Interviews With Writers.

Our first interview is with the author of True Freedom. If you are interested in reading this story; contact me and I will see to it that your request is passed on to the author.


Write a little bit about your story. Try to give the basics of its plot line:

Well, the summary I’ve written for it is as follows:
Medieval France is a hard world for a slave, and well does Maurelle know it. All she wants is to be free from Gabrielle, her silly mistress, and, one way or another, she's going to be! Maurelle is hopeful when she is told she will be escorting Gabrielle on a long journey, so full of dangers and difficulties that she is promised freedom at the end. Maurelle hardly minds the long journey, for what are a few months of inconveniences compared to a lifetime of freedom?
Maurelle could never have predicted what would really happen; nothing could have prepared her for the tangle of deception, sorrow and evil that she must face.

The title of your story is True Freedom. Where in the development of your story did the title come to mind? At the beginning; in the middle; at the end? What sort of other titles came to mind? Why did you choose this one in particular?

With some of my stories the idea for the title comes first, but with this story I finished it before I decided on the title. I really had no ideas for a title that were any good; I considered descriptive things like Medieval Slave, French Slave, A Medieval French Slave’s Journey through France to Paris, etc. All very terrible ideas, leaving me no choice but to go with True Freedom, which I took from the last sentence and somewhat of the overall message of the book.

Is True Freedom a story you would ever consider publishing?

Yes! I have several edits in mind for this story; in a few months or a year I’ll come back to it, make the necessary changes and then I’ll try to submit it for publishing.

How did the idea for True Freedom come to mind? What sort of things inspired it?
True Freedom is set in medieval France. Did you think of France, and write a story that went in it. Or did you have a story that France just happened to fit?

I have always loved the Middle Ages and so when we did the One Year Adventure Novel in my 8th grade year, that was the story that came to mind. I’ve also always been interested in slavery – the Civil War time period was also a fascinating time period to me, and I always liked pretending to be a slave or servant. Honestly, the only reason I set it in France was because I felt like I’ve been setting too many things in England! France is just more interesting to me than the other European countries on the Continent in the Middle Ages.

The main character in this story is a young slave girl, Maurelle. Does this name have any particular meaning or connections for you?

Maurelle is a French name meaning “dark, Elfin”. Maurelle is pretty short, so Elfin kind of fits, and her story is somewhat dark. Really l just chose it because I like the “elle” sound and it is a French name.

Tell us a little bit about the development of True Freedom. What sort of things were there at the beginning? What changed and what stayed? How much was influenced by things around you?

Mostly small things have changed. The beginning chapter when through many stages. In chapter 11, Maurelle switches clothes with Gabrielle to help Gabrielle escape. That was going to be a pretty big part of the climax originally, but now it is pretty minor.  Maurelle’s personal journey was originally to learn compassion. That has morphed into learning to trust people and God and be less guarded and independent. Maurelle herself was very cold, sharp and jaded when I first wrote about her; she had always lived with the De Surs. I think it works much better to have her just coming to them at the beginning of the story; she is still guarded and you could see that in years to come she could become that jaded person she was in the first draft, but she hasn’t had time to become that yet. A big thing that changed was that in my first draft there were only four people going on the journey: Lazare, Gabrielle, Maurelle, and a guard (I honestly can’t remember whether this was Jaque or Quain). I quickly realized I needed more characters, and added Quain/Jacque (originally Jaque was called Jim, incidentally), Bridget, Gustave, Raoul, and Nouvelle. Later I added Gaspard (Raoul used to serve as both of them). The death toll grew as well. Another minor thing, One Year Adventure Novel has you write a 12-chapter story, but True Freedom finally finished at fourteen chapters plus a small epilogue.
Maurelle herself hasn’t changed much, though; and most of the story I would say hasn’t changed so much as it has grown. Rather than taking things out, most things were simply added: Bridget’s identity, for instance, has always been in keeping with her character, although I didn’t have that in the story at first. My sister and a friend of mine were both influential in the changes, such that when I was up against a wall and tired of banging my head on it, they would let me come bang my head on them and would give advice or commiserate, respectively.

Have you considered writing a sequel to True Freedom?

Yes, I have. I left a few things open which could be continued into a sequel. I don’t know at this point if that will ever happen, considering how many other stories I want to write, but it is definitely a possibility.

Is there anything about this story that you would consider changing at some point?

Yes, I have a list of some small things that I’d like to come back to before trying to publish it.

Are there any particular scenes in True Freedom which you especially enjoyed reading and/or writing?

Oh, yes. Chapter twelve and thirteen were particularly enjoyable. Maurelle’s dream scenes were also some favorites. And I took strange pleasure in writing the second half of Chapter five.

How good do you consider this in comparison to your other stories? Is it better than most of them? Worse?

Compared to my finished stories, I think it is better than most (there aren’t many to compare too!). I don’t think I can compare it to my unfinished stories because I can’t foresee how they will change or grow.

Have you written any other stories set in medieval France?

No, this one is unique in its location.

Out of all the characters in Trued Freedom, which one do you identify with most? Tell a little bit about that character.

That is a hard question. I don’t think I identify that much with any of them. Probably Gustave. Gustave is an honest, somewhat dense, very teasing sort of character, and I would say I am all those things (not to mention we both like horses!). I think he’s a little more insecure than I am, though. To a lesser extent I identify with Bridget because she loves her family so much (she is much wiser than I am, needless to say) and Maurelle because she is headstrong and doesn’t like change.

Out of all the characters in True Freedom, which one was most interesting to write for?

Ooh. Lazare and Raoul were pretty fun because Raoul can say anything nasty at all and Lazare is a character if ever there was one. Nouvelle I enjoyed because she is very innocent, though that was, at the same time, a challenge to write. Gregoire, though a very small character, was also very interesting.

Did you do any research on medieval France, or was it all just from general knowledge?

I researched a few specific things, though most of the things, ironically, didn’t end up in the story. I learned how fast horses travel and I looked at maps to see how long the journey would take. All the placed named in the story are real places, though the characters are completely fictional. I had planned for Maurelle to stop at an abbey, and I found a real abbey that was around in her time for her to go to, but that isn’t in the finished version.

About how long did it take you to bring this story to its current state of completion?

Not quite a year; I started in September and finished in the spring of the next year.

Is there anything else you would like to say about True Freedom?

Yes; most of the names in the story have some sort of meaning connected to the story. I won’t say what they are, but you can look them up!

Would you like to give any contact information, give a pen name, or remain completely anonymous?

My pen name is Awdur, which is Welsh for writer. You can contact me at my blog At this time that’s all the contact information I can give.  If True Freedom is ever published I may give more information.

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