Well, I'm happy to announce that I have finished the first draft of my new novel, On a Foreign Field! Which means that it will be out by August as I was hoping. It also means that this next month I am going to be working hard with editing and formatting and all that. But while I'm doing that, I'm going to be sharing some things about the book with you, pictures of the characters and all that and eventually, the book cover! Today, I wanted to share a bit with you about why I wrote this book.
For every book I write, I have reasons for writing them besides just the fact that I like the idea of the story-line, the characters, and the setting. Ballad of the Highwayman stemmed from a want to bring back the classic swashbuckling adventure story, and On a Foreign Field had definitely more than one reason for my writing it as well.
First and foremost, was the fact that I wanted to write a story that can maybe make teens stronger. I geared this book mainly for the Young Adult genre because I believe that the story is one that should be read by ages between fifteen to eighteen at least, though I believe the book can definitely appeal to adults as well. I created characters with very human flaws, and while the time period is significantly different from our own, I think that the trials the characters go through will make the reader stronger: Family problems, identity, finding friends that will get you through anything and stick with you through the worst of it. I learned life lessons from reading books and I have never forgotten those lessons over the years. I wanted to write a book that could do that for young people as well.
Another major reason for writing this is kind of a personal campaign I am on to bring back real brotherhood stories like the ones Rosemary Sutcliff wrote. I lament the fact that true camaraderie and brotherly love are sadly missing from today's society. In fact, they are looked down upon as being less than manly, when in actuality, only true men can have real manly friendships. I recently got really angry reading a lot of reviews for the movie The Eagle that called Marcus' and Esca's manliness into question because the movie actually portrayed a strong brotherly bond between the two that amazingly did justice to Rosemary Sutcliff's novel and was sadly misinterpreted by a lot of people. Can't two guys be friends anymore without people thinking they're gay? I lament the loss of camaraderie--what's it called in today's vernacular, 'bromance'? Brotherly love is a strong thing that women can't really understand. We female breed do not have the same kind of camaraderie between us and other women as men have among themselves. We go out for coffee and go shopping and we laugh and giggle and gossip, but guys have a much stronger bond. Women will not tell each other what is bothering them until things blow way over the top and end up starting a war. Guys will just beat each other up and get it over with if they've got a problem and then be great friends. So anyway, to get back to the point... I wanted to show a strong sense of camaraderie and brotherhood in this story, even though no one is related by blood. Men need their wives and lasses (and there is a romantic subplot in this story as well-actually, two- for those of you who can't live without the romance), but they also need their good friends, especially during times of war. Those who are tried in the same fires. I tried to portray that in this book in as real a way as possible. It sets well against the gritty backdrop of medieval warfare, and keeps them all together.
I also wanted to challenge myself a little bit with this story and write a more realistic look into the period. While Ballad of the Highwayman was a romantic adventure where the story line was written to be more of a classic, cozy read, I really wanted to show the darker side of war in On a Foreign Field. There is a big difference between the medieval time period and the romantic 17th century, but I've never really set out to write something quite so gritty. I hoped to portray a more real look into war, and also add characters who are flawed and struggle with dark times. This is also the first book I have ever written without a definitive villain. It was not important to this story. This story is about the characters, an internal conflict, and while it is as accurate as I could possibly make it, the history is not the important part. This is the story of Reeve and how he came to meet William Wallace.
If you haven't read my preview yet, please do so here: https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1103516
Check back soon for more updates about On a Foreign Field!