I was grateful to be asked, because it meant that my writing touched a chord with people and they were interested in knowing what came next.
I had no idea how much time would be involved when I made the decision to adapt two of the largest contributions to the legends of Charlemagne into novels for modern day audiences. That was back in 2005. I was so naÏve. I thought I could do it in one volume.
I made my outlines, made decisions how to structure my story, evaluated the maps for locations, etc. Once I began writing and allowed the drama to play out, I soon realized that this was not going to be done in one volume - not unless it was over a thousand pages. That's not a realistic book length for a debut novelist.
At one point, I thought I could do this series in two novels. That idea was also dispelled once I began writing volume two and saw the page count continue to climb with a large number of chapters yet to be written. Currently my plan is for a trilogy.
I thought I should share how I began writing this series. Back in 2003, I read my first epic poem. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a life changing experience for me. I was doing a little bit of research and had originally intended on only reading a few cantos of Orlando furioso and used an online English translation because it was free and readily available. It was confusing, and so I switched to reading Barbara Reynolds’ two-volume set. I became entranced by the epic story with an expansive cast of larger than life characters and multiple interweaving plotlines. The love story of Bradamante and Ruggiero became the one plot thread that captivated my attention most of all and I found myself skimming ahead until I found their storyline resumed. I was astonished at the idea that 500 years ago there was a brave warrior maiden in literature sent on a quest to rescue her beloved. I felt cheated that I had never heard of Bradamante before.
Two years later, I decided to embark on this project because I wanted others to know about these fantastic characters and their incredible storyline. I knew from the outset it would be an ambitious project, but I had confidence I had the talent and stamina to complete it. As I embarked on my literary journey to adapt Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto and Orlando inamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo, I thought it would not take me as long to complete my task as it took the poets to write their masterpieces. Now, thirteen years later, I am proud to announce the publication of Fate of the Saracen Knight, volume two in my trilogy.
Here's some context: according to the Encyclopedia of Italian Studies, Boiardo began his work on Orlando innamorato in 1478. The first edition of his poem was published in 1483. Boiardo died in 1494, leaving his poem unfinished. He wrote his poem for sixteen years.
Ariosto was later given the task of finishing Boiardo’s poem and his work began in 1505. The first publication of Orlando furioso was in 1516, taking only eleven years. A further expansive version of his epic poem was published in 1532, sixteen years later, for a total of twenty-seven years spent on his magnum opus.
That means between the two poets it took them forty-two years to write the two poems I am using to base my story.
The focus of my work is on the love story of Bradamante and Ruggiero, so I am not attempting to adapt the entirety of both poems. That was part of my hubris in thinking my adaptation wouldn’t take as long as it did the poets to write their stories. Thirteen years later, and I’m not finished yet.
I began this work not having been a devotée of the Medieval period. However, I have a Masters Degree as an Historian of Science from Sonoma State University and was mentally prepared for the challenge. I plunged in the deep end, learning as much as I could about medieval life, medieval history and Charlemagne. Part of my research included my husband and I traveling to France to see the places I was writing about and museums. On subsequent trips, we visited Aachen, Germany to see Charlemagne’s seat of power and to Ferrara, Italy where the patrons of Boiardo and Ariosto lived.
To help celebrate the launch of my second volume, both volumes are discounted during the month of December. Here are links for the ebooks of Quest of the Warrior Maiden and Fate of the Saracen Knight from Amazon.com, and the trade paperbacks of Quest and Fate. The books are available on other Amazon outlets throughout the world, but availability of trade paperbacks depends on the country. The prices will go up in January.
Dr. Richard Scott Nokes, Professor of Medieval Literature from Troy University said this about my writing. “Readers will be gripped by the epic sweep of the Bradamante & Ruggiero Series. This second book ratchets up the narrative tension and leaves the reader emotionally invested not just in the Fate of the Saracen Knight, but the fates of all the characters.”
Please consider giving the gift of reading this holiday season for yourself or for others, and supporting an independent author who shares your passion for fantasy, heroic characters and the Medieval period.
Thank you and may you have a fabulous holiday season,
Linda C. McCabe
P.S. This is my first blog post on this platform. I will attempt to migrate posts from the Google Blogger platform here, so that I am not at the whim of a corporate decision to remove that free site at some point in the future.