Titel: Die verborgene Königin
Autor: Alma Alexander
Originaltitel: The Hidden Queen
400 Seiten, ISBN: 3492264549
The Making of a Novel: The Hidden Queen and Changer of Days
I'm used to this. A character steps out of the ether, introduces herself and then begins to tell me her story.
The Changer of Days story began as a single scene - a band of fugitives running from a powerful pursuer finds a vantage point on the top of a hill and from there bleakly observes the dust of the armies in pursuit. What I knew about them at this point was pitifully little.
One of them, the girl called Anghara, was the reason they were all here -- and she had suffered something terrible at the hands of the man who was now pursuing her. Another was a lad named Kieran who was obviously in love with Anghara. Two more of them were a pair of twins. Anghara spoke of going to a place of mystery and a dark reputation to seek healing for her wounded spirit.
That was it. That was all I had. I wrote this partly at my tiny desk parked in a Microbiology lab where I was working towards a degree. I started playing with the story concurrently with performing lab experiments and writing a Masters degree thesis.
I found out who Anghara was -- an ousted princess and a heir to an ancient throne. I found out who her pursuer was -- her half-brother, Sif, who had usurped her crown. I found out that the twins were her cousins. I found out that she, the twins and Kieran were all fostered in the same household. I found out much about a gift called Sight, and how it controlled young Anghara's life.
When I finally began the novel, it was with a prologue that took place many years before that isolated scene on the hilltop when Anghara was only nine years old. The thing grew, in fits and starts. I'd write a segment in a passionate fury -- and then it would fester at this point for weeks or months.
It took me months of writing, hundreds of manuscript pages, and a great deal of twisting of the plot to finally reach the scene I had written in the research lab, and by this stage I had long left that lab.
Changer of Days was written over a period of three years -- including a period of nearly four months right at the end where I left my hapless protagonists sitting on their horses in the middle of a winter wood. I finally had to be pushed into finishing the novel, by a friend who begged me to "do something with those poor people, before they die of terminal frostbite!"
So, it was finally done I continued to read a lot of books in the fantasy genre, and now that I had a completed novel of my own. And what a novel! The completed MS weighed in at almost a quarter of a million of words! I was inevitably comparing the published works I read with the thing that I had written, and was discovering that I had a damned good story on my hands.
And thus began my journey of faith, a decade of sturdy belief in the potential of Changer of Days, a refusal to give up in the face of the sort of iniquitous odds that face first-time novelists.
When I eventually submitted my manuscript to Harper Collins New Zealand, they accepted it…on condition that it be split into two volumes. These became, in the US and other editions, "The Hidden Queen" and "Changer of Days".
It had taken faith, perseverance, a stubborn and implacable dream -- but the Changer books were going to be published. When I heard the news, I cried. The book garnered a swath of glowing reviews and two award nominations - but more rewarding were the reader comments that kept filtering into my mailbox. One of my favorites has to be teenager daughter who, having just finished Changer of Days and then saw the first Lord of the Rings movie. Walking out of the cinema, she turned to her mother and said blithely, "You know, Mom, this Tolkien guy writes almost as well as Alma."
I was a writer. Changer of Days was a damn fine story, after all, and I'm glad Anghara chose me to write it.
(Die deutsche Übersetzung erfolgt morgen.)