Quick reminder, if you have any questions about how to get your name entered in the weekly giveaway, please read the November 30 blog post. And if you have any questions on the text, go ahead and post them in the comments, and I will get to them as soon as possible.
Also, if you are only just joining us today, feel free to go back and answer questions from yesterday's post in order to rack up points!
And now, back to our story . . .
Parts: Some of you might be curious as to why this novel (like all of my subsequent novels) is broken into parts while Heartless was not. The answer is simple enough: time jumps. Veiled Rose involves several major time jumps through the course of the story, and I felt that breaking it into parts would help to smooth those jumps out. As though the entire novel was made up of several smaller novels. You'll notice that each section has its own rise and fall of action and mini climax as well, further creating that sense of multiple-novels-in-one. It is quite different from Heartless in this respect.
But I think the difference was good for me as well. It helped to further establish Veiled Rose as its own, unique story and not just a "sequel to Heartless."
A boy hero: The chapter starts out focused on young Leo, the hero of our story. Part of the reason I did this was because the first version of Veiled Rose started out focusing almost entirely on Rose Red. In order to break away from that one and write this version fresh and new, I flip-flopped the protagonist focus.
Leo is such a fun character to write about anyway! He made these first few chapters come to life.
They said a monster lived in the mountains: What an intriguing idea for any young boy with a sense of adventure! A monster right there on hand to be battled? Who can resist that!
I like how this chapter immediately sets up Leo's desire to be a hero, establishing that dream and that urge right away. This, of course, sets up for the dramatic contrast of what is to come . . .
"Silent Lady!": This made me smile, this little piece of Southlander slang. Have you all read enough of the series to understand this reference yet?
Oooh, foreshadowing! When Redbird suggests various monsters Leanbear might have seen, she says, "A troll? A goblin? A sylph?" Not only is she much closer to the truth than Leanbear realizes, she also foreshadows another exciting part of the story to come much later. Keep your eyes open!
Foxbrush, the self-styled cherub: What an odious foil to annoy our intrepid hero! Leo doesn't have much of a companion in his know-it-all, sickly little cousin, despite the fact that they are forced to be playmates. The two boys couldn't be any more dissimilar, at least as far as Leo can see. (Though do remember, dear reader, we are seeing Foxbrush entirely through Leo's eyes. There might be a side to the story we have not yet considered . . .)
At this point, however, Foxbrush is quite the spoilsport, insisting there is no monster and refusing to hunt it. Thus Leo declares him "no better than a girl," throws his sack of chess pieces at his head, and abandons Foxbrush to his books (Economic Concerns of the Trade Merchant's Status . . . ugh! Even that title is painful to read!).
Mousehand: Leo will need to be armed, of course, before he goes a monster-hunting, so he demands that the old gardener, Mousehand, arm him. Mousehand is one of those classic "old men" from literature who seems to know much more than he lets on. The sort of old man who is bound to give the hero useful advice which will be, for the most part, ignored. Which makes for better fiction, but for some rather stupid heroes. Leo is a case in point.
Mousehand is indulgent of the intrepid Leo and arms him with a beanpole. The same beanpole which we glimpsed in the prologue: "This was the beanpole of all beanpoles, mighty in purpose and fell with use." (p. 8) It is a beanpole with a destiny . . .
What Mousehand sees: When Leo asks the gardener if he has seen the mountain monster, Mousehand replies: "What I've seen and what others've seen ain't likely to be the same thing."
This isn't a no. Nor is it a yes.
But it's definitely foreshadowing!
Leo's trek: So Leo goes on an a nice explore, and I can't help but think of my own childhood and teenage years when I read this scene. I know I was heavily inspired by my own experiences. My husband often teases me about how vividly I remember my childhood, but I must say that I am very grateful for the memories. They come in handy when writing scenes such as this.
My brothers and I used to enjoy exploring the woods around our house. Later on, when I was just a little older than Leo is in this scene, I would go by myself, carrying notepads and sketchpads, seeking the adventure of woodland solitude. Not that it was ever quite as adventurous as what happens to my hero.
"Baaaaah!" Not exactly the bloodthirsty cry of a monster, but still, the bleating Leo hears while out alone in the forest is startling enough. It's only a bit disappointing to discover the source: a shaggy nanny goat.
The veiled vision: But when Leo turns from the goat, he catches sight of a strange apparition, a figure cloaked entirely in veils. He doesn't wait to find out more, but races back along the trail, making for home as fast as he can!
Monsters in theory are a lot more fun than monsters in practice.
Questions on the Text:
1. Do you have a "cousin Foxbrush" in your own life? What do you think that person's perspective on you might be?
2. Many children have "tramping through the wilderness" adventures. What were/are your experiences with this kind of play? Are there woods near your house? Do you have a secret fortress or secluded hideaway?
3. If you haven't read the book before, any guesses who/what the veiled figure might be? And why the veils? If you have read the book, what were your original ideas about this character (before you learned the truth)?
4. What were your favorite lines of the chapter?
EXTRA NOTE: For those of you are e-book readers, my publishing house is running a special right now. Heartless is available for free on Kindle, and Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch are all available for 1.99. Might want to take advantage of that.