'Captain York, are you bored with the company?'
'My lady.' He took my hand and bowed, his lips soft on the back of my hand, his fingers surprisingly rough. 'A beautiful dress. It matches your eyes.'
In a smooth motion he shrugged off his greatcoat and draped it over my shoulders. The fine wool was soft and warmed by his body.
'Bored? No. I'm just taking a look at the city whilst i can.'
'Is the Capital in danger?'
He reached for my hand again and ushered me to the stone balustrade. Beyond the outer walls, the bright lights of the old City stretched out below the castle hill in all directions, vibrant and alive, even at this hour.
'No. No, it's so far from the front line. But this war will be different from everything that has gone before. It's going to last for a long time and, when it's over, everything will be different. It might look the same, but something important will have been lost.'
For a few moments we both stood there, side by side, saddened by this thought. The mood was broken by a burst of laughter from the other side of the doors. Difficult times were coming,but not tonight.
'Will you dance with me, Captain?'
He turned, and gently brushed snowflakes from the epaulets on my shoulders. He looked into my eyes for a long moment, an expression on his face that i couldn't read. He could have been about to kiss me or to turn and stride away.
'My lady, I'd be honoured.'
In a previous post i introduced my character.The novel was just beginning and i'm already starting to introduce a back story although i'm telling the reader more about him than about her. She is a spy and a murderer but we don't know her name. His name is Gabriel York and he is a military officer about to go to war.
Writing a book is a process and, for me, that involves asking a series of questions. How did they meet? Where, and why? Who is he and, more importantly, who is she?
The next assignment was to write a short piece entitled A Winter Meeting. That was it. Just a title, with a limit of 250 words. There's a real discipline in a maximum number of words. The section describing the trees, their branches laden with snow in the castle gardens, the points of light going across the sky that were starships in orbit; all that had to go. The only reference to winter is the snowflake and you have to imagine the scene - i'd suggest Stirling Castle isn't a bad place to start. So i focused on the relationship between these two people and, to some degree, this short piece set the framework for the entire book. Although there's violence and intrigue and betrayal, the themes that run through the book are about the relationships between people. Not just these two, but also the people around them.
When asked, i describe it as a love story, with spaceships. It's not. It's about desire versus duty, the need to belong. It's about finding that things you held sacred were lies.
Deep stuff. You'll be able to download it from Amazon in about a month :-)