So recently I’ve had a few people tell me, on twitter and the like, that they’re reading the Untold snippets without having read Unspoken. I was puzzled because I couldn’t figure out why people would know who the characters were or care about what was happening to them!
Obviously, I want people to read my books, because that is what keeps me in cheese and electricity and the more people who read my books the sooner the better for me and it makes me feel all sad and useless when people do not, but I also think that probably it’s a better experience to read the snippets when you know the characters and with luck care about them, and where they are in their story. Plus snippets are there to be dramatique, and you’ll be missing out on the casual and funny bits and the bits that only make sense in context, and those are my own favourite bits to read. When reading. Other books, that is.
So it would be my expert opinion that it’s better to read Unspoken and then the Untold snippets. HOWEVER, I am not the boss of anybody, this is the internet which is Freedom Central, do as you wish!
I did think to myself, maybe time to take a break from being a princess of evil, though, just in case there are those who did read Unspoken (hi guys love you!) and yet who are worried there may be no casual or funny or SLEUTH-y bits in Untold. For there will be!
So I thought I would ask on twitter which character people would like to see happy.
SARAH: So I thought I’d put up a happy snippet–
TWITTER: WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH SARAH REES BRENNAN?
TWITTER: What evil game are you playing now, wanton mistress of the night?
TWITTER: Back devil, we know your tricks!
TWITTER: Is this some kind of cruel joke?!
SARAH: Whoa, who hurt you guys so you’re all so afraid and untrust…
SARAH: Sorry, no, I remember now, it was totally me.
… Eventually it emerged that people wanted Jared to be happy. I presume this was for the novelty value. So here is a short piece in which Our Heroes steal stuff from evil sorcerers. Enjoy, m’dears. Evil princessing will re-commence in 3… 2…
“I always wondered what it would be like to work behind the counter here,” she told Mrs. Jeffries, being energetically charming while keeping one eye out the door. “I want to write an article about it, in fact.”
Mrs. Jeffries patted her dark hair. “I do like that paper of yours.”
“I would call it . . . ‘The Secret Lives of Postmistresses,’ ” Kami said.
“I don’t know about that,” Mrs. Jeffries told her doubtfully. “Sounds a little saucy to me.”
“Oh no,” Kami assured her. “Mine is a worthy publication. Completely lacking in sauce.” She spotted her quarry coming down the High Street, letters in hand, and texted a group message requesting immediate assistance. “So could I possibly come behind the counter?” she asked.
“Weeeeeell,” said Mrs. Jeffries.
Kami jiggled the gate invitingly, and Mrs. Jeffries swung it open. At the precise moment Kami slipped inside, the phone in the back rang. Mrs. Jeffries gave Kami a questioning glance, and Kami nodded encouragement.
Mrs. Jeffries went to answer the phone, while Kami spared a moment to hope Holly could keep her occupied long enough. Then the door of the post office swung open, and the stranger came in. She was tall, with hair so red it was almost vermilion. She had clear green eyes and Kami decided as soon as she saw her that her name must be Carmen or Veronica. Some classic evil name.
Carmen/Veronica gave Kami a skeptical look. Kami drew herself up and tried to look like a youthful but dedicated postmistress. “New here, are you? Welcome to Sorry- in-the-Vale,” Kami said. “I’m Mabel Jeffries.”
“Indeed?” said Carmen or Veronica.
“And you are?”
“Ruth Sherman,” said the woman, handing over her letters. Kami was tempted to keep them, but Ruth Sherman—shame about the name, possibly her evil sorceress title was Ruth the Ruthless—had propped her handbag up on the counter and was watching her carefully.
Kami stuck on stamps and deposited the letters in the postbag with an innocent smile, resolving to fetch them out when Ruth was gone. The door jangled and Kami was relieved to see Jared burst into the room. Ruth turned at the sound, and obviously recognized Jared. Or rather, recognized a Lynburn when she saw one.
“Staying with friends, are we?” Kami asked loudly, to attract her attention. “Enjoying yourself?”
Jared sidled up. He was not very good at sidling; he was more of a loomer.
“I plan to,” said Ruth.
Kami gave up on conveying messages to Jared with her eyebrows at the same time Jared gave up on subtlety. Instead he just knocked Ruth’s handbag onto the floor.
“Oh no,” he exclaimed. “Clumsy me.”
Kami clicked her tongue against her teeth. “I am so sorry,” she said. “What must you think of us? Those stamps are on the house. I mean the post office.” She spoke very fast, because she’d just heard the click of Mrs. Jeffries hanging up the phone. Jared rapidly stuffed the contents of Ruth’s bag back inside and thrust the bag into her arms.
Then they both stared at her intently and expectantly.
Ruth Sherman raised her eyebrows at them and backed out of the post office.
“Who was that?” Mrs. Jeffries asked, bustling out from the back just as the door swung shut after Ruth Sherman. She started at the sight of Jared, still crouched on the floor. Then she did a rapid scan of her post office. She instantly caught sight of the lone lipstick rolling on the floor.
“The poor lady must have dropped that,” she said, and undid the gate, stepping out to get it.
Jared put his hand on it. “No.”
Mrs. Jeffries stared down at him. “What do you mean . . . no?”
Jared and Mrs. Jeffries stared at each other, neither breaking eye contact, in a perfect deadlock.
Then Jared smiled at her. “I mean,” he said with conviction, “it’s mine.”
Jared stood up, pocketing the lipstick. “I know,” he responded. “Everyone tells me I’m more of a summer.”
Mrs. Jeffries continued to stare.
Jared continued to speak. “I’m going to go now. Me . . . and my lipstick.”
Since the gate was already open, Kami seized her chance to escape. “I too will leave. I have soaked up so much post office ambiance today already!”
Mrs. Jeffries visibly gave up on the youth of today with their random comings and goings, and even more random cosmetics.
Kami and Jared escaped out into the chilly brightness of the wintry air, sunlight pouring on them clear and cold as if through a crystal.
“Good save,” Kami told him. “I mean, it’s going to be all over town by nightfall, your reputation is ruined, but it was a noble sacrifice.”
“That’s me,” said Jared, and tossed her the lipstick. Kami caught it in both hands. “Chivalrous.”
“Oh, chivalry,” Kami said. “You get it from those old books of yours. Alice Duer Miller said chivalry was ‘treating a woman politely / As long as she isn’t a fright / It’s guarding the girls who act rightly / If you can be judge of what’s right.’”
“You be the judge of what’s right,” Jared said. “If you like. I wouldn’t know.”
Kami glanced over at him. “You do okay.”
“However, you’re not allowed to judge my books,” said Jared. “I am not the one who has actually read a book actually called The Bride of the Cursed Emerald.”
“Quality literature,” Kami told him, used to defending her mystery novels. “Turned out the butler did it. With the cursed emerald as a murder weapon. But the bride still loved it. The emerald, I mean, not the butler. Nobody loves a butler.”