Author Topic: New novel about Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich  (Read 1299 times)

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Offline tanolic

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New novel about Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich
« on: September 18, 2018, 06:06:39 PM »
Hello everyone!

My new book, "Through the Fire: An Alternate Life of Prince Konstantin of Russia," has just been published! "Through the Fire" is a novel in short stories about Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich, son of the Grand Duke Konstantin (the famous poet KR). "Through the Fire," an alternate history, examines the life that Konstantin might have lived if the Russian Revolution had not happened. It is set in the same alternate historical universe as my last novel about the Romanovs, "Triumph of a Tsar." I have pasted a link with further information about the book below.

I have been a long time reader of this fabulous discussion board, even though I haven't posted much. The threads and discussions on this board have been so interesting and full of information, and I came here often while writing these novels. As such, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone on this board.

Tamar

https://www.amazon.com/Through-Fire-Alternate-Prince-Konstantin-ebook/dp/B07HD96RV9/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1537311448&sr=1-1


Offline Превед

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Re: New novel about Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2018, 05:53:23 PM »
Congratulations!

Judging from the excerpt available at Amazon it looks neatly written and well researched, without the typical blunders you often encounter in Romanov fan fiction, although the opening does strike a somewhat odd note for someone intimately familiar with German landscapes:

"... I stepped out into the summer heat of Saxe-Altenburg." Since Saxe-Altenburg is a region and not a city, one is left thinking: Is this fictional (presumably Russian Orthodox) church (modelled after the Herzogin-Agnes-Kirche in Altenburg?) located in the town of Altenburg itself or "somewhere in the rural parts of Saxe-Altenburg"? The protagonist would not have gone directly from Bavaria to Altenburg in a carriage in the years before WW1, but by train, and in a carriage from the station to the church.

"Already, I missed Bavaria with its wildflowers and tall, snow-covered mountains". It is a very common misconception that Bavaria is a predominantly Alpine country. Just a very small zone of Bavaria along the Austrian border does actually have the typically Alpine landscape with mountains, narrow valleys, lakes and highland pastures full of Alpine wildflowers. Although you can see the Alps from tall points on a clear day in a huge part of the pre-alpine piedmont area of Southern Bavaria (including München) and they of course influence the climate etc., most of Southern Bavaria is just rolling farmland, not so dissimilar to the plain around Altenburg. The northern part of Bavaria (Franconia) is very much like the hillier, wooded part of Saxe-Altenburg. Needless to say, all agricultural areas outside heavily polluted industrialized areas had lots of wildflowers before modern agriculture with its monocultures. (Just think of the poppies of WW1 lyrical fame!)

"The smells of borscht and kasha wafted over from the train's dining car." I can willingly imagine that borscht may have been on the menu even of a first class dining car in the Russian Empire, but peasant staple food like kasha? Without having done any research, "dining car with imperial prince in close proximity" and "kasha" are "contradictions in terms" in my mind. One could rather imagine a man of simple tastes like this prince feeling sick from the smells of attempts at rich French cuisine in this first class dining car and wishing for serene simplicity in the form of mild kasha.

I hope the novel allows itself some imaginations about KR's double life and the effect this had on his son and their relationship. Already in the scene where they talk about future brides for Konstantin Konstantinovich we, as readers, will know the taboo questions on KR's mind: Does his son suffer from the same "erotic handicap" as himself? Can the perfect bride prevent amourous scandals - and which ones are the worst? Public heterosexual liaisons like those of his late father or his own indulgencies, known only to the underworld and the Okhrana?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 06:11:22 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline Превед

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Re: New novel about Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2018, 06:47:00 PM »
I hope the novel allows itself some imaginations about KR's double life and the effect this had on his son and their relationship. Already in the scene where they talk about future brides for Konstantin Konstantinovich we, as readers, will know the taboo questions on KR's mind: Does his son suffer from the same "erotic handicap" as himself? Can the perfect bride prevent amourous scandals - and which ones are the worst? Public heterosexual liaisons like those of his late father or his own indulgencies, known only to the underworld and the Okhrana?

Unfortunately, I fear I hope in vain. Based on your recently published short story Dark night, bright sky. This is clichéed kitsch: A young priest in a deserted corner of Ireland whipping himself in penance because his life is like the sad stuck existence of an American millennial - and not as one presumes, because he is a pedophile, child molester and perhaps also himself a victim of abuse who has sought refuge in the Catholic Church and is being busted. Instead he was forced into the priesthood because he couldn't afford tuition to continue study astrophysics at Trinity College? Hello, higher education (but not student accommodation!) is free for EU citizens in Ireland, with the exception of a low annual fee. So just the premise is ridiculous. Why is there another priest living in the same remote vicarage if he isn't his secret gay lover when there is a serious priest shortage?

In this day and age Father Cillian O’Leary should be loosing his faith because of the Catholic abuse scandal, not because this woe-is-me caricature couldn't afford continuing with his studies (because he had an American student advisor who told him blatantly false things! :-) and his worshipped Mary deserted him. He would be much more interesting if he committed suicide because everyone believed he was a pedophile (why else join the Catholic Church in this day and age?), when he just was a perfectly normal man who loved getting muddy playing football and snuggle up watching the aurora borealis with redhaired Gaelic boys.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 07:01:04 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline tanolic

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Re: New novel about Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2018, 11:43:02 AM »
You bring up some interesting points. In my mind, though, Princess Pilar was heading to the church in a carriage from somewhere nearby, such as lodgings in which she and her parents had stayed, rather than having made the journey all the way from Bavaria in the carriage. Also, from all the research I've done, the Grand Duke Konstantin brought up his children to be as Russian as possible- making sure they spoke Russian at home, etc. I think that eating borscht and kasha could well be a part of that. Even Nicholas II was known for his simple eating preferences.

In addition, while the Grand Duke Konstantin's homoexuality (or bisexuality, depending on how you read his situation), may be well known now, he ordered that his diaries be sealed for several decades after his death. The research I've seen says that his family followed that order to the letter, so they would have been unaware of the diaries' discussion of KR's homosexuality. The evaluations of this that I've read suggest that KR's family would have been quite surprised by his homosexuality, given how he conducted himself in his family life. As a result, this novel doesn't really explore how his homosexuality could have impacted his relationship with his children. Also, given that Prince Konstantin had proposed to Princess Elizabeth of Romania, and was also said to have been interested in the Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, I thought it unlikely that he would have been homosexual himself. One thing that I love about fiction, though, (and especially historical fiction) is that another writer could have written an alternate life of Prince Konstantin, and done it very differently. I agree with you about what KR might have been thinking to himself during the discussions about Prince Konstantin's potential choices for a bride, but since "Through the Fire" is from Prince Konstantin's point of view, we don't really see into KR's head at all. If I were writing a book about KR himself, though, I think his struggles with his sexuality would be front and center.

Thank you for taking the time to read my short story "Dark Night, Bright Sky." I think it's really kind of you to have sought out my other work. I disagree with your assessment of the short story and how it should have been written, but I'm not sure that this is the place for a discussion about it, since the story is completely separate from "Through the Fire" and has nothing to do with the Romanovs.

Offline Превед

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Re: New novel about Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2018, 07:54:25 AM »
Also, from all the research I've done, the Grand Duke Konstantin brought up his children to be as Russian as possible- making sure they spoke Russian at home, etc. I think that eating borscht and kasha could well be a part of that.
Makes sense if they were travelling in their own train, where they could set the menu. If they hitched their waggon onto another train, not so much.

Quote
In addition, while the Grand Duke Konstantin's homoexuality (or bisexuality, depending on how you read his situation), may be well known now, he ordered that his diaries be sealed for several decades after his death. The research I've seen says that his family followed that order to the letter, so they would have been unaware of the diaries' discussion of KR's homosexuality. The evaluations of this that I've read suggest that KR's family would have been quite surprised by his homosexuality, given how he conducted himself in his family life. As a result, this novel doesn't really explore how his homosexuality could have impacted his relationship with his children. Also, given that Prince Konstantin had proposed to Princess Elizabeth of Romania, and was also said to have been interested in the Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, I thought it unlikely that he would have been homosexual himself. One thing that I love about fiction, though, (and especially historical fiction) is that another writer could have written an alternate life of Prince Konstantin, and done it very differently. I agree with you about what KR might have been thinking to himself during the discussions about Prince Konstantin's potential choices for a bride, but since "Through the Fire" is from Prince Konstantin's point of view, we don't really see into KR's head at all. If I were writing a book about KR himself, though, I think his struggles with his sexuality would be front and center.

I see your point about viewpoint and I didn't mean you should explore the possibility that Prince Konstantin was bisexual, just that KR must have worried about it, as homosexuality in those days was viewed as a moral weakness linked to inherited degeneracy (most pointedly in dynasties like the Romanovs) in the same way as madness and congenital syphilis etc.

But KR's bisexuality would most probably influence his interactions with his family in some way. They would not perceive it as such, because they had no idea (or did they at some point see some compromizing small thing (a photo, a look he was giving a footman etc.?) and pretend they didn't?). But if they had been told, as adults, I'm sure some things would fall into place and make sense, as with any secret about your parents you learn after your childhood.

Quote
Thank you for taking the time to read my short story "Dark Night, Bright Sky." I think it's really kind of you to have sought out my other work. I disagree with your assessment of the short story and how it should have been written, but I'm not sure that this is the place for a discussion about it, since the story is completely separate from "Through the Fire" and has nothing to do with the Romanovs.

You're welcome, but the short story just proves my point: You seem like an author who foregoes the most interesting plot lines for the sake of boring, old clichés. Perhaps because you're marketing your book to young female readers (and their parents) who want princessy romance without unsavoury spots.
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)