Three kings, two dragons, one novel

One of the main things people want to know when they read one of my books is what elements were from the real Arthurian legend and which ones were made up by me for my novels. (Hint: If it’s absolutely insane, it’s usually from the actual legend!) I just posted an article to the Swithen website that takes apart the second novel in the series, The Sons of Constance,¬†detailing which elements are from the actual legend, and which were adapted for my novel. And you can find it all in Legend to Novel: The Sons of Constance.

This novel was a bit of a challenge because there were certain things that had to be included, but at the same time, they kind of screwed up having a nice clean beginning and ending. The first book, Our Man on Earth was a nice, self-contained story with a clear ending. Similarly, the third book, The Void Place, has a very clear ending. 

Book 2 starts with a short story that had to be included–it has to go somewhere–but wraps up before the main action of the book gets started. So I decided well, these books are just going to be structured in a strange and unusual way–like the Medieval legends themselves–and I just embraced the fact that these novels begin one place and end up somewhere very different. Thus, now the first part of the novel is kind of like a separate novella, and then the main action of the story begins.

Similarly at the end, the climax of the book happens about 50 pages before the book actually wraps up. Again, there were things that had to go in this book–in this case, the creation of the Round Table–and just wouldn’t work in the next one. So the challenge was on me to write it in such a way that it held together on a thematic level, rather than presenting an extremely tight plot.

Because my series is really chopping one huge story into several smaller ones (my image is of one of those 8-foot sub sandwiches) one of the big issues is where to begin and end each story while making sure all the right material makes it into the book where it will be most thematically appropriate. Thus far, The Sons of Constance has had the most material that zigs and zags a bit from a straightforward thriller, but that also gives it a meandering charm that makes me love it.

Take a look at the article to learn what was from the actual legend from 800 years ago, and which characters I added or embellished to make it all work in a present-day novel.


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