Welcome to #14Debuts! Today I’m featuring:
Camelot Burning by Kathryn RosePublication Date: May 8th, 2014 Publisher: Flux By day, Vivienne is Guinevere’s lady-in-waiting. By night, she’s Merlin’s secret apprentice, indulging in the new mechanical arts and science of alchemy. It’s a preferred distraction from Camelot’s gossipy nobility, roguish knights, and Lancelot’s athletic new squire, Marcus, who will follow in all knights’ footsteps by taking a rather inconvenient vow of chastity.
More than anything, Vivienne longs to escape Camelot for a future that wouldn’t include needlework or marriage to a boorish lord or dandy. But when King Arthur’s sorceress sister, Morgan le Fay, threatens Camelot, Vivienne must stay to help Merlin build a steam-powered weapon to defeat the dark magic machine Morgan will set upon the castle. Because if Camelot falls, Morgan would be that much closer to finding the elusive Holy Grail. Time is running out and Morgan draws near, and if Vivienne doesn’t have Merlin’s weapon ready soon, lives would pay the price, including that of Marcus, the only one fast enough to activate it on the battlefield.
I was lucky enough to get approved for this book on Netgalley (it’s archived now) but I had a lot of fun with it! It was a refreshing twist on Arthurian legends and I liked how it was true to the original story as well. Overall, a win read!
Ten Random Things About Kathryn Rose and Camelot Burning
1. I became an Arthurian legend fan in fifth grade when my class did a history unit on it, and I distinctively remember being mesmerized by the 1953 film, KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE. I got the idea for the book when I watched it again randomly in 2011 and thought Merlin would make a pretty badass steampunk character. I began outlining the novel that night.
2. One thing about my main character, Vivienne, is that she’s not a “kicking ass and taking names” kind of heroine. Viv is extremely intelligent and a talented inventor, but she’s not terribly interested in wielding a sword if she could be building something instead. If the story were set in the world of, say, 007, she’d be Q, not Bond.
3. To get into Viv’s head, I listened to Florence and the Machine and Of Verona on repeat. I highly recommend both.
4. Vivienne’s birthday is April 18th, Marcus’s birthday is December 8th, and Owen’s birthday is October 21st.
5. Merlin was the most natural character to write—his scenes came about almost effortlessly. Guinevere, on the other hand, was stubborn and impossible. She changed about eight or nine times since the first draft, and she still has secrets she won’t tell me.
6. Though this was the sixth manuscript I’d finished, it was this one that nearly made me seriously give up on writing. I was almost certain I’d have to trunk it, but what kept me going was hearing from other writers that it was a cool idea.
7. There’s an Arthurian prose-styled “That’s what she said” joke in the book. Ten points to the first person who finds it and tweets it at me.
8. The wedding reception at the beginning was originally a bit longer and flashier, and I was thinking about MOULIN ROUGE! the entire time I wrote it.
9. I made the knights wear ceremonial guyliner because I really, really, REALLY love guyliner, and I do what I want.
10. One of the fun challenges of “steampunkifying” Arthurian legend was enhancing some of the legend’s canonical elements. I loved writing the scene where Marcus shows Vivienne Excalibur because it let me play around with such an important symbol of Camelot. BUT, I cannot take full credit for what Excalibur became: that goes to my video game-loving husband. (You’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out more.)
Her debut, CAMELOT BURNING, an Arthurian legend retelling with a steampunk twist, is coming from Flux on May 8th, 2014.