I would like to extend a warm New Adult Addiction welcome to Jamie Marchant, author of The Goddess’s Choice. I love your cover – I’ve always been a sucker for Celtic design! (and horses!) She was kind enough to drop by and answer some questions about herself and her book, so please enjoy! Jamie will be guest posting on Friday, so make sure to check back for that as well!
What kind of research did you have to do to bring this story to life on the page?
Since one of my main characters is a healer, I researched herbal remedies and medieval medicine. I don’t have a lot of experience with horses, so I had to research horses and horse diseases. I also researched various facts about medieval life, including court dances and foods. To add additional favor, I researched Celtic gods and goddesses as well as holidays. Sulis is the Celtic goddess of healing, and all the holidays in my novel are based on the Celtic calendar, although I’ve taken plenty of liberties with them and made them truly Korthlundian.
When you start a new book, do you like to outline the entire story or fly by the seat of your pants?
Although it is an adult epic fantasy novel, The Goddess’s Choice is loosely based on a fairy tale, so I had some structure imposed on it to begin with. But the fairy tale is only five pages, and the book is nearly four hundred, so I added a lot! For instance, the story of Samantha—the crown princess and heroine of my novel—is almost completely absent from the fairy tale.
Other than the imposed structure of the original tale, I’m a more fly-by-the-seat-my-pants kind of writer. I never made a written outline or plotted a story arc. I had a basic idea of where I wanted to end up, although I didn’t know exactly how The Goddess’s Choice was going to end until I was nearly there. A lot of where the story goes depends on the characters. They tend to take on a life of their own.
What about your characters? Do you figure them out entirely before you start writing or do they reveal themselves to you along the way?
I figure them out some beforehand, but mostly the characters reveal themselves along the way. Robbie—a peasant healer and hero of the novel—I basically knew before I started writing, and he changed little from the way I initially imagined him. Samantha was a different matter entirely. In the original fairy tale, she is nothing more than a prize to be handed off to the victor. I wanted her to be every bit as important as Robbie, but I didn’t know exactly how to go about achieving that. I made quite a few false starts, and she evolved as I wrote and as I received feedback. As far as the minor characters are concerned, I had the germ of their personalities when I began, but they slowly revealed to me exactly who they wanted to be.
What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of and why?
The scene I’m most proud of is when Robbie learns to forgive. He is horribly mistreated as a child, and the scene where he learns forgiveness was very difficult to write. The importance of forgiveness was one of the points I most wanted to make in the novel, and the scene took a delicate balancing act. I didn’t want to come off preachy, and I didn’t want forgiveness to come too easily. I had to rewrite the scene dozens of times to get it right.
If you could have dinner with one of your characters who would it be?
Probably King Solar. The ninety-year-old king has the wisdom of his age and position, and I think he would make a fascinating dinner companion. Also, he is partially based on my grandmother, whom I miss tremendously.
Which fictional character do you have a secret crush on?
Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s The Dresden File. He tends to have a difficult time with women, but he’d have an easy time with me.
My first novel The Goddess’s Choice was released in April 2012 from Reliquary Press. I am hard at work on the sequel, tentatively titled The Soul Stone. My short fiction has been published in Bards & Sages, The World of Myth, and Short-story.me.