For those who may not have heard (that would be people new here, because I haven't stopped talking about it), Spires of Stone is a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing.
Some may recall a reference to Much Ado in At the Journey's End, which was deliberate, because I knew I'd be writing this one next (or at least thinking about it).
The first draft followed the play pretty closely for the most part, with of course historical changes and so forth, but subsequent versions started morphing the story and especially the characters. The result is a book that sort of mirrors the Bard's version, but ends very differently. (Although I admit the ending was a bit different even in my original version. I just didn't work Old Will's way!)
I've put up a character list on my website to help clarify which characters in my book are essentially representative of which ones in the original version. If you go there, you'll note that Phillip is listed next to two characters.
The reason is that Phillip has two jobs, plot-wise. Since I'm not giving spoilers, I'll refer to him in terms of Much Ado only, so that if you really, really want to (or are already familiar with the play) you can keep track.
Phillip essentially takes on the role of Don Pedro when it comes to how Benedick and Beatrice's story plays out. But he also—quite accidentally and innocently—creates a problem, the same problem that Don Jon creates deliberately in the play.
One of my early readers asked why Phillip's name begins with a P instead of a J (noting his Don Jon-like role). My answer: He's just as much Don Pedro as far as his story responsibilities go. But more importantly, his character is a very good one, unlike the villainous Don Jon. I certainly didn't want to give him a villainous connotation by naming him something with a J.
But this brings up another issue. Again, I don't want to spoil anything, so let's just say that there's a Spires character who ends up behaving very differently than in the play, and as a result, I've had at least one reader assume that this person is Don Jon.
Not so. Not in any way.
It just so happens that my characters took on lives of their own and simply refused to behave the way they were "supposed" to.
The result? A different very different ending in Spires than in Much Ado.
And that's all I'll say about the characters for now.
Countdown: We're a week away from the release!
Now for a quote from Phillip. I've cut out a bit in the middle. (How weird . . . I'm ellipsing myself . . .)
"Look, I'm not a poet, Claude. I can't write a love letter. . . . I read scientific books, not anything about love and fairy tales. Any letter I could write for you would sound like a proclamation from a newspaper."
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