Monday, December 2, 2013

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Chapter 1

Hey, you're back! Glad to see you.

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 . . .


Chapter 1

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.


Anna said...

2. Here, in Texas, we live surrounded by woods. We have trails going through it. When I was younger, I used to run through it just for fun. Now, as a teen, when my friends come over, we still choose to romp around in the woods--sometimes with the mule (not the animal mule, the four-wheeler sort of cart). When I was really little, we lived in California on the side of a hill. Then, I climbed over the rocks for fun.

Anna said...

3. Since I read the back of the book first, I had a basic understanding of what it was. However, reading it brought back the girl in Heartless who was kind to Una.

Which brings me to ask a question: how do you make everything tie together so perfectly? Do you know what is going on many stories ahead, or do you just choose a character in your book and make a whole new novel about them?

Sarah Pennington said...

1. So far, I've been lucky enough to avoid "cousin Foxbrush"s.
2. There's no woods near my house worth tramping through (they're more swampy mud than anything), but most years, my family goes to the PA mountains for vacation, and there's plenty of woods to wander through there!
4. My favorite lines are:
"Immaterial monsters were frightening, but they were less likely to cause physical harm . . . and when one was venturing out with only a beanpole for protection, this was just as well."
“The adventure is the hunt, not the catch, remember.”

Rae said...

1) Um, I'd say /I/ might be that Cousin Foxbrush. Granted, I would be reading an adventure story (Economics? Ugh!), but I was not exactly the daring, rebellious type, like Leo. I got my adrenaline rushes from my books. And I was /definitely/ an annoying, bossy know-it-all at Leo and Foxbrush's age...

Meredith said...

1. Yes, one of my cousin's is quite similar to Foxbrush in that she is very studious and quiet. Also, she's a math genius, so she might enjoy Foxbrush's choice of reading material. If you were to meet her for the first time, you might think she is very standoffish, but she is actually fun in her own way. You just have to get to know her a little. She's quite a bit older than me, so we did not get along well when I was little, but we've gotten much closer now.

2. There are woods surrounding my grandparents' farm, so I enjoyed walking through them with my cousin, (another one), when I was young. I did not enjoy having to push my way through the undergrowth, however.

4. Lines: Hill House belonged to Foxbrush's widowed mother, which meant that when any disagreement arose between the boys, Foxbrush could usually win with a final swipe of, "This is my mother's house, so you have to do what I say!" However, Leo's was by far the stronger personality, so if he made the effort he could sometimes barrage Foxbrush with so much enthusiasm that his cousin forgot to employ that dreaded line. (14).
If there was one thing Leo disliked about grown-ups, it was their tendency to treat him like a child (16).
"Never be in too much of a hurry to catch your quarry, young master," the gardener responded. "The adventure is the hunt, not the catch, remember." (17)
Then from the depths of the mountain forest, so distant as to sound like an echo, he heard a trill of silver notes from a bird that might almost have been singing words had Leo known the language.
And something about that song told him, It's all right. Make the plunge. Hunt your monster and see what you find. (18).

Bookishqueen said...

lol, my siblings would say that I'm Foxbrush because I never let them do stupid things and because I read a lot. Though I seem to remember being the one who suggested we play Narnia in the backyard.

Kira Thomas said...

1. I have no "Foxbrush" of my own, though I've encountered a bit of it in different people on many occasions.

2. When I was seven, we moved out to the country where we have /woods/. And woods, and woods, and woods. My brothers and sisters and I made "forts"--designated areas where the owners are allowed to go whenever they please, but other people had to get permission. There we made walls out of fallen sticks, "rivers" and paths, and played all sorts of games there. My favorite place, though, was a White Mulberry tree called, imaginatively, "The Climbing Tree" which was perfect for perching up in.

3. I... can't say I remember. I like how you made us see the goat first, scared us slightly, and then showed us that it was all right in time to let us know that there's this mysterious veiled figure standing behind Leo.

4. My favorite line was probably this one:

"He’d made plans for his day already, packing up the fine library chess pieces into a leather sack to sneak them out to the garden, where he intended to dig a dirt fortress and wage a battle that had nothing whatsoever to do with chess."

This and the others that remind me of my little brothers. You captured the spirit of little boys so very well!

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

I think it's cute that several of you admitted you ARE the Foxbrush in your life! Foxbrush is a more relatable character than Leo likes to let on, isn't he?

Thanks for all the great answers to these questions!

Hannah said...

1. Hmm, I think I'm probably a combination between Foxbrush and Leo. I was (and probably still am) a snippy, little know-it-all and I buried my head in books. But if my brother was going on an adventure, you could bet I wanted to go too.

2. Speaking of those adventures, my brother and I loved exploring the great outdoors whenever we could. There was one farm of our friends that was paradise. They had acres of fields, huge barns with lots of animals, a tall, wild forest we called Lothlorien, a tightly-packed and very dark forest with brambles hanging from branches that we called Mirkwood, and greatest of all, a rushing river with lots of rocks, crystals, blackberries, garter snakes, bugs, and crawdads. It was some of the awesomenest times as we roamed the river with our dogs as The Little Blue Dog clan. :)

3. I can't remember what I thought. I got Veiled Rose and Moonblood on my 16th birthday and had them finished at least by the next day. So there were a lot of thoughts running through my head. :)

4. Unfortunately, I don't have the book on hand to say. But I loved the part describing Foxbrush. :)

Anonymous said...

1. I suppose I could be considered the "Foxbrush" in the family, though maybe not all the way/all the time. We lived in a house that had woods (for two years) in the backyard and all around the neighborhood. One of my sister's (a year younger than me) would go out and play and I would tag along if I could keep up and I didn't want to be alone. If I couldn't keep up, then I'd stay at the house. I love reading but Economics Concerns of the Trade Merchant's Status, yeah not my first choice.

2. Yes, as mentioned above at one point we did live with woods for a backyard (I didn't like them at all).

3. I've read the book once before, but I remember being surprised although I thought I should've seen it coming.

4. Leo wouldn't have minded much if the monster did carry him off, or at least made the attemt. - pg. 12

At the beginning of the chapter it mention's the Wolf Lord's ghost (I've read this book before). Is the Wolf Lord in this book later, or do we meet the Wolf Lord in another novel?

Why does every character either have an animal's/flower name attached, just curious?


Anonymous said...

1. I don't hang out a lot with my cousins...but like some others have said, I probably have quite a large part of him in me. Which might be a good thing, once we get to read Shadow Hand :)

2. Though I wasn't the most involved in its construction, most of the kids in our neighborhood got together and made a fortress-house in the nearby some secret entrances.

3. The title gave me a bit of a hint, but since I was reading an ebook I didn't have the luxury of skipping ahead to confirm my suspicions. I was a bit scared at first glimpse, though!

Anonymous said...

1. Eh, not really. All the people I know are pretty awesome. :)

2. My cousins and I used to try and purposely lose ourselves in the woods behind their house. We still do it now, but it's much less fun - we know the forest a bit too well. :P There is a forest near our house, but it is rather small, and it's in a public park... I've never had a good hideaway, but I've always wanted one!

3. When I first read the book, I was surprised - I guessed that the veiled figure was the monster, but I didn't understand why a monster would be veiled. It was very intriguing.

4. "Leo took it and frowned. "A beanpole?" "A mighty sword, good sir knight, if you look at it right."" - Again, I love the beanpole.

happy2teach said...

1. Oh dear, I might be Foxbrush. lol I tended to be the sedentary one with my nose in a book.
2. However, when I was a child there was a small wood behind the apts where we lived. It was on the side of a hill. So the tree roots formed little steps and were covered with a gold green moss. My friend and I called it Golden Staircase. =0) We had many adventures there.
3. I have not read this book before. My daughter is a huge fan and I read Heartless earlier in the year after watching her devour the books. I am loving being able to discuss the books with her. She is re-reading it for the read along. So my guess for the veiled figure would be the Veiled Rose of the title. You referred to her as Rose Red in one of the entries.
4. My two favorite lines were
"Foxbrush's face emerged from behind the book, this time wearing his patient expression, the one that made Leo want to poke him in the eye ..." :D, because I love the comic, and "Then from the depths of the mountain forest, so distant as to sound like an echo, he heard a trill of silver notes from a bird that might almost have been singing words had Leo known the language" because I love those shocks of the familiar from the other books. Also, it is really beautiful prose.
Thank you for gifting us with your talent.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

@happy2teach: I'm excited to have someone joining who hasn't actually read the book before! I do apologize in advance if I give away any spoilers . . . I am trying to be sensitive, but I'm afraid some might slip out! ;)

Courtney said...

2. I had a big backyard as a child and I probably played as if I was in the woods gathering items to make a stew or something. I don't remember though. I do however recall pretending I was on a big boat (our deck) and making food for the people on the boat.

Unknown said...

1. I've never really had "cousin Foxbrushes" that I've known very well.
2.I did have some wooded areas around as I was growing up and always enjoyed imagining adventures while walking through them.
3. My first guess was the veiled figure was the "veiled rose" of the title.
4."At first, it was a fantastic feeling. The forest at that time of year was a heavy dark green that breathed mystery. The birds sang tempting tunes like sirens, not so cheerful as to destroy the ambiance. "

Rebekah said...

First off, let me say that I can't WAIT to find out more about Foxbrush.
2) When I was really little and lived in Arizona, there was a nearby park with a little grove of trees. That was my ONLY experience with trees. But my older sister used to take me there all the time. I remember trecking through them, weaving crowns from weeping-willow-tree tresses, and pretending to be on the run from dragons.
4) " ...'You don't want the mountain monster to carry you off.'
"That wasn't true. Leo wouldn't have minded much if the mountain monster did carry him off, or at least made the attempt."

Therru Ghibli said...

2. I used to live deep down in the woods and most of my childhood memories are of traipsing through the creeks and searching out different lands. None of my cousins were much of a Foxbrush considering that they were usually out there traipsing with us. Fighting goblins and ogres and dancing with fairies and elves was a daily routine.

3. I guessed that the figure was the Veiled Rose from the title, but my thoughts on what exactly she was, were very different from what she turned out to be. I do remember feeling slightly scared and praying that it wasn't a ghost though!