|Chivalrous at Barnes and Noble|
I knew in an instant I had found a stellar idea, and my mind entered that magical creative haze. By the end of the evening I had landed on the series name Valiant Hearts, and I had premises for several books based on legends. Then I played around combining strong words with romantic words for titles: Dauntless Love, Chivalrous Dreams, Gallant Beauty, ect... Originally I planned to write them as stand alone books in different medieval times and places.
The second book in the series would be Chivalrous Dreams, an Athurian type story with a Lancelot and Guinevere twist. I was going to place it in a fictional kingdom in the mountainous part of Germany in the Holy Roman Empire in the late 1200s.
But I was also very open to working with a publisher and incorporating their ideas for this series. When Bethany offered me a contract for book one, formerly titled Dauntless Love, they asked for a few changes in direction. First, they chopped down the titles to one word, thus Dauntless, Chivalrous, and Courageous. Second, they wanted me to add more point of view characters and bring out the epic adventure feel. And third, they wanted the books to spin directly off one another by time, place, and linking characters.
|Picture from "The Artist Librarian"|
But the story itself had to undergo some significant changes too. The biggest was that peasant and outsider, Allen of Ellsworth from book one, would now be my hero. Originally the hero of this book was going to be a nobleman from the country who already knew Gwendolyn but just didn't know the secret that she fought as a knight. I had to get pretty creative to work out a scenario that allowed this former peasant to fit my plot, but evidently I managed that part pretty well, because I haven't had any complaints so far.
|Favorite quote meme by Janeen Ippolito|
Having Allen in the book provided for some other great surprises I never pictured in the early versions, but I wouldn't want to give those away. And of course every story takes on a life of its own and follows unexpected twists and turns. The inclusion of dark magic and Morgaine in Chivalrous was a complete surprise to me, but became necessary to provide motivation for the villain. Since it fit the Arthur feel perfectly, I went with it, although I felt strongly about depicting magic as evil rather than in the light way it is treated in the Arthur stories. Even after all of that was said and done, the publisher requested some additional tweaks, like more action and less introspection, which is always a good idea.
So that is the evolution of Chivalrous. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
What's something in your life that didn't turn out the way you expected it?