It has taken a very long time but finally I have finished book one of the Dredgemarsh series I have been writing for many years. The title of this first book is The Reluctant King. The story takes place in Dredgemarsh, an imaginary fortress city. The setting is Gothic and the time is late Middle Age.
The Dredgemarsh Series started out as a very short piece of descriptive writing about an imaginary character who spent his whole life keeping the subterannean halls and corridors of Dregemarsh illuminated with candles. He was the Candle Lighter, Verm Bludvile. I then began to expand on this character and other menials and varlets who laboured in the lower reaches of Dredgemarsh began to emerge. I couldn’t stop them.
The cast began to grow with characters like Francis Burstboil, the kitchen boy, Lazarous Clutchboll, the Cook Meister, and his staff Bella Crumble, Leopold Ratchett and Nellie Lowslegg. A quirky Professor Quickstrain and the court scribes Havelock and Dipslick joined the growing throng.
The problem was, what were all these characters going to do in this great crumbling fortress. I simply had them milling around like characters from a Bruegel painting. What was the story? Well, I can’t remember how it all started but the idea came to me that Verm Bludvile would be very upset if he lost his job as Candle Lighter.
This event inevitably involved the overlords of Dredgemarsh and the story of Cesare Greyfell, King of Dregemarsh, and the beautiful Lucretia Beaufort emerged accompanied by a very sinister Chacellor Demetrius Tancredi and a host of good and bad characters whose lives, loves, wars and death revolve around the almost living presence of Dredgemarsh itself.
The story took off from there and now, almost two decades later I have a series of three books set in Dredgemarsh. But books need polishing; a writer owes his readers the courtesy of making his/her story as accessible and enjoyable an experience as possible. It takes time. If you do purchase The Reluctant King I hope you enjoy it. And remember there are two more books to come after a bit of polishing. Book two is called The Lost Prince and will be published in July.
That’s it for now. The labour has been long but the final delivery sweet.