It’s Monkey Queen anniversary week! We’ll be celebrating all week with a look behind the scenes at all four Monkey Queen novels and much more, starting with the first book, Of Introductions And Abductions!
I’ve told the story before, but I’ll summarize it here: I originally created Michiko, Beth, and many of their friends and foes for a proposed comic book series many years ago. I rediscovered the work I had done on it in March 2013, and the basic plot for the first story translated from comic to prose nicely.
I know the Monkey Queen books are shorter than many, but I’ve always tried to get them up to 40,000 words or more. To do that for this first book, I ended up adding an entire chapter, which wound up as Chapter Seven. I’m glad I did; as it turns out, it was the perfect time to show Michiko doing something heroic. And her line when the troll threatens to eat her and the baby – “Oh, I am so not buying your diet book” – is one of my favorites in the whole series so far.
One example of how things can evolve as you write a story: In the Wonderland scene, I decided that I needed a character to help explain the Puck-Wrexham relationship. So, I worked up this quiet faerie with her nose in a book. Then, I needed someone to put the Jakes in their place. Then, I realized how well she played with Windsor. And by the time I got to the climax, Scylla had gone from mousy bookworm to exiled rebel. Someday, I hope to expand on that more; there’s a lot of her story still to tell.
Favorite Reference: When I decided that Michiko’s ring tone HAD to be a Monkees song. I would never have forgiven myself if I didn’t.
Most Obscure Reference: There was a restaurant in San Francisco my pal Barry and I went to in the 1980s for breakfast a time or two. Instead of hash browns, their potato side was big pieces of spuds fried with onions and maybe peppers. They were called…”Hot Potato Chunkies”.
How to subtly tie things together: Robyn’s reference to Wrexham persecuting the spriggans was added at the last minute, after I’d finished the first draft of the second book. And when I redid a certain scene in Chapter Two, I was able to sneak in an early reference to Beth’s love of airships.
Did you know: Although “Curse of the Werecorgi” is set after Under The Stars Of Faerie, it was technically the first Monkey Queen story to be published. It was mostly written as a parody, but the last scene, where Beth gets to totally geek out, is one that still makes me grin. Oh, the author’s name “Rosie Darniels”? This story was written a month or so after John Travolta butchered Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscars. Some wiseacre created a “John Travolta Name Generator” soon after that. Guess what name came out when I typed “Robert Dahlen” in there? Anyway, if you’ve never read it for some reason, click here, or use the “short stories” tag to read them all!
Tuesday: The con is on!