2nd Book Finals for Chaucer Award

Chaucer-Awards-2015I just found out that Daughter of Destiny (under its previous title, Guinevere of Northgallis) is a finalist for the 2015 Chaucer Awards for historical fiction. It will be in a separate category from Madame Presidentess, which is also a finalist. Here’s the list showing both books.

What wonderful news less than 48 hours before publication!

Publication Announcement!

Image purchased from Dreamstime

Image purchased from Dreamstime

This is the blog post I’ve been waiting four years to write. I’m excited to announce that you will be seeing four (maybe even five) books from me in 2016!

That’s because I’ve made the decision to become an independent author. I’m even in the process of setting up my own company, which will be my publication house.

Here’s the publication schedule:

  1. Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere’s Tale: Book 1) – January 1
  2. Camelot’s Queen (Guinevere’s Tale: Book 2) – March 23
  3. Been Searching for You (formerly He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not) – May 23
  4. Madame Presidentess – July 25

And if the stars align, I’d love to have Mistress of Legend (Guinevere’s Tale: Book 3) published by the end of 2016, but that may be a bit ambitious, so I’m not making any promises yet.

All of these books will be available in e-book, print and audio formats. (Audio may come later than the others, depending on the production schedule. I’ll keep you updated.)

These books are the beginning of three series that I’ll continue in years to come:

  1. Arthurian Legend – Obviously, this includes the three Guinevere’s Tale books, but I also plan to write Tristan and Isolde’s story (Isolde demanded it when she walked into my head all those years ago), as well as several novellas. I’m also planning a companion book that tells you more about the details of my Arthurian world – you know, all the stuff that didn’t fit into the books.
  2. Love in the Windy CityBeen Searching for You was supposed to be a standalone novel. However, my beta readers immediately came back and demanded more, as have several contest judges. I’m pretty sure that there will be two more books in this series. I don’t want to give away more than that until all of you get to read it and tell me if you agree there’s more to Annabeth and Alex’s story (and Miles, Mia, and Nick).
  3. Heroines of the 19th CenturyMadame Presidentess (about Victoria Woodhull) is the first of four books about three feisty, mostly unknown, real-life women of the 19th century. Victoria was the first female to run for President in the United States. Another woman I will write about was a Morman with dreams of a new life in California, who unexpectedly became involved with Indians in the Wild West (I think her story will be two books). The other is a French woman who made a certain brand of high-end wine a household name in a time when women simply did not work. Though they are from vastly different worlds, none of these ladies lived the traditional role set out for women of their time and the world is better for it.

Which one will I focus on once the third Guinevere book is out? I have no idea. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I have 22 books floating around in my head, so it will really be up to the muse and the characters what comes next. Well, that and how all of you react to the books once you can read them.

As many of you know, this has been a long journey with many ups and downs, and I want to make sure you know how grateful I am for all of you sticking with me, whether you’ve been here from the beginning or are just hopping on for the ride. I plan to keep you apprised of every step in the process and will give additional information as soon as I can. Look for cover reveals, early sample chapters, giveaways and more as publication dates approach.

Eventually I’ll get to the fun stuff like scheduling book signings and virtual tours (hope to get to meet some of you via Skype!), but right now I’m working on securing a cover designer, map illustrator (for the Guinevere books) and editor. Plus learning everything I can about self publishing. Before long it will be time to firm up the audio deal. Every day brings a new challenge, but it’s something I am having so much fun learning. For me, this is a career and a business, so I want to get it right.

Curious as to why I chose to self-publish? Find out my reasoning on Thursday, August 28, over at Spellbound Scribes.

Are you excited that my books will finally be out there? Which one(s) are you most looking forward to? Anything in particular you want to see in terms of marketing?

15 Years of Guinevere

15th anniversary Guinevere

Warrior

Today is a very special day for me. It’s the 15th anniversary of when I wrote the first words to the Guinevere trilogy.  It’s interesting to me that in the 57 million revisions it’s gone through since then (including at least one almost total rewrite and several partial rewrites), the opening line and most of the prologue haven’t changed. I think that’s because when Guinevere came to me, she told me exactly how the series was to be set up, in words that resonate with meaning even over time.

I’m planning to recount the tale of how the book came to be in the author’s notes of the first novel, but wanted to share it with you here first. (Chances are good this is a longer version than what will end up in the notes, anyway.)

Guinevere came into my head in September 1999, when I was a junior in college. I had read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon the winter before and, really disliking her portrayal of Guinevere, sought out other books that portrayed her as a main character. I read Parke Godwin’s Beloved Exile, which deals with her life after Arthur’s death. Though I didn’t think this storyline probable, it got me wondering happened to Guinevere before and after her life with Arthur – usually you only read about the stuff in between.

Priestess

Priestess

I can still remember the moment Guinevere first took up residence in my head. I was sitting in a quiet stone walkway on an otherwise unremarkable morning of the fall semester when she told me she had a story to tell, one different from anything anyone else has said. It was in that moment we struck a bargain and I decided to write my own version. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. This never really was my story; it’s always been Guinevere’s. She’s been calling the shots from the very first word.

Her basic command was this: Her reputation has been ruined by generations of storytellers who have reduced her to a wanton temptress, taking away her agency as a woman and a queen. My duty was to restore her to her former glory. (No pressure.) But it’s a challenge I happily accepted.

I thought it was only going to be one book. I outlined it that way, with three parts. But by the time I got to the end of the first “part,” I realized it was as long as an average novel. That was my wakeup call – the moment I realized this could be something real, something more than a hobby. I started researching publishing, querying, and started this blog. The rest, as they say, is history.

Lover

Lover

So many years later, with two of the books finished (at least until an editor gets a hold of them) and the third with a solid first draft complete, it’s hard to believe it all started out so simply. I guess most dreams do.

While I still can’t share the book with you, I can promise that you will see it eventually. It may be later than we all desire, and may come about in a way that no one expects, but it will happen. All I ask is that you hang in there with me, or should I say, us. Guinevere is still here and she’s just as adamant that her story be told today as she was 15 years ago. It’s a story the world needs to hear.

What are you most interested in reading about when the Guinevere books finally are published? 

Meet My Main Character: Guinevere

I’ve been fortunate to be tagged twice in this blog hop, by Malcolm Noble and J.F. Ridgley (go learn about their main characters, I’ll wait.) Since I happen to have two books in flight right now, you’ll see this for two different main characters. Today, meet Guinevere, the main character of my Arthurian legend trilogy, which begins with Guinevere of Northgallis.

(On April 28, hop on over to Spellbound Scribes to meet Annabeth, the main character of my new romantic comedy.)

Jessica Brown Findlay is who I'd pick to play Guinevere.

Jessica Brown Findlay is who I’d pick to play Guinevere.

What is the name of your character? Is she fictional or a historic person?

Guinevere, daughter of Leodgrance, king of the kingdom of Gwynedd. She is a mythical character. Historians can’t prove whether or not King Arthur existed, so they definitely don’t know about her. If Arthur existed, chances are good he had a wife, but that her name was actually Guinevere is doubtful.

When and where is the story set?

The story is set in post-Roman Britain, approximately 490 – 530 AD for the whole trilogy. The first book takes you from spring 491 through autumn 496. Most of the action of the first book is in the kingdoms of Gwynedd and Dyfed, both in modern-day Wales, and also on Avalon, which I locate at Glastonbury Tor in Glastonbury.

What should we know about Guinevere?

Guinevere is not the subservient woman we see in many versions of Arthurian legend. She is a Celt and they had very progressive laws regarding women, who were powerful in their own right. Guinevere’s mother is of the Votadini tribe, which is in modern-day southern Scotland. In her lifetime, it was a buffer area between Britain and the Pictish tribes. The Votadini were a warrior people, so Guinevere was raised to be able wield a sword and govern a kingdom. She also has second sight, which runs in her family.

What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Guinevere’s first conflict is the appearance of her second sight. She doesn’t know how to control it, so she has the choice to join the priestesses of Avalon to be trained with them. She expected to live the normal life of a noblewoman, but this sets her life on a whole new path. Later, when she leaves Avalon, she finds that the world is rapidly abandoning her pagan faith for Christianity, so she must learn to balance the conflict of faiths in a time of great political upheaval.

What is the personal goal of the character?

Having been raised to know her own worth, she wants to be a strong leader like her mother and marry for love, rather than political gain.

When can we expect Guinevere of Northgallis to be published?

I don’t know. That’s out of my hands at the moment. Hopefully soon!

Who’s next in this blog hop?

This hop started with historical fiction writers, but I’m breaking the mold. Next up is the lovely Cassandra Page, who writes urban fantasy.

Do you have any questions about Guinevere or her story? Ask away in the comments below.

St. Louis Writer’s Guild Interview Now Online

In case you missed it, here’s the interview I did a few weeks ago with the St. Louis Writer’s Guild. Learn about my research and writing processes, tips and tricks, and even get some inside scoop on the Guinevere books!

Why Write: Arthurian Fiction with Nicole Evelina

Kristin McFarland

Readers, today we have one of my writing buddies, Nicole Evelina, here to talk about Arthurtian fiction! This is a genre dear to my heart, because I went through a very long period of Arthurian-obsession, and I’ll admit—that obsession persists today. Nicole has some great things to say about historical fiction and fantasy, mythological settings, and strong women in history. Check it out!

Hello, Nicole! You’re one of my #teamawesome buddies, but this is your first time here at the blog, so welcome! Tell us a little about yourself and your work.

Thanks, Kristin. I’m a historical fiction writer. I’m currently writing an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view. I’m also planning a book about Tristan and Isolde, who are part of the Arthurian legend.

You write Arthurian novels! That delights me — my ten-year-old self desperately wanted to write Arthurian fantasy. What made you decide to write…

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Big News: I Have an Agent!

My new agent, Jen

My new agent, Jen

You may have noticed I missed my normal Monday blog this week. That’s because there were big book things afoot and now I can talk about them. Please help me welcome Jen Karsbaek from Larsen Pomada Literary Agents (the web site hasn’t been updated, so she’s not listed yet). I’m her first client. I am so excited to be working with her to get Guinevere’s story out to all of you.

I got “the call” around 8:35 p.m. last night. She and fellow agent Pam van Hylckama Vlieg were on the phone. We talked a little bit and then Jen made me the offer. I didn’t really have to think. I knew it was meant to be. I signed the contract this morning and that made it official.

If I had any doubts (which I didn’t), they were assuaged when Jen tweeted this today, “Trying to take a break from @nicoleevelina‘s manuscript so I can look at it again w fresh eyes, but sort of just want to return to her world.” It is so wonderful to have someone who loves my world as much as I do and is excited to find out what happens next!

Next up is another round of revisions, and after that, I’m not really sure, but Jen is there to help me through it all. I’m excited to keep you guys up to date as things progress!

Signing my contract!

Signing my contract!

Tyler Tichelaar over at Children of Arthur was kind enough to interview me about my writing and I thought all of you may want to see it.

CHILDREN OF ARTHUR

Today, I’ve asked author Nicole Evelina to be my guest and let me interview her about the novel for which she is currently seeking a publisher, titled Guinevere of Northgallis.

Nicole Evelina is a writer from the Midwest. Guinevere of Northgallis is her first novel and is part of an anticipated trilogy. Nicole has spent the last 12 years researching Arthurian legend, Celtic Britain and the various peoples, cultures and religious practices that shaped the country after the withdrawal of Rome. She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society.

Nicole holds a B.A. in English and M.A. in media communications, as well as accreditation from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), a distinction that tests writing and communications skill, and is held by only 8,000 people worldwide.

Tyler: Welcome, Nicole. As a writer of Arthurian novels myself (I plan to publish King Arthur’s Legacy in the…

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