#1: Originally, the prologue was only two paragraphs in length and there was no epilogue. However, as my husband pointed out, in order for the story to have first-person point of view and to reach a resolution, I needed a third-person epilogue and a more detailed prologue. I’m glad I listened to him!
#2: Rugar’s name comes from a kitchen staple: sugar. I simply changed the first letter. I pronounce his name Roo-gar, but technically, it should rhyme with sugar.
#3: In the plotting stages, I wanted Ludiford to have golden hair with dark brown eyes because the combination is more distinct. However, I could only visualize him with honey blond hair and blue eyes, so I went with that description.
#4: In the rough draft, Elise’s story at the festival in Dunloth focused on the Ice Spectres in the Frozen Waste. However, my beta reader thought the story didn’t do justice to Elise’s skill as a storyteller. I struggled for days to rewrite the story to make it work before scrapping it and writing the tale of the fisherman and the fair maiden. The fisherman’s tale wrote itself; I completed it in a matter of minutes.
#5: In the fifteenth chapter when Elise and Areya visit the booths at the festival, I added a character in the rough draft: a young thief. I deleted the scene because the character was unnecessary. Here is the original (unedited) scene:
A commotion at the nearby fruit vendor held her (Areya’s) attention. The towheaded ragamuffin who stuck out his tongue in greeting yesterday grabbed an apple from the basket beside the stand and darted behind the neighboring cobbler’s booth.
“He didn’t pay for the apple,” Areya said. “Isn’t that stealing?”
“Yes, it’s stealing,” I answered, leading her toward the fruit vendor. “Come along; I’ve got a plan. Keep your eyes on that boy.”
“Where’s the apple thief?”
She pointed to a group of festival-goers huddled around a jongleur juggling four pears. The little thief stood in the back of the group. His short stature prevented him from seeing the entertainment. As I wondered why he loitered near the back if he wanted to see the juggler, he deftly removed the coin pouch from the belt of the man standing near him. I approached and lightly tapped him on the shoulder. He jumped as he turned to face me.
“You had better be thankful that I’m not a guard,” I said.
He gulped but refused to respond.
I grabbed his dirt-smudged face and squeezed. “Now you listen to me, and you listen well. First, you’re going to give that man the money pouch you just stole from him. Then, you’re going to run an errand for me for which I’m going to pay you. Do you understand?”
The boy nodded. When I released him, he returned the money pouch. Unaware that the boy had stolen the pouch, the man rewarded him with a copper coin. The boy reluctantly returned to me.
“What now?” he mumbled.
I handed him the blackberries and pointed toward Anton’s booth. “Do you see the man selling barley? Give these berries to him, and tell him they’re from Elise. Then, return to me and I will pay you.”
The boy ran toward Anton’s booth. He gave the berries to Anton, and pointed in my direction. Anton waved at me in response.
The boy soon returned breathless from running. He expectantly held out his filthy, little hand. I gasped as I knelt before him and gently grasped his shoulders. His eyes, a mismatched pair of cerulean and hazel, stared coldly into mine and revealed a deep-rooted sorrow that should be unknown to one so young. He appeared barely older than Areya. Compassion consumed my heart as I studied his unkempt appearance. Holes riddled his worn tunic and dirty breeches, and mud caked his bare feet.
“Where are your parents?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Got no Papa. Mama ran off months ago.” He puffed out his chest. “Me and my gang live just fine in the forest.”
I gave him five copper coins, and squeezed his face. “You will take one of the coins and pay for the apple you stole. Take the rest and buy food for you and your gang. Know this; I will be watching you for the remainder of the festival. If I catch you stealing from anyone, I will take you to the guards. Do you understand?”
He smirked and rolled his eyes.
I tightened my grip on his face. “Answer me, boy!”
“Okay!” He pushed my hand away.
I hope you enjoyed these tidbits about Elise’s Choice. Check back soon for a game and a giveaway!
Until the next post . . . keep smiling!