March 26, 2013

Lionheart

pinterest: tempus regina
I'm not a feminist.

Most of you are probably already aware of that; I kind of gave myself away with my post on Female Stereotypes back in October.  Apart from that, I think you will find my stance on the relationship of Man and Woman sprinkled through the romance in each of my novels - from The Soldier's Cross (which, in the main character's case, has little more than an undercurrent of romance), to Wordcrafter (where the quite modern main character struggles with the conservatism of Tera), to the Sea Fever novels (where Tip quite obviously takes the role of guardian to Marta). 

I have no patience with the flimsy cardboard women of old romantic literature, but neither have I the slightest interest in passing the time of day with such do-it-alls as inspired October's post.  I like happy mediums, and the romances in my novels thus far have reflected that.  Not by plan, certainly: to me as the writer, these relationships developed almost coincidentally.  "I can't take any credit for them," as Lucy Muir would say: "they just...happened!"  But develop that way they did.

Not so with Tempus Regina.  In so many ways this book has launched me out of my comfort zone, has, I hope, forced me to expand and expand some more.  I made a list several months ago of the things that are particularly tricky about it: the female main character, the span of time and research, the traveling the characters do.  One thing I did not write down was "romance."  At that time the romance between Regina and, well, Some Fellow was but the kernel of an idea, one I was fond of and longed to develop, but which had not yet come to life.

I've come quite a ways in the story since then: we seem to have gone to one end of the earth and are now headed for the other.  The chapter I am currently writing contains a scene I've been longing to write almost since Day One - you probably all know that feeling! - but the beginning has been slow, and so I've been thinking on this romance and wondering a little at it.  On the surface, these characters - and therefore this relationship - seem to depart so vastly from anything I have written to date.

Regina herself is a tough cookie.  She's not a steel magnolia - she's really just steel.  Having lived in London of 1849 for years, she has had some of its smoke, some of its colorlessness, some of its mercilessness ground into her.  Now she is the time queen, with a power and a persona that inspire fear.  Her strength and her dominance make her romance, not hard to write, but new.  Because if she is the power-figure, and if she terrifies those with whom she comes into contact, her romance could hardly be of the beaten-path variety.  She demands a man who can, in his own way, match her and surpass her in strength.

[because I'm pretty sure Tip would be thoroughly freaked out by her.]

That has been the joy of writing the romance of Tempus Regina.  At first blush, I suppose readers might think Regina is the dominant figure, that she is the one with all the brains and the chutzpah.  And at first blush, she is.  But down at the heart of the matter, in the things that count, the hero of Tempus Regina is more powerful still.  They're like Sophie and Howl, like Katherina and Petruchio.  They're a pair.

Yesterday I discovered the song King and Lionheart.  I had seen some of the lyrics elsewhere and liked them, and then when I listened to the song, I thought - naturally - of these two characters.

and when the world comes to an end
I'll be there to hold your hand
'cause you're my king and I'm your lionheart

But then I realized that matters are different in Tempus Regina.  Because Regina is a queen, but the man who stands beside her is her lionheart.  And for me, that's where the thrill and the joy of this story lie.

12 comments:

  1. Such a good, downright and gracious post, Abigail dear! I love the unquestioned confidence of your first line :).

    I probably told you this before, but one of the real refreshing aspects of your novel, The Soldier's Cross was how you worked in the romance and the different relationships within the story - not just that it wasn't drenching with fluttery emotional butterflies, blushes and romantic sighs as typically seen in the genre of historical fiction - but also that there was this sense of protectiveness and manly-leadership on the hero's part (both Pierre and David) and the women's feminine yet wise gratitude for that protection and guardianship, and just how their relationships worked together which I truly appreciated (it reminded me a little with Marcus and the heroine, Cottia?, in The Eagle of the Ninth). I look forward to seeing how you work in the romance in your other books - I know romance is probably the biggest setback to reading a lot of books (not just modern, but sometimes the classics as well) :p

    Ohh, Tempus Regina keeps on getting more and more intriguing the more I hear of it! Regina, a time-queen? This is getting really interesting. I want to read it so bad!!!!!

    I can understand and appreciate the difference with your new novel, Abigail, in reference to the king and his lionheart vs. queen and her lionheart issue (I love the analogy, if it can be called that). This sort of thing can happen when the monarch also happens to be a woman (take Queen Victoria for an example!)

    And this line - this just made me laugh!
    "[because I'm pretty sure Tip would be thoroughly freaked out by her.]"

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    Replies
    1. I've long appreciated Sutcliff's way with romance: while I don't think it has to be so understated in all novels, it is unusual and refreshing. I didn't consciously set out to imitate that, but I can see what you mean: both The Soldier's Cross and the Sea Fever novels are similar in that respect. I'm glad you liked that!

      I think I may have dropped more hints in this one post than in all the other "Tempus Regina" ones put together! But yes, Regina is the time queen. As to what that means, however, I reserve the right to not elaborate...

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  2. Can I meet Regina now???? ;)

    Rebecca

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    Replies
    1. Not yet, unfortunately! But one of these days, I hope she'll make a public appearance.

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  3. Makes me laugh that this is an unpopular post, but I agree!

    B

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    Replies
    1. Rambling posts are like that! Glad you enjoyed it, though.

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    2. I liked it, yes. thanks. I like your blog.

      B |bethy)

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  4. Very interesting — I'm now thoroughly intrigued by Tempus Regina! I admire the approach you're taking, as many modern authors would see Regina and her dominant features and assume that any love interest of hers would have to be tepid and unassuming. On the contrary, she needs someone who can match her for strength and wit as no one else can. Will you be treating your readers to a bit of dialogue concerning them in the future? I should love to meet this mysterious Lionheart . . .

    P.S. Bree and I have been lately listening to "King and Lionheart" and it has swiftly become a new favorite.

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    1. I haven't decided whether or not I'll be doing any snippets in the near future; but at this point in the story, any bits I do share will likely have the Lionheart in them. He is getting to be quite an important character, you know.

      I've been listening to "King and Lionheart" off and on quite a bit this last week. It took me awhile to get used to it - I probably love it most for its connection with the story. I tend to be that way when it comes to music. I have a very subjective ear!

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  5. Very interesting, Abigail! Your writing ability is marvelous, and your characters sound so vivid!

    Wielding the pen,
    Patience

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    1. You're so sweet, Patience! I'm glad you think so, and I strive to make sure the finished product won't disappoint.

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  6. Thanks for the great article..

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meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings






The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings






Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing



Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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