Queen of Swords in paperback

On September 25, 2007, the paperback edition of Queen of Swords will be released. That is one month minus two days.

I never did open things up for questions about Queen of Swords. For a long time after I wrote it, I was too unsettled to have anwered them, anyway. It’s hard to do bad things to your characters, even when the story demands it. For example, I know many people were sad or even upset with me when a character died in Fire Along the Sky. I was pretty upset with me too, to tell the truth.

But it was important to the greater flow of the story, and in fact it was the right way for that particular character’s story to end. Someplace I remember seeing a post or an essay called When Bad Things Happen to Good Characters. I didn’t actually read it, but I remember thinking that it says a great deal about the power of storytelling, if readers can be so emotionally invested in fictional characters. It’s the real test of a good story. Stephen King says that people still come up to him and ask how Frannie and Stu are doing — two central characters from The Stand. As if he sat down and visited with them every week and had news, but wouldn’t share it. He knows, and the reader who loves Frannie and Stu does not.

This is, of course, where fanfiction comes in. If there’s enough of a fan base who just can’t let go of the characters, they will fill in the blanks. It’s the greatest compliment of all.

I have some characters that I am absolutely unwilling to let go of, which is why I re-read the books they live in so often. A few of them: Melanthe (Laura Kinsale’s For My Lady’s Heart), Christabel La Motte (A.S. Byatt’s Possession), Niccolo de Fleury (Dorothy Dunnett’s Niccolo Rising series), Frannie (Charles McCarthy’s Bride of the Wilderness), Sebastien de Saint Villier (Judy Cueva’s / Judith Ivory’s Dance).

My own characters I don’t put into this list because they live in my head, and I couldn’t be shut of them if I wanted to.

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5 Replies to “Queen of Swords in paperback”

  1. It is strange to think sometimes that a fictional character can inspire a human being to take action or become something, or do something. But I believe that happens all the time to readers. I know I wanted to learn so many different skills after I watched a James Bond film at a young age. It just opened my mind to the idea of being multi-talented in a practical way. Silly maybe, to be inspired by James Bond, but true. (this was before the films took note of Bond’s emotions)

  2. Pam, speaking of James Bond. Just yesterday I said to my hubby, I wonder what James Bond was like as a kid. He said “What??” and I said “no, really I wonder what a character like that would have been like as a child, growing up, how does one become James Bond.”

    I honestly wish I could have written the story, but that is not my type of fiction though I admit a curiosity.

    Rosina, I think that’s part of why so many people appreciated that Jamie and Clair were mentioned in Into the Wilderness, it was sort of finding out how they were, the old fly on a wall feeling (though nothing was really revealed).

    I do appreciate fan fiction, even though I don’t read it and that’s because as far as I’m concerned its not the true continuation, because it wasn’t written by the author. Though you writing Into The Wilderness, is that some form of fan fiction based on James Fenimore Cooper’ Last of the Mohicans?

  3. In Chapter 41 there were 2 men who tied Agnes to a chair and then set fire to the house. Who were they? This a question I asked on the QofS book study. I think they were Ben and Tomaso Delgado.

    I understood that Kit had to die. He was so very flawed. At the same time you developed his character so well that I truly didn’t want him to die. He probably would have committed suicide later anyway since he felt he failed in his final mission.

    1. asdfg–

      Nope. Not those two.

      There were many people who had a much longer standing hatred of Agnes, and for excellent reason. Those feelings reached a crisis point after Tintine went missing and Solange was sold away.

      Some of those people were there just before the fire, and two of them set it. You do know one of them by name.

  4. Ah, not 2 men. Bad assumption. Agnes was in bed and not too strong; so it didn’t necessarily have to be men to be strong enough to overpower her. Probably Valerie and an unnamed person.

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