A Beggar’s Kingdom (End of Forever)
How much would you sacrifice for true love? The second novel in Paullina Simons’ stunning End of Forever saga continues the heartbreaking story of Julian and Josephine, and a love that spans lifetimes.
Julian has travelled from the heights of joy to the depths of despair and back again. Having found his love – twice – and lost her – twice, he is resolved to continue his search and find her in the past again. Perhaps this time he can save her.
But the journey is never so simple and Julian will have to decide just how much one man can sacrifice. He is willing to give up everything – but he must learn what that truly means, and how much more can be taken from you than you ever believed possible.
Friends, Real and Imaginary
By Paullina Simons
I was asked recently to reflect on my writing career. In particular, I was asked to reflect on how I create characters and how that has changed over the years. My process has changed over the years, from book to book. Moreover, it has changed from character to character within each book.
Writing, particularly writing novels, is much less linear process than most people would expect. It’s certainly non-linear for me.
My first novel and my first heroine were both named Tully. She was loosely based on a girl I knew when we were both waitressing in Casa Del Sol, a Mexican restaurant in Topeka, Kansas. The girl was the center of a love triangle, unable to choose between two men she was deeply involved with, one a man she was engaged to, the other her professor at a local college.
That conundrum became central to Tully’s story.
Is Tully based on her? Yes. And no. At first Tully shared that choice and only that choice with my friend, and a few other nominal physical characteristics.
But she grew into a complex character. If I did my job right, she grew into a “whole” person—a woman who was significantly different from my friend at the restaurant.
Most of my characters start from a place like that: a seed from a single characteristic or struggle. The writer then adds idiosyncrasies, layers of background, and a hundred other things demanded by the story the writer is trying to tell to the best of her ability.
In the end, each character is a pastiche—a beautiful mosaic if you are feeling charitable or Frankenstein’s monster if you are not.
I started writing my book, The Bronze Horseman (which later became a series of sorts) with a single image of a petite Russian girl and a tall Red Army officer, walking alone with the nighttime streets of war-torn Leningrad. They were desperately in love, and they were starving.
In the End of Forever saga, Julian and Josephine appeared to me nearly whole in a period of a couple of hours. Afterward, I spent five years chiseling away at those Frankenstein’s mosaics as I told their story over three books, using nearly half a million words.
Meeting your characters is a bit like meeting someone when you are young and single. Sometimes you are attracted to their smile, or their eyes, or the fact that they laugh at something you also find funny. Flash forward a few weeks or months and you see more of the person. Flash forward half a decade, and you might see the whole person. That smile might still be there but there is much more to them than you saw in that first meeting.
Characters are a lot like that. There are different ways into them, but the destination is rarely what you expect.
Fictional characters, like real people, assert themselves on their own terms.
And like real people, they can make you happy, or sad, or drive you nuts because they refuse to do what you want them to.
When I was deep into my first draft of Tully, my four-year-old daughter said to me in frustration at the amount of time I had been spending on her, “Mommy, Tully isn’t real.”
And I said to her, “That’s what you think.”
It wasn’t until decades later than a wise man named Albus Dumbledore confirmed that when told one of his students, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
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