Welcome to my blog. Today is an exciting day. After years of planning and writing, crumbling up massive amounts of paper and throwing it in the trash, giving up, then starting over again, I finally hold in my hands my first published book.
What began as a single story about a young medieval princess-turned-queen, who discovers she has the ability to do magic, grew into a three-book saga. As the writing went on, a backstory emerged, and I soon realized that there was more to the tale than the words on the page of a pampered, albeit feisty, eighteen-year-old wearing the queen’s crown. The story developed with a cast of brave magical people, mystical characters, and valiant knights and kings determined to save the world from an evil spirit.
Maiden Hills is the story of Juliana, and there wouldn’t be a story without her courage and determination as she pushed through her reluctance to get involved in something as dreadful as magic. She’s torn between the life she has been accustomed to, and joining forces with people she didn’t even know existed until the twist and turns of life led her to discover her true heritage.
It may be something we may have experienced in our own lives. We enjoy the comfort of what may be a humdrum life, but it’s better than turning it on its head and taking risks. Without Juliana’s action, whether by her own accord or forced upon her by circumstances, Maiden Hills would’ve been a short story.
There’s a bit of Juliana in all of us. There may be things we feel compelled to do, but we choose not to get involved. It’s never something minor, if it were, it wouldn’t be a conundrum, and we could simply walk away from it, but when it’s something that nags at you and pulls you into it, you can’t ignore it. Now, we have a story!
I wanted Juliana to be strong and weak because we have both sides. We must explore our strengths and push through our weaknesses, but we can’t deny them. I wanted to make her as real as possible so readers can relate to her. On the surface, who can relate to a fifteenth-century queen from a fictional land? But you can relate if you had to make difficult choices that went against your upbringing, or if you had to be loyal to a friend but betray another, or if you had to choose between listening to your head or following your heart.
Although Maiden Hills takes place in a fictional land, I wanted readers to imagine life in fifteenth-century Europe—a time of swords and sorcery and chivalrous knights. I wanted Juliana to maintain some values of that era. Religion was influential in the fifteenth century, and everything was compared to the laws of the church. It was a constant feeling of guilt and doing the right thing. In the end, every decision was weighed against the religious beliefs ingrained in them and what their conscience could live with.