Jane Routley asks: What would Kitten Avignon do?
The Flying Spaghetti Saga
Let’s face it, reality is very unsatisfactory. When my 18-month-old nephew was eating spaghetti at a posh restaurant recently, he came upon a strand that was too long and, after pulling it out of his mouth with ‘gak’ noise, he tossed it disdainfully over his shoulder. This being reality it landed harmlessly on the floor of the mostly empty restaurant.
Such potential for chaos wasted!
If this had been a spy novel it might have hit the cheek of a sinister man sitting behind us trying to sell state secrets to a foreign power and hung there wobbling, totally undermining his credibility. If it had been a comic novel by someone like P.G. Wodehouse, waiters would have toppled, engagements would have been disrupted and dowager’s cleavages would have been assaulted by all manner of things including the renegade noodle. In a swords and sorcery fantasy, there would definitely have been a tavern brawl.
And if the main characters of my novel Mage Heart were sitting behind me?
If it hit the cheek of my heroine Dion who is a shy awkward 17 year old, she would probably blush scarlet, make it disappear with magic, with which she is strongly endowed, and hope no one noticed.
If it hit the cheek of Norval, my villain, a vicious necromancer who out of sheer spite is stalking Kitten Avignon, the beautiful courtesan who once spurned him - well you can imagine the dark magic possibly demon aided that might be unleashed on my poor little nephew. Even if he had to make human sacrifices of the waiters, Norval wouldn’t rest until our whole family was turned to smoking ash. That’s certainly his plan for Kitten Avignon in the book.
If the ruler in my book, Leon, Duke of Gallia was hit by the noodle - well he in his way is also a sinister man. He would smile thinly without the smile meeting his eyes and make plans for my nephew to be kidnapped and sent away to some cold distant place to grow up in poverty.
No, if I was going to write the scene of the flying strand of spaghetti, I’d have it land on the Duke’s mistress, the beautiful and endangered Kitten Avignon – the lady whose picture graces the excellent cover that Daryl Lindquist has designed for the new Clan Destine Press publication of my book.
Then its full comic potential would be realised, because Kitten would at least think of some witticism - (A limp noodle! The best offer I’ve had all night!) - and at best seize my nephew and dance him round the room waving the noodle and laughing till everyone joined in the party. In Mage Heart Kitten does something similar with a dirty book sent to her by a lecherous bishop thus causing the bishop maximum embarrassment.
Kitten Avignon is the original Good Time Girl and she’s clever and adventurous to boot. She’s an actress and a sword fighter and the original inspiration for the novel. If you look at history courtesans usually were fun to be with. As one of the characters in Mage Heart says you can get sex from any street prostitute, but men went to courtesans because they were fun to be with.
My book is basically about dark magic and dangerous desires. It’s about a 17 year old learning the limits of her own power and learning hard lessons about love and desire. But I’ve tried to lighten the tension by evoking the debauched good time world of courtesans.
Have I succeeded? Read the book and tell me what you think.