Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog today, Tabitha.
It's coming up to a month since 'Children Of The Mist' saw its release. (where does the time go?) I thought I'd talk a bit about how I came up with the concept of my 'misty planet'.
A misty day in Wales! The mist comes swirling across the mountains and gives the countryside an ethereal, mystical quality. The mountains themselves are almost hidden in thick cloud, and looking toward the sea, it is difficult to tell where the sky ends and the sea begins. One of the many things I love about my native Wales is the changing weather. One day it's scorching hot, then it will turn windy – and often we have the mist. It’s the variety that keeps it interesting – and the rain keeps it green. So when I go back there to visit my friends and family and get my 'fix' of Welsh air, I never mind if it rains, it all adds to the richness of the landscape.
The beautiful scenery and the ever-changing weather have provided me with the inspiration for many of my stories. My story in Book II of the 'Song Of The Muses' series, is set in 5th Century Wales and I had fun working the waterfalls and mountains that I love into the plot. Some years ago, I looked out over the mountains near my home in Wales and saw the mist rolling in – only it wasn't mist – it was snow. I incorporated the memory of that moment into a scene in my futuristic novel 'Starquest', although, being set on another planet, I changed the colour of the snow to pink – that's one of the things I love about writing futuristic and fantasy – I can 'play' around with natural forces.
There does have do be a rationale though, in this case, a tiny plant form that dispersed itself in the falling snow, thus changing the colour.
EXCERPT FROM STARQUEST
I turned back to scan the mountains, straining my eyes to try to find the Quest. The red sun cast an eerie pink glow over everything. At last, I picked out the ship, standing in the clearing beyond the forest, her hull catching the last dying rays of both suns.
The mist almost completely enveloped the mountains now and was rapidly sweeping down toward the forest. I noticed it was no longer white but pink and attributed the change in colour to the setting suns. Suddenly I felt a wave of unexpected homesickness sweep over me as I remembered there are still a few places left on Earth where one can watch the clouds turn rosy at sunset, without being poisoned by her polluted atmosphere
I don't know how long I stood there, staring at the mountains, but when I looked away, Dahll was standing beside me once more.
"Your thoughts were far away from this planet, I think," he said softly.
I nodded. "I was thinking of my own world," I told him. "In some ways Niflheim reminds me of Earth." I shivered and drew my cloak closer around me. While I'd been standing there, the air had grown noticeably colder. I turned for another look at the Quest. I could no longer see her. In fact, the clouds of pink mist now completely obliterated the forest and the mountains. The sky had lost its colour and become a dull, metallic grey.
"That mist is getting closer," I told Dahll. "Perhaps we'd better find shelter before—" I stopped
as the true nature of those rolling pink clouds struck me.
"That's not mist," Dahll said, "it's snow!"
The planet where this scene is set is Niflheim, based on the land of ice and snow recounted in Norse legends. Niflheim is the main focus of my sequel to 'Starquest', 'Children Of The Mist'. It takes place a few years after Starquest finishes and concerns a secondary character in that story, Tamarith. I felt she deserved to have her own story and the more I researched the mythical Niflheim and its legends, the fonder I grew of it. I also learnt that my planet was a place of contrasts. Beauty and harmony in the more temperate areas, but also bleak, stark areas incapable of supporting life, dark, brooding mountains, filled with danger.
That is Niflheim, and ‘Children Of the Mist’is the story of its inhabitants overcome a danger never before encountered on their planet, aided by the hero and heroine of 'Starquest, and how two of its people faced the greatest danger of all – losing their hearts to each other.
Two minds united against a common foe. Two hearts afraid to show their love: Long ago Tamarith fell in love with a man she can never have, and is convinced she will never love another. However, she cannot help but be intrigued by a handsome stranger whose psychic powers exceed even her own. Vidarh seeks only to find his true purpose in life and to win the regard of his father, who eschews his son’s psychic abilities.
Thrown together by a common threat to their planet, then torn apart by an evil greater than any they could have imagined, can Vidarh save the lovely Nifl woman who has captivated him, before it is too late? Will Tamarith and Vidarh overcome the deadly enemy who threatens to destroy all they know and love? Will they find the happiness they both seek? Or are they fated to live their lives alone?
Guided by Tamarith, Vidarh stopped before the first and largest cave. He would need some form of illumination. From his pack he drew a torch, which he lit and wedged into a crack in the rock. Unsaddling the pony, he turned it loose. The animal, descended from stock genetically engineered to withstand the harsh conditions, and brought with the first settlers to Niflheim, was fit and hardy. It would have no problem foraging for itself until his return.
With a resolute set to his shoulders, Vidarh retrieved his torch and made his way into the cave. Just inside the mouth, he found a hollow behind a rock in which to hide the saddle and bridle. At least it would be safe and dry there, so long as no hungry rodent decided to nibble at it. He strapped on his pack, containing a change of clothing and a few personal items, and set off along a narrow passageway at the back of the cavern.
Tamarith directed him along the various twists and turns of the labyrinth. At first, the going was easy. The walls of rock gave off a soft, diffuse luminescence, augmenting the light from his torch. After walking for so long he began to think the tunnel he followed led nowhere, the luminosity grew stronger, and the passage opened out into a large amphitheatre. The light reflected back from the walls revealed seats, formed out of pale green stone, arranged in tiers forming a semi-circle. At one end was a pool, shimmering in the soft light. Multi- colored stalactites glistened like jewelled candelabra from the roof of the cave. At the far end was a high dais flanked on each side by another passage.
Vidarh paused for only a moment to take in the beauty around him. He was familiar with the Conference Chamber of the community of Gladsheim. His mind had been there many times but this was the first time he had physically entered the place.
Instructed to take the left fork, he progressed along the labyrinths, noting the downward slope of the passage. Occasionally, when he came to a branch in the tunnel, he would stop and listen to Tamarith's voice in his mind as it guided him along the right path.
You don't have far to go. I will keep sending you the directions. You should be near the river now.
Yes. I hear it up ahead.
Be careful. We had heavier than usual snowstorms last winter. With the coming of spring, the melting snow and ice has swelled the volume of water.
Vidarh made his way along the tunnel, partly guided by his telepathic link with Tamarith, and partly by his own senses. Eventually it widened out into a large cave, through which the underground river roared as it cut its way through the mountain. On the shingle of the boulder-strewn shore, several small boats bobbed against their moorings.
After ensuring his pack was securely fastened around his waist, he climbed into one, and lashed the torch to the prow. He cast off, and took up the paddle. The river bore the craft along at a tremendous rate and it needed all his skill and attention to save the craft from dashing against the rocks. He'd heard about the fabled river of Mimir, but this was not the tranquil stream of his imagination.
The walls still reflected a phosphorescent glow. Vidarh noticed several gigantic, human-like statues on the banks as he passed, but had no time to contemplate or admire them. Rounding a bend, he came upon a wall of water ahead, cascading from the roof in a fury of white froth. The torrent boiled and raced. He gritted his teeth as he headed into the maelstrom. There was no way he could control the boat's frantic motions as it heaved and bucked like an unbroken colt. He threw down the paddle, gripped the sides of the vessel, and sent a desperate message through the ether.
Tamarith, I'm in trouble. Please—send me images of your location, quickly. I need to know what it looks like where you are.
The raging current tossed the boat around with relentless fury. All Vidarh's attention focused on maintaining contact with Tamarith, and even his finely-tuned powers could not prevent the craft from capsizing. Gasping as he hit the icy flood, he struck out with his arms in desperation, and tried to keep the watery demons from pulling him under.
My first review for 'Children Of The Mist' is on the 'You Gotta Read' site, you can read it HERE
You can purchase 'Children Of The Mist, or any of my other books at The Wild Rose Press site, HERE
and please feel free to visit my Website and Blog. I love visitors!
Thanks again for letting me take over your Blog, Tabitha! Have a great weekend, everyone.