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Friday, March 4, 2011

A Second Glimpse at My Exciting New Project

The cathedral at Burgos, constructed 300 years after our story takes place. 
Although my novel's pitch didn't win first prize or the reader's choice award for the Pitchapalooza thing, I was glad just be reviewed. Thank you very much to everyone who voted for me! Here is a revised version of my pitch for The Seven Noble Knights of Lara. Let me know if it makes you want to read the whole thing.

No one can safely ignore doña Lambra. Her need for revenge leaves the plains of tenth-century Spain stained red with the blood of her seven warrior nephews. That same blood rises up from the rich soil of Andalusia in the form of Mudarra. This knight of noble lineage can bring meaning to his life only by exacting revenge on doña Lambra and her pawn husband.
In an age of superheroes and superpowers, this book returns to a simple hero, a mere mortal born with a special purpose. The setting is exotic, but the complicated web of rivalry and admiration between the cultures means that it fits seamlessly into our multi-ethnic, multi-denominational, and multi-problematic world.
I hold a PhD in Medieval Spanish literature. This historical tale brings together the violent family culture of Mario Puzo and the rugged realities of medieval Spain of María Rosa Menocal. Gleaming silks spill out of treasure chests. Heavy, rough coins are traded for taken lives. Diners turn the goblet to avoid drinking from the same spot as their neighbor. Our young hero holds his hands out to catch falling almond blossoms as if they were snowflakes, then takes his glittering sword to the throats of his betrayers. Can Mudarra bring balance to the feuding families? Will he be satisfied with a simple revenge?
Inside the Great Mosque at Córdoba, finished around the time of our story. 
This novel is based on a medieval Spanish epic, thought to have been sung by minstrels, and which now only survives prosified in history books, primarily Alfonso X el Sabio's Estoria de Espanna. It has never completely faded from the popular imagination through the ages. Most recently and notably it took the form of films and comic books in Tagalog in the Philippines. Bringing together my knowledge of the era and of the craft of writing, I make it a compelling story for todays' readers.

This year, I had several smaller writing projects to complete, and with the help of critique partners and set deadlines, they are done. Because I mentioned in my New Year's resolutions that I would make good progress (okay, I said I'd finish a first draft!) on a big project, there's now nothing for it but to get to work. The daunting part is strictly the assembling together more than 50,000 words.

It's time to get my specialty, medieval Spain, back into my writing. Who doesn't love a little exotic adventure with castles and palaces, knights and battles, desire and hate? I hope you will be as excited about the new project as I am. Tune in to this blog for periodic updates and teasers.