Like the characters that inhabit them, novels have minds of their own. My most recent book, The Barbarian Princess, aka The Barbarian Queen of the North, has undergone a remarkable transformation since its cerebral birth. It began with the title. I decided to change it because I thought it was too long. Moreover, throughout the book, Alauna, our heroine, is a princess, as yet to be crowned a queen.

With the title change came a dramatic shift in the cover design. The image I wished to use, shared in an earlier blog, was a product of AI. Though I arranged to purchase the license, my publisher was concerned about using AI-generated art. So, I went with a Google image instead. Fortunately, the designer did an admirable job adapting it, and I’m pleased with the result.

As for the story itself, it kept morphing, as did the characters, especially Alauna. Once a precocious firebrand, she became a mature, courageous woman deeply imbued with a spiritual nature born of a mystical origin. Her tribe reveres her both for her courage and skill as a warrior and her magical connection with their woodland gods and goddesses. I admit I’m not a fantasy writer, but Alauna insisted on occupying her own imagined world.

The love story between Alauna and Tertius Vulpienus, the Roman prefect of engineers, became more intense than I had planned. As an engineer, he sees the world concretely, a world barren of gods, goddesses, nymphs, and dryads. His stoic sensibilities constantly conflict with the princesses’ mercurial and, often, dangerous behavior. And yet, love came unbidden.

The characters have written their own story, which is far more compelling than I could have written. I hope you agree. Look for The Barbarian Princess in
early March.


– Scripserint, quid scripserint –
They have written what they have written.