In Joan’s Footsteps By Kathleen C. Perrin
While going through the process of writing The Sword of the Maiden, the second novel in The Watchmen Saga, I was preoccupied by all things “Joan of Arc.” Actually, my preoccupation with Joan started long before I wrote my first novel in the series, The Keys of the Watchmen. In fact, the entire unwritten premise of the first novel was to set up Katelyn Michaels as the one mortal who could fully understand and logically assist Joan in her mission. No, my preoccupation with Joan is not just a passing fancy. I have been interested in her remarkable story for years, even decades.
My challenge in writing this novel was that so much has been said about Joan and so much has already been written about her. She is probably the most iconic figure ever to have come out of France. Consequently, I knew that trying to tell her story from a fictional platform was risky business. How could I bring anything of value to her story? How could I add one iota of understanding to what actually motivated her? How could I do her improbable narrative justice? I finally came to the conclusion that all I could do was try to give my readers a personal experience with her, and to do that, I wanted to be as accurate as possible about the places she visited and the conditions in which she lived.
Because my Breton husband and I are blessed to own a small cottage in Brittany, I have the opportunity of spending a lot of time in France. Consequently, we visited the important sites in Joan of Arc’s story on many occasions and in every season of the year. I paced off distances and even whipped out my handy-dandy tape measure to assess the width of battlements and ramparts. I took hundreds of photos from every possible vantage point. Incidentally, I hope you will visit my website to see some of those photos at www.kathleencperrin.com.
I just returned from my latest trip to France where my husband and I revisited some of the sites I write about in The Sword of the Maiden. However, on this occasion, with all of the hectic moments of getting the book finished and published behind me, I was able to just contemplate. I hardly took any photographs. I certainly didn’t take any measurements. No longer concerned about how I was going to describe the Jehannic sites in words, I finally took the time to ponder more deeply about the remarkable maiden who walked in these places.
While standing on the very spot in Rouen where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431, I felt overwhelmed by emotion for the young woman I had tried to come to know personally. I was overcome by the reality of how she must have suffered, and of how she must have felt abandoned and betrayed by her compatriots, her voices, and even by God. I hoped that at that moment when the flames engulfed her, she knew that her sacrifices served a noble purpose and that her martyrdom mattered. I reflected on the difference she made in her very short life, not only for the Dauphin Charles and her beloved France, but for generations to come. This 19-year-old child-woman impacted the entire Western world. As I expressed in the novel, I firmly believe that her actions were critical for France to finally regain its sovereignty, and that a strong and independent France was key in assisting and motivating American Revolutionaries to obtain America’s independence from England. Obviously, many, many other factors were critical in these developments, but what would have happened if Joan had failed in her mission? How might the course of history have been entirely different? I felt honored to have had the opportunity, in some small way, to share the story of Jehanne la Pucelle with others.
The feelings I had at that moment reinforced the conviction I have that each of us can make a difference in some way, even if it’s just in the life of a single individual. To that person, it could mean everything. I’ve learned from Joan’s story that to make a difference, we have to be driven by deep conviction and complete unselfishness. We cannot be focused on our own self-centered desires. Very few of us will ever impact the world like Joan of Arc did, but every one of us can make our homes, neighborhoods, communities, cities, states or countries better places by focusing on others. I hope that learning about Joan’s courage and conviction will motivate my readers to find ways to make a difference. This is how we can honor her legacy.
The Sword of the Maiden(historical fiction) Release date: December 3, 2015 Self published at Langon House 515 pages ISBN: 978-0692576922 Website | Goodreads
Synopsis: After being abruptly separated from Nicolas le Breton during the battle to save Mont Saint Michel from the English siege in 1424, Katelyn Michaels finds herself back in her normal twenty-first century life as an American teenager. Depressed and anxious to be reunited with Nicolas, she is comforted when a series of events and impressions lead her to believe she is being prepared for another mission as a Watchman.
After her beloved mentor, Jean le Vieux, comes to her in a dream and gives her the injunction to “Learn of the Maiden and take her the sword,” Katelyn understands that her mission involves assisting one of the most iconic figures in all of French History.
Katelyn is once again whisked back to the turmoil of medieval France during the Hundred Years’ War and to Nicolas. However, before the two can consider the future of their relationship, they must first complete their mission to take the sword to the Maiden. Little do they know that their old nemesis, Abdon, is already on their trail and will do everything in his unhallowed power to stop them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathleen C. Perrin holds bachelor's degrees in French and Humanities from Brigham Young University and is a certified French translator. Besides being the author of The Watchmen Saga, she has published several non-fiction articles, academic papers, and a religious history about Tahiti. Kathleen has lived in Utah, New York City, France, and French Polynesia. She and her French husband have spent years investigating the mysteries and beauties of his native country--where they have a cottage--and have taken tourist groups to France. The Perrins have three children and currently reside in Utah. Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter. Sign up to receive her Newsletter. Buy the book on Amazon.
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