Friday, May 20, 2016

Espionage Trivia

Espionage was inspired by a dream involving Spock.

I started writing Espionage just days after having said dream, but didn’t focus on it until the next summer when I wrote it in a matter of months.

The deer hunting information comes from longtime family friend Congressman Barry Loudermilk. I asked him all about it during a turkey shoot fundraiser for his congressional campaign. It was freezing cold.

Vannie gets her name from a writer friend. I had realized that while I liked the name Savannah, I had yet to give it to a character, so I gave it to Vannie. The omission of the “h” was intended to be corrected. Our baby name book has it without an h, which is sort of why I left it off the first time I wrote it, but I intended to add it in. I never did.

The original inspiration for Vannie and her sisters was my sisters and me.

Vannie’s doubtfulness that Kate and Mandie are playing chess by the real rules comes partially from my sisters’ game of The Game of Life wherein they called exemption cards “expleta cards.” That’s the memory it always conjures up for me, though it’s also a reflection on the fact that our childhood chess games were very likely not played by the rules.

When Espionage became my top writing priority, I gave myself a goal of writing two notebook paper pages a day. I mostly stuck to it, resulting in a finished book within about 2½ months.

I learned the term “bolus” when I was near Vannie’s age and studied the digestive system. I’ve never forgotten it, which is probably why I put it into Vannie’s vocabulary.

I actually gagged myself as a part of my story research.

Espionage is the first book I’ve written in 1st person since The Day of the Awful Lillian when I was nine. The Day of the Awful Lillian was pretty awful, so I’m glad to redeem my 1st person writing reputation with Espionage.

The girl on the front cover is a girl from church. I made the dress and another friend took the picture.

I’d wanted for a while to draw pictures for the chapter headers, but decided against it because drawing is a lot of work. So instead I changed my mind last minute and drew them all in 2½ days.

Espionage has probably required the least major changes of all my books to date, and is the only one for which I had a fairly complete vision from the start that stayed essentially the same.

“Sir Roland has invited us to visit for the Autumn Feast.”

“Do we have to go, Papa? I couldn’t feast with the most crooked politician in all of Briznom.”

As the daughter of a Briznomian vassal lord, Vannie Cumberland has spent her childhood immersed in the world of politics. Relations between Briznom and the neighboring country of Calhortz are strained due to the tyrannical rule of the strytes. A proposed alliance could calm relations between the two countries, but would come at the cost of Briznom’s freedom.

When her father’s political archenemy invites them to the Autumn Feast, Vannie uncovers an evil scheme endangering the life of someone close to her. Personal enmity comes to a dangerous head as Vannie struggles to expose the corruption and stop the alliance. Time is running out.

Events are becoming too big for her to handle. Will Sir Roland’s son help or will things finally spiral out of control?

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  1. "How would you react if you had to have Thanksgiving with your father's worst enemy?"

    I would probably do everything I could to avoid celebrate with them. I would NOT be excited.

  2. First of all, I've been meaning to comment this for the past week but things have been hectic, as they always are.

    I loved Espionage, and would have even more so when I was Vannie's age. I really enjoyed the story, and yeah, I admit it, I do fangirl over Vannie and Kyle. Onto the sequel, which you absolutely must write, if only for the two of us to squeal over. <3

    And I suppose I should answer the question that everyone's been answering already: "How would you react if you had to have Thanksgiving with your father's worst enemy?"
    Gracious, I don't know. I'd either come along reluctantly and stay silent the whole time, or hide in my hopefully-luxurious quarters with the excuse of "I need to study." Because honestly, that'd probably be true. ;)

    1. Aren't they?

      Thanks so much! YOU'RE a sweet, wonderful friend. I'm so glad you like Espionage, and that you fangirl over it. :) I had a few more ideas for the sequel today while I was cleaning shelves at the library, so maaaaaybe I might be getting a little somewhere. And oh, yes, we must squeal over it. Because Vannie and Kyle. <3 (Have we come up with a ship name for them yet? We must.)

      It would be a hard situation to deal with. I'd probably do something similar. And we both know what Vannie did. :D


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