard part is, actually writing it. :-P So far it consists of a bunch of snippets and potential unedited chapters from all different points in the novel, but the main thing is, I'm writing. I'm writing a novel, and I actually feel as though I might finish it, and I'll be happy with it, and that's one of my greatest hopes.
~ Sum up your novel in five words or less.
This is a thoroughly impossible task. I can't do it, soary. :-P
~ Who is your favorite character? Tell us about him or her.
That would be a tie between the two main characters, Calico Dickinson and James Kennedy. I love them both excessively. Calico is me in a nutshell and James is the Archie Kennedy who has never been written in a novel-- only created by the brilliant screenwriters of Hornblower and acted brilliantly by Jamie Bamber, but never actually written. Until now. Mwahahaha.
~ Where does your novel take place? What time period?
My novel begins in the year 1793 in Bristol, England. During the course of the novel the main character, Calico Dickinson, travels to the American colonies to stay with her mother's sister's family for a summer, which is a big part of the story-- her time spent there and the journey there by ship. So I guess you could say it's between the Georgian era and the Regency era.
~ Do you have a theme song for your story? What is it?
I hadn't really thought about it. Maybe the Horatio Hornblower theme. :-)
~ What's been the hardest part to write so far?
The scenes with James Kennedy, because I have a very definite idea of what I want him to be and sometimes when I'm writing his dialogue it's hard to know what he would say. Also the scenes with Calico and her younger sister, Peggy, because I want their relationship to be like the relationship I have with my own sisters, and sometimes that's difficult to write, especially since they live in England in the eighteenth century and obviously don't talk the same way we do now.
~ What chapter was your favorite so far?
Chapters? I know nothing of chapters. Ask me in about a month and then maybe I'll consider answering that question.
~ Can you share one of your favorite snippets?
That I most certainly can do. Here are a few of my favorites so far:
Calico surveyed the room and its occupants as inconspicuously as she could, which meant not standing on her toes or lifting her chin too high and therefore not affording her a full view, even with her rather generous height of 5 feet and 5 inches. For a fleeting moment she wished she were taller, but that wouldn’t help her look any more ladylike. Mama said that a lady absolutely should not be over 5 feet and 9 inches tall, under any circumstances, and Calico wondered what happened to the unlucky women whose anatomy ignored that standard.
"What will our peers say when they hear that we've sent our eldest daughter to the colonies?" Lady Dickinson lamented aloud, no doubt imagining what a story would circulate once the word was out. The Dickinsons had sent their eldest daughter to visit the colonist cousins in New England for an entire summer? And her, one of the most privileged girls in all of Bristol! What had the poor girl possibly done to deserve such a degradation? It just wasn't right, they would say.
"We will say she is going abroad for the summer," Lord Dickinson said calmly, taking a pinch of snuff from the ornate snuff-box he always kept in his waistcoat pocket. "There will be no need for the general public to be informed on the particulars of exactly where it is she's going. As long as it isn't France."
Oh, no. Heaven forbid that a prominent English aristocrat send his daughter to France for a season. Calico wrinkled her nose. Everyone sent their daughters to France.
"Ah, yes. Of course. Abroad," Calico's mother said with distaste. "Abroad in the wilds of the American colonies, experiencing primitive living conditions, uncomfortably hot temperatures, and frontier life." She said these last words as though they had an unpleasant taste, and she was glad to be rid of them.
To Calico, nothing sounded more exciting.
Calico wanted to howl with glee, but she knew that wouldn’t be very ladylike, even in her own bedchamber with no one but Caddy. Besides, she was supposed to be acting like a proper lady at all times. However, she didn’t think there was any way to express her ecstasy that would be unquestionably ladylike, so she settled for a squeal of delight, twirling around in endless circles of pure joy. How was she going to restrain herself from twirling at the ball tonight? Hopefully she would be so busy dancing she would not even be faced with the temptation, because Calico just knew that if she were left to stand at the edge of the room she would not be able to resist the allurement. It was just ridiculous fun.
“Oh, it’s perfect, Caddy!” she squealed, dancing around the room. “It’s the most wonderful dress I’ve ever worn!”
Caddy smiled-- or, turned the corners of her mouth up into the closest thing to a real smile Calico had ever seen from her.
“Well, it’s a good thing you like it, miss, ‘cause them fasteners is just about the hardest ones I ever seen. I got red marks all over my fingers from them hooks.”
Calico stopped long enough to grasp both Caddy’s hands in her own. “I’m sorry, Caddy. I know you’re the one who has to do all the work, and I know I must be gloating. But….oh, thank you!” Calico placed a quick kiss on Caddy’s cheek, squeezed her hands, and did the polonaise over to the dressing table where she sat down for Caddy to dress her hair.
Caddy huffed a sigh.
~ Are any aspects of your story drawn directly from your own life? Give us an example.
Yes, a great deal of my inspiration is from my own life. :-) For one thing, Calico and I have a great many similarities. We're both easily distracted, have over-active imaginations, often get into awkward situations, don't always have an abundance of patience (but we mean well :)) and dream about naval officers, to name a few. Also a lot of little lines and happenings throughout the book are inspired by things I've said or heard someone say and things that have happened to me and my family. I like to write about what I know.
~ Your main character gets dumped into a big city in the modern era (or if you're writing a contemporary work, he/she gets dumped in Medieval London.) How does he/she respond?
Calico is too stunned and confused to speak. She looks up at all the high buildings towering above the street and wondered what in heaven's name Cook had put in the punch last night to make her dream such a wild scene.
~ Who's the funniest character in your story? Tell us why! Give examples! Support your argument. :D
I don't know if I could say for sure yet, since I still haven't written a whole lot, and some of the characters I haven't even written about at all yet. One of the funniest characters is Francis Dickinson, Calico's sixteen-year-old brother, who is a very talkative and amusing person, and invariably chipper in the mornings. :-P
It was just Papa, Francis, and her, and since both Calico and her father were in a similar state of listless lethargy, breakfast would have been a very quiet affair had it not been for Francis’s presence. Francis was perpetually enthused in the mornings and seemed to be even more talkative than usual on this particular morning, since he was not required to share the floor with anyone else. Having not been included in last night’s events, he had slept wonderfully. He talked unceasingly all throughout the meal, and Calico wondered idly when he found the time to draw breath.
“Papa, did you hear that Eugene Fitzgerald is to attend lawschool next year? William told me yesterday that his father has borrowed a great big sum of money from the bank just to put him through. Do you think he’ll make it? I told William I wasn’t so sure, and William said if he does he’ll be the first Fitzgerald to do anything of use at all...I don’t think that’s very fair of him to say, do you, Papa? I mean, Eugene’s uncle is an apothecary, isn’t he? And you have to pass all those test and be approved by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to become a practicing apothecary. Oh, but then, he’s not a Fitzgerald, he’s a Clarence….maybe William is right, after all. Do you suppose if I were to go to lawschool, I’d make it through? Eugene Fitzgerald is three years older than I, but I’ve never beaten anyone so easily at checkers, not even Callie, and she’s about the worst player I ever saw-- sorry, Callie, you can do other things. Say, Papa, did you happen to find that cravat you were missing? Because if you haven’t yet, I can tell you where it is. Peggy’s got it in the nursery. She’s got it all wrapped up on her doll like a cape…..”
Calico wanted to tell Francis to shut it, but she knew that would only prompt a reprimand from her father, and she wasn’t in the mood to try any questionable behaviour.
~ If you were forced to eliminate a character from your story-- just wash them clean off the slate-- who would it be?
As I said, it's a bit too soon to tell. Maybe one of the younger Bradley children, Calico's cousins in Massachusetts.
~ Do you plan on writing a sequel to your novel?
Nope. I prefer stand-alone novels myself, and this isn't the sort of story that would have a sequel. Plus, I'm not ready to be thinking about that yet. :-P
~ Do you have a dream cast for your characters?
Ehhhhhh.......not really, excepting James, who is most definitely Jamie Bamber. There are some characters I've imagined as actors from period dramas, but most of them are just in my head. I've imagined Calico looking a lot like me, actually! She looks something like this:
|This is definitely Calico. :-)|
Archie James Kennedy looks just exactly like this:
Also Calico's father, Lord Dickinson, has a face rather like Bill Patterson in Amazing Grace:
But of course he's much nicer than Lord Dundas.
Well, that about does it, folks! I hope you've enjoyed reading a bit about my novel. I hope to post more about it as it comes together. Can you tell I'm really excited about it?