Why you should be reading me
Welcome, one and all, to my first blog entry! This is hardly a new or original phenomenon, but I would like to think that all you visitors to my and Geoffrey Hotspur’s website will get more out of it than just the routine ramblings of a navel-gazing writer. So, to start off will, I will start off with the beginning of my writing career. How’s that for bait-and-switch! For those of you who are unaware, I came up with the idea of writing an historical novel about a young squire caught up in the war and intrigue of late Medieval Europe while I was surfing the Internet during a particularly exciting day at work. As a student of history, I was inclined to search sites about different eras, and I soon came across piles of information about the knights and mercenaries of the 14th and 15th centuries. This opened my eyes to the incredible complexity of the period, about which I was criminally unaware. At the same time, I was reading a popular history about the 14th century that I had picked up at a used bookstore somewhere out there and found it equally fascinating and eye-opening. The confluence of these two events could not have been coincidental, and so as I began to probe deeper into this era, a kernel of an idea began to take form about how I could blend my casual interest in late medieval history with my intense desire to write. That was over six years ago, and since then, in fits and starts, I steadily refined my vision of a fictionalized account of the genuine period of the late middle ages until I realized Geoffrey Hotspur and the English Free Company.
The real beginning
Cue to one year ago. I finally revised a completed version of Of Faith and Fidelity: Geoffrey Hotspur and the War for St. Peter’s Throne and began the tedious and torturous submission process to agents and publishers around the world. Unlike some of my peers, I did not take the shotgun approach to my submissions, but rather carefully researched and studied the publishing industry until I found a handful of potential recipients who might possibly maybe see some value in my work. This went on for about four months until one cold sunny morning in early January, shortly after returning from holiday, I received an acceptance offer from Knox Robinson Publishing. Happy, happy day. Between then and May, however, I was subjected to a rigorous editing process of my novel, beating it down in size and working it up in quality, until at last the glorious day of reckoning arrived, and Of Faith and Fidelity was officially set upon the world on June 9, 2011.
What I did during my summer vacation
Promoting and hustling. Oh, and meeting people along the way. I was fortunate enough this past summer to find numerous venues through which to promote Of Faith and Fidelity, with much assistance. As I was in and am from western Canada, I concentrated my efforts there. With the grateful help of the bookshops McNally Robinson and Chapters, I was able to create a grand three-city book launch tour, starting in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in late June and then proceeding over the next week to Winnipeg, Manitoba and finally Regina, Saskatchewan. I read bits of the novel, pressed the flesh and even sold a few copies. Back home in Regina for July, I was invited to be interviewed on community radio (Hey, it’s good practice!), made a television appearance that was well-received and was able to finagle a feature interview in the local newspaper, complete with my mug in full colour and everything. This pleased me greatly. The culmination of all these efforts was a wonderful post-book launch party put on by my sister-in-law Linda. Now, the time has come to write the second adventure in the series.
Who wants to know who were the great knights in history? Yes, you in the front row, you don’t even have to ask because it is already happening. Starting tomorrow, September 5, 2011, the Evan Ostryzniuk blog will begin the countdown of the Top 10+one knights of the Middle Ages. Just eleven more days until #1 is revealed!Tags: 14th century, Chaucer, historical fiction, Hotspur, knight, medieval, middle ages