As I was teaching the fine art of interviewing and newswriting to my middle school students, I had them mock interview me about my upcoming book The Unremarkable Squire. One of the students asked an interesting question: “Why isn’t the book about the knight instead of the squire?”
That question, in many ways, gets to the very heart of what made writing The Unremarkable Squire interesting to me.
We’re trained to look up to the powerful. The majority of heroes, by definition, are powerful and hold positions of power. It’s hard to start a new TV drama without having the main character be a cop, doctor, or politician.
Few people want to be merely a writer or a businessman. They want to be a famous writer or a wealthy businessman.
One of my working titles for The Unremarkable Squire when I was in the middle of it was The Oath. Obed Kainos, the story’s namesake squire, takes an oath to both serve his master and those who need his help. And he takes his oath seriously, even when the normal, sane thing to do would be to find a loophole.
As a Christian, I believe the first shall be last, and the last first. But what does that look like in a story? (Or, more importantly, in real life?)
The Unremarkable Squire is filled with humor and quirky characters, but the heart of the story, the kernel of idea that focused me, really is answering the question: “Why isn’t this book about the knight instead of the squire?”