Weather: We live indoors. Third world problem. Other cultures and ages past were outside more. The weather meant so much.
Pg 92: What does the reader think will happen at this point? Miri can't imagine an outcome that is right for her. I wonder what readers assume, what readers hope for.
interlocutor: trivia! I first learned this word in Spanish.
Pg 96: As a commentor pointed out, there's as much prejudice on Mount Eskel toward the lowlanders as the reverse. Here Miri realizes her bigoted assumptions about Britta were wrong.
Conversation & Diplomacy: Many people have asked me for the rules of these two subjects as I used them in the book. I should write them up and put them on my site. I think one theme in this book deals with rules--how useful it is to know them, follow them, and sometimes break them. But knowing comes first.
Knut: I like this chap. When I was in England in college, I made friends with the porters of our college--older men who kept the gates and the grounds that the other students, I noticed, largely ignored. My friendship with the porters ended up greatly enhancing my trip. I had so much fun with them, and with their friendship I found I had access and privileges that others didn't. I can't remember, but I think my experience with the porters informed my writing of Knut's and Miri's friendship.
Commerce: We worried that the title "Princess Academy" might be misleading, since it could sound fluffy. My editor suggested a subtitle. I said (not seriously), "How about Princess Academy: An Adventure in Education!" Yeah, tell readers the book is about the value of education and no one will open the book. And it's not just about that of course. But for many young readers, I understand that this is their first exposure to the idea of commerce, as it was for Miri.
Bekah asks, "if Miri had gone to Olana and asked to borrow a book, would she really have lent it to Miri?" It's a good question, but I try to resist giving more information about the book than what's in the text. I know so much more about characters than I could put in, but telling all that is a slippery slope. I don't want to become the Voice of Authority. I want the reader to be able to decide for herself, have some wiggle room in the story to insert her own understanding. With these posts, I hope to give a peek into the writer side of the story without declaring any True Interpretations. Does that make sense?
Audrey S asks, "Were the quarry-speech songs based, at all, on something you've heard in real life?" Some I just made up, some I based the rhythm on other songs or poems. Most notably, the poem on chapter 24 is inspired by "The Hosting of the Sidhe" by W.B. Yeats. The mountain men and bandit poems are inspired by the work song "Po Lazurus." I read a lot of work songs looking for rythmns of the quarry songs.