Author Guest Post | “On conceptionalising the supernatural elements which are threaded through Guinevere’s tales” by Nicole Evelina

Posted Thursday, 28 April, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Certain stories I am reading evoke such an awareness of presence, both in conception and the backbone of it’s world-building, I become inspired to ask the writer to shed a bit of light on how they drew inspiration to first conceive these ideas and how they were able to manifest them inside their story as a whole.

When I first read Daughter of Destiny, I had such a strong connection to the manner in which the whole story came alive in my mind’s eye – it was such a powerful dramatic historical story, and the beauty of it was how Ms Evelina approached re-telling such a well-known canon of influence!

Which is why I had this to say on the author’s behalf:

The research Evelina put into this work of a trilogy is evidenced by how she chose to tell the story, first through direct sight of Guinevere approaching hard choices and managing her emotions in the thick of it and secondly, through enlivening the background with such scope of depth as to embrace the mystical and mythology of how Camelot exists. She even kept the continuity alive by bringing together the origins of those who call Avalon home with their familial heritages and beliefs; such as I celebrated in seeing Guinevere’s Rhiannon and Lugh arriving in time for her ascension to Priestess of Avalon. The fundamentals of religion and ancestry are inter-woven to the core of who Guinevere is and what she stood for thereby granting the reader a more grounded vision of the woman Guinevere became latter in life. – quoted from my review on behalf of Daughter of Destiny

If you are seeking an author who champion’s strong women and who approaches telling their story in a multi-layered approach with a stirring plot which highlights their character’s journey through a legacy you felt you knew previously but only had a smidge of a hint about – this is your author! I loved how the historical layers merged so wonderfully into the mystical and how Evelina truly wrote a story for women today who are seeking such a strong narrative in our modern world, where Feminist Historical Fiction is starting to become a focal point of interest.

She truly captured my heart and my mind, enriching the experience in getting to know Camelot in such a personal way as to give me a hearty read about a woman I thought I had understood but hadn’t quite realised the adversities and the pressures of her society she had to overcome in order to live the life she was meant to lead.

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Camelot's Queen by Nicole Evelina

History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.

Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.

Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.

Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.

This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but prepared to suffer its downfall as well.

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Book No. 1 Daughter of Destiny (review)

Book No. 2 Camelot’s Queen releases 12th of April 2016

Book No. 3 Mistress of the Legend releases late 2016/early 2017

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The topic which I most wanted to hear Ms Evelina’s response about her series:

How did you conceptionalise the supernatural elements which are threaded through Guinevere’s tales whilst acknowledging the rich legacy of the original canon but augmenting a bit outside of it to pepper in your own inclinations towards what you felt would be a good interpretation of the magic and organic telling of the story? Did you find any sequence of this to be most challenging to show visually inside of the novels?

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That’s a really great question, and one with a long answer. When I first set out to write these books, I considered stripping them of all magic and making them pure historical fiction, but that felt too sterile to me. It’s probably because I want to believe in magic. I just couldn’t conceive of Arthurian legend without at least a little magic.

So I settled on a middle ground somewhere between historical fact and high fantasy. I wanted to show an approximation of what Druidic training may have been like, even though I cut the training period down from the historical 20 years to four for the sake of the novel. I have my students study subjects that Druids likely did, including law, Ogham (a written and possibly oral language), herb craft, and manipulation of the elements – if you notice similarities to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s magic, it’s because she did her research well. You may also notice that my magic isn’t anything Hollywood outrageous. That is because I tried to keep within the spirit of actual Celtic/Druidic belief; based on what little we know of their beliefs, if they had magic, it was likely more subtle than our modern cinematic minds tend to imagine.

That is also why you see a few lunar and agricultural rituals (which are somewhat based in neo-paganism because we have no period sources to draw from) and throughout the series you’ll see many different gods and goddesses invoked. For the Celts, magic and religion/ritual were part of daily life, so I wanted that to be the case for my characters as well. I’m also personally drawn to ritual, so writing my own was fun. As you mention, it was also quite challenging at times because we don’t know what magic would “look like” and even if we did, it would likely be hard to put into words. I think it would probably be like trying to describe a dream you had to someone else – a bit lost in translation, something you had to experience to truly “get.”

The scene that was the most challenging for me was part magic and part mysticism.

(SPOILER ALERT)

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 (ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT)

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I’ve had a few people ask me why Guinevere doesn’t use her magic more often. Part of it is because I wanted her to be more human, to have to figure a way out of her troubles just like you or I would. But if you think about it, her brand of magic isn’t exactly made for attack. There are no fireballs coming from her palms or lightning bolts from her eyes (although she probably could drawn down lightning on you if she really wanted to.) Guinevere and Aine do have a kind of magical battle in this book, but it’s subtle and from a distance, not like you’d see in a movie. Elemental magic, at least as I’ve conceived it, isn’t meant to be used as a weapon; rather, it’s meant to aid and heal.

Most of the other magical elements involve the Holy Grail. Arthur’s dream that inspires the quest is my way of telling the Grail story from both the Christian perspective with the Virgin Mary and the pagan perspective with the goddess Fortuna. In researching the Grail, I found both sides to have equally valid arguments. Guinevere’s tracking of the Grail Maidens through the eyes of a bird is a nod to the shamanistic elements of Celtic belief. Finally, the Grail itself changing form was my way of acknowledging that the Grail has taken may shapes over the years as the legend has shifted, all of which deserve recognition. It’s a mystical object that is so many things to so many people, why couldn’t it look different to you than it does to me?

I’d love to hear from you, Jorie, about what your favorite magical/mystical element was and why. I’d also invite your readers to tell us about theirs as well.

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What truly resonated with me the most is the whole aesthetic of the mystical and supernatural elements you organically interwove into the backbone of your story’s arc. I was so impressed with how you took difficult conceptional elements and gave them so much grounding as to become tangible and visually stimulating as I read the novel, I was prompted to pitch this topic to you, today. I wanted to know a bit more about the background of how you approached writing these elements into the story but also, what inspired you as you did. I was beyond impressed! 

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About Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her current novel, Been Searching for You, a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.

She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, took first place in the legend/legacy category of the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Later this year (2016), she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Author biography was updated July 2016.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

Follow the Virtual Road Map by visiting the blog tour route:

Camelot's Queen blog tour via HFVBTs.

Kindly leave your comments, thoughts and musings about this incredible insight look into the Guinevere Tales series by Ms Evelina! Share your comments in the threads below!

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Love #amreading Guinevere & #Camelot? Read this Guest Post on @NicoleEvelina's series! Click To Tweet

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Camelot’s Queen”, book synopsis, author biography, the tour host badge & HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 28 April, 2016 by jorielov in 6th Century, After the Canon, Arthurian Legend, Avalon, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, British Literature, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Folklore and Mythology, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Mythological Societies, Parapsychological Gifts, Passionate Researcher, Re-Told Tales, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Warfare & Power Realignment, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice




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