There are more contractions when the Bayern speak than the Kildenreans. I just remembered in an earlier draft making that more obvious and doin' things like droppin' the 'g's in ing endings. It was too much.
That was also from Tacitus.
Enna tells the story of why the women go to war
I love this story. I read it somewhere, probably Tacitus, but I know it's historical. The few times I've retold it aloud, I've found myself choking up. I think it's just beautiful. So it was with real surprise that I received my first angry email (and have received many since) over this scene, calling shame for having ruined an otherwise clean book with this immoral story. Because the women bare their breasts, some readers were offended and thought it was inappropriate for young readers. Certainly everyone has a right to choose what will and won't work for them. But I don't find non-visual, non-sexual nudity remotely offensive. I am bothered by sexualizing the female breast in every instance. I am bothered by people telling me, my sisters, and other women who have breastfed our babies in public (covered up even) to stop. I believe over-sexualizing the female body contributes to rape culture. And I've never regretted including this story.
The reveal: Geric!
Many have told me they didn't suspect Geric was the prince, and that makes me happy. I love when I can give a happy surprise to a reader. Others have told me they suspected it from the beginning. Sometimes people will say, "I liked it even though I knew what was going to happen," or even say they didn't like the book because they predicted what would happen. I find this interesting. The idea that not knowing the ending is the only way to enjoy a story. I wonder if these kinds of readers never reread a favorite book or rewatch a favorite movie, or watch a movie adapted from a book they read, or read a book that's a retelling of a familiar story. I think there can be far more pleasures in engaging with a story or watching it unfold than simply having no idea where it's going to go.
But by the same token, some readers get upset when they don't know where it's going to go. If they were predicting a certain ending and I surprise them and they liked their daydreamed ending better, then they let me know the book was ruined for them. Ya'll are impossible to please! Which is why writers know that we can't write for you. If we tried, we'd always fail. We can only write for our internal reader and hope to find enough readers who are willing and happy to go along with the ride.
Savannah asks, "When you are writing a book do you always have the title in mind beforehand or is it something you come up with during the writing process?" Depends on the book. The Goose Girl was always that title. River Secrets I renamed from City of Rivers on the final draft.
Diana asks, "You've mentioned once or twice that you've contemplated and dismissed many Bayern book ideas. Because I am apparently a glutton for punishment and want to hear about books I'll probably never read... I'm curious. What concepts/characters have you considered?" I haven't necessarily dismissed them. I just have so many books I want to write it's hard to get to them all. Forest Born feels like a nice resting spot for me and Bayern for now. I may return one day.
Danielle says, "Often, I dread reading through fight scenes - sometimes it gets too technical for me, and I get bogged down by the amount of detail in them. But I've never experienced that in your books. I think that's because you always keep your focus on the story. While your fight scenes are realistic, they still hold true to the voice that your book began with, and so I'm not reading about somebody slashing someone or other for pages and pages, thinking "I wish this would be over already."' I feel the same way with lots of action scenes. I didn't really understand them always so I didn't feel like I could do them. I just had to learn to do them the way I'd want them to be I guess.