Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Latest News On Sterkarm 3 Is...

Did I already mention that the new Sterkarm book is going to be
Come who dares and meddle with us
called  'A Sterkarm Tryst?'

It's all official now: the editor agrees - is even referring to it as 'Tryst' in emails now.

I never was happy with its working title 'Sterkarm Embrace.' It always seemed a bit awkward and, well, just wrong.

I was trying to come up with alternatives when my partner, Davy, suggested 'Tryst.' The more I thought about it, the more right it seemed. And Davy is chuffed because he so often complains that I don't listen to him. "At least you listened to 'Tryst,'" he said, the other day. The book is certain to be a huge success, of course, because I listened to him and called it 'Tryst' instead of anything else.

I suppose, these days, we mostly think of 'Tryst' as an archaic, romantic word, referring to star-crossed lovers stealing away to meet under the moon. My always-within-reach OED defines it as 'a private, romantic rendezvous between lovers,' but adds that it derives from the Middle English, through French and Latin. Originally, as triste or trista, it meant 'an appointed meeting place in hunting.'

by Soulacroix - a very un-Sterkarm tryst.

Davy, being Scots, has another take on it. He's been interested in the research for my story Follow The Dogs, which tells of the Scottish drovers, and the great cattle markets held at Falkirk. These great meetings of drovers and cattle-dealers were known as 'trysts.'

So the word 'tryst' covers romance and, generally, meeting places.

The other two books,  A Sterkarm Handshake and A Sterkarm Kiss have double meanings which belie their friendly sound. (That's a Sterkarm handshake, at the top of this blog.) So what's the double-meaning of a Sterkarm tryst?

Well, the Border reivers were especially fond of laying ambushes. They would drive off cattle, and lay an ambush for the pursuers. They were guerilla fighters before the term was invented, making the most of suprise attacks and then fading away into their wild countryside. So, a Sterkarm Tryst is an ambush - a meeting place appointed by only one side.

But there's a hint of romance about the word, too, to bring in Andrea and Per. And a strong whiff of cattle, which there always would be around the Sterkarms.

Other people may not like it, but I'm happy with A Sterkarm Tryst. Finally.

I've been given a deadline for the books now. Open Road want the manuscript of Tryst in for copy-editing by mid-January. And any changes I want made to the other two books by mid-March. I can only say: Aaargh! Thank the lord I don't have any school visits or talks booked for December. I may cancel Christmas.

You can take a look at my other books here, on my website.


Joan Lennon said...

You can do it! And THEN you can concentrate on the Drovers' Dogs and the picture books and whatever comes lolloping out of your imagination next! So, down to the pub with you! Onwards!

Susan Price said...

Down to the pub sounds very inviting. A pity you're too far away to come with me!

Nick Green said...

I can hardly express how much I'm looking forward to this one. I came late to the Sterkarm party* but am now a diehard fan.

'Tryst' for me will always have a dark resonance thanks to Thomas Pynchon's 'Trystero'. Of course its other parallel meaning is 'sad'.

*A Sterkarm Party = You are the cake, and they set you on fire.

Juliet said...

I can't wait! I love the Sterkarm books.

Susan Price said...

Thank you all.
But Nick, I must defend the Sterkarms. All the sinister double-meanings are propaganda spread by their enemies.
The Sterkarms always keep their word - to other Sterkarms.
They'd be perfectly charming and generous hosts - so long as no advantage whatsoever lay in harming you.
But then, isn't this true of most human interaction?
Or is that just my paranoia?

Leslie Wilson said...

Can't wait to read it!