“…one of the yummiest books of the century.”
Holy….cow! (OK. Maybe it was a bleep word I used. But that was my first reaction to reading Terra’s review.) Then a...Wow! --Complete with shivers. (That’s a continual reaction.) Wow again. This is better than dreams! From the opening line of that review, I was stunned:
“…heart pounding, mouth watering, finger licking fantastic read…” Dang! (yet another reaction.) Thrilled. Wowed. Stunned. Still.
And there’s the really big secret about this one...
A KNIGHT WELL SPENT is a heart-initiated story; the kind of book that has so much emotion and passion and heart that it literally weeps it. (As did I. Ok…sometimes I was sobbing because I was stuck and everybody was in such turmoil and couldn’t move until I started typing again, but it was still traumatic). I am so not the “plotter” type. I can’t even tell you what might transpire in my stories. I’m shocked at some of the things that come out of my keyboard - shocked. You can probably surmise I’m a disaster at writing a synopsis - but has that stopped me? Heck no. I’ve written almost twenty books so far. I haven’t managed to interest a publisher in 2/3 of them. Some of them are unpublished (and deservedly so), but there's one truly fine book...my second. It's titled LOVE’S TRUE REVENGE and is one of the unpublished ones. It’s a great medieval story….set around 1066, immediately following the Battle of Hastings, all about a Norman knight and a Saxon maiden (who turn out to be closely related) and their trials and tribulations (tons of tons of both), there’s a really evil bad guy (really evil), a castle (there’s always a castle in my books), a pageant, a joust, a couple of fights, a kidnapping, another fight – this time to the death, a medieval fair, some psychic things happening, some bondage…I’m telling you, if I could put a plot device into that book, it’s in there. But I knew it was a fantastic book, (somewhere in there, anyway) and it deserved to be re-done. (It still does). That being the case, I’d started a re-write. Oh…I wasn’t far along, but I was working on it occasionally. (OK. I confess. I was on page 27. I had one chapter and a good start on chapter two, but it was already a different book than it had started, and that’s not what was supposed to happen, anyway.)
So. There it was, 2004. February. I had just said the most hideous joke-thing to a major New York editor, (to her face, mind you – and no, I’m not telling), but I was dead certain my agent was going to cancel my contract and tell me to take a hike. Dead certain. I was so sure I’d single-handedly annihilated my chances at publication that I panicked. It’s a Jackie Ivie trait, BTW: Panicking. That…and sticking my foot in my mouth. Oh…and other things, like pondering all of the things that could go wrong. Worrying. You know…writer stuff.
Anyway, my panic then mutated into my other Jackie Ivie trait…complete and total optimism. That particular February – after sticking my foot in my mouth with that editor - I panicked. So the moment I got home, I sent the chapter and a half of my rewrite to my agent and asked her what she thought. (Because I thought I wrote great opening scenes, and you have to whet their appetite – right?). And, of course I said it was finished and she could have it at any time. (It was technically true, and I was going on the premise that if anyone wanted my stuff, then by gosh I’d have it in the mail so fast they’ll never even notice the postal dates. Complete and total optimism! That’s me.)
You can probably guess what happened.
Life went on…and I completely forgot about A KNIGHT WELL SPENT. I got a call - and had to sit down before I fell there. Kensington Publishing wanted my first book. (Wow.) LADY OF THE KNIGHT would debut later in 2004 – and they wanted another one, too. (!!!) So, I sent them TENDER IS THE KNIGHT. (It was an easy choice. It was already written...ten years earlier. It WAS set in Scotland - which was my only contractural obligation). And then there comes this really l-o-n-g waiting period (incredibly long) between getting the cover-flat and actually having it wrapped around pages…and during that time frame I started worrying. I was checking bookstore shelves and online shops, and I started noticing little things...like other writers had books that were related. (Gulp) Their books were in the same style and setting (crap. They were in the same century). They were doing SERIES with their books. (I have still not figured out how to do that – although my next book is a definite attempt on THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.).
I worried about this (and other things) and then as deadline time approached, I panicked - in true Jackie Ivie fashion. I was down to the wire before I had an epiphany. I could send another medieval. I had one. It wasn’t exactly related (or a sequel), it wasn’t set in Scotland, nobody had Scot dialect in their speech…but hey! It did match the style of my first one. And bonus! It was written. (Sort of). But I’d already made that deal with myself that if anyone wanted it, I’d get it done - it can't be that hard. (Man! Was that ever optimistic).
So I got some paper and toner, took a week off my day job, hit the keyboard…and for the next magical eight days (eight days!), I was living the life of Rhoenne and Aislynn. I LIVED it. There is no other word. I’m so glad my family spared me from any photos of that time because I don’t remember much beyond Rhoenne and Aislynn. Aislynn and Rhoenne. Oh…there was Montvale. And Rosie. But always, in my world, there were those star-crossed lovers, Rhoenne and Aislynn. And they were going through so much! I typed. And I typed. I laughed. I drank coffee. I thrilled. I stuffed some food in my mouth. I went back to typing. I played Free Cell. (My particular addiction while I wait for the next bit of inspiration to hit). I listened to heavy metal rock. (And I mean HEAVY. Korn. Nine Inch Nails. James Dio. Disturbed) I took naps. I sobbed. Thrilled again. Drank some more coffee. Typed some more. Napped. Stuffed something else in my mouth. I might have showered. I might have even put my contacs in occasionally. I might have gotten dressed. Then again…I might not have. I disremember. When I think back on it, I still can’t believe it.
I finished A KNIGHT WELL SPENT eight days after I sat at the keyboard - from page 27. It was the most incredible experience of my life. (Still is). When it was done I had goose bumps roving everywhere and was moved easily to tears. (I cried at everything for a bit). I'm under threat of a doctor if I try something that insane ever again. But for some reason…A KNIGHT WELL SPENT is special. It wasn’t perfect. I had to toss out 15,000 words of dialogue and unnecessary back-story to make it work, but there’s just something about that story that makes it special. It has a spark behind it that just makes me thrill when I read it. I still can’t believe it or explain it.
According to Terra, A KNIGHT WELL SPENT is: “Lusty, action packed, intriguing, deceitful, heart wrenching and down right luscious…”
I’m telling you…receiving reviews like that is awe-inspiring. The entire thing is. I can’t wait for October so I can hold the real book in my hands and relive every moment of that incredible week and a day. Again.
**Whew! As my dad always did say: “Jack, (he always called me Jack, too) you sure are wordy”. What can I say? He knew me well.
Jackie will be giving away a signed copy of "Tender is the Knight" to one lucky winner picked from those who leave a comment for her.