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Romancing the Legend
I remember the first time I read Arthurian legends, and like so many others, the characters and the stories captivated me. When I started my trilogy, The Knights of Excalibur, it was a complete accident. A friend of mine put out a call to submit a horror based short story for an anthology, she was pitching to her editor.
Excited about the project I soon became immersed in a story about Frankenstein’s creature, because hey, monsters need love too! I got half way through the project when the anthology plan hit the skids, and I had a partially written manuscript that just didn’t seem quite right.
The more I worked it, the more I disliked the concept. I can’t tell you how often this happens to writers, so I put it aside for a week and didn’t think about it, working on several other projects instead. After a week, I took the story back out and found I still felt the same way about it. As I prepared to delete the whole thing, purging it from my computer and my brain, my muse broke in with five words.
“The Once and Future King.”
Yeah, kind of a "if you build it, they will come" type scene from Field of Dreams.
I could not understand where my muse was leading me, there have been so many well-written books on the Arthurian legends I did not see what I could add to it. Then the flood gates opened. Yes, there is a plethora of books on this and yep, they all deal with the same storyline. Then I thought of Future King. That’s when the whole concept hit.
Set it in contemporary America, Arthur's knights have been reincarnating for centuries, remembering every past life and waiting for the time when Arthur is reborn to take the reins of leadership once again. Not as easy as it sounds when Arthur’s son Mordred is also back and determined to unleash hell on earth, after he destroys Arthur and his knights.
These books deal with evolving relationships. Simon and Darius have always been close, but when that closeness turns to love, Darius, in particular, must grapple with the implications. Can he truly love a man when he has always been attracted to women? Just when he figures out he can, Simon’s lost love Morgause show’s up adding a new complication to their untried union. Can the three of them make a relationship work?
Then there is Arthur, his world is falling down around him when Guinevere once again enters his life. Reincarnated as Gwen McAllister, she is a powerful witch, one Mordred needs in his plans to destroy Arthur and the world.
The part I’m especially fond of is dealing with the past betrayals. Many of the stories make Guinevere the temptress that destroys Camelot with her adulterous ways. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, she is portrayed in a bad light. Just like life, there are many sides to an issue, and I explore those in my latest book.
With a great deal of creative license, I took these characters and threw them into the here and now. They all have garbage from the past they need to let go of in order to embrace the happiness waiting for them.
Forgiving and trusting can be an insurmountable obstacle for someone who has been betrayed. I think we have all been there at some point in our lives, but it’s not impossible. In this last story, The King’s Lady, the betrayal is viewed from all sides, Arthur, Gwen, and Lancelot. A deeper understanding of their dynamics comes to light, giving them all the chance at a new life and love as it should have been.
I’m really very excited how this trilogy came together and being able to tell Guinevere’s story as I see it gave me a thrill. I think Gwen likes it too.
A Note from the Book Boost: Hey Shannan, thanks for joining us again at the Boost. It has been a long time since you've guest blogged here. Love how your plan took a turn for the better and I wish you much luck with the series. Tell us more about your latest.
Arthur Penner is more than happy to aid a lady in need of help, especially if the woman is targeted by his nemesis Vance Hollister. The fact the lady in question turns out to be not only a powerful witch, but a gorgeous red head with a wealth of curves that don’t quit? Even better.
What he isn’t prepared for is the discovery that the woman just happens to be his reincarnated Queen Gwenivere, and worse, she has no memory of who he is.
His well-ordered life is crumbling around him as yet another surprise turns up in the form of his reincarnated sister. It seems the past is swallowing him whole, forcing him to let go of previous betrayals and trust once more.
Gwen McAllister finds herself between a rock and a hard spot. Drawn to the quiet strength and confidence of Arthur. It isn’t until her memories are savagely restored by a vengeful goddess that she realizes who she is and the bitter betrayal she caused. Even her familiar, a mouthy Himalayan named Salt seems to be against her, demanding she trust the very man she destroyed with her life.
A new threat is rising, one which will plunge the world they know into darkness. To defeat an old enemy they must depend on each other and learn to forgive. A tall order and time is running out. Can they let go of the past and embrace the promise of a future or will they lose everything in the ultimate battle between good and evil?
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