Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Bestselling author Nicole Galland explains what it was like to dive into writing a series and how speculative fiction allows her to explore her interests.
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Nicole Galland is the author of the historical novels Godiva, I, Iago, Crossed, Revenge of the Rose, and The Fool’s Tale, as well as the contemporary romantic comedies On the Same Page and Stepdog, and the New York Times bestselling near-future thriller The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (with Neal Stephenson). She lives on Martha’s Vineyard.

Nicole Galland

Nicole Galland

In this post, Galland explains what it was like to dive into writing a series, how speculative fiction allows her to explore her interests, and more!

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Name: Nicole Galland
Literary agent: Liz Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill
Title: Master of the Revels
Publisher: William Morrow
Release date: February 23, 2021
Genre: Speculative Fiction; historical fiction; time travel
Elevator pitch for the book: In this fast-paced sequel to the near-future bestseller The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., the powerful Irish witch Gráinne schemes to use time travel to reverse the evolution of all modern technology; Tristan Lyons, Melisande Stokes, and their fellow outcasts from the Department of Diachronic Operations must fight to prevent her.
Previous titles by the author: The Rise and Fall of DODO (co-written with Neal Stephenson); The Fool’s Tale; Revenge of the Rose; Crossed; I, Iago; Godiva; Stepdog; On the Same Page

Master of the Revels

Master of the Revels by Nicole Galland

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What prompted you to write this book?

Neal and I had such fun with The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. that we both wanted to continue to create stories in that world. My background is in theatre and I’m a Shakespeare nerd, so I leapt at the opportunity to shape the story around that era. The other storylines—Renaissance Florence, Roman-Empire Sicily—began because I wanted excuses to learn more about those cultures; it was gratifying that the stories blended together so well.

(8 Online Resources for Historical Research)

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? 

I had the idea for the chief storyline from shortly after The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. came out—I suggested it to Neal in April of 2017, and then to our editor in May; D.O.D.O. came out in June and by July I was developing the plot. I went on a six-week research trip in November/December. Because of some unforeseen complications in my life, writing it took longer than I anticipated—all of 2018 and 2019; I turned it in in January of 2020 (four months late), and then did some rewrites up through April 2020. That it comes out 10 months later is actually a quick turnaround for a book like this.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

It’s hard to answer this because the entire industry is still figuring out how to role with the Pandemic Punches. I had no expectations because I’d seen so many friends deal with heartaches associated with lockdown. When you have no expectations, there are generally fewer surprises (good or bad!).

(Writing with Wonder: Weaving Time and Place with Story in Historical Fiction)

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

Sometimes, I’m pleasantly surprised I was able to write it at all, given the major long-term curveballs the universe threw at me immediately after I returned from my research trip. I had some “eureka!” moments in terms of plot development but I can’t really say much about them because they’d be spoilers.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope each sentence will make them want to read the next sentence, to paraphrase George Saunders. I hope they’ll enjoy it. Oh, yes—and I hope Shakespeare’s plays will be demystified to those who find them unrelatable.

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Keep writing, no matter what curveballs come your way.

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