All told, that’s about 160,000 words…
Oh, but it’s been a busy 2018. A week ago, I was getting ready to leave France with my mom. We had such an incredible adventure, the two of us, gallivanting around our ancestral home in Normandy after a few gorgeous days in London. Visiting France spoke to my soul in ways I never knew it would… I mean, I suppose I hoped it would, but I tend to be a little romantic about things. I didn’t expect to have such a transformative experience.
On the plane ride home, and during some of the visit, I managed to get the bulk of editing done on Time & Temper, the third volume in the Frost & Filigree cycle (which, now that I’m looking at the whole thing needs to have a third F there… I’m thinking Frost, Fury, & Filigree.
What I didn’t expect was that the books have three heroines. And a nearly all-female cast. And a book that, ultimately, helped me through a very difficult series of events. Over the course of this little epic, Vivienne, Nerissa, and Christabel take the helm, get tied up with old gods and new threats, and save the world from a rather horrid fate of falling into nothingness, across three decades.
I was at World Fantasy a few weeks ago and we had some great conversations about Mary Shelley (in spite of some Clearly Not So Great Stuff that Clarence Young put much better than I could) and all things monstrous. Add to that I just finished Theodora Goss’s first two monstrous gentlewomen books, which I highly recommend, and I begin to think that, in some ways, being a woman and being Other is half the way there to a monster — at least by those defining it. But we can still be monsters, and that’s okay.
Vivienne, as always, has the most surprisingly reflective things to say when she gets her head out of her own outfits. Now that I can see the trilogy together — the sylph, the lamia, and the unicorn — I can see connections I never noticed before, and especially the overarching commentary on the monstrous. They are made monsters by violence, almost all of them, and the violence changes them. Vivienne is the phoenix, born and reborn as she wants to make herself; Nerissa is the geode, a harsh exterior and a glittering inside; Christabel is the butterfly.
What you think, you become, Nerissa dear. If you spend all your time thinking yourself a monster, why, that’s what you’ll be. But in my long life I’ve reinvented myself a thousand times. There is great power in the mind.
A thousand times.
For what are monsters, truly? They are not, Nerissa does not think, merely born out of a broken world. No, they are made in the same way of angels and gods. They are formed out of necessity. It is only their power and visages that terrify those unable to reconcile or be made comfortable around them.
Are there politics? Of course. I have my theories. Is it fun? Of course. Is it serious? At some times, yes.
There is kissing. And love. And danger. But above all, there is hope. Hope for those who don’t fit in. Who will never fit in. But those who fight for the ones who don’t have teeth and claws, even if they don’t deserve it, because it’s the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, I’m off to get moving on Cinderglow. I have a whole murderboard outline and about 20,000 words started on this big, fat, fantasy epic. Time to open up the door to this new world and set sail. It’s what I like to call “frontier fantasy” where the world itself is still being discovered. It’s a bit of Game of Thrones, a dash of Temeraire, and a healthy dose of Lost for good measure.
See you on the open seas.