Hild is done. She has a working title: Light of the World. (Subtitle, if there was one, would be something like The woman at the heart of war, politics, and religion in seventh century Britain.)
The book, volume one of three, is huge: 963 pages, 197,878 words (excluding the title).
I’ve sent it off to my agent. I have an agent: Stephanie Cabot, of The Gernert Company.
So now I get to ponder what should go on the jacket copy, that is, how the book should be described to an editor. The problem is, every time I start thinking about it, the Xena theme starts up in my head: “In a time of ancient gods, warlords, and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero…” Dah dah da daa da da daa da dah… Oh, fuck it, here you go:
The thing is, this novel isn’t a fantasy. There’s no magic except of the human kind (and the natural world, of course.) Hild never uses a sword. But she does kill people, oh yes, my lovelies, she kills a lot of people. Saves a lot, too. How? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see. Chortle.
I am almost unbearably excited about this book. It’s epic in every way. Except for, y’know, actually being an epic in the accepted sense: it doesn’t do the multi-viewpoint thing. Hild is in every scene. Every. Single. Scene. So it’s an intimate novel of character painted on an epic canvas. With warlords, priests, and kings. And cunning advisors, seers, and queens. Plus some slaves and peasants and farmwives. And more trees than you can shake a stick at. And rivers and oceans and rills and burns and becks, and seals and cows and crows and otters and herons, and death and destruction and famine and plague (well, not plague plague, just illness and cattle murrain). And so much song, and heroism, and gold-and-sparkly-jewels, and plotting…
If I were Empress of the Universe, and if this were a graphic novel not, ahem, a literary work of great popular appeal, I’d call it: Butcher Bird! (Everything you know about the 7th C is Rong!)
But I’m getting punchy. So I’ll leave you with this photo of my carnelians, to which Hild is passionately attached. (She’s passionately attached to some people, too. Very passionately.) And, yes, she could have owned them. They’re first century Roman beads, just the kind of treasure passed down through Romano-British dynasties: