The official blog of Historical Fiction author, Mary Anne Yarde, and home to The Coffee Pot Book Club and Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots. Come and join Mary Anne on the hunt for everything historical, as well as mythological. Oh, and let's not forget the odd book or two! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...
Ruth Kaufman is talking about what inspired her to write — My Once & Future Love. Ruth is also sharing some top writing tips. #Giveaway #amwriting #Historical Fiction @RuthKaufman
Inspired by a Legend
By Ruth Kaufman
I’m a pantser (meaning I write by the seat of my pants), not a plotter
(who plans ahead by writing a synopsis of the entire book, or outlining scenes
and/or plot points), so each story develops as I go. When an opening scene came
to mind of a wounded man fleeing his enemies, I didn’t know who he was, why he
was running or who was after him.
Eventually he let me know he was a Knight of the Round Table. Hmmm. That
meant I’d have to take on the legend of King Arthur (KA) and his knights. A
daunting task, because many readers know some of the tales first told hundreds
of years ago and are aware of how they’ve changed over time. They’ve read the
novels and have seen the movies.
Could I find a way to make the legend fresh and interesting, yet retain
enough of the familiar and beloved elements to ground readers?
I hope what I learned helps you:
·Take some time to absorb what you can about the cast of characters and
events that are in the public domain. Pay attention to significant variations,
important themes, values and motifs. I already had a good grasp of and
appreciation for KA, and had a shelf full of books of tales and analysis about
him and his knights.
·Decide what and who you’ll retain, what you’ll let go, what you’ll change and what
you’ll add. I decided to write about the unsung knights no one has heard about,
giving me freedom to create characters from scratch. Another Arthurian author
may, for example, choose to develop his/her version of Lancelot as a hero
rather than make him a secondary character or not feature him at all.
·Worldbuilding is key. The time period and specific location you choose will impact
everything from clothing to food to housing to technology or lack thereof. Late
medieval England (my choice because I have some knowledge of and more than 200
books on the period) will yield a completely different environment than outer
space or modern day. Be cognizant of the balance of description and the other
elements of your novel. Too many details, no matter how interesting or cool to
you, can overwhelm readers and bury the story.
·Choose an active jumping off point. Deluging readers with backstory to
get them up to speed on everything you know about the characters isn’t
recommended (some authors use prologues or frontmatter to share the bare bones of
their legend). Perhaps your hero or heroine is taking her first step of a
quest, or danger is imminent.
·Choose your tone(s). How dark or light will you go? Will you find a humorous angle? The
TV show Once Upon a Time is a good example of how to do both when
revisiting fairytales. And what will your intimacy level be...do you prefer
sweet, hot, or something in between? If there’s any violence, how graphic will you
·How many paranormal elements will you incorporate? Will you take a “normal”
legend and make it paranormal, and if so, what percent of your story will be
devoted to that? Or will you use a legend that already incorporates magic, non-human
and/or mythical beings, etc., and expand upon or limit the supernatural?
If you want to take on a legend, how do you find one? Just search “myths
and legends” on Amazon to find compilations. A quick internet search led to many
pages just for English characters: Wikipedia.
& Future Love
(Unsung Knights of the Round Table
Morgan ap Myrddin must rescue his
father, Merlin, from imprisonment. But enemies have wounded him, draining his
Annora of Amberton flees her castle
to seek proof that she’s not a lunatic as her uncle declared when claiming
wardship over her and her lands.
Morgan stumbles upon Annora’s
cottage and enlists her aid. As he helps her in return, respect and undeniable
desire spark. But he won’t succumb to the lure of a mortal woman as his father
did. She’s wary of caring for a man who won’t discuss his past. When he tells
her he’s a Knight of the Round Table, she fears he’s the lunatic. Secrets,
danger and destiny thwart the power of love.
Flames of agony seared Morgan ap Myrddin. Blood, crimson as the dragon
on his long-lost banner, streamed down his side, soaking remnants of the shirt
pressed against his arrow wound to staunch the flow. He sped through the
forest, cracking branches in his haste.
Heart pounding hard as a hammer on an anvil, he caught his breath
behind a wide oak
and leaned heavily on the rough bark. Amidst a shower of autumn
leaves, he closed his eyes to focus his dwindling strength and energy on listening.
What he sought lay beyond the wind swishing through the trees.
He sought the footsteps of his enemies.
Morgan’s ears, keener than those of any mortal man’s, strained to
capture the distant sounds of an army on the move. The faint rumble, the subtle
shaking of the ground beneath his feet told him what he needed to know. His
Never before, in thirty-two mortal years fraught with danger, had he
come so close to being trapped.
Closing his eyes, he raised his arms to summon aid, to call upon his
vast powers. Nothing happened. Nothing changed.
Icy needles of unfamiliar fear pierced him. “Taliesin preserve me,” he
No answer. His Mysteries had faded so, he couldn’t even hear the wisdom
of his ancestors.
Morgan ran. He stumbled into a tree, dizzy from loss of blood. He had
to move faster or they would capture him.
And his father would remain imprisoned for all eternity.
Giveaway is now closed. Winner are announced in the comments.
Ruth Kaufman is giving awaytwo ebook copies of
"My Once & Future Love."
US Residents Only
All you need to do is answer this question:
“Who’s your favorite character in the tales of King Arthur?”
Leave your answer in the commentsat the bottom of this post.
• Leave your answer in the comments at the bottom of this post.
• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm BST on March 25th.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
• Giveaway is only open to US Residents only.
•Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
•Winners will be announced in the comments.
• Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Ruth Kaufman’s Wars of the Roses Brides trilogy (AT HIS COMMAND, FOLLOW YOUR HEART and THE BRIDE TOURNAMENT) reached #1 historical romance on Amazon in the US, Canada and Australia. Her romantic comedy MY LIFE AS A STAR is the standalone prequel to MY LIFE AS AN EXTRA. Accolades include 2016 Booksellers' Best Award double winner (Best Historical and Best First Book) and Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® winner.
Ruth is also an on-camera and voiceover talent with a J.D. and a Master's in Radio/TV. Credits include independent feature films, short films, web series, national TV commercials and thousands of voiceovers. She presents workshops for authors and actors and is a comedic storyteller.