On the surface, Graywall is content and booming. Lord Shaufton, who presides over the city, is a fine ruler. The poor are well-cared for, the area is popular, and morale is high-but within Graywall's roots, something dark is stirring. This darkness threatens to overpower the once-peaceful town, until a mysterious figure appears: The Shadow.?
As much a figure of fear to the unruly as legend to the innocent, The Shadow is an enforcer of justice and aid to the King. Due to an outrageous export tax set by King Edward, smuggling has tainted the kingdom, so The Shadow is sent to hunt the smugglers down. Contrary to legend, The Shadow is simply a man known as Sir Calan who, although talented and just, struggles to keep his dark thoughts of revenge from becoming ruthless action? Due to sheer coincidence, The Shadow learns of a deadly plot against Lord Shaufton on a journey to Graywall. Now, he must enter a pseudo courtship with Lord Shaufton's daughter under his original guise of Sir Calan, all while old emotions are stirred by the lovely Elsbeth, Lord Shaufton's niece. Elsbeth, it seems, is the only woman who can heal his troubled soul, but she has a story of her own. What transpires is a glorious tale full of deceit, greed, inner struggles, betrayal, and most of all-love.
Topic: STORY IDEAS
There are no rules when it comes to receiving an idea for a story. Ideas can stem from anywhere including the most subtle thought, to the most bizarre circumstance. I’ve received inspiration from watching movies, reading books, playing video/computer games, watching the news, reading articles online, reading the bible, fairytales, dreams, listening to my children playact with their toys, and listening to instrumental music or the lyrics of a song. And after a thought takes hold, my imagination runs with it!
The idea for SHADOWS OF VALOR first originated over a few weeks when I was a first-time stay-at-home mother of a 10-month old child. Before having kids, I’d been a firefighter and a police officer. Those awesome careers satisfied my taste for adventure and intrigue, but settling down into motherhood (something I’ll never regret or trade), I got a little antsy to experience an adventure again, but be able to do it from the home so I could continue raising children. I could have taken up some sort of sport, I suppose, but my time outside the home was limited because of the dishes, laundry, preparing meals, errands, shopping, lack of babysitters, etc. This left me with the option of experiencing an adventure through creating one for myself on paper. Some ideas of medieval scenes had been going through my head that I thought would make a cool movie or book if coupled with a great plot. On a whim (because I’d never written a full-length novel before), I jotted the ideas down and the first steps to writing SHADOWS OF VALOR were taken.
After the initial notes were put to paper, however, I actually didn’t get too many more ideas for new scenes during the day, since I was busy dealing with a toddler, doing all the at-home work of a mother/wife/taxi/chef/seamstress. My inspiration came after everything settled down for the night and my toddler was asleep. When my head was finally able to hit the pillow as well, THAT’S when ideas started flooding my mind about what I could add to my story. It was kind of cool, but kind of annoying at the same time. I was desperately in need of rest from a long day of being a mommy and knew I needed sleep in order to tackle another long day, but I also knew that if I didn’t write the ideas down, they might be gone the next morning. So I kept a pen and paper next to my bed for just that reason. My poor husband put up with my flipping on the little light in our cubby-style headboard in the middle of the night to quickly jot something down, and then turn the light off only to flip it on again a few minutes later as another thought came to mind. I would do this several times a night for weeks sometimes. My mind came up with its best ideas while I was supposed to be sleeping.
No matter what you’re doing, where you are, keep a pen and paper (or your laptop or smart phone) handy to jot down whatever ideas come to you. Believe me, you think you’ll remember them later, but sometimes you don’t, and you’re left hitting you head against the computer screen trying to remember that AWESOME thought that you were SURE you’d remember later, but that somehow you’ve forgotten when you sat down to your manuscript. WRITE IT DOWN! If it comes to you while you’re driving, pull over if you can do so safely and copy it down and then be on your merry way. There have been times that I’d been sitting in church listening to a lesson or talk, and the teacher or ecclesiastical leader, would say something that sparked an idea. I’d discretely pull out my paper and pen, jot it down, and then quietly return my attention to the lesson *smile*.
So there you go. Inspiration can come from ANYWHERE and ANYTIME. Be in tune to it when it comes and don’t complain if it’s at an inconvenient time, just copy it down or if you can, or get to your computer and start typing, allowing your imagination to run wild!
Thanks so much for having me here, Melissa! I hope readers enjoy SHADOWS OF VALOR as much as I enjoyed writing the story of Sir Calan and Elsbeth.
SHADOWS OF VALOR will be available nationwide September 7, 2013! It can be ordered from any bookstore and will be available in hardback, paperback and on e-books.
This book started off slowly for me. I have to admit to almost putting it down, but I gave it more time. It's really a slow burning book. I'm so glad that I pushed through that first bit, because what I came back to (after my break) was a really good story! The characters develop in quite lovely ways and the relationships don't feel forced or fake. After the slow start, the book really does it's best at grabbing you and keeping you wrapped up in a wonderful tale of knights, ladies, and intriguing secrets! This is a great read!