This is a slightly modified version the blog I posted on my own web site on Tuesday when the book came out. I’m reusing it because it’s really the best expression of my emotions about this book.
My second book is out in the world! What a strange feeling for someone who was only first published on January 1. Before we get into my musings, here are the buy links for the Camelot’s Queen print (Amazon and Barnes and Noble) and ebook. Audio will be available in May.
Let me start by saying that Camelot’s Queen is the book I’m most proud of to date (and I’m including my two as-of-yet unreleased books in that statement). It is long, but I think it really shows what I can do as a writer and adds a lot to the collective Arthurian legend.
You would think I’d be less nervous than for the first one, but I’m actually more. I think it’s because I have no idea how people are going to take this book. I mean, I expected some push back on the first book because it’s a totally different Guinevere than people are used to, especially if they come at the books expecting the perfect, docile Guinevere of some stories. But since most authors haven’t explored her early life, I had some leeway.
I explained this in the author’s notes to Camelot’s Queen, but I wrote this book with no small amount of trepidation. This is the part of the story everyone knows and loves. Everyone has their own interpretation, vision, and expectations, so no matter what I do, I’m going to let someone down. I have made the choices I made for a reason, but I know they won’t sit well with everyone, especially given that Morgan’s role is different from what you would expect and I’ve given a completely different reason for Guinevere’s affair with Lancelot.
Not only that, this story delves into a few controversial and dark issues, including rape, physical and mental abuse, and PTSD. Guinevere’s kidnapping and rape is part of the canon of Arthurian legend. Just how badly she was abused (if at all) varies by the telling, but to leave this event out simply because it is distasteful would be disingenuous to both the tradition and to readers. I have done my best to treat these issues with respect and not use them simply as plot points but to show how they affected the characters’ lives and brought about change, as they do for victims in real life. However, I know some people will take me to task for it.
That being said, this isn’t a totally dark book. There are moments of happiness and scenes I truly cherish, especially with characters I invented. I look forward to all of you meeting Sobian, the pirate-turned-assassin-and-spy from Arthur’s past and Mayda and Elga, the Saxon sisters who will continue to cause trouble into book 3. I also can’t wait for you to get to some of my favorite scenes: there are three with Aggrivane that are close to my heart, I love the battles, and the Holy Grail was so much fun. I especially can’t wait for all of you to see the twists, especially the one with Morgan and Arthur and also the circumstances leading up to the end of the book.
I’m hoping and praying that readers who haven’t discovered the series yet start with the first book. You probably could read Camelot’s Queen on its own, but you will miss many of the relationships and motivations built up in the first book, which may lead to misunderstanding or frustration, and I want readers to have a pleasant reading experience. But that’s not up to me.
I’m going to take a deep breath now. My baby is in the world. She’s no longer mine; she belongs to the readers, too. I hope you all like her!
About Camelot’s Queen
History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.
Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.
Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.
Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.
This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but be prepared to suffer its downfall as well.