Please join me in welcoming author J. Boyce Gleason to Let Them Read Books! I recently read his debut historical fiction novel, Anvil of God, and thoroughly enjoyed it--it's like a Carolingian soap opera! (Click here to read my review.) I'm so pleased to have Mr. Gleason here today talking about the writing process and how the best-laid plans can fall by the wayside when research and characters start to take over! Read on, and then enter to win a copy of Anvil of God. Without further ado, here he is!
When I first sat down to write Anvil of God, I imagined it to be a much different book. I had envisioned it to be the story of Charlemagne and one of his knights immortalized by the epic poem “The Song of Roland.” I had studied the period in college and had always thought it a fascinating moment in history that framed much of what we now call western civilization.
That story didn’t happen. Instead, I wrote a novel about a young woman who flees her father’s court to escape an arranged marriage in an attempt to find love amongst his enemies.
I blame my research. Most of us studied Charlemagne for less than a week in the eighth grade. All we know is that for a brief moment during the Dark Ages, a powerful king emerged who conquered Europe, restored the Holy Roman Empire, and fashioned a government based on the rule of law. A patron of the arts, he promoted literacy and fashioned a small renaissance before there was the Renaissance.
In studying him, I found that there were two Charlemagnes. One was a mythical Charlemagne who, like King Arthur, had knights who went on quests to find the Holy Grail, and the other, a historical figure who, like most rulers of the time, was a ruthless monarch that seized and held power like a miser.
So where do I start a story like that? Do I follow the myth or the man? To find the place where it all began – the myth as well as the legend – I kept moving my research backwards in time. What I learned was that the legend of Charlemagne started two generations earlier with his grandfather, Charles the Hammer. And, more importantly, I found a story that made the family’s rise to power a personal one. I found Trudi.
Anvil of God begins with the death of Charles the Hammer. We see the impact of his passing on the fate of his children and the fate of the continent. Although he tried to pass the mantle of leadership to his three sons and protect his southern border by marrying off his daughter to a Lombard prince, all his plans go awry.
Anvil is a story of a family in crisis – only this family’s choices have consequences for an entire continent. Son battles son, Christianity battles paganism, and Charles’s daughter, Trudi, must choose between love and her family’s ambitions.
It’s a true story. Many historians have call Trudi’s flight the “scandal of the eighth century.” I have a different name for it. I call it, Anvil of God.
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Anvil of God?
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This giveaway is open to US residents and ends at 11:59pm Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Winner will be selected at random. Thanks and good luck!
Anvil of God is on a blog tour!
J. Boyce Gleason will be here tomorrow
with a guest post and a giveaway!