Today I am pleased to introduce L. F. Falconer, author of the historical coming-of-age fiction novels Hope Rises from the Ashes and Hope Flies on Broken Wings. Her latest book, a fantasy prequel entitled The Vagabond’s Son: Prelude to a Legacy was just released in September. You can find out more about Leanna on her website or on her author page on Amazon, where you can read an impressive array of book reviews for her work, most of which average 4.7 stars or higher!
Leanna’s guest post “When Characters Mutiny” is below, as is an excerpt from The Vagabond’s Son, but first I’d like to present this brief author interview. It took me a fair amount of thought to come up with these two questions, but I think Leanna’s answers provide a lot of insight into her and her work.
If you were throwing a party for the characters in your books, who among them would you refuse to invite and why?
If everyone showed up this would be a fairly good-sized party, but I doubt it’d be much fun. Other than a handful of characters who could actually let their hair down and have a good time, what I really picture here is a room full of people keeping to themselves, or at the most, only associating with those of the same social standing. One character I would definitely leave off the guest list is Harlo, Dugan’s father from Hope Flies on Broken Wings. Because of his profane nature and mob-style clout, his presence would put a damper upon any frivolity the party might be able to muster. For similar reasons, I would try to exclude Laramato, from The Vagabond’s Son, as well. I doubt anyone would want to deal with either one of those sadistic creeps at a party and they would not be missed.
Suppose that you were suddenly transported into the world of one of your books. Which character would you be and why?
There are a good many characters in my books who are well-adjusted, upstanding, personable folk that one might think would be fine to embody. However, as their creator, I’m privy to all their ugly little secrets. I’m well aware of any less than enviable life experiences as well as the ultimate fates that await them. This insider knowledge can make selecting a character I might like to become a genuine challenge! Yet one does stand out above all others—that being Gabriel Hunter from Exit Strategy. I’ve chosen Gabe because, unlike me, he is definitely a piece of eye-candy and can play a mean ocarina. He’s also well-traveled, can adapt to any situation, and even though his strong inner self-discipline makes him appear cold and unfeeling, underneath that façade beats the heart of an angel.
When Characters Mutiny
In literature, not all characters are created equal, and some just naturally emerge stronger than others. Such was the case with Adalanto.
A handsome young piskie with beautiful blue eyes, Adalanto began his life as a secondary character in a supporting role. Yet the more scenes he appeared in, the stronger he became until he finally usurped the entire plot and foisted himself into a position of high importance
I could have put an end to this uprising with a sweep of the pen, but instead, I decided to let him go, just to see where he might take things. After all, he and his friend Tulemar, had already come to my rescue when I was suffering a severe case of writer’s block. Much to my surprise, he brought about a wonderful turn of events which led to a more satisfactory conclusion than I had originally planned.
But, perhaps I should start at the beginning:
Twenty-six years ago I wrote a poem—a medieval ballad of a young warrior who sought a treasure upon a mountaintop. Along his trek, he defeated several mythical beings who sought to end his quest, losing all his weapons in the process. And when he finally reached the peak, he came to learn the treasure was simply lore. It did not exist. Left disheartened and unarmed, he still had to face the menace of a dragon that stood in his way of retreat.
The poem sparked the interested of a couple of magazine editors but, at over four pages, its length prohibited publication. Several years later I began to convert that poem into a story. That one story grew into two, then into four, and continued to grow exponentially until it finally reached the epic proportions it is today. Over half a million words in length, The Legacy of Skur is finally nearing the publication stage. And out of this work, Adalanto of The Vagabond’s Son was born.
As I previously stated, Adalanto began his life as a secondary character, but he was having none of that! He demanded the lead. In the full development of his character, it dawned upon me that instead of just a paragraph or two of background now and then, his entire story needed to be told, for it is definitely one of “courage under fire.”
A child reared in insolation by his abusive, drunken father, Adalanto escapes at age twelve and is taken in by a kindly, deeply religious family. Being suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar society, Adalanto struggles, often unsuccessfully, to fit in.
The Vagabond’s Son follows this journey into adulthood as Adalanto learns to build relationships with others while trying to overcome the ever-present burden of his childhood scars. For as strong as his character is, he does have many weaknesses and flaws, and will forever do battle within himself. Each chapter in the book begins a new chapter in his life, until his story finally merges with his entrance into [as yet, unpublished] The Legacy of Skur.
Much of the writing of The Vagabond’s Son was painful to do. Often, during my research into the psychological problems usually endured by children raised in (a) isolation, and (b) abusive homes, I was left enraged and in tears. I had to walk a fine line in presenting the types of abuse young Adalanto goes through. I had to deal out enough to cause him a number of issues to overcome, but not so much as to leave him broken. And while at times it may have seemed none existed, I had to consistently provide him a thread of hope as well as the strength of spirit to succeed.
The Vagabond’s Son is a psychological, character based story set in a realm of fantasy, and deals with some hard social issues, including scenes of abuse, sexual situations, and violence. While not necessary to read in order to delve into the upcoming The Legacy of Skur series, its purpose is to give the reader a deeper understanding of his character. As with most of my works, it is recommended for a mature audience.
For more information please visit http://www.lffalconer.com
Now, please allow me to present a short excerpt from The Vagabond’s Son, Prelude to a Legacy. [From Chapter Three, where Adalanto, at age fifteen and employed in the palace kitchen, is unexpectedly summoned before the Piskitian king.]
The following morning Adalanto was carving the fresh venison Thegn Peppolin’s company had just delivered, when a young boy in a green tunic and cap entered the kitchen.
“King Jaspidian wishes an immediate audience with Adalanto,” the page announced.
Gondofor and Ashirina shared a look of surprise while Adalanto’s own face was stricken pale. What had he done that would cause the king to demand him? Did it have something to do with Donamara, who used to be a royal’s favorite?
“Right now?” he squeaked.
“I am to escort you,” the page informed him.
“But I’m a bloody mess.”
“It’s not wise to keep the king waiting,” Gondofor said grimly. “Go at once.”
Adalanto quickly cleansed the blood from his hands and face in the wash bucket, cursing himself for having chosen this morning to wash his other set of clothes. He’d been in the palace over two years now and had yet to lay eyes upon the king. His stomach began to constrict in tight knots. His father’s drunken voice rumbled through his memory, “Did I ever tell you ‘bout the time I met the king?” With a trepid heart, he followed the page out the door.
They stopped before the double doors of the throne room and a guard with a brown leather cap announced him before ushering Adalanto inside.
He tried to control his queasiness and followed the guard over the woven reed mat across the expansive room, approaching the throne. Upon reaching the dais, he and the guard both dropped to one knee and bowed in genuflection.
“Rise,” the king commanded.
Taking a deep breath, Adalanto rose to await whatever punishment he had unwittingly been deemed to merit and dared to look upon the face of his king. He was younger than Adalanto expected, older than he, but not as old as Markaset, probably closer in age to Leandervon, with eyes so dark they were nearly the same shade as the black of his hair. A shiny, spiked, silver crown gleamed brightly above similarly spiked ears. He was dressed in tall black boots, black pants, and a flouncy white linen shirt beneath a black beaver fur vest. Two silver chains adorned with gold and silver medallions encircled his neck.
“You are the boy who has been aiding my cook?” the king asked, idly fingering one of the medallions.
“Yes, Your Majesty.” His voice sounded as tiny as he felt.
King Jaspidian rose from his mahogany throne and stepped off the dais. He stood beside him and Adalanto noted he was not as tall as he appeared on the throne. Chin cupped in his hand, Jaspidian circled around him studiously.
How Adalanto wished he’d had some clean clothes available. Such a disgrace to be clad so unkempt before the king. His sweat gathered. His heart beat hard against his breast, and he wished nothing more than to just crawl away and hide.