And so my last (for the moment) historical fiction novel is now doing its satellite thing across the reading universe and another novel is in construction phase.
Or should that be the ‘imaginating’ phase or the ‘jotting and plotting’ phase?
Thoughts for the new book are coming together.
I feel like a detective placing clues on a board. Some shout louder than others but somewhere in what I am looking at, a storyline is emerging. The legend of the Fox Spirit is whispering particularly loudly. Readers might remember her appearance in The Shifu Cloth. …
I was very lucky recently to be given a proof copy of Dreamer’s Pool (Book One of the new Blackthorn and Grim series) by Australian historical fantasy author, Juliet Marillier.
It wasn’t a review copy, it was just a giveaway, and I was thrilled because Marillier has been an absolute favourite writer of mine since I read the first book of The Seven Waters series: Daughter of the Forest many years ago.
Daughter of the Forest was based on the fable The Six Swans and I realised at that point that one can set Marillier far apart from many other fantasy writers. She takes the fable and weaves such threads through it that it becomes a seamless part of the original legend. One cannot separate one from the other. She is quite simply brilliant at the art-form.
Cast your eyes on this picture! These are the prizes kindly offered by Pat Sweet from bopressminiaturebooks for the most exciting image of The Stumpwork Robe and/or The Last Stitch and it’s owner supplied to the blog. As she’s agreed to mail these delightful collectors’ pieces anywhere in the world, she’ll be the judge. I hope everyone’ll get into the spirit. The sad thing is that there is a whole potential supply of pics from those who bought the novels in standard bookstores and may not even be followers of Mesmered. Ah well…
When I was a wee thing, a tiny toddler who loved stories read and had parents willing to oblige, my mother used to recite a short little poem to me at night. This same poem that we call Lady Moon was told to her by her mother. My mum is 85 and we must be talking about a poem that is at least 80 known years old but might go back even further to my grandmother’s childhood. I’ve used this poem in A Thousand Glass Flowers and in fact the Lady Moon is a defined character both in that manuscript and in the novel The Last Stitch.
Pat Sweet has been itching to design the robe ever since she read the book almost two years ago, claiming that as a former costume designer, it fired her imagination. The woman modelling the gown is Ana, who you would know well from reading the book.
The difference between my world and our world is that Eirie is overlaid, underlaid and woven through with the Other world. At all times and in each of the provinces, Others; enchanted beings like the Færan or Siofra, hobs and merrows (and a thousand others from legends of our own world); merge and mingle, causing malicious mayhem before retreating to their secret places within Eirie. Till now the story of Eirie has shown little of the Other worlds, as though Others dragged at my pen for fear of what I might say. But in the fifth novel, I am fairly sure we shall be meeting a cartographer who shall cross through the cloak that veils those Other worlds and we shall see him taking his chances.
Till now my world-building has shown little geo-politics, something critics have found wanting. My comment is this: this is a story about characters, about what happens to those characters. The arc that the characters follow is never driven by some nebulous Venichese Doge’s political ambition or the Baron of Pymm’s mild mannered management of his archipelago, but by interaction with Others who help and hinder them in their journey. To be frank, life goes on for my characters in one way or another, whether the Doge, the Baron, His Bright Light in the Raj or the Emperor of Han sneezes, scratches himself or passes a law. Such detail which works for many, doesn’t work for me and I prefer not to drag my own characters through it.
What I love about world-building is the freedom to create rivers, forests, mountain ranges, villages, oceans, even celestial byways and to name them the way I wish. I use names that exist, some that might resonate and be familiar. But I never make up names. Again it’s something that works for others but ill-fits me. Tolkein is an icon and he managed it par excellence. Why would I even try? My names are now synonomous with my world, with a toe in the world of fantasy and reality. The most recent editorial report describes the path I’ve taken as magical realism and I’m immensely happy with that. Never have two words meant such a lot.
I admire the many fantasy worlds created by the most highly regarded of our fantasy writers but the ones I love the best come from my childhood, from legend told by heavens knows how many mouths. Tales from the riverbank or from the willows. From the wild oceans. From soaring minarets and ochre deserts. They have names I know, that are familiar, that may even exist . We all write differently, we all have different imaginations. This is just one writer’s view of a world . . .
It’s well known that the legend of faery is a dark and dangerous one. Much of it was told as a cautionary lesson to children. Even in Peter Pan, Tinkerbell could be a vicious little thing. Was it Disney and television that made the world of the faerie become less profound as time moved on? More sparkles and fairy wings?
Recently my friend Lua, from Bowl of Oranges, did the most extraordinary interview on her blog between herself and one of her characters. I thought it would be a really hard thing to do and wanted to have a go. The difficulty is that with the book Paperweights/Glass Flowers at the submission stage, I had to be careful just how much of the story and the character was revealed, which makes an interview really hard. In this instance however I was really lucky because Finnian is like a closed shop.