What is going on with me right now? What am I working on?
An update, for those who’ve been unfortunate enough to discover my blog.
For those who don’t know, I’ve been working on a samurai-inspired epic fantasy for maybe a year … probably a bit longer if you take into account how long the idea of writing something in honour of my favourite period in history/culture/people.
Why samurai? Because I’ve fallen endlessly into recounts, histories, stories and artwork from the time period. I’m fascinated by it all. At first, obviously because of such anime like Bleach, Rurouni Kenshin and so forth. Anything built upon that culture was fascinating to me. But I discovered a line by Michael Wert (Samurai: A Concise History) that puts it rightly:
“Colloquially, even in Japan, the term samurai is a synonym for “warrior”, but this is incorrect. Samurai originally had a very narrow meaning, referring to anyone who served a noble, even in non-military capacity.”
This challenged what I knew as samurai. And as I set out to discover the true warriors, Bushi, my love for the study of this culture was renewed, and because of my passion for writing, reading fantasy, this led to an idea for a novel. Not a historical fantasy where I borrowed everything from the samurai caste, no. But something that was equal parts a love letter to the culture and a fantasy world in its own right.
I had a lot of fun researching the way of the warrior, finding that most of this has been written down, or popularised since the early 1900s. With most of the ‘way of the samurai’ being formed when they no longer existed. For those who don’t know, the Meiji Restoration practically did away with the samurai: “…was an event that restored imperial rule to the Empire of Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji…” Until then, Japan was ruled by a feudal system in which samurai lords each owned a piece of the land and this was loosely tied together by the shogunate (tent government), and the shogun (military leader) who were the de facto leaders of Japan, appointed by the emperor (who at the time had little to do with ruling the country, this is what the Restoration changed.)
The last shogunate was the Tokugawa shogunate, known as the Bakumatsu, and this was reformed in order to make way for a Japan that would follow the charter oath: “Knowledge shall be sought all over the world, and thereby the foundations of imperial rule shall be strengthened.” From the Meiji restoration onwards, the Emperor of Japan would serve as a spiritual authority and the ministers would govern the nation in his name.
I apologise to anyone who knows a lot more about this period of history, and for those who think I’ve butchered the explanation (I’m still learning and researching) but the reason I go into this is because that period where Japan was changing, between the Bakumatsu and the Empire of Japan is where my book draws its inspiration. Well … I’ve prattled on about that for a bit longer than necessary, but my true passion lies in the history of those periods, and in writing, and fantasy, so I’ve meshed all three together.
The book right now is complete and is out in the world of querying. So, while I research the histories a bit more, plan for further books, I’m sat twiddling my thumbs and praying to all of the gods that an agent feels as passionate as me about my work! Its both a process that brings out my acute anxiety and brings me great joy – it really is strange.
Other than that, I have a further, pretty big, announcement (for me anyway.) I’ve joined the team at FanFiAddict.com as a contributing reviewer; this means that I get to read lots of great books, some before they’re released, and rave about them for you guys on a bigger platform! I’d like to thank David W and the rest of the team for welcoming me with open arms – they really are a great bunch of people.
I am also still furloughed, so if anyone would like me to have a look at their book, please see my Fiverr account or the rates on my Proofreading & Editing page. Right now, I’ve got a lot of time to spend on this. Anyway, I don’t do these often, and won’t be doing one for a while but for now, stay safe and I’ll see you soon!
Musashi, M. (2005). The Book of Five Rings. Shambhala.
Wert, M. (2019). Samurai: A Concise History. OUP.
Kissinger, H. (2011). On China. Penguin Press.