Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Story So Far

he letters have all been posted... and one story. Now to struggle with my memory and the existing old stories to give readers an idea of "what happened next". The following is an attempt at an outline, then we shall start posting the stories themselves. What will really be interesting is when I start posting the rewrites of these stories started in 2006. There are lots of them that did not make it into the novel.. whole story lines that were abandoned. But they were a lot of fun to write.

The Story So Far...

Nostalgia Scene -- Pre-marriage takes place in 764 AD but was written much later.

Lawrence and Josephine were married and crowned in June 764.

Almost immediately Lawrence leaves for Affynshire, I think because Josephine's father was killed and he was on his way to take over the crown. The real reason was that laura and I, who met in a one week church camp, lived in two different towns. For the first period of writing our tale we had the royal couple writing to each other, so they had to have reasons they were always apart.

Lawrence's younger brother, Roland, usurps the throne. Lawrence went into hiding. The character of Roland does not exist in the novel.

Lawrence defeats and kills Roland. He learns that Roland had raped Josephine. She has gone away because she is pregnant with Roland's child. The child, Rolance, is born, but dies soon thereafter.

In late 765, Mercia and Christenlande go to war. That's what I have in my notes anyway. As I knew nothing about Mercia when I was 13 I assume we gave the enemy country some other name. Lawrence is wounded, resulting in his losing the ability to walk. This story lline does appear in the novel, but it is a serious wound but does not disable the king.

In mid-765 Lawrence comes under the enchantment of the sorceress Aelflynn. In the novel Aelflynn is a healer who saves Lawrence's life. In the original version, Lawrence awakens in a cottage not knowing how he got there. Aelflynn is dead beside him. He does not know whether he killed her or not.

In the meantime Josephine gives birth to Lawrence's and her first child together, Peter at a convent.

The king and queen have a brief reunion soon after Peter's birth.

Shortly thereafter, Lawrence goes to his new capital and leaving Josephine at Lincoln with her newborn.

About that time Lorin's wife Anne dies. In the novel Anne never existed. Lorin seems to have come on the scene between Roland's usurping and the war with the Mercia clone. He is Josephine's younger brother, bookish and not at all interested in being king of Affynshire. He acts as a sort of high level administrator at court.

The character,. Shannon O'Neill, is introduced in 766. He is brought to court by a friend of Lawrence's, a Scots warrior/bard named Sean of Connery. Sean was created by one of the friends I dragged into the stories. She was clearly a Sean Connery fan. At the same time I had seen the Disney movie The Fighting Prince of Donegal. I fell in love with, still am, with Ireland. I read The Proud Man, the novel by Elizabeth Linington. about the 16th century Ulster prince, Shane O'Neill. That's when the character Shannon O'Neill was born in my imagination. Coincidentally, the very day I came up with him, my older sister hada baby and named him Shannon. I had had no idea she planned to use that name. SDhannon O'Neill is just married to a friend of Sean's wife, Emily, named Heather. My friend, Linda, was in charge of her as well. Of these four, only Shannon made it into the novel. The one I regret having to cut is heather. It was just too complicated a plot to use it.

About Christmas 766 Josephine, lonely with Lawrence staying away, and afraid he has lost his love for her, succumbs to the attentions of a French knight named Sir Robert de Riffet. Laura would never speak to me again if I told anyone the source of that character. In the novel Robert and Elerde of Brittany blend into one person.
In the old stories, Josephine writes to Lawrence and confesses her "affair" with Robert. Lawrence comes back to Lincoln and poisons Robert in front of everyone at supper.

Lawrence is so distraught over the act that he declares he will go on pilgrimage to Wales and stay there in self-exile for one year. While in Wales he turns for solace to a young woman named Lanimere.

It was about this time, sometime in early 1967 when I was 15 and Laura about to turn 14 that we gave up on trying to come up with good reasons.. and some bad ones.. that the royal couple had to be apart and reduced to an epistolary marriage. That's when we started writing what we called "scenes".

And that is what comes next.

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .