The Forest: Yesterday I went up a canyon here in Utah to make campfire tinfoil dinners with my family. We hiked up slender trails that crisscrossed the mountainside, completely in the shade of the close growth evergreen forest, dark trunks and gray-green spines. The ground was thick with the pale green of low-light plants, some sprayed with tiny white flowers. My niece had just finished reading The Goose Girl in a hammock. I told her that the mountain forest here was what I'd visualized when writing Bayern's Forest. Reading this chapter here reminds me of that again, "the groaning, beating, swaying, and creaking voice of the forest."
Geric calls the hundredbands: As I read this, I find I can't remember anymore the process, why hundred-bands (was it research? The Roman historian Tacitus's writings on Germania?). Did this scene of a prince calling to the Forest people invoke in my mind a scene from another book? A piece of history? Did I make it up from nothing? Some things I recall and some I don't. I know a (much different) version of this was in the first draft so this scene always felt important to me.
I found that Shakespeare quote! It's from Trollius and Cressida: "'There were wit in this head, an 'twould out;' and so there is, but it lies as coldly in him as fire in a flint, which will not show without knocking."
Enna's age: just read a note that originally I thought her age 22-25. This was in the first draft before Goose Girl sold as a children's book. I'd thought Ani originally 19 when she left home. I changed that to 16 I think. And my editor advised me instead of Enna Burning taking place 5 years after Goose Girl it was only two years in order to keep them teenagers. When I was writing The Goose Girl and then the first draft of Enna Burning, I was unfamiliar with young adult literature, which had sprung up in the decade after I graduated from high school, so I thought I was writing fantasy novels for adults, although I remember thinking that I wanted to write something that I would have loved from ages 10-16 (my best reading years) as well.
Libby asks, "How come Conrad is cut completely from Enna Burning?I mean he did play an important part during the good girl, and then just magically appears again in river secrets." He went the way of Ratger, Gilsa, and others. Razo and Finn were so important to this story, others like Conrad just couldn't be squeezed in. I know many were fond of him and wanted more of his story. I've had many requests for a Conrad book. But so far he just hasn't been as insistent to me for a story as, for example, Razo was.
Elsbet asks, "You said you based the names in your book mainly on German names, yet both Enna and Finn are Gaelic, did you do that purposefully, or not?" I found most of the Bayern names on lists of medieval German names. Names tend to float around, be traded between languages and cultures. Mostly I chose them because I liked how they sounded and they felt "Forest" to me.
Jess-ica asks, "I noticed when reading Enna Burning again that in this book it says she's 16 and Isi is 18/19 (2 years after GG where she was 16). In Goose Girl I always assumed they were the same age. Was there a particular reason for having Enna younger? Was she younger in your mind in Goose Girl too? Is 18 considered too old for a YA main character?" Yes, exactly. That was an editorial decision and one I didn't mind changing. People mature at such different rates (especially girls) that I was comfortable making her younger.
Rebecca says, "I love scenes with Geric and Isi. How comfortable they are with each other and how you can tell that as happy as Isi is to see Enna it's not until Geric enters that Isi relaxes. I feel the same way with my husband. Everything is just better when he is there...even if he is messing up the words to one of my favorite songs. ;-)" This chapter has some nice little bits between Isi and Geric. Even though this book isn't their story, I think it's nice to see where they are now, two years later.
Audrey on the last line of chapter 3: "now that I've read the book through more than once the last line is even more steeped in its intended uncomfortable-ness. It reminds me of things to come, and I involuntarily shudder at the memories more NOW then I did the first time I read the book." Foreshadowing! Foreshadowing! There is a pleasure in rereading a book, isn't there? One reason I do as many drafts as I do is for the rereaders. Honestly a 3rd or 4th draft of my books might be as enjoyable to most readers as my 12th draft, but it takes 12+ to polish a story down to each word so that it stands up to the scrutiny of the noble rereaders!