Today is Bitterblue‘s release day! Happy reading to my readers. Happy birthday to my girl. It’s been a long time coming. For them that’s interested, here’s just one of the many seeds that planted in my mind and helped Bitterblue grow:
|Photo from Wikipedia Commons, taken by Int3gr4te|
Years ago, I saw Bernini’s sculpture of Apollo and Daphne at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. What’s happening in the sculpture is that Apollo is chasing Daphne, and to escape him, Daphne is turning into a tree. (Can you see that her fingers are branches and leaves?) The sculpture made an enormous impression on me. A tree strikes me as a beautiful thing to turn into in a moment of danger… and an infuriating thing for Daphne to have had to become. A horrible, unjust sacrifice, that she should have had to give up her mobile, human form because some brute was trying to rape her. It got me thinking about transformative sculptures, and what it means to turn into something else, and what place sculpture might have in my book. In Bitterblue, the character of Bellamew, a sculptor, is my Bernini. It’s up to you what her sculptures mean — whether they’re about being trapped, or about finding one’s strength and resisting/enduring… or about something else entirely.
If I tried to trace every part of Bitterblue to its root, this post would get rawther long, and anyway, for the most part, I would fail. When an idea comes to you while you’re writing, you don’t stop and say to yourself, “Ah! And where did that idea come from? I must make a note of it for future posterity!” ^_^ In other words, I have no memory of where most of my ideas for the book came from, if I ever knew. But I will leave you with one more tidbit. I wouldn’t say that this song inspired Bitterblue, because I didn’t particularly notice the song until I was already deep into my writing. But when I was far along in the book and needed a break, but not a complete break — a break that still kept me tethered to the book — I would go for a walk, sit by the river, and listen to “Cold As It Gets” by the divine Patty Griffin (link takes you to youtube and plays the song). Listen to it, if you like. If you love it, buy it :).
Time to pack my bags. Thanks for your patience, everyone. I hope you like the book. And by the way, for those of you who love gorgeous fantasy — I just this minute finished Melina Marchetta’s Froi of the Exiles. Have you been reading her fantasies, starting with Finnikin of the Rock? If not, DO. Froi took my breath away.