I’ve been re-reading my Bell Mountain books, trying to prepare myself for writing the next one. I have to read them, lest I forget some important detail.
So I’m in the middle of The Palace (No. 6 in the series), and I’ve just read the chapter, “The White Doe.” Please don’t think I’m boasting when I say this, but I think it’s among the best things I’ve ever written. It’s not boasting because I was moved when I read it and very much surprised that anything like it could have come from me. Give God the glory: I pray for His guidance as I write, and He gives it. It didn’t really come from me. I just wrote it down.
And this evening Patty discovered the Vintage Novels blog, and a wonderfully complimentary review of the first four books in my series. This is by Suzannah Rountree, a blogger in Australia, and she has my thanks. Let me see if I can link to her piece for you. Ah, here it is: http://www.vintagenovels.com/2017/04/the-bell-mountain-series-1-4-by-lee.html
If you haven’t read any of these, I hope Suzannah’s review will persuade you to give them a whirl. For more information (if you’re new to this blog), just go to the top of this page and click “Books.”
As I wait for the go-ahead to start writing my next book–and I never know what the “Hi” sign is going to be, the Lord always surprises me–I found myself wondering which characters in my books are the most popular. I also got onto that subject by showing my wife Travis Rodgers’ essay on “Obst the Missionary” (http://travisrodg.com/obst-bell-mountain/)–the only one of my characters who’s ever been written about by someone else, outside of a book review.
If you ask me which are my favorite characters, I can only answer, “Whoever I happen to be writing about at the time.” I think it has to be that way, if I want to make the characters come alive for the reader.
But which characters really are the readers’ favorites? Which are yours?
My youngest readers seem to like Jack and Ellayne the best, and everybody loves Wytt, the little hairy creature with the sharp stick and no capacity for fear. The old rat under the Baroness’ back porch has his contingent of fans, as does Cavall, the king’s big dog.
I know someone who liked Lord Reesh, the arch-villain, best; and I’m sure Helki the Rod, the wild man of Lintum Forest, has his cheering section. As for the old Abnak sub-chief, Uduqu–my wife and my editor were both ready to scalp me when they thought I’d killed him off.
Anyhow, I’ve got lots and lots of characters in my Bell Mountain books, and I’m intensely curious to know how readers feel about them. Besides, this discussion will be a lot of fun if everybody takes part in it.
And somewhere in one of your comments may be the seed of the next book. I never know where that’s going to turn up.
This just popped back into my head after many years’ absence: the most annoying question I’ve ever been asked as a writer.
No, it’s not “How long did it take you to write it?” Everybody asks that. I don’t know why, but they do.
When, after much difficulty, my very first novel was published in 1986, one of my next-door neighbors, with a happy smile on his face, asked me this:
“So when’s it going to be a TV movie?”
Perish the thought that he would buy the book and read it, or even go to see the movie if they made a movie of it. He wanted it on TV. Cheap, cheap, cheap.
One thing I’ve learned over the years: people who see you every day, and talk to you, hardly ever want to read your books. And I don’t know why.
Well, here it is–The Throne in Kindle format. So much for shipping costs!
In fact, I think it’s free if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited. I don’t, so please don’t ask me how that works. I still can’t even get back my Facebook referrals.
Anyway, all the Bell Mountain characters, except for the few I’ve had to kill off in earlier books, are present and accounted for–Jack and Ellayne, King Ryons, Wytt, Helki the Rod, Ysbott the Snake, Lord Chutt, Martis, Fnaa and all the rest–along with some new ones whom I hope you’ll enjoy reading about. I enjoyed writing about them. Yergen, the toughest man in Obann City. Bassas, commanding Lord Chutt’s Wallekki bodyguard while trying to salvage his honor. You get the idea.
And…who’s going to be the first to submit an amazon.com Customer Review for this baby? I hope it’s a good one!
Laurel and Hardy only pretended to be chuckleheads; but they did it so convincingly, they got rich.
Even so, the finest specimens of chuckleheadedness are only unearthed by accident. And some of them are gems.
Just this morning I read an amazon.com Customer Review of my Bell Mountain–five stars, so I’m certainly not complaining–which featured a rare and valuable typo that has since been corrected. And please don’t think I’m making fun of the writer, because I know well that anyone can take a prat fall, big-time. You should see some of the whoppers my editors have saved me from committing to publication.
So this reviewer wrote of Bell Mountain as “the battle of goof vs. evil.”
Think about that!
Can goof actually defeat evil? You know something–I’m pretty sure it can. I’m pretty sure it has, all throughout history. How many fiendishly evil plans have been scuttled by pure incompetence?
This has the makings of a story. Maybe even a whole novel. Certainly a chapter, here and there. Most certainly, a chapter.
Inspiration comes when you least expect it, and from the least-expected direction, too. Don’t waste it when you’ve got it.
Wow, here it is already–the “webinar” I did just the other day, organized, moderated, and edited by Andrea Schwartz, my esteemed colleague at The Chalcedon Foundation. She is amazingly efficient.
So here it is, if you can stand listening to my voice for 55 minutes (I’m not sure I can). ( https://thekingdomdrivenfamily.com/2016/10/26/thoughts-on-being-a-writer-webinar-discussion-with-lee-duigon/ )
It was a lot of fun being questioned by people who had actually read my books: in fact, it was the first time that’s happened. I hope the advice I gave these kids and teens was good advice.
As long as I’m reading The Thunder King, I thought I’d treat you to this video clip from Walking With Prehistoric Beasts, featuring the mountain-sized animal that rescued Ryons from the “death dog,” aka hyaenodon.
Don’t mind them calling it “Indricotherium.” They’re always changing the name. I stick with the old name that it had when I was a boy, “Baluchitherium.” Whatever we call it, this baby was the largest land mammal that ever lived–and the one that Ryons met was the biggest of them all.
Marvel at the work of God’s hands, and rejoice in it.