It's been a busy time for me here at Rooglewood. I'm happy to say that, before writing up this last chapter, I completed the revisions on Golden Daughter, so it's ready for it's copy edit and polish. Huzzah! That's always a great feeling. I'll hopefully be planning the cover reveal for this book quite soon now, though there are a couple of details that need to be wrapped up first.
But before we get too caught up in Golden Daughter enthusiasm, Veiled Rose deserves its wrap-up and farewell. I hope you'll enjoy this last chapter. And I hope to see you on my facebook page tonight, from 8-9 Eastern! I'll be there to chat, answer questions, etc. Looking forward to "seeing" all of you who can make it.
Full circle: So at long last, we end this story where it began—with a young man, all alone, climbing the mountainside up to Hill House. We now know the source of this man’s solitude, and we understand his purpose. What a long, sad tale is his . . . and (as readers of the next book already know), it will be longer and sadder still.
But for now, he just needs one thing: a friend. And I think we can allow him that, at least for the moment.
Bloodbiter’s Wrath: It’s nice to see Lionheart take up his childhood “weapon” once more. We can see him here, after the many, unsuccessful labors that drove him to maturity, longing to reach back into the past. To reclaim that childhood innocence and the dream of heroism. That dream which the Dragon killed. That dream which he has forgone in place of the dream the Lady gives him.
But the longing in his heart—the real longing for a heart of courage—remains. And it will not be fulfilled so long as he walks this road. He knows it. But I think he believes that, somehow, if he can just find Rose Red again, she will make him feel that he isn’t the person he knows he’s become. She will make him feel a hero again.
Reminiscing: Lionheart’s reminiscing takes us back to the early chapters of this novel, allowing us to relive along with him those childhood adventures. Again, that sense of bringing everything full circle is created.
This was an important sense for me to establish here at the end of the book. Because, as you know, Lionheart’s story doesn’t really end here. Veiled Rose ends, but the story goes on. I had already drafted Moonblood, so I knew where things were heading. My readers, however, would not get to read Moonblood for several months after that. I had to do whatever I could to bring a sense of a closure . . . a sense of closure where there could be no closure, really!
Thus I used this technique of the beginning connecting to the ending, of reminiscing, etc. Call it a “writerly trick” if you will, an attempt to make this story feel as though it’s reached its conclusion. For some readers this worked well. For others, it did not (as the painful reviews will attest!) . Following Veiled Rose’s release, I often found myself wishing I could call out to those angry reviewers and say, “No, please! Just trust me! I know where I’m going with this story, really I do, and it’s worth the wait.”
But Veiled Rose did not end on a successful moment for the hero. It did not end with a kiss for the heroine. And sometimes, readers will not forgive that. Oh well. You faithful imps stuck with me, and I appreciate that more than I can say!
“You said once . . .” Again we find Lionheart alone in the forest, calling out for his friend to find him in his trouble. “I’m lost. I need you,” he says. And he does. Not for any romantic feeling—no, no. Readers are much mistaken if they think Lionheart has any romantic interest in Rose Red here at the end of Veiled Rose. But he knows her to be the one faithful friend in his life. The only one who will trust him and believe in him, no matter his failures. At least, so he believes.
And he needs a friend like that. Desperately.
What Leo saw: Here in this chapter we finally learn what exactly Leo saw in the pool of the Mountain Monster’s cave. We learn that he did indeed see Rose Red’s face. We also learn that he saw his own face and, in a moment of clarity, recognized what he saw. Recognized that he was not the hero he wanted to believe himself to be.
And he spent the entire rest of this novel fleeing that image. But he cannot escape it forever.
The goblin: Here, in the very last chapter, we learn the truth of Rose Red’s face. She is a goblin. There is no Faerie princes of unreal beauty hiding behind those veils. There is only an ugly, hideous monster, with jagged, jutting teeth and enormous, moon-wide eyes, flattened nose, rocklike hide . . . she is a monster out of children’s stories and nightmares. Our dear, sweet, loyal Rosie.
But after spending an entire novel with this character, does her appearance really matter so very much?
Again, I faced some backlash for this revelation. People expecting a romantic moment between these two characters were bitterly disappointed. Because, of course, how can we expected Lionheart to have romantic feelings for such a creature? How can there be a kiss when she looks like that?
Well, there can’t be. And if that’s’ what readers want, they will be disappointed. But there can be something more, something much deeper and more profound. There can be real honesty. There can be true friendship. Even between the monster and the coward.
A confession and a promise: Lionheart tells Rose Red what he has not had the courage to tell anyone else: that he failed. He doesn’t tell her the whole of the story, but he tells her the most important aspect. He tells her of his failure. Because he knows that she, of all the people in his life, won’t care.
And Rose Red, wrapping her arms around him in a surprising moment of tenderness and demonstrative affection, promises him: “There ain’t nothin’ you can do that will turn me from you.”
A powerful promise. We can only hope that she’s right . . . because Lionheart has not done his worst yet.
But for this story, let it end here. Let it end with friendship and devotion. Let us hope that Lionheart may indeed prove himself worthy of a friend such as Rose Red. That he may indeed, with her at his side, recover himself and transform into the king Southlands needs.
A reminder: And yes, I used Rose Red to remind my readers that they need to read all the legends together to know how everything turns out. Not that everyone paid attention, mind! But I tried.
And there we are, dear readers all! The end of this read-along. Thank you for joining me on this exploration of Veiled Rose, my sophomore novel. Keep checking back for more fun upcoming events on the Goldstone Wood blog, including the upcoming 2014 Fan Art Contest! Dates to be announced shortly.
Questions on the Text:
1. What were your thoughts on first learning the truth of Rose Red’s secret?
2. How does this chapter strike you as an ending? Bittersweet? Sad? Hopeful? Incomplete?
3. Having come to the end of this story, who would you pick as your favorite character?
4. And, one last time, any favorite lines?
Allison wants to know: "My final question of the read-through is, aside from Shadow Hand, will we ever come back to the Southlands again? You mention books set in other locations, but I don't know if you've elaborated on this."
You know, I'm not actually certain. Not for a little while at least. The next several books after Shadow Hand are set in Noorhitam, Parumvir, Corrilond, Arpiar . . . and then after that, things are little bit more up in the air. But the fact is, this series is constantly growing, so the likelihood is we will return to Southlands at some point and time. At least for some novellas, if not full-length novels!
Jemma wants to know: "Is Golden Daughter book 8 or 7? I have this weird feeling that it was once refered to as book 8 but that doesn't make sense."
Heh, I probably did refer to it as book 8 at some point . . . it's all too easy to get my numbers mixed! But no, Golden Daughter is definitely book 7. Book 8 has an as-yet unrevealed title . . . but I should be letting you know about that pretty soon now!
Jemma also wants to know: "When will you do a blog page for you next book? (Because I can't wait!)"
I'll be doing a blog page for Golden Daughter around the same time as the cover reveal. Right now, the cover reveal is tentatively planned for the end of February . . . just before Shadow Hand's release. I have a couple of loose ends to tie up first, but believe me, I'll be letting everyone know! And yes, I hope to do a "characters you will meet" page for Golden Daughter too, time permitting.
Caitlyn wants to know: "Those inhaling dragon smoke were in stasis and didn't age, but this chapter describes how the smoke poison aged them. Were they only in stasis when the Dragon was there?"
Well, they didn't age in years. No more than they starved or grew longer hair or anything like that. But the poison definitely took years out of their life, so they aged in that respect, particularly the Eldest. I think he suffered the most because he was king, and it was his kingdom that was being poisoned.
Caitlyn also wants to know: "Did it ever say Lionheart really loved Rose Red? We saw Rose Red loved Lionheart, and Lionheart loved Una."
Nope, I don't think I ever said anything about that. Lionheart does love Rose Red, of course, just not romantically. Romantically, he fell in love with Una. But he loves Rose Red as his most trusted, most devoted friend.
Whether or not he ever falls in love with her remains to be seen . . .
Anna wants to know: "You keep pointing out the Cinderella parallels in Veiled Rose. Were those intentional or not-intentional?"
LOL! I really don't think they were intentional. I'm pretty sure I am just so steeped in Five Glass Slippers submissions at the moment that Cinderella parallels jump out at me everywhere. However, I do suspect that I unconsciously was including those themes, since I have always been nuts for fairy tales. I consider my genre to be "allegorical fairy tales," after all.
Heather wants to know: "Within your next few books, how many of them will take place after Shadow Hand?"
Um . . . well. That's a bit hard to answer. Sort of all of them. But also, not really. Um . . . I think you'll need to read Shadow Hand before I can answer that (Since I would hate to give away spoilers!).
Allison also wants to know: "Were you aware of the events of Shadow Hand when you were writing Veiled Rose and Heartless?"
Not while writing Heartless, no. And not while writing Moonblood either, actually! But late in the drafting of Veiled Rose, I began to realize that I couldn't leave Daylily's story untold. And more of it was beginning to come compellingly to mind. I still sat on the ideas for it through the drafting of Starflower and Dragonwitch, but it was pretty much roaring to be told by the time I sat down to it! But no, the first idea for it didn't come to me until part way through drafting Veiled Rose.
Here are some fun pieces of fan art to celebrate the end of the read-along! First, this photograph by Caitlyn:
|INTO THE WOOD
By Caitlyn and Hunter
And here is a beautiful poem by Allison, inspired by characters and events in Veiled Rose:
Ashes and Dreams
I wear a coat of dreams.
It glistens and it gleams.
It catches lives and begs for them
To join in its grand dance.
Though the wise refuse and wander on,
It always will give them the chance.
The galaxies combine.
It stirs its broth of life and death
Into a mix refined.
Sometimes it weighs me down.
It pinches and it twists.
It drags my shoulders to the floor.
It strains and hurts my wrists.
Sometimes it shows me dreams
That are too grand for me,
And though I cry and though I beg,
It will not let me be.
I wore my coat of dreams.
It glistened and it gleamed
Until I tore it off.
And now that it is gone,
I wonder if I’m wrong.
But though it gave me dreams,
It never gave me life.
Although it gave me beauty,
I though it not the price.
It never gave me love,
Although it dearly tried.
For all its wild grandeur,
My coat could only lie.
So listen to my warning:
Do not scorn the idle dream.
Be wary of your coat
Although it glistens and it gleams.
If it ever asks you for your life,
Be sure to throw it out.
For I’ve had my dreams fulfilled,
And they’re ashes in my mouth.