My journey of writing Sword of Deliverance began in January of 2013, and what a journey it has been. After watching Snow White and the Huntsman, I thought to myself, surely I can write a story like that and one that is more engaging. And so I was inspired to set fingers to keyboard.
The first character who came to life was Brandan, an assassin for Lord Wulfgar who became repulsed by his killing. I suppose I subconsciously took a page out of the Bourne Identity, except there are no demolition car chases in my story. Next came Meredyth, whom I connected to Brandan by confronting her with the prospect of being summoned to be Wulfgar’s next wife. After conceiving of the main characters, I had to put them in play, and so I sent them on a journey. Scenes and snippets of conversations started coming to me—a lot of times when I was out for a walk; some I used, usually revised substantially, others I jettisoned. I delved into my characters to find out more about them and what made them tick. When they were stuck, I resorted to strategies such as writing in first person point of view from his or her perspective or asking them questions they had to answer.
A fun part was doing research on such aspects as dress, food, and settings, including moors, medieval castles, and manors. The most interesting research involved swords, sword fighting, and spears. I watched videos and read about sword fighting techniques for hours on end and learned, among other things, that Hollywood gets it all wrong when it comes to staging sword fights. Originally, they were usually very short and involved such strategies as striking one’s opponent with the hilt, tripping, and wrestling holds. A lot of my research ended up on a Pinterest board I created for my novel. Check it out here: http://www.pinterest.com/ahinklecampbell/images-for-my-novel-sword-of-deliverance/.
The highlight of my research was a trip to Ireland where I roamed through the restored castles of Bunratty and King John’s. I gained a much clearer idea of the layout and feel of castles than by merely reading about them. I learned that castle stairwells spiraled up to the right to make it easier for swordsmen to defend from above. It amazed me when I realized that people, including women in long skirts, went up and down steep, twisting, uneven steps with no railings to hold onto while having to carry a torch to light the way. Another field trip took me to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which has an exhibit of a reassembled medieval cloister, which helped me immeasurably in anchoring the monastery scenes.
I finished the first draft in about six months, writing every afternoon, five or six days a week. I let it sit as I wrote a sequel over the next six months. By then it was the beginning of 2014, and I was in the midst of a move from the southwest to the east coast. When I got settled, I turned to reworking the first novel, which was the most laborious part of the process. After comments from several reviewers, I rewrote the ending, revised and added scenes, deleted others, and adjusted characters, even telling one that he had to change his behavior if he wanted to stay in the story. Then working with an editor, I completed the final draft.
But I still had to prepare my novel for publication. I lined up people to do cover design and file conversion to e-book and print formats, set up the business end of self-publishing and accounts for ebook and print publication. My journey, however, came to an almost unceremonious end when I uploaded the file, clicked a button, and received a message assuring me it would be available within a day.
Though my journey has ended, my novel’s voyage is just beginning. I feel as if I have sent it out into an ocean teeming with other novels. Where it ends up I know not, except I hope it finds its way into the hands of readers who enjoy the story and connect with a character or theme.
Now on to the sequel.
To get your copy of Sword of Deliverance, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KW1HWHA