This week, I started work on a new book (up to page 22 now!). It’s the third of what I call my “Renaissance Trilogy,” which started with A Notorious Woman and continues with A Sinful Alliance in April (the story of Nicolai Ostrovsky). This 3rd, unnamed book, is Balthazar Grattiano’s story, and takes place mostly in the Caribbean in the 1530s. I’m hoping that imagining warm islands and sandy beaches will help me through the cold, gray winter days!
This first part of a book, the first step, Chapter One, is very exciting. All those blank pages–anything can happen! It’s also very, very scary. All those blank pages–disaster can happen. Like the first day of a long-planned, much-anticipated vacation. For this book, hopefully I’m fortified by lots of research (including the trip to visit Diane in Virginia last summer!), and by the feeling that I know the characters very well. They’ll usually show me where they want to go.
Every writer starts a story in a different way, I’m sure, but mine always seem to start with a character. Sometimes the hero, sometimes the heroine. Then I have to find them a story, a frame, and their right match. These 3 stories happened to start with heroes (2 of them heroes I never intended to write a story for, until they insisted!). But their heroines came to me vividly soon after. In Notorious Woman, there’s Marc the ship’s captain and Julietta the perfumer, both with secrets to hide; in A Sinful Alliance, Nicolai the actor and spy, and Marguerite–well, she’s a spy, too. She tries to kill him in a Venetian brothel, and then they meet again a year later at the court of Henry VIII! Balthazar, the pseudo-villain of ANW, is now seeking to redeem himself in the New World, until he meets tavern owner Bianca, a woman he may have wronged in his misspent youth…
As you can tell, I really like characters with Secrets, with a dark side they must overcome through the power of love and self-realization. I often like characters who are “outsiders” in some way, who march to their own beat despite what society might expect. Characters who are–risky, I guess. Sometimes they’re harder to get to know, but they always take me to such interesting places. Both as a writer and a reader. (BTW, Elizabeth Mahon, a frequent RR visitor, has a great blog about such real-life historical “characters” at Scandalous Women)
This particular journey, with these characters, is just starting. Wish me luck.
Who are some of your favorite characters???
Don’t forget to join us tomorrow, as Diane launches Vanishing Viscountess (and gives away a copy)! Keep up with all our characters, risky or otherwise, by signing up for our newsletter at email@example.com…
Gosh, we’re quiet today!
Your book sounds great, Amanda. Another “island” romance to join Janet/Jane’s Forbidden Shores.
Real historical characters who interest me include Wellington, Castlereagh, the Duchess of Devonshire, Emma Hamilton, and Jane Austen.
A wonderful lady named Joanne read one of my blogs mentioning Castlereagh and she emailed me some information about him from her thesis studies. Wasn’t that nice of her? I’d love for her to write a biography about Castlereagh’s personal life.
Can’t wait for the new book, Amanda! Loved the first one! I tend to love characters who are very talented and have little self-control. 🙂 People like Byron, Rochester (the poet, see the movie The Libertine, but read the poetry first)Mozart, Oscar Wilde.
Diane, I’ve been doing some research on Ireland in the 1790s, have found a bit about Castlereagh in that period!
Doglady, I saw The Libertine (love any movie set in the Restoration!), but for some reason the picture on my TV made many of the scenes so dark I could hardly see them 🙂
I just finished A Notorious Woman and I loved it. I look forward to your next book.
Oh, Ammanda, I can’t wait for the rest of this series! How much fun to write a Caribbean book!
Amanda, your next two books sound so cool, I can’t wait to read them. My favorite fictional characters include Scarlett O’Hara, Deenie, Skye O’Malley. Historical characters include Stanford White, Lillie Langtry, Sarah Bernhardt, Grace O’Malley, Isadora Duncan, Victoria Woodhull, and Mata Hari, along with Coco Chanel.
Thanks for pimping out my blog! If you’re in San Francisco for the conference, I totally owe you a drink. We can compare samba moves!