Aiella: the novel

One of the things I did in 2016 was to finish one of the two novels I have been writing for most of the last two years. Would you like me to tell you all about it?

Oh. Well, tough. I’m going to tell you all about it anyway.

I say finished, but I’m still editing bits of it, and I say novel, but … well, it kind of isn’t. It’s actually fourteen discrete but connected stories, of varying lengths, covering thirty-five years or so in the life of the main character, the eponymous Lady Aiella.

Aiella is … a wanderer, a thief, an exile and to most of the people she meets, an enigma. The stories follow her from childhood, through love, loss, tragedy, exile, and long years of restless wandering, until she at last finds some kind of redemption. Along the way she meets her faithful companion Dartea, and together they encounter assassins, authors, elephants, pirates, music-hall performers, diplomats, smugglers, a Princess and a very troublesome mule. Recurring at various points in the story is the third major character, the notorious Black Jackie Nyman, smuggler, burglar, fence and lover.

The story is … a romance, a comedy, a thriller, and a tragedy. But for the purposes of general classification, I call it a fantasy, inasmuch as the action is set in the imaginary land of Tenaria.

The story is not … a conventional fantasy, however. There is no magic in Tenaria. No gods, no elves, wizards, werewolves, vampires, dragons, amulets, witches, ghosts or any kind of magic ring whatever. You will not find so much as a hint of a prophecy, and not a trace of a Quest. I have invented no languages, nor do my characters use gratuitous faux-medieval English. (Any thees and thous you find are dialect, not archaisms).

Also, there are no … guns, improbable mechanical devices, knights in armour shining or otherwise, no lurid descriptions of sex and no map.

There are … jokes, kisses, bits of song and poetry, stories-within-the-story, adventures, arguments, fights, swearwords and characters who are anything but straight (in several senses of the word).

Oh, yes, and I’ve already started writing the sequel.

So if any of that intrigues you at all, I’m looking for readers to tell me if it’s any good or not, because I’m damned if I know. Drop me a line in the comments below, or send me a direct message on Twitter @sloopjonb1960, and I will provide you with an e-book copy to the format of your choice. It’s 144,000 words long, just so you know how much of your time it is going to waste.

Thanks 🙂


11 thoughts on “Aiella: the novel

    • I didn’t actually plan it like that. I wrote a story, quite where it came from I never knew, which is now the fourth story in the sequence. And the characters of Aiella and Dartea as they sprang out of that story, almost fully-formed, struck as me as too good not to use again. So I wrote more stories … and some more … and in the end I thought I’d better write a beginning and an end, and call it a novel 🙂


  1. Based purely on your posts here – and thinking about the particular strengths I’ve observed in them – what are your thoughts on turning it into a film-script? (Franchise by the sound of it)

    It seems to me from your outline that it would work – and characters springing fully formed certainly rings bells to me that you should be heading in that direction.


    • There’s a lot more to script-writing than just dialogue (well, except for radio), and film scripts, to a ratio of about 999 to 1, don’t get made. At least I know the novel will get published, even if I do it myself 🙂 Have you seen the two stories I have up in Inkitt? They are much more representative of my real writing style than the skits I put on this blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A quick thought during ‘tea break’ – perhaps you could set up a private WordPress site and upload the novel there with a separate post for each chapter?

    I would be interested in reading it but feel quite daunted, as I get the impression do others here, at the thought of tackling such a large novel with everything else I have on at the moment. An entire e-book would probably just hang around on my to-do list indefinitely.

    A chapter at a time, though, with comments from others, would be an easier and fun way of reading through it – we could be your own little online book club if you like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That does seem to be possible, yes. Might be fun! I’m not going to do it until after I’ve completed the Big Edits my beta reader recommended, though. I’m taking next week off to do that – and turning the internet off for a week while I do them.


  3. That sounds like an interesting concept for a book. Are you still looking for beta readers? I’m a bit overcommitted to take on a whole book right now, but I’d be happy to give you comments on the first chapter, and if it really seems like my kind of thing maybe take on more afterwards.

    Thanks for following my blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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