I've no idea how this happened, or, for that matter, why? All I know is that I had this snatch of dialogue going around in my head. Now,from past experience, I can do one of two things in this situation. Either (a) ignore it and hope it will go away - which it eventually will as my memory leaves a lot to be desired, or (b) commit it to paper and possibly do something with it in the future. I plumped for Option B, which is why we are where we are.
The really odd thing is that this snatch of dialogue related to an imaginary situation which could not be further from my usual literary inclinations if it tried. I never read historical fiction. I have little or no interest in historical fiction. So, what was this piece of dialogue about? It concerned a young noblewoman watching her betrothed riding off to battle whilst her maid busied herself in the background. Why would I be imagining anything so substantially removed from my comfort zone? It beats me!
However, there we were. It started like this:
"The young Lady stared wistfully out of the window in the castle walls, a slight breeze ruffled her finery.
“He looks so gallant, doesn’t he?” She said, to the room at large.
“Very nicely turned out, yes miss” The old lady, bustling around behind her, agreed.
“He’s using my scarf as his pennant, you know?” The young Lady said, with pride.
“Hmmm, bright orange eh? I should think the enemy will see him coming for miles”
“And he will strike fear into their hearts!” The young Lady said, loyally.
“If you say so, miss”
“I do say so! And he will return victorious and bring glory to our House”
“Like I say, if you say so, miss”
“Don’t you think he will be victorious?” The young Lady asked, suspiciously.
“Put it this way, the lads in the kitchen have him at 20 – 1, which I reckon is bit on the generous side. Still, who knows, eh?”"
And I was hooked! I needed to know what happened next! You see, I don't take a wonderfully professional approach to writing. I know that, those who know what they're doing, plot their stories down to a fine detail in advance, and then flesh out this skeleton. I, on the other hand, start writing in the same way as I would read a story, from the beginning, and wait to see how it develops. It was obvious that the young Lady had a hopelessly romantic view of chivalry and warfare whereas the Maid and the staff of the House clearly had a more level-headed approach. I thought it would be interesting to see how these characters might cope with their world being turned upside down, so that's what happened.
Twenty four episodes later, I decided that the story had run its course for the time being. Each episode had featured on ABCtales but I know that not everyone is happy to stick with a story that stretches over days and weeks, and I can understand that. I have difficulty remembering a plot if I've only put a book down for an hour or two! Therefore, I decided to put the full story into book form and that's why we are where we are.
'The Chronicles of a Young Lady (and her Maid)' is the end result and is available now as a Kindle e-book and will shortly be available as a paperback. This is the blurb for it:
"When a young noble lady's betrothed rides off to battle, she has high
hopes of his triumphant return, unlike her Maid who expects him to last
five minutes! To save themselves from a fate worse than death, the
Young Lady and her Maid run for their lives (amongst other things) and
so starts a set of comic adventures involving a lascivious watchman, a
flamboyant sea captain, a vindictive Sergeant at Arms, a Parson and a
couple of bailiffs.
Philip Whiteland takes you on this whirlwind fictional tour of the distant past with plenty of laughs and smiles along the way."
Why not take a look? You might just like it!