"The Princess & I" seems to be a historical fiction style story set in medieval England. Malcolm and Megan (the narrator of the story) are both living in a cottage on the outskirts of a village surrounding the king's castle. They appear to be living in comfortable poverty. This was never how people in that time period lived in real life. Also, ladies-in-waiting were usually ladies of higher ranking (married or born into wealthy aristocracy). NOT a sister to a poor farmer as Megan seems to be. Lastly, it is highly unlikely that Malcolm would be an advisor to King Frederick because of his lack of worldly riches.
My friend suggested that perhaps I could give the story more of a fanciful twist if I was planning on not being historically accurate.
After reading her concerns, and promising to explain in a blog post for everyone to read since it was a more complicated issue, hear I am! :)
As the author, I have all of Malcolm and Megan's background in my head... Unfortunately, I didn't write down enough of it to explain everything to my audience and therefore also make the book more historically correct. I'm sure you other authors have dealt with some of the same things. ;)
Thankfully, my friend was able to catch what I didn't explain, and by telling me about it, I was able to fix it.
When Megan has a flash-back in the first chapter, her mind "strayed to how my brother and I had ended up here: alone together in a cottage on the outskirts of a village surrounding the castle of our king". I re-read this section, in case my friend had somehow not gotten the needed information that could clear matters up...but as it turns out, her concerns were legitimate. I hadn't given my audience NEARLY enough background. So after some thought, and a lot of typing, I tried to fill my readers in on any information that they may have lacked in the first place.
Here it is BEFORE I changed anything:
While I prepared our simple meal, my thoughts strayed to how my brother and I had ended up here: alone together in a cottage near the castle of our king.
Our parents had come down with a terrible disease a few years ago when my brother had just gotten a promotion in his job as a knight. (He is now a close friend and advisor of the king’s, and he often helps the king make decisions.) They died shortly after and my brother suddenly became so much older. No longer was he my playmate, whose sole purpose was to entertain me; he was now a serious provider for us.
Only a few times during the last year or so had I been able to see the playful part of his character shine. This morning had been one of those times, and I relished it now as I finished mixing the biscuit dough. I had time enough anyways it turned out, because Malcolm took an exceptionally long time with the animals and came in just as I put the steaming biscuits onto the table. He removed his hat and jacket, pulling up a chair to sit in.
And here it is AFTER I fixed the trouble spot:
While I prepared our simple meal, my thoughts strayed to how my brother and I had ended up here: alone together in a cottage on the outskirts of a village surrounding the castle of our king.
My father had been a noble, and my mother his fine lady. Both came from important families and wealthy backgrounds. However, my father, unlike his ancestors, enjoyed living life simply. Instead of having his serfs build him a magnificent castle for himself and his young bride, my parents decided to have a simple cottage on his vast estate and work together on making it their home. Most of the other nobles had looked down on him for making this decision, but my father ignored their turned up noses and lived his life happily.
Our king, at that time only the prince, became fast friends with my father and the two young men became each other’s closest confidents. Both the king and Father married within the same summer. After the king’s father died, and the former prince and friend of my father became the king in his place, the two friends had less time to spend together. Life kept them busy when both families grew with the birth of my older brother Malcolm and a few years later the birth of the princess. The men were unable to continue the close friendship they had shared in their youth, but neither forgot the other. In fact, the king gave my brother knighthood in honor of his friendship with my father.
Then, one terrible day, both mother and father came down with a terrible disease after visiting some of their family in a different part of the country. I was getting schooled at that time, away from home for some months, and as we found out later from the doctor, this was what kept me from getting the same disease. My brother had just gotten a promotion in his job as a knight for a brave deed in the midst of a battle and was continuing his training as a soldier in the king’s army. (He is now a close friend and advisor of the king’s, and he often helps the king make decisions.) So he too, was away from home during the time of the sickness. Once we heard how sick our mother and father were, we both took the fastest way home to see if there was anything we could do to help. But alas, it was too late. We were only able to ease their parting by our presence. They died shortly after, holding each other’s hands with a look of everlasting peace on their faces that gave us the assurance that they knew they were going to be with their Lord in heaven.
Suddenly my brother became so much older. No longer was he my playmate, whose sole purpose was to entertain me; he was now a serious provider for us.
I REALLY appreciate any help I can get from you all! :D