King’s Warrior Read-Along: Chapter 1

Welcome back! We’re just getting started here, but I hope you’re enjoying the read-along. For those of you just joining us, welcome to the Read-Along of King’s Warrior. I will be posting an article on a chapter a day through the month of December, ending on the 23rd. I’m scheduling most of these posts to go up in the evenings (around 4:30pm EDT) – just for a change of pace, and because I like to read in the evenings.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Of all the chapters in the book, this is the one that has undergone the most re-writing, changing, and flipping around. You see, the story was supposed to be about Yole. (For those who have read this book already, does that surprise you?) Since he was supposed to be the main character, it seemed right that the story begin with him. However, once the story got underway, I began to suspect that this story wasn’t about him… and when I finished the series, I realized that it never had been about him at all. Hence, the reorganization. I also spent a good deal of time working on that first chapter for the Amazon ABNA contest – the very first time I entered – where I got a lot of good feedback from other authors on the pacing of the story. That was a learning experience!

There is a lot of character set-up in this first chapter - so today we’ll focus on what we learn about some of them:

Kamarie – if there is one character in this story who most reflects me, it’s Kamarie. She has undergone a lot of changing since that first rough draft of the story, but the core of her character has remained the same. I wanted her to be head-strong, strong-willed, and capable, with her own opinions and a wild imagination. But I also did not want her to come across as the typical angsty princess with clueless parents. Hence, a blend was born.

“And the sword at her side was not merely for show, after all.” I wanted to drop hints about Kamarie’s “secret” training sessions, without going into a lot of details right away. Plenty of time to let that information unfold later.

Yole - “It had been a long, difficult climb to the top of Mount Theran.” This was the original opening line of the entire novel. However, again, as intriguing as Yole’s character is, this story is not about him. He is up there, listening to the pipe music, and reminiscing about the village he has just been thrown out of. Why was he cast out? What did he do to deserve such treatment? Poor Yole is very confused right now. It is always an interesting balancing act, writing a mystery – that balance of giving away just enough to keep the reader interested without giving everything away. I worry constantly that I’m being either way too subtle (my audience will miss all my hints), or not subtle enough (my audience will figure everything out too easily).

The Slap. I struggled with this one for a while, actually. It was part of the original, and I wanted to cut it out for a long time. But Brant takes the safety of his family incredibly seriously. And he doesn’t know that Yole has no idea who or what he really is – and in that context the slap makes sense and it would seem that Brant is actually restraining himself rather a lot. Upon later reflection, it also can be seen as quite an audacious act, as well. For those of you who have read the story before… would YOU have slapped Yole?

Brant – Ah, Brant. My “title” character. He was originally named Ramstrand, and he was only supposed to be part of the story during the scene where Yole is remembering how he was cast out of Peak’s Shadow.

My audience, however, had other plans. “Is Ramstrand going to be in the story more?” they asked after that first night of reading. “We really like him! Who is he? What does he know about Yole that we don’t know? He seems to be an interesting character, we want to see more of him!”

They raised some good points… and some good questions.

Of course, I had given him a hideous name… and a family… and no reason to ever leave his nice home. Something would have to be done about all that.

Oh, Brant’s family. I love them dearly. Sometimes, as an author, one is forced to be a bit cruel to one’s characters. That doesn’t mean we take pleasure in it.

The secret mission.

Kamarie is so fun to write. I love how she grows in this book. One of my favorite things ever is the part where she begins to imagine out how her mission is going to progress: like something out of a story book. “This trip was definitely starting to have possibilities.” She has such an imagination, and starts off a bit impractically.

“Understanding his daughter’s heart more than she guessed…” yes, King Arnaud knows all about Kamarie’s “secret” squire lessons, and he even approves. This is where I deviate from the angsty princess with parents who just don’t understand her.

I also got to give a tiny peek into Brant’s background here, as Kamarie tries to do a little research into the man she is being sent to find – a lot of that was added in the last edit, after having finished writing the rest of the series.

Oraeyn – poor Oraeyn. He really didn’t want to go on this “trip” as Kamarie thinks of it at first. He is the dutiful squire, the boy who wants to be a man. He has no idea how this unwanted detour will shape his life into so much more than he ever wanted or dreamed.

A reader offered the idea of having a few discussion questions at the end of each post, which sounds like a fun idea, so… here goes:

1. Now that you’ve met the main characters, what are your first impressions of them? Kamarie? Yole? Brant? Oraeyn?

2. Which character are you the most drawn to?

3. Kamarie has quite the imagination! Have you ever imagined something so clearly you could actually see it… only to discover the reality was very different from what you imagined?

4. Any favorite lines or passages?

~ jenelle

9 Comments

whimsywriter3

So I guess I’ll ask my questions first and then answer yours. :-)

1) How do you pronounce Kamarie’s name? It looks like a pretty simple name, but I was just wondering because even simple things (tomato) are pronounced differently by different people.

2) Why did you choose to name the nanny/maid Darby? I like the name, and so am curious as to why you hit upon it.

Sorry I have a pathological obsession with names. :-D

Now to your questions!

1) Kamarie is odd to me, I haven’t decided if I like her yet. Brant is my favorite and I’m afraid something will happen to his family! :-( And Yole, I haven’t read enough of him yet to quite decide what I think. :-)

2) lol I answered this one in the first question so I guess I’ll switch it up. Brant seema awesome because he seems loving, wise and kind. Kamarie seems a bit rash and silly but I’m looking forward to seeing her grow and learn (hopefully) as the book continues.

3) Oh yes indeed. From everything to relationships to school work to trying a new type of food. :-D

4) hmmm None that I can think of yet.

Alright I’m off to read more!

Reply
Jack

I second WhismyWriter’s questions 8-D Also, how do you pronounce Oraeyn? I pronounce it like the star consolation, Oryan’s Belt, but I’ve never been sure if I was saying it right.

Since this is my second time reading I don’t really have first impressions on the characters, though I feel like I’m seeing them in a new light and understanding having read the book once and the sequel. So, I will give my first/ second impressions.
When I read it the first time, the first chapter or two had me fearful that Kamarie would turn out to be those typical fairy tale princesses who didn’t want help from anyone. Now that I’ve seen how she has grown, going back I see she was never that type from the start but it was my own worry of reading another book with an unlikable girl character getting to me. Now I find her fun, a bit wild, but caring about those she loves. And I adore her imagination.

Yole I still love. He still strikes me as he did the first time, sweet and endearing. That little brother we all wanted and instantly feel we must keep safe.

Brant. Brant is still my favourite. Even though his past is no longer a mystery, knowing it and having spent Second Son with him I only love him more. And knowing what is coming makes me want to hug him.

I adore Oraeyn. I liked him right off and then fell in love with him the more I read. He just makes me happy.

After all that I think I kind of answered the second question. I am drawn mostly to Brant and Oraeyn, though Darby has this warm, safe guardianshipness that draws me in. And Yole…as I said, he is something of the little brother I want to keep safe. And then there is Kamarie, I feel more drawn to her now than I did the first time. So many I am drawn to all the characters.

To question three yes. I think my whole life fits into that question. Or at least my writing life. My imagination of all that turned out to be different than how it turned out.

My favourite passage would be Brant when he sees his daughter sitting with the baby sheep. It’s so beautiful and heartbreaking. And the fact you kept using baby sheep instead of lambs made me happy.

Reply
Kendra E. Ardnek

Glad to hear you liked my suggestion!
1. If I remember right my impressions were, Yole: a young mysterious boy I wanted to read more about. Kamarie: I like this princess. Brant: Not sure what to think about him, but Jack likes him, so I’ll keep reading and Oraeyn: Is he the love interest? (For the record, I do ship him with Kamarie … I hope I won’t be disappointed *crosses fingers*)
2. I’m usually drawn to female characters better than male, so it’s no surprise that I found Kamarie the most interesting. Yole was a close second, though.
3. Yes, yes I do very often. I’ve come to the point where I almost don’t like to arrive at planned events, because then my mental image isn’t ruined. Ah, but I do enjoy the events themselves, so quite the quandary there!

Reply
Allan James

The First Chapter sets the stage for so much of what follows not only in “King’s Warrior” but also in the remaining books of this “Minstrel’s Song Quadrilogy”. I laugh when I hear you comment that Brant was only supposed to be a small part of this first chapter. I find it amazing that one of the last lines of chapter one is “when he meets Brant I don’t think he will remain disappointed”. It is absolutely true for Oraeyn but even moreso for the reader. Brant is the “glue” that brings and holds the story together………even if he has to be convinced by his author that this is what he must do and must become……..because Brant would prefer to remain anonymous………another thing we love about Brant. So……..what is my favorite thing about Chapter One?………….it has to be the brief introductions to so many of the characters that we will grow to love…….and this brief insight “rings true” of these characters even as we get to know them more fully in the pages that follow.

If there are any families out there who are reading this book aloud to their children…….I hope your children give you the same response that I received when reading aloud to my own family. Invariably the response was “What? You’re kidding me! You can’t stop there……….you can’t stop there…………oh, that’s so unfair”.

I don’t think an author could hope for a better reaction to their story-telling!

Reply
Abbey

I loved the little snippet of Kamarie’s imagination. I imagine things and then have them happen differently (or, most often, not at all) on a daily basis. Reading Kamarie’s imagination was like looking into my brain. I love it!
My first impression of Yole was that I already knew him. Right off the bat he was one of those comfortable, familiar characters, even if he was mysterious. My first impression of Brant was the same as Kendra’s: Jack likes him, so he must be pretty cool. I liked how devoted he was to his family. Re-reading the book now, I’m really, really impressed with Kamarie. I love that she’s strong-willed, but not the regular strong-willed princessy way. Her parents involvement probably has to do with that… I’m glad you put so much thought into it; she’s very original!
Oraeyn has been my favorite character from the beginning. I don’t know why. Maybe because he still has so much to learn.
My favorite line is the one near the beginning when she says she couldn’t focus on her schoolwork that day. The beginning of that sentence is wonderful.

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