Today’s “Teaser Tuesday” share is a study in revision. My students recently completed a short story, and when I wrote one alongside them, they complained that it was “too easy for me” because I am an author, and that means every story comes out perfectly the first time.
I was recently chatting online with some people about my work in progress, The Soldier’s Wife. I was telling them about my plans for the characters, and we started talking about my plans for Uriah. In the Bible, Uriah is a soldier. In my novel, he becomes Ryan, a special forces member who has come back from a recent deployment not quite himself. He’s struggling with PTSD, which is one of the contributing factors to the breakdown of his marriage to Barbara (Bathsheba).
One of the first things most people do when I tell them that my current work-in-progress is a retelling of the story of David and Bathsheba is raise an eyebrow (or two). They assume it’s going to be a salacious love story, a bodice-ripper, or worse. Why would I want to tell that story, they ask?
Because, my friends, Shakespeare had it in one.
I have always had an interest in history, particularly the British monarchy from the Plantagenet line forward. I’ve read quite a few biographies and historical fiction novels, and recently I’ve been terribly interested in both Netflix’s The Crown and PBS’ Victoria. *Fair warning: The Crown has adult themes and occasional nudity–watcher beware.
One thing that I’ve observed in my studies of history and consumption of entertainment related to the monarchy is that “it ain’t easy bein’ Queen”. Sure, we commoners assume that it must be grand, having someone wait on you hand and foot . . . but the life of a monarch is a stressful one at the least.
Rarely is a monarch allowed to have personal feelings. They must act under a set of stringent and often ludicrous guidelines. For example, on one episode of The Crown, Princess Margaret cannot get engaged until the Queen’s baby is born, because no family announcements can be made until the birth of the Sovereign’s child (ostensibly so that no announcement could supersede that one?). For me, the wearing of heels 24/7 would be a deal breaker.
Imagine, then, what it would have been like from Bathsheba. Plucked from the relative obscurity of being a soldier’s wife, she found herself the mistress and then the wife of one of the most powerful men in the world. How wonderful her life must have been, right?
Quite frankly, it sounds terrifying.
She would herself have been powerless, subject to the whims of her husband (and, to a great degree, his advisers and courtiers). She was whisked away from the security of her own home into the bustling activity of a palace, surrounded by people that she did not know and could not be sure she could trust.
How many of her own advisers and courtiers would have been jealous of this beauty, who by their opinion had done nothing to deserve winning the favor of their beloved king?
She experienced such great loss in a short time. The loss of her husband Uriah was followed by the loss of her own freedom and then the loss of her infant child.
Her life with David was less than Paradise. I imagine that she felt deep isolation and pain, and likely fear. She’s a terribly interesting character, and one that I am enjoying exploring and investigating.
I have set her story in modern times, like I did with Ruth and Naomi in Don’t Ask Me to Leave, and it’s also been intriguing to contemplate how that might affect her character–being a soldier’s wife dealing with deployment, a new mother dealing with postpartum depression, and then spun further into that maelstrom with the death of her child. It presents a great challenge for me. How can she redeem herself?
Follow my blog for more previews and sneak peeks of The Soldier’s Wife.
Don’t worry, never fear–no spoilers here, just little sneak peeks of my NaNoWriMo project, The Soldier’s Wife. If you missed the first one, you can hop over and read the prologue here. Here’s a sneak peek from Chapter 1.
The sound of a slamming door reverberated in Barbara Ann Seward’s spine, and she leaned forward and grabbed the edge of the kitchen sink. Tinkling glass echoed from the foyer–he’d knocked one of the pictures off the wall. Again. She fought the urge to pluck one of the glass tumblers from the soapy water and toss it out the window at the retreating black Jeep.
Hot, angry tears stung her eyelids as she blinked them back. She would not cry. She would not give him that satisfaction, even if he wasn’t here to see it.
Bile bubbled in her throat, and she swallowed hard. Things with Ryan had been tense since he came back from his tour in Afghanistan, but this morning–well, this morning was different.
For a brief second there, Barbara was sure Ryan was going to hit her. She saw it in his eyes, just the slightest flicker of uncontrolled rage before he slammed a fist into the wall and stomped out of the house.
She stepped away from the sink and walked over to the wall. Slowly, she traced a finger on the indentation his clenched fist had made in the fussy wallpaper she’d always hated anyway. He’d come home later, flowers or something like that in hand, and they’d make up, sort of.
Hey there, fellow readers and Wrimos! I’m working on a new project this year that I’m really excited about. It’s called The Soldier’s Wife, and I’m going to share a preview below!
Before we get in to the preview, though, I have to take the opportunity to remind you of a previous work I wrote during a NaNoWriMo–Don’t Ask Me to Leave, which is available on Amazon and in select stores (and other online retailers, but I prefer Amazon).
And now, without further adieu…your preview. 🙂
An ominous rumble of thunder rolled through the hills, but he did not move. A fat raindrop landed squarely in the center of his brow, but he did not lift a hand to brush it away. Instead, he watched.
She was young. He could tell that, even though the falling rain and waving leaves obscured her face from his view. Pretty, too, from his best guess. Her honey-blonde hair was pulled back in one of those intricate plaits that made his fingers hurt just thinking about the time it would take, and her figure was shapely in her jeans and damp long-sleeved tee shirt.
They were alone on the mountain. The remnants of Hurricane Whosits practically assured that. He paused, straining his ears against the sounds of the approaching storm, and could hear the faint sounds of sniffling.
The blonde beauty was crying, he realized, and paying little attention to the slippery trail. As it sloped upward, he watched her footing slip and she pitched forward, arms outstretched to catch herself.
But he did not move.
He stayed in his hiding place off the edge of the trail and simply watched as she pushed herself to a kneeling position and brushed her hands clean on her jeans, now sporting a few snags. She turned her face to the sky and let out an anguished wail.
He cocked his head to one side. She wasn’t injured, but she was clearly upset. Distracted, and alone on the mountain in a storm. Interesting.
She got to her feet and staggered forward, her crying more audible now. Around them, the raindrops increased their attack. The sky was splintered with lightning, and he made his decision.
Slowly, he uncurled his legs and slipped from the rock. The storm masked what little sound he made as he crept forward through the brush toward the trail. She never looked back as he fell into step behind her retreating form.