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Showing posts from May, 2014
Once upon a time, not all that terribly long ago, I was one of those writers who thought that every word was precious. If it was somewhat short of brilliance - every phrase and sentence had at least the seeds of genius in it. While that may be true for some writers, it's certainly never been true for me.
While I do come out with my share of good, strong, dynamic sentences - I also conjure up more than my share of stinkers. And while I can write an engaging readable first draft, they do tend to be riddled with typos and awkward constructions. I often feel that I have made my case brilliantly, then upon re-reading three days later, end up wondering what the hell I was trying to say.
All of my life - fancying myself not only as a writer, but as a good writer - I have deluded myself into believing that I'm an exceptional writer. I've clung to every word, as hard-earned and precious.
What bullshit.
I think the problem was simply not having written enough. I used to write really…
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Ever heard of the word "Sluagh"? Neither had I. But according to Wikipedia, the "Sluagh" were spirits of the restless dead. They flew in groups like flocks of birds and were known to enter the houses of the dying, with the goal of carrying the souls away with them. Like the reanimated spirits in The Goblin's Cloak, they live in barrows and steal souls. 

My discovery of this worked out amazingly well, considering that I had never heard of the sluagh until long after I created my barrow-imps, which are essentially sluagh in human form. 



Which brings me back to what originally inspired my interpretation of the mythology I'm using in this novel. It is set during a very interesting time between the Druids and the Celts. Historians talk about this being the time of the Picts, but next to nothing is actually known about the Picts...which is wonderful for someone like me who likes to make stuff up.

Combining elements of Druidic faith with aspects of Gaelic an…
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Having written horror fiction for most of the last 30 years, it never occurred to me how much I was influenced by my favourite fantasy authors, but in the course of writing The Goblin's Cloak, a couple of influences in particular have come to my attention – and they are not the usual suspects. Anyone writing epic fantasy in the 21st century is obviously going to owe a debt to J. R. R. Tolkien. Publishers spent most of the last half of the 20th century looking for the next Tolkien and even if fantasy written during that period did not consciously draw on Lord of the Rings, we were all influenced by it in some way.

But my major influences were considerably more obscure. Evangeline Walton wrote most of her incomparable Mabinogion tetralogy between 1920 and 1940 – even though most of her books were either obscure or unpublished until released as part of the wonderful Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in the 1970s. Her books were wonderful, rich, compassionate retellings of Welsh myths. …