Inspiration

Where does the inspiration for our stories come from? Manifold sources, including dreams, other stories, a series on Netflix, a movie where the character delivers a line that raises hairs in the back of one’s neck, images both artistic and real-world photos. A word never seen before. Poetry. A conversation overheard. As I said, manifold! And each plays a part in creating the final product the reader then chooses to delve into. This is the magic. This is the reason we do it. For the story that simply must come out and for you.

A few images from my massive FANTASY PLACES image file.

To Stories Old and Stories New

We are all shaped by stories. Not only do each of us live our own stories, but daily we are in contact with family and friends who share their lives and therefore their stories with us. Social media has stories to tell. We watch series, movies, listen to audio books, read … stories, so many stories. Some are real, some are fiction, some are stranger than fiction, and yet every story does shape who we are.

From a writer’s point of view, stories, yours, mine, everything read or heard, influences the tales that take shape on the page. Just as they affect daily life, thus it is for the book being gradually typed into cohesion – how not? We are, after all, the sum of all our experiences.

It’s true that writers read, and have read from an early age and usually voraciously; we, therefore, carry within us hosts of tales, and they do influence us. So, which stories helped shape my writing journey?

As you know, Fantasy is my first love when it comes to telling stories. I must then acknowledge the tales I read when younger and continue to read now, starting with Lord of the Rings, including the Hobbit, Silmarillion and more. Oh, I’m a huge fan! For instance, J.R.R. Tolkien’s sense of a quest? Tick. Fantastical creatures? Tick. Good vs evil? Tick. His mention of the first age, the second, and the age of man and so forth? Tick. Time plays a pivotal role in my work.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Funnily enough, I only read Wheel of Time after having written my first four books, and can therefore with honesty say that Robert Jordan didn’t influence my writing from the outset, but his imagination certainly did open vistas for me later. Of course, when Brandon Sanderson was elected to complete his series, I wondered whether it would work. It did, if you want to know. Mr Sanderson did an excellent job finishing off Wheel of Time.

I had just started reading Game of Thrones when the series hit the small screen with such impact. By then, other than the final two books, I had already done most of the work needed for my series. George R.R. Martin did not shape my writing, but he did reveal that it was fine to be dark in our stories. For the light to shine, our stories need to be dark, too.

If there is one series I feel needs mention, it’s J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. While I can’t say that Harry and his sidekicks influenced my writing, it’s true that when the first movie hit the big screen my kids were Harry’s age at the time, and year after year we went together to watch, across countries and even when my kids were too old to need mom at the cinema – it was a journey we wished to complete together! That sense of expectation and that wonderful acknowledgment of great imagination, well, that has helped me.

There are two more series I feel shaped my main body of work, and I read these before, between and after having completed my own series. The first is Steven Erikson’s Malazan Books of the Fallen, and I have to admit that this is my all-time favourite read. The Malazan series is deep, complicated, beyond all imagination, filled with so much emotion, so many twists … I am utterly blown away. In no manner have I emulated Mr Erikson (impossible), but he taught me that the layered, the complicated, the lessons in fiction, all of that is eminently readable, to not shy from it.

The second is Frank Herbert’s Dune series. I watched the original movie when younger (there’s another coming in December), loved it, watched the series later made for television, loved it, and only then did I start reading the actual series, years later. Oh my. Yes, I’m a Tolkien fan, and the Malazan books are my favourites, but Dune is incredible. Also layered and complicated and making statements referring to society (fiction goes where reality fears to read, after all!) and it feels both ancient and new simultaneously. That sense of time, the truly old and the brand, shiny new, has influenced my thought processes when writing.

Of course, as reader, I can go on and on about the books, movies and series that have influenced me … but this narrative will then be a thesis! As writer, I sometimes hope that my fiction is completely original, and then acknowledge the stories that have shaped so many of us, and thus they did the same for me. We are, after all, the sum of our experiences, and stories will ever intertwine.

Here’s to stories old and new! Enjoy every journey!

Mistakes – human nature

Yup, we all make mistakes. This particular image put me in mind of pre- and post-corona (not that we’re at ‘post’ stage yet) and made me laugh. This is who we are! The trick is to learn from them 🙂

On a writing note, mistakes before and after are par for the course. In fact, there are one or two typos (hope it’s only one or two!) that never seems to be weeded out despite repeated proofreads. I have decided to let them lie and when some day a reader points it out, I’ll have a good giggle, because it means that reader read my work with due attention!

Reaume Dedications

Time has moved on since writing the LORE Series, and thus it’s intriguing now to go back and rediscover the journey, and dedications form part of that. As discussed for the Arcana four, here, too, is a tale.

Again, as the journey commences in The Kallanon Scales, it is family that deserves praise:

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In The Nemisin Star, acknowledgement goes to the tools of magic, and those tools include you, reader, for it is you who feels the magic.

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For The Sleeper Sword, again family triumphs! While it is a truth that family doesn’t often read our stories, their faces and personalities serve as inspiration.

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The Dreamer Stones is the largest volume in the LORE Series, and in some way, for me, was the most intense writing experience. Guess that’s why it’s dedicated to all …

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The Parts of Arcana

Each LORE book is divided into parts, and tells the tale of a grand design.

For instance, The Infinity Mantle has:

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Part I – Darkness

Given that the tagline for this book is ‘There is a darkness coming’, it is self-explanatory.

Part II – Arcana

Yes, who and/or what is Arcana? This reveals the hidden truth, and it is the first section in the LORE journey that is essentially pre-history.

Part IV – Rayne

Rayne of the Mantle is the main character, and now readers find out more about him.

The we move on to The Kinfire Tree:

Kinfire covers1

Part I – Pathways

The players have to find the ways through the chaos uncovered in The Infinity Mantle.

Part II – Second Chances

Those characters who were doubtful or traitorous now discover different futures, and the solutions, too, offer second chances.

Part III – Lifegiver

It gets hairy, and someone will have to step up to become a saviour.

Moving to The Drowned Throne:

option 2 Elaina Lore of Arcana 3 The Drowned Throne (3)

Part I – Predators and Prey

It’s a game of cat and mouse, with both sides sometimes predatory, sometimes prey.

Part II – A World Without Light

This is the second section that goes into pre-history. Here we find out who Margus, the Darak Or, was and why he became a twisted soul.

Part III – The Darak Or

Margus sets his endgame in motion.

Then, the final book in Lore of Arcana – The Dragon Circle:

small Elaina Lore of Arcana 4 The Dragon Circle 2

Part I – Dragon’s Breath

The symbology of the dragon comes into play.

Part II – Forge Flames

In search of an amulet to ward souls from the Darak Or, a mission to flame-wright at his forge commences.

Part III – Dragon’s Fire

In the terrible cold of winter, the fires of manipulation flare up and burn.

Part IV – Final Fury

This is the Endgame.

Part V – Dragon’s Embers

What comes after? The story is not done, and thus are those furies banked … for now.

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What lies below: Reaume

reaume

Lore of Reaume. as with Arcana, has more to it than the obvious. Yes, The Kallanon Scales is about dragons (‘scales’ gives it away!) and The Nemisin Star is indeed about a particular star, while The Sleeper Sword reminds of other legends where a sword awaits a particular hand, and The Dreamer Stones will enter dream territory.

But there is more:

  1. the dragon legend is about prophecy and time
  2. the star shining so bright on one night only is about connection
  3. to succeed, one needs a helping hand, even a hero
  4. enter the labyrinth of the mind … and heart

 

What lies below: Arcana

arcana

The four underlying themes of the four Lore of Arcana books are showcased in this one image. Yes, The Infinity Mantle is about the witch Infinity and Rayne of the Mantle, and The Kinfire Tree is about bloodlines, while The Drowned Throne is about the golden seat of the Valleur suffering deluge and The Dragon Circle, indeed, follows a dragon legend or two, but there is more.

  1. The Great Forest: a band of trees serving to divide north from south, becoming in the process something to be avoided, something evil. Yes, it offers succour, and protects the Well of Crystal Sound.
  2. The ruins of sacred sites: unexplained ruins populate Valaris, until they are uncloaked to reveal something extraordinary.
  3. Fire: great flames and ash is unleashed on Valaris for the first time since before the people arrived, and the result is catastrophic.
  4. Ice: after epic fire, of course, come winter, but this cold season will not be kind.