Hello, hello! If you’ve been following my Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram accounts, you’ve probably seen me hint towards a bit of a sneak peek of my second book. I have been asked about it, but I’ve been relatively tight-lipped about it. I’m not a total demon, though, and I have dropped a few “hints”:
- Book Two is set during the first few years of the reign of Juan I, Enrique II’s son and heir.
- Constanza will be a moderately major character, but we will have a new protagonist.
- The protagonist will be female. I have nothing against male protagonists – I just prefer to write what I know.
I originally decided that I wasn’t going to talk about Book Two until it was close to if not already published, but I am awful at keeping secrets! I’m the person that has to buy presents last minute, otherwise I’ll probably tell the recipient on accident. I just get so excited about giving things.
And now, I am going to give something to you:
The second book of The Trastámara Series is LA REINA.
LA REINA, English Translation of the Title: THE QUEEN, picks up just a few months after the final pages of LA BASTARDA. Alionor of Aragon and Sicily was Juan’s first wife, and I find that she makes a wonderful main character. Like Constanza, she was hardly mentioned in history (though I was able to learn more about Alionor’s life than Constanza’s), and like Constanza, she was born the daughter of a King; however, unlike Constanza, she was raised a princess, the youngest child and only daughter from her father’s marriage to his second wife, Leonora of Sicily. Alionor grew up sheltered in a way that Constanza could not have been, always sure in her father’s love, and it shows: Constanza built a sort of wall to protect herself, and Alionor…doesn’t have one. She takes everything so personally.
But at the same time, she has that advantage of birth. She knows how to behave in public (barring pregnancy hormones), she doesn’t often lose her cool, and she is aware of her status. She has allies Constanza could never have, and it gives her a sense of surety in her life, even when things feel unstable. Ultimately, though, they’re both women in a court run by men, married to men who are certain in their God-given rights to rule, and for a modern, Western woman such as myself, it seems like they have hardly any room to breathe, and it makes them so similar. It’s been interesting, writing two characters that are in almost the exact same situation – I’ve had to stop myself and make sure that I’m writing Alionor, not Constanza.
(Also, you learn that Constanza may not have been a reliable protagonist. As Juan says to Alionor: “Constanza sees herself as the infallible heroine of her story, and we are either idiots or villains for disagreeing with her.”)
I’ve found LA REINA to be much more difficult to write, personally. I’ve written myself into a sort of corner already, and it took me almost two months to really be able to cross that hurdle. At the same time, LA REINA is on-track to be even longer than LA BASTARDA (which is kind of funny, considering it covers less than 1/5 of time), but that just goes back to Constanza being an unreliable protagonist.
Anyway, this is getting long and kind of rambling, but I didn’t just want to write a one sentence blurb. I’m also not quite willing to put a synopsis of the story on the internet – there would be so many spoilers! – but don’t worry. I have something even better up my sleeve. If you come back in two days time, at 11:05AM EST (by United States Time Zones), you’ll be among the first to read part of LA REINA‘s first chapter. Stay tuned, and thank you so much!
(And again, if you make it to the Local Author Event I’ll be attending on April 16th, you may get to see even more!)