Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Week in the Birth of a Novel

   April is a crazy month for schoolteachers.  It's the Fourth Quarter; every moment of class time is devoted to trying to work in all the lessons you need to teach your kids before the year draws to a close - and yet it is also the most interrupted time of the year!  It seems as if every single day students are gone from class for SOMETHING - Science Fair, Track Meet, Baseball Games, Field Trips - and meanwhile, the calendar just keeps ticking on down.
   The calendar is also ticking down on two other things: the release date for my second novel, THE REDEMPTION OF PONTIUS PILATE, which is set for May 19 - only 38 days to go!!! as of this writing.  The other thing rapidly approaching is the self-appointed finish date for my current WIP, LOVER OF GOD, which I told myself I would try to conclude by the end of this school year.  Problem is, I've been very lazy about writing for the last month or so.  This week all of that changed.
    Easter Sunday, after church,  I decided that I would not go to bed until I had completed Chapter 16, which I had been stuck on for two weeks.  So I came in, rested for a bit, and then sat and wrote until around 10 PM.  Marcus, my main character, had been sent on an inspection tour of Rome's provinces by Claudius Caesar, and then on a diplomatic expedition to Ecbatana, the capitol of the Parthian Empire, bearing a personal note from the Emperor to the High King of Parthia.  I had left off with Marcus returning to Rome bearing a very truculent reply from the Parthian King, and he was in the middle of his meeting with Claudius when I returned to the narrative.   I got that chapter wrapped up, with Claudius rewarding Marcus for his loyal service and getting the preparations done for Marcus' triumphal parade, celebrating his victory in the province of Pannonia over an invading horde of Osterlings. 
   By Tuesday, I was ready to start the next chapter.  Since I have the manuscript stored in a cloud, I can access it from anywhere, so I was able to start on it from work that afternoon and keep at it until Wednesday night.  Now my hero celebrates his triumph, returns to the Senate, and gets a marriage proposal from one of his old legal clients - actually, the client wants Marcus to marry his daughter, a 22 year old widow.  After meeting the lovely lady, Marcus agrees - so then I had to go do a heap of research into early Roman wedding customs in order to make the ceremony as authentic as possible.
   But the main story arc of LOVER OF GOD is Marcus' defense of the Apostle Paul before the Emperor Nero, which means that it was time for dear old Claudius to bite the dust.  Since I already had a full head of steam going, I began Chapter 18 Thursday and finished it last night.  Poor old Claudius got hold of a bowl of poisoned mushrooms, and on his deathbed calls for his old friend Marcus to help keep his two sons, Nero and Britannicus, from killing each other over the succession.  A tall order, since the poisoned mushrooms were most likely administered either by Nero, or his scheming mother, Agrippina. 
   So now my hero has to steer a narrow course between two ambitions teenagers, a scheming dowager Empress, and help the Empire deal with a coming war with Parthia . . . all that before I can even think about getting Paul to Rome for the novel's climax!

     Being a writer is fun, but it's wearing me out!  Twenty six pages of finished manuscript in a week is grueling, but I'm glad to have it done.

   In the meantime, I'll be posting a link to THE REDEMPTION OF PONTIUS PILATE as soon as it becomes available.  I hope you all will enjoy my second book as much as you enjoyed my first one.  And if you haven't read the first one yet . . . get on with it!!!!!!!

   Till next week, a blessing on you all!

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