Blog Hop 28th April 2014
Oh, I’ve been tagged! I’ve never done a blog hop before.
I was invited to participate in this particular ‘hop’ by the wonderful Louise Redmann. Louise, who is English but lives in Switzerland, is currently finishing her Medieval romance ‘The Traitor’s Legacy’, which I’ve had the immense pleasure of reading. https://louiseredmann.com/?p=332
Louise’s blog is particularly entertaining as she regularly posts vignettes and short stories: https://louiseredmann.com/?cat=4
So, to business. There are set questions we’ve all been asked to address. Here goes:
What am I working on?
I’m currently editing part 2 of Silvana – The Turning (named for the second great festival of the year, when the trees begin to change colour). I’m also writing part 3, which is a great surprise to me as there was never supposed to be a part 3! It’s tentatively entitled ‘Restoration’ and, like the other two parts, deals with a new generation of the heirs of the holding of Windwood and their relationship with the tree spirits of their land – the Silvanii.
Besides that, thanks (oddly) to Pinterest, I’ve begun to think about some other projects that have been on the back burner for a while. I’ve started to put some picture boards together for all my stories and that has inspired me to think about picking them up again at some time, especially my almost-finished young adult novel set in Ireland about faery changelings which had got a bit muddled in the middle, making the phrase ‘I’ve lost the plot’ rather too literal for me! Thanks in part to my Pinterest board and equally to new ideas and techniques I’ve picked up since joining the writers’ site Scribophile, I feel ready to pick that project up again soon. It’s quite exciting.
AND (drum roll, please), I’m getting ready for the launch of my website.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Ooh, the tough question. Well, we all like to think we have something new to bring to the table. In the case of the Silvana stories, I can only say what the elements are and invite anyone else to say if the combination is unique. Firstly, of course, they are fantasy. But they have a subtle environmental message. There are no epic battles or ‘big baddies’ trying to take over the world, rather they are a reflection on both the wonder of nature and the wonder of being human, and an exploration of personal freedom versus duty, of balancing wants and needs, of growing up, self-realisation, nurturing and all those other things that each one of us does – for better or worse. Books 1 and 2 together I used to describe as a ‘fantasy biography’, which I suspect is unusual. But now, with the advent of Book 3, I shall have to revise that (how does fantasy family saga sound?) As for my writing, that has been described as ‘poetic’ and even accused of being ‘literary’, so there’s that. Finally, to an extent, they are romances.
Why do I write what I write?
Firstly, the settings are all dear to my heart. In the case of Silvana, I love Classical Greek mythology and history, so the feel of those stories fits in with that.
My YA, The Daughters of Chalice Moon, is loosely based on Irish folklore, another subject that fascinates me.
And most of my stories feature caring for the environment, or awareness of nature. And trees. Lots of trees!
As for why I write mostly fantasy – for me, fantasy is a vehicle for the big truths. At it’s best it walks hand in hand with mythology. I enjoy exploring themes, human experience, motivation, the heart of spirituality. Taken out of the mundane world, I find it easier to do that. It seems to work. One of the most common responses I’ve heard from people who’ve read Book 1 is, ‘I don’t normally like fantasy, but I loved this.’
Which brings me to another reason: I’ve had such lovely feedback from Silvana – the Greening that now I don’t just write for me, I write for my readers.
How does my writing process work?
I ‘daydream’ my stories first, often for weeks before I write anything down. My characters are all very real before I put pen to paper and yes, I still do that. Black biro and wide-lined A4 paper, preferably. Often inspiration comes in the bath, or in those moments between wakefulness and sleep. Sometimes driving alone in the car (it helps to live in the middle of nowhere surrounded by incredibly beautiful scenery).
Once I have written a first draft, I begin to weave more detailed ideas through the story, sometimes new characters, sometimes more motivation. Detailed descriptions often come last, but I might have some nice parts already written as there are times I just want to write poetically. I have oddments of paper all over the house with ideas that occured to me at ransom times: Lesandor needs to demonstrate his grace and his woodsmanship when his lantern fails in the wildwood. He’s the son of a Silvana, he wouldn’t stumble so much… Perhaps the Ruling Prince could be gifted a horse from the Sunlands that no one knows what to do with. The boys could dare each other to sit on it… Show Casandrina’s physical strength, don’t just allude to it. She could rip a small tree up by its roots…
Once I’m fairly happy, I post my work on Scribophile and let anyone who wants to have a crack at it. All critiques are helpful, but there are a few people there whose advice is particularly valuable and who really ‘get’ my work. If I ever become rich and famous I shall employ them as my editorial team!
Now it’s my turn to pass the baton (no, wait, that’s another sport, isn’t it?)
Anyway: ‘Tag, you’re it!’
Melissa LeGette, who has recently published her third YA novel, the Orphan and the Thief which is getting some excellent reviews, as it should.
“A flawless adventure that gallops along with surprising twists and turns … The Orphan And The Thief is by any standard, an exceptional children’s book that demands your attention … Unreservedly recommended!” -Book Viral
Melissa’s previous two novels: The Unicorn Girl and The Tale of Mally Biddle are lovely reads and I can personally recommend them. http://mllegette.com/
Melissa’s books can be found on Amazon, the latest here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Orphan-Thief-M-L-LeGette-ebook/dp/B00HNVPSY2
Kirsty Anderson, who is a beautiful writer and blogs with such an awesome eye to the small details of life, through both words and pictures. Kirsty’s YA fantasy series about five sisters, a magical emporium and a mother with a BIG secret is shaping up to be very exciting. (Kirsty might be a little preoccupied, due to the imminent arrival of ‘Littlest’ – her #3 baby who is due to make an appearance any day now.)
Kirsty can be found at: http://www.mischief-magic-and-mayhem.com/
And also Ashley Capes, who has been tagged before but has some exciting updates to share regarding his excellent and intriguing epic fantasy novel City of Masks.
Find Ash here: http://ashleycapes.com/