Friday, January 17, 2014

More Hild?

From Leslie:

I bought Hild at the suggestion of NPR--I often rely on their book reviews to point me in the direction of new and wonderful books, and this time was no exception. I devoured this book. I read it in every waking minute I had available for reading. I got cross at my husband when he wanted to watch "our" TV shows because I couldn't be torn away from this book. Admittedly, some of the language threw me at first, and having the e-book, the pronunciation guide was at the end, and not as accessible as a paper book*. But I hunkered down and gathered the meaning from context and I WAS OFF.


Thank you for writing this book. I completely felt like I was in a different world. I love this history of women… how much they were relied on to keep the entire community running, how they could be strong like Hild. I never got the sense from the whole book that the women were treated as property (well, save Gwladus' situation) and from official history, that's all you get. Women were an afterthought. But they had such huge roles! This was a refreshing read.


I'm not a writer, just an avid reader, but when I came to the end of this book, I simply wanted to know more. What happens to Cian and Hild? What of the war? Does Edwin lose power? I have so many questions that are unanswered… Are you thinking of continuing her story? I would buy it immediately. Thank you again, for such an engaging read, and I plan on checking out some of your other work as well. Thank you for letting me get lost in the story.
[This is probably the most frequent question I've had since mid-November. I picked this one at random from literally dozens of variations on a theme.]

Yes, there will be more. My plan is for there to be three books, and whole thing to be known as LIGHT OF THE WORLD. The second, the one I'm working on now, will cover Hild's life from where we left off at the end of the first to her recruitment by Bishop Aidan into the fledgling church. The third will cover what happened when she got there.

I think.

You have to bear in mind that I'd originally intended to tell Hild's story in one big book. But as I told the Paris Review, I hit 100,000 words and Hild was only twelve... People plan and the gods laugh--especially with fiction.

So, I'm working on it. For those who just can't wait to know what happens next regarding the Big Ticket Historical Names (excluding Hild, of course; we know nothing of this period of her life; anyone who says andy differently, no matter how authoritatively, is just guessing) I can recommend two paths. One is to look names up individually on Wikipedia. You'll have an amazing time tracing the interconnectedness of it all. The second is to buy a narrative non-fiction history, The King in the North, by Max Adams. I read it last month and was pleasantly surprised. It takes as its central focus Oswald Ã†thelfrithing and while Adams and I don't always see eye-to-eye on the role of women he's spot-on with the kings and battles and so forth. Which means--be warned!--there will be spoilers...
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* For those reading digitally, feel free to download and (gasp!) print some of the extras (map, pronunciation guide, glossary etc.--scroll down to More Information) to refer to so that you're not constantly having to click away from the narrative. Enjoy.

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14 comments:

  1. I've stopped reading it about 50 pages from the end because I don't want it to be over!

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    1. Wow, well, okay--but that strikes me as...counterproductive. Why not just finish it and then read the whole thing again?

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    2. My strategy seemed so sensible until you questioned it, Nicola! I will definitely finish it but I'm just delaying right now because I don't want it to be over...we all have our ways of coping, however neurotic!

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  2. I vote for finishing and rereading, as that's what I did (and others have done the same).

    I poked around Wikipedia and I kept feeling like it should have spoiler warnings.

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  3. I was so impressed with Hild, which I read on my Kindle, that I have used an Amazon gift voucher received at Christmas to purchase the hard cover 1st edition, something I only do with books that strike me as really special.

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    1. The paper edition is a beautiful object. Just lovely. Enjoy.

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    2. I agree, it is a beautiful object. As a book artist and avid Kindle user, I chose to buy the hardcover because of that and the pure pleasure of holding a book and feeling the paper as I turned the pages. It was also worth the effort to lug it back and forth between SF and Seattle on the plane over the holidays. Since you don't have to turn it off at take off and landing, it was the perfect read throughout the flight.

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    3. That 'turn off your devices' crap makes me grind my teeth with frustration. So unnecessary.

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  4. I got the Kindle version under duress. I had pre-ordered, then read the hardback, but I lent it to my daughter who then took it 800 miles away.
    (and why doesn't Firefox spellchuck recognize pre-ordered by default?)

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    1. Spellcheck (on whatever platform) is a mystery to me. At least they learn...

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  5. I am SO glad to hear there will be more of Hild's story! I am about 3/4 of the way through the book and am loving it. Powerful storytelling and powerful women, hooray! In addition I am reading this while being immersed in learning Celtic herbcraft and my own family's genealogy (I am in the US, my family has been here since the beginning of English colonization and traces back to England/Scotland), so there are many layers of meaning and interest for me.

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    1. There was a whole scene about the sisters (Hild and Hereswith) being drilled by their mother on their ancestry--which in the days of poison and usurpment you can guess was very complicated! But I took it out because I just couldn't make it move the plot forward. I found it interesting, of course, and I've no doubt that it have happened, but I'm guessing readers would have been bored out of their minds...

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  6. my mother would probably argue that the ancestry IS what moves the plot forward (giggle)...but I hear you!

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