"Daughter of the Goddess Lands": Gestation and Development

6 Dec

My favorite part of writing the “Kalie’s Journey” series was the research. 

When I was in middle school, my mother gave me the Time/Life series “The Emergence of Man”, and I read the entire thing for pleasure.  Then, when I discovered well-researched historical fiction, it became even more fun.  First I discovered that writing a novel involved a lot of time sitting around reading; IOW, the thing I most enjoyed doing anyway!  Next I discovered that the best of the fiction authors were also superb researchers.  That meant that I could let them do a lot of my work for me.

When I began writing “Daughter of the Goddess Lands” I knew that the story was going to center on the threat of invasion of peaceful goddess-worshiping farmers by horsemen from the Russian steppes.  But I didn’t want to waste a lot of time showing the first horrific encounter, or what daily life was like for my protagonist during her first days as a captive.  I also wanted to avoid dragging myself (and my readers) through numerous scenes of rape and torture, or be inside the head of someone going through all of that.

That’s when I knew I wanted the novel to open with a single survivor waking up in a place where she knew she was safe.  This allowed all the violence and shock to be handled in flashback, while also allowing the reader to begin the story in a place that was attractive rather than repugnant.

When the protagonist decides to return to her place of captivity in order to destroy her enemy from within, I realized I had given her a kind of agency that I find is too often lacking in books of this genre.  After that, as so many of them do, my characters wrote the story.

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3 Responses to “"Daughter of the Goddess Lands": Gestation and Development”

  1. George MacDonald December 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Interesting post. Since the main character wakes up in a place !
    that is safe and attractive, what was your plan for creating narrative tension to propel the story forward?

  2. Sandra Saidak December 8, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    I wanted Kalie’s first challenge to be trying to fit back into a world which, while accepting, had no way of understanding–or in many cases–believing what she had been through. Very soon after that would be the threat of her attackers finding her, and destroying her entire society.

  3. Clarimonde December 13, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    I’m reminded of a series both of us love – Earth’s Children – when Madenia is raped. Here, her people believe her, but it seems that what happened to her is beyond their comprehension, they couldn’t quite wrap their heads around the fact that someone would do that to one of the Blessed of Duna. But it happened to Ayla and she believes it and understands.I definitely will get my hands on your book – the tension sounds like it comes from Kalie trying to convince her people that there IS a threat, that there are horrible people out there who will not treat them honorably but will !
    destroy them.

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