I’m excited to have Michelle Miles with us on Magical Musings talking about her latest release, One Knight Only, which releases today. Take it away, Michelle!
When I first started writing this book, it was around 2005. I know six years is a long time to work on a book, isn’t it? But it actually started out as a straight historical and then morphed into a historical with paranormal elements. My heroine was Grace, she had a brother named Lars, Elyne was nothing more than a handmaiden, and the hero was Sir Drake.
But as I wrote, I realized my heroine was too wimpy, so I changed her name from Grace to Maggie and she became a modern woman with modern sensibilities. My hero wasn’t very interesting either, so I changed his name from Sir Drake to Finian and he became a Scottish knight with a gambling problem. For good measure, I threw in a snarky faery princess who befriends Maggie.
The main story stayed much the same. I still had the book set during a jousting tournament in the mid-1300s. I’ve long had a fascination with the Middle Ages and specifically jousting. I was that girl at Scarborough Faire (our annual ren faire here in the area) hanging off the fencing watching the make-believe jousts. The one who wanted to go to Medieval Times and sit in the front row to ogle the knights. I was the girl who wanted to sleep in a castle. (The closest I’ve gotten is Excalibur in Las Vegas. But as God is my witness, I will do that before I die.)
I started researching the book about the time I started writing it. I bought books on jousting and spent a lot of time searching specific information about jousting, tournament banquets, the Tree of Shields, where they lived during tournament, etc. I picked the mid-1300s because of some research I found that King Edward III held a tournament in England after one of his victories in France in the early years of the Hundred Years’ War. I also searched for information on speech. I found a great resource for speech of the time where I learned great phrases like, “God’s Teeth!” and the insult, “a plague-sore boil upon humanity.” I feel sure I can use that in everyday conversation today, don’t you? I also enjoyed using words like mayhap, anon and huzzah.
One of the things I wanted to write into the book was actual jousting. So I did a lot of research on how to do it, what they wore, how they rode, etc. Then I knew I wanted my heroine to do the actual jousting. How did I pull that off? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
Another thing I researched was card games and dice games in the Middle Ages since I had a heroine with a gambling problem. The dice game, Hazzard, was the predecessor of today’s Craps. Playing cards were actually introduced to the Western Anglo world in the mid-1300s. The suit system that we know today (hearts, clubs, spades, diamonds) was adapted by the French in the fifteenth century and referred to as a French deck. Other regions had their own suits (e.g. Germany, Italy, Spain) which included cups, swords, coins, and batons (or sticks); others had animals, flowers, etc. For my story, I went with the familiar and used the French deck during the gambling scenes.
Did I mention my faery princess likes to gamble, too?
This story was a lot of fun to write and has a lot of great characters. I’d spent so much time with them during edits that I actually missed them when I turned in the book. My head had been in the Middle Ages for so long, it was hard to pull myself out of it and back into our everyday world.
I hope you enjoy reading One Knight Only as much as I enjoyed writing it. Book two has been planned and is underway. Elyne, my snarky faery princess, was insistent that she get her Happily Ever After. Who am I to deny her that?Michelle Miles writes contemporary, fantasy and paranormal romance. She believes in knights in shining armor and HEAs. For more information about her and her books, visit her website at http://www.michellemiles.net where you can also sign up for her monthly newsletter, The Monthly Grind.