Which is your favorite Kelts book?
Probably whichever one I’m writing at the time the question’s asked… If I had to choose, I would say of the Aeron books, Branch; of the Arthur books, Hawk; I think Blackmantle is the best of all of them so far. I can’t really reread Crown or Throne, they are absolutely TOO cringe-making, I wish I could rewrite `em…
Everybody, when they first begin writing, has their own little descriptive quirks. We all do it: you’re not even aware of them, you don’t even hear them or see them, probably not until someone else points them out, or you reread one of your own books after a couple of years and all of a sudden you’re looking around the room for a sword to commit seppuku with, you cannot live with the shame… A dear writer-friend of mine (who shall go nameless! :)) was a bit too fond, for a while, in very early days, of fat thick guttering yellow candles, though I must say I never noticed it; I myself am WAY too fond–still, after nine books–of hair, and going to sleep as a way of ending scenes, and weather, and jewelry (this one is especially bad; it’s more like jewel porn: either I put my own jewels into the books–pieces Jim gave me, mostly–or I describe something that I like so much I have to go out and have one made; it’s a complex system of promise and reward, but it makes for very nicely full jewel cases).
But, bottom line, I like all the books, and for different reasons, different passages–
In Crown: Aeron sneaking off to see the Terran ship; some little scenes with her and Gwydion; stuff with Haruko; Thelma and Louise on the road (Aeron and Morwen!).
Throne: the night with the d[ring]hÌn; Aeron’s scenes with Elathan; Elathan and Camissa; the scenes on Kholco; Aeron and Gwydion’s reunion on her return.
Branch: Aeron’s immram of initiation; Gwydion and Aeron’s first time together; Aeron Aoibhell, shopaholic princess (on Clero the Mall Planet–and buying jewelry!!); Aeron and Gwydion’s first night in Turusachan.
Hawk: Arthur’s discovery of his parentage, and speech to the folk of Coldgates; Talyn’s Druiding; the episode at Talgarth.
Oak: the assault on Tyntagel; the sidemarch on Caerdroia through the snows; Taliesin and Morgan’s handfasting; of COURSE Talyn’s singing of Jim’s beautiful ballad to me, which I bet him on our wedding night he couldn’t write me–oops, sorry, I meant the long-dead Scotan bard SÈomaighas Douglas’s song to his wife Lassarina, which she bet him on their wedding night he couldn’t write her.
Hedge: the pagan Crucifixion scene (Talyn and the Stag); the return of the Graal; the going of the King; Morgan’s funeral; the Sir Bedivere scene; Talyn’s going…LOTS of stuff in this one.
Blackmantle: I am prouder of Chapter 33 in this book than I am of anything else I ever wrote, including much of Strange Days. It wrote itself, actually: I was just the typist–which sounds very disingenuous but I absolutely mean it. I have no concrete recollection of the actual writing, it just–happened, like an out-of-body experience. It’s the biggest scene I ever wrote: it was written all in one sitting, and I came back into my body at the end, read it over, changed about ten words, and that was it. It is sui generis, and it is the crux of the book in both action and emotion–the whole book, before and after, leads up to it and works down off it.
I am very properly humble and grateful when that sort of thing happens: we all pray to experience it at least once in our writing lives–a gift from the god of meaning, whether you call him Kwang Gung or Apollo, Mercury or Gwydion ap DÙn.