Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by HarperTeen
Published on March 10th 2015
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Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.
She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.
She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.
She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others
Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.
When I realized that my main character, Wilhelmina, was into forgery, I decided to do some research. After all, I’m a writer. I have a thing for pens, too.
First, I looked at my time period to figure out what level of technology they had. Initially, I’d wanted to use fountain pens (mmm, fountain pens!), but they didn’t work for what I needed. I turned to dip pens.
Basically, dip pens, or nib pens, are replaceable metal bits (nibs) on handles. You dip the pends into the ink (hence the name!) and write until the ink runs out. Then you re-dip. At first, I tried broad-edged nibs meant for Roman and Gothic style lettering. It was fun, but not quite what I was looking for — at least for myself. (Wil is good enough that she knows how to use all of these pens. She is amazing.) Shortly after that, I found Copperplate calligraphy and promptly swooned. I loved the elegant lines, the fluid look, and the gorgeous capital letters. Swoo-oon.
But before I could begin making those, I had to learn the basics. I spent hours drawing pieces of letters: straight lines (at a 55° angle), straight lines with a curve on the end, the various ascenders and descenders, and all the other shapes of letters before I could actually put them together. Then I spent just as much time drawing the same letters over and over until they looked the same (and like the ones in the book I was using; Copperplate calligraphy is pretty strict about letter forms!).
I made lots of mistakes as I learned. I went through several different kinds of ink, paper, and even nibs before I began to find combinations that I liked and — more importantly — worked.
Now, like Wil, I have strong opinions about paper and ink, and an unfortunate taste for the more expensive nibs. I’m not as good at calligraphy as Wil, but I definitely have an appreciation for the art!
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