We’re hosting a stop on the official blog tour for Buried Heart by Kate Elliot today, the third & final book in the Court of Fives series. For today’s post, we have a guest blog from Kate, plus your chance to win a copy of the book!
I’m fortunate enough to have an entire room for my office (now that my children are all out of the house). The best part of my office is an entire wall of bookshelves for my research books. I find a wall of books to be genuinely restful and inspiring to look at. The office has two desks: a smaller multi-level computer desk in one corner and a larger flat surface where I can spread out maps of my fantasy worlds or draw plot charts or just sit and write in my bullet journal. The room also has French doors and an additional window, so there is a lot of light, and light is something I crave when I’m writing and thinking.
So, yes, it’s a great space, including post-it notes with inspirational messages stuck here and there, various tchotchkes like a small toy horse from my childhood and a little stuffed schnauzer in memory of our beloved dog who died last year at the age of 15, and a closet with drawers and shelves for my office supplies and world building notebooks.
But over the last four years as I’ve been writing the Court of Fives trilogy this glorious office space slowly but inexorably became so disorganized that for this entire last year I sat with my laptop at the kitchen island (between the kitchen and the tv room) and wrote there instead of at my computer desk.
Why? Because the two projects I’ve been working on — the third and thus final volume of the Court of Fives trilogy and also a second Court of Fives novella — were both emotionally hard to write. Both (in different ways) deal with girls in tough physical and mental circumstances, and involved a lot of plot action and character choices, actions, and reactions.
What I discovered is that the emotional energy I spend writing that kind of fraught, active plot line is the same energy I would need to sort and organize the piles of papers and books and stuff that needed filing in my office.
So one of the “must-have” things I need when writing is mental space to make decisions.
Every story we write is an exercise in decision making because each plot or setting or character decision takes energy. When I’m writing under deadline I tend to hoard my energy for the writing. Because I *could* write at the kitchen island, I didn’t *have* to clean and organize my office, so I chose the path of least resistance until those projects were done.
Never underestimate how much energy to takes to make decisions, whether seemingly trivial and small or breathtakingly crucial and filled with stakes. Will she kiss him or kill him? Take the east road or the west road? What food do the people eat in this story, and why? Is there a way to make the food matter to the plot or tell the reader something about the setting and the character?
I did finally finish all the revision work for the novella Bright Thrones (June 27) and the final volume of the trilogy, Buried Heart (July 25).
When all that was turned in to my publisher, I took a day or two off to recharge. And then . . . I spent three full days cleaning and organizing my office. Not everyone likes a clean, tidy office; some people feel more comfortable with a more lively sense of life around them (what others might call clutter). As a few people have been known to say, a clean desk is a sign of a sick mind. There really is no right or wrong way, just the way that is comfortable and productive for you.
But I find a clean desk to be inviting. Now, every time I walk into the room, I smile because it feels as if my office is beckoning me into a new voyage of decision making, into a new story. That means it’s time to get back to work.
In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? Find all the answers in this beautifully written and exciting conclusion to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s debut New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy!
On the Fives court, everyone is equal.
And everyone is dangerous.
Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But away from her family, she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for the Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors.
Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an improbable friendship between the two Fives competitors—one of mixed race and the other a Patron boy—causes heads to turn. When Kal’s powerful, scheming uncle tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test her new friend’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a royal clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.
In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s first young adult novel weaves an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.
Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives—the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons in her embattled kingdom. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes’s only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on Jes’s traveling party puts her at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos—the prince she still loves—is fighting against their country’s enemies. With a sinister overlord watching her every move and Kal’s life on the line, Jes must now become more than a Fives champion…She must become a warrior.
Kate Elliott has been writing stories since she was nine years old, which has led her to believe that writing, like breathing, keeps her alive. As a child in rural Oregon, she made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and YA, including recent works Black Wolves, Court of Fives, and Cold Magic.
It should come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight. When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures amid dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling. With the three children out of the house, they now spoil the schnauzer.
- 7/17/2017- YA Books Central– Interview
- 7/18/2017- The Eater of Books!– Review
- 7/19/2017- Novel Novice– Guest Post
- 7/20/2017- Just Commonly– Review
- 7/21/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
- 7/24/2017- My Thoughts Literally– Review
- 7/25/2017- Sarcasm & Lemons– Review
- 7/26/2017- Stephanie Plotkin– Review
- 7/27/2017- PaperTrailYA– Excerpt
- 7/28/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland– Review