It’s a new month, can you believe it. We are well on our way to Fall and Winter. This week I have another fun Top Ten list with fellow author Jacqueline Church Simonds, her Top Ten is all about why she decided to write her Heirs of Camelot series. Let’s get to it shall we:
10. I am a King Arthur fangirl. I have been ever since I saw Disney’s “The Sword and the Stone” when I was 4 and it first came out (yes, I’m old).
9. I have read books like “The Once and Future King,” Stewart’s Merlin trilogy, and “The Mists of Avalon” so often, the pages now come out of the books. Did I mention I like King Arthur stories?
8. So naturally, when I returned to writing, I decided to play with my favorite story. I originally meant to write a “mouse’s eye view” of the Round Table and all the characters and doings. Yes, Anya interacts with Merlin, King Arthur, and Morgaine (OK, more than “interacts.” Ahem), but she knows she isn’t the focus of the story; she is the chronicler—how we know this epic tale at all. The book that became “The Priestess of Camelot” (prequel to the series) is Anya’s own story, which her daughter demands be written.
7. In my first draft, I thought it would be fun to make a frame tale (a story that starts and finishes, and sometimes interrupts, of what happens with the heirs of King Arthur, Merlin, and Anya as a result of Anya’s work in the novel. (This is a common enough story-telling technique. Think “Princess Bride,” etc). But beta readers said, “What the heck is going on with the characters in the frame tale? I want to hear more of that!” (I took out the frame tale, and “Priestess” stands alone.)
6. I have long been interested in the concept of reincarnation, both personally and as a writing topic. David Mitchell attempted something with it in “Cloud Atlas” (one of the few times the movie was better than the book). What do we owe each other in next lives? Can we feel the ties across time to those we have loved and hated? Is there such a thing as timeless love? And so, “The Midsummer Wife” was published by Strange Fictions Press/Vagabondage Press on Midsummer Day, 2018.
5. The minute I wrote the end of “The Midsummer Wife,” I knew it was a series. The air turned blue with my swear words. I am not a big fan of series. I had no interest in writing one. Yet, here we are.
4. I decided that if I was stuck writing a series, I’d approach it more like C.S. Lewis did in the Narnia and Out of the Silent Planet series; each book is different in tone, few of the original characters are present throughout—and those who are, are vastly changed. So, “The Priestess of Camelot” is a Historical Fantasy; “The Midsummer Wife” is an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance.
3. I’m sort of veering off on this point, but I should advise readers I write sex-positive love scenes. I know many folks don’t like reading about it, or call the sexual bits “racy,” or whatever. But adults have sex. Consensual, loving sex is in my personal top ten list of being an adult. However, I try to give folks a heads up on this. One of my beta-reads was on a New York subway train and read one of the “juicier” scenes in “Midsummer.” I got a text from her exclaiming that it might have been nice to know she should read it in the privacy of her own home (LOL).
2. The next book in the series, “The Solstice Bride” (launching in October, it’s in the publisher’s hands. Click here for the GoodReads placeholder), is an Urban Fantasy/Dystopian. It is DARK—I mean, we bump into an actual Black Mass. The world is in the crapper and the protagonists have to correct what went wrong in “The Midsummer Wife.”
1. I have “completed” the final book of the series, “Mistress of the Rose Moon,” about 8 times. Each time I go back and tear it apart. I’m currently in mid-rubble-rebuild. I’m really hoping we can put it out for Midsummer Day, 2020. We’ll see. In “Mistress of the Rose Moon,” we return to King Arthur-y stuff, with an actual hunt for the Holy Grail, but with aliens, talking cats and dogs, and all the happy endings you can eat. Well, except for the bad folks.
Thank you Jacqueline for that great Top Ten list and I can’t wait to started reading the series. As Always I want to thank Jacqueline Church Simonds for stopping by today and chatting with us. As always don’t forget to share and like this post. Until next time have a great week.
About Jacqueline Church Simonds:
Jacqueline Church Simonds is an author and publishing consultant. Her first published book was “Captain Mary, Buccaneer,” a historical adventure novel loosely based on the real pirate women Ann Bonney and Mary Reade. Simonds has done the usual authorly wanderings in life: she was a lady’s companion, a sound and lights roadie for a small Southern rock band, and managed an antiques shop. She’s sold everything from computers to 1950s pulp magazines to towels and baby clothes. The one constant in her life is a love of words, books and writing. She sold some short stories and poetry early, but didn’t pursue it until later in life. She has had a life-long love of King Arthur and was always drawn to novels about that great hero. Finally, she sat down and wrote stories from her own point of view. She lives in Reno, Nevada with her husband and beagle.
Where to find Jacqueline:
On Twitter https://twitter.com/jcsimonds
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jacquelinechurchsimonds
Check out the Pinterest storyboard for “The Midsummer Wife”: https://bit.ly/2sqTnLy
and “The Priestess of Camelot”: https://bit.ly/2Qg3gpB
and “The Solstice Bride”: https://bit.ly/2YRUxxN
Heirs of Camelot series
THE PRIESTESS OF CAMELOT https://amzn.to/2QgKSg8
Anya, a pagan priestess of the Nordic Rus tribes, leaves her home country and arrives in Britain. There, she joins the sisterhood of Avalon, headed by the scheming Morgaine. When Anya runs afoul of the Avalonian high priestess she is sent to Camelot to spy on the court while acting as healer. But there, she falls in love with the High Druid, Merlin, and King Arthur, bearing sons to both of the great men of her time. After losing both of the men she loves to Morgaine’s treachery, she embarks on a plan that unfolds over the next 1,500 years to return Goddess worship to the island nation and save it from a danger Anya can see but cannot understand.
THE MIDSUMMER WIFE https://amzn.to/2IM1qgS
After a nuclear attack on London that heralds The Time Foretold, Ava Cerdwin, the high priestess in charge of fulfilling a 1,500-year-old prophecy, must assist the heirs of King Arthur and Merlin in healing the devastated country. The descendants of Britain’s great men of legend have kept the myths and relics for sixty-one generations, but no one is quite clear on what they must do next. Nothing goes as planned: Ava falls for the wrong heir, the panic attacks are getting worse, the complex obligations of reincarnation are straining old relationships, and Morgaine and her henchwomen are trying to kill them. Somehow, some way, Ava has to make the Healing happen, or Britain is finished.
THE SOLSTICE BRIDE (Due Out in October)
In this second book in the Heirs to Camelot series, it is twenty years after the Healing. Morgaine has taken over Ava’s body, defeated Harper, humiliated Ron, and is the authoritarian leader of dysfunctional Britain. After years of study with the Goddessians, Falke returns to Britain and, with the aid of Ravenna, the queen’s daughter, must go back in time to stop Morgaine from defeating Ava. But first, they must help the resistance discover why all the psychic adepts in Britain are disappearing—and what monstrous plans Morgaine and her son Prince Robert have in service to the Dark Lord, Adramelech. Falke and Ravenna struggle to find a way to accomplish their goals as their love deepens. The Solstice Bride is a dark adventure and love story with implications for the entire universe.