I have a confession to make… Lancelot and the Grail was supposed to be the last of the Lancelot stories in The Knights of Camelot series. When my publisher found out I was writing another Lancelot book they weren’t terribly happy. Still, it’s done now and they’ve given up trying to separate me from Lancelot until he’s ready to release me.
This story came about mainly because Lancelot couldn’t leave – SPOILER WARNING – Tancred in Albion with Rafe. It didn’t matter how I tried to ignore the plot, I couldn’t writing anything else, nothing would work, only this story.
So, Lancelot and Arthur are pulled asunder and frankly I’m glad. Lancelot is never going to find peace or be happy with Arthur. They are too similar I think and both of them need something the other doesn’t can’t give, complete emotional support. Therefore we return to Albion but in a new and interesting way.
This book fell out of my head with such speed all my knuckles swelled trying to keep up with the words in my head I typed so fast. After the research into the mythical aspects of the stories written previously, I really wanted to imbue this book with elements of magic and fairy dust. I also wanted to play tribute to the Medieval mind. Without television, few books and little to distract them but sex, religion and war (heavy generalisation but you get the point), recreation usually revolved around games and riddles. In many of the stories there are games for the knights to play in order to save their friends or some grand lady from disaster. Lancelot in particular is constantly challenged. These riddles and games were a safe, but teasing way, for men and women to be allowed to converse in polite society. They showed off the intelligence of the participants and could be used to great advantage when flirting was involved. There are games in many of the French Romances, Chaucer, The Decameron and even The Prince.
In this case there is no flirting but a throne is at stake. The games were an interesting aspect to write because for the first time we see Lancelot reach far beyond his comfort zone. That cold hearted killer has changed and changed for good. Arthur still needs the warrior, but Lancelot can see and craves a new path. It is wonderful watching him open his heart and become a rounded man, not a cipher for death. I think this is one of my favourite books because it combines all the aspects of Lancelot’s life but finally drags him from Camelot.
The end is going to upset some, but please, remember that Lancelot is bi-sexual and Tancred is not Arthur. His psychology is completely different (thank goodness) and he is able to take the bigger picture of Albion’s future into consideration. I’m afraid I indulge my characters in their relationships with each other, this is mainly because fiction reflects life and rarely are things simple from birth to death. Exploring these different aspects of humanity in its great variety is the obligation of an author. I have no idea what happens between Lancelot and his wife in the future, he hasn’t told me yet, but it’ll be fun finding out and I will do all I can to protect Tancred. I promise.
Personally, I think this new development in Lancelot’s life is a great twist and I can’t wait to find out what happens. Book five – Lancelot’s Burden – is a journey for Lancelot in the literal sense and for Tancred in the spiritual. His path is even more exciting and has far reaching consequences. I’m glad he has Lancelot and our Knight has to really dig deep to help his lover, further separating the man from the monster.
Book six (Lancelot’s Curse) – This is the book which made me cry for most of the last third while writing it. And yet, there is a freedom beckoning for Lancelot which might to them all good in the end. Albion and Camelot face their greatest threat and Lancelot is forced to make some horrible decisions. It’s very sad, which is why I had to write…
…Book seven. which is done and is great fun. Some of you are already moaning at me that Lancelot cannot be dragged into the 21st century. I say, it’s my book, you don’t have to read it! And you never know, you might even enjoy the change, I know I did.
I think that’s far enough into the future for now. The Knights of Camelot will continue to expand with short stories and hopefully other books as things go on.
The first three chapters of Lancelot’s Challenge are here: Lancelots Challenge First Three Chapters