Please say hi to Rachael Kosinski! She has five fun things to share with us about her novella, Nicholas!
Hello!! A thousand thank-you’s for having me. My novella, Nicholas, was released this past February 14th by MuseItUp Publishing. It was actually never intended to be published, written very, very fast, and basically not at all what it came to be. Therefore, I thought it might be fun to give a few fun facts about a Christmas gift that turned into a story on attempted regicide, German ambassadors, and thieves who steal stories.
1. Nicholas was originally supposed to be a story on how mistletoe became associated with Christmas. In the very beginning, I only had about a week to write my mom a Christmas story and I was really drawing on early mythologies. It was for a very brief time, but I considered having a blind druid girl getting visited by an angel who bestowed mistletoe on humanity—for some reason. I think she fell in love with the angel. Like I said, I couldn’t formulate a full plot fast enough, and had to brush it aside.
2. Nicholas was originally supposed to be a pirate. I played fast and dirty with this story a bit; I robbed from my previous cache of unused plotlines. I’ve always wanted to write a pirate story—it’s one of my goals but I also want to be quite well informed before I start writing it. Since I was about sixteen, I’ve had a Word doc labeled Jamie’s Mercy, which had the very basic plot of a young pirate who had to end up saving a bishop’s daughter. Nicholas was based on Jamie, the buccaneer virtuoso, but morphed into his own individual self once I stripped him of piracy and made him a master thief. I set him loose in eighteenth-century London instead of the high seas, and set him with the task of saving the newest monarch.
3. I had never been to London before writing Nicholas and was terrified I’d mess up. We’ve all met those people, haven’t we? You mention the word ‘British’ or ‘London’ and suddenly they cock their mouth with an “Oi! Fish an’ chips! Pip pip—cheerio! Top hats and monocles!!” I did NOT want to be accused of anything like that, as an American writing a book with primarily English folk in it. I do have English, Scottish, and Irish blood in me, but my family left a long, long time ago. I could’ve spent months on searching for correct eighteenth-century dialects (and actually did find a handy website that dates certain phrases for you—so you don’t have your 1700s-era thief say ‘You’ll never take me alive, coppers!’ or something embarrassing like that). Instead, I shied away from heavy British slang and just kept it pretty formal English. I studied in England for three months a couple years ago, after this was written, and am proud to say there are no gaping mistakes.
4. I screwed with Britain’s historic timeline without much care—until I got my publishing contract. If you ever do read Nicholas, you’ll see in the acknowledgements that I wave a banner screeching that I’m not a complete idiot, I did do research before writing my book. It wasn’t twelve-years’-worth-of-creating-an-obscure-network-of-historian-contacts research, but thorough enough that I wasn’t making ridiculous jumps in history. The England I wrote about is set hazily in the early 1700s—in actuality, Nicholas’s England is on some alternate timeline. The Palace of Westminster was destroyed by a fire in the early 1500s and destroyed again by another fire in 1834; by the time Nicholas was running around London, historically the palace had become the House of Commons and the House of Lords. I know this. I simply chose to imagine a history where this never happened.
5. The ending makes me cry. Almost always. No spoilers here, but I’m always a sucker for sophisticated flirtation. And storytelling. And incredibly touching shows of affection. And people finding happiness. 😉
Nicholas does not live an ordinary life. He is a thief, reputed to be the best in London. But no one—no one—has ever broken into Westminster Palace except Nicholas, of course, who’s visited every few nights for months and months in order to steal—not crown jewels, nor secrets—but stories. The crown princess spins yarns in a tower study and Nicholas sits atop the roof to listen through the chimney flute until one night, when things go wrong and Nicholas finds himself in the palace and knowing things he should not know.
Someone loathes the idea that the King of England is planning to step down for his female heir, and will go to horrendous lengths to ensure this does not occur.
Suddenly, Nicholas wants to do the exact opposite of the thief’s code: helping to save a princess, instead of stealing one. A thief with a moral compass. Who knew?
Excerpt from Nicholas
“Where did you go last night?” Squinting, Hugh gave the robes a little shake. “You pulled an Our Father. Why? What’d you do to your hand?”
Nicholas tugged off the handkerchief and displayed the small angry weal on his palm. “Slipped on the ice. Grabbed a cart.” His jaw set. “I explored last night. I didn’t get anything, but you know how everyone trusts a man of God—”
Hugh stared at the handkerchief lying on the floor, his mouth working at the purple, red, and gold embroidery. When his gaze met Nicholas’s again, they cooled to iron. “You were the intruder last night. The one everyone’s talking about.”
Nicholas finally snagged his vestments out of Hugh’s fingers. “What are you on about? Hugh, last night I went all the way to South Kensington.”
“Last night, you took my boat. Argh, you were the intruder and the priest they found! Are you mad! Are you saying the royal guard impounded my skiff?”
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When she was little, Rachael Kosinski wanted to be a paleontologist, an astronaut, a nature photographer, and the next Jane Goodall. Instead of being a new link between man and chimp, or discovering a planet suitable for sustained human life, or maybe even winning renowned fame by stumbling across an undiscovered dinosaur, Rachael finally decided that, if she never became a writer, she would simply die. Eight years later, she now possesses a quirky knowledge of world mythology, an addiction to coffee, and a penchant for making over-expressive faces at her laptop.