To date, I have two fantasy novels published on Amazon (currently working on putting them up in Apple iBooks), although I have a few more in the pipeline that requiring editing before publication. I will get back to them, including “Fire in the Blood” which I was shortlisted in 2000 for the George Turner prize.
This book was inspired by two things, firstly my love of music, which I have woven into one of the lead female characters, Ciaragh, whose ability to sing brings memories of the past back to life. The second inspiration was my general horror at the way we are damaging the world in the pursuit of money or an easier life, often without realising the harm we are causing. The book’s “bad guy”, Lord Olkar, seeks power, never-ending life and the destruction of Ciaragh’s “Eterna” race, but doesn’t realise his private vendettas are the cause of the drought that is destroying the empire.
This novel has many other influences from my travels and interests, such as the city of Emersha, where the Empress and her family live, with its canals, fantastic barges and distinct wealthy/poor areas. Venice was the key inspiration for this city, along with borrowing ideas from ancient Egypt’s religion and culture.
Two women born to rule, struggle for the survival of their people…
A drought is bleeding the Twelve Territories dry, forcing Empress Verrilly to fend off the attacks of her starving people, yet unable to do anything to alleviate their suffering. Her favourite, Lord Olkar, compels her to bend to the superstitions of her people and eradicate those they believe are to blame – the ghost-like Eterna race. But the more they hunt the Eterna down the worse the drought becomes, until Verrilly begins to suspect that her favourite harbours secrets that may be more dangerous to her empire than the Eterna themselves.
Hunted to near-extinction, the last surviving Eterna can only run for their lives. Ciaragh tries vainly to lead her people to safety, but one-by-one they are captured and their lives crushed without mercy, leaving her alone in a world gone mad. As sorrow grips her heart and rips through her soul, Ciaragh cries into the night, unaware of the elemental powers she has unleashed. For buried within her is an ancient magic that could save the empire from a slow death and redeem the souls of her loved ones, but only if she lives long enough to discover it.
I was watching a film years and years ago about how if you die in your dreams you die in real life. The film was absolutely terrible (you could see the sets shake) and I can’t remember what it was called, but the idea stayed with me. And so this novel gradually came to life in my head as I worked through what I wanted the characters to achieve. It was important to me that I nurtured the growth of the two young leads, Aiden and Rhiannon in similar but different locations, but I wanted strong restrictions placed on their lives so that it was a struggle for them to break free. I also wanted to have one of them be groomed for their special ability to walk in dreams, and the other to have their life constantly under threat for being able to do so.
As a storm ravages the coastline, two babes are born many miles apart, but still sharing the same dark heritage. The first is a boy, whose father will claim him so that he might spread the seeds of their nocturnal skill to reach into the dreams of people to influence or to kill. The second is a girl, who would be considered an abomination to be eliminated by her forefathers, if they knew she existed. Brought up as foundlings by separate austere communities, they soon discover the extraordinary nature of their talents by design and by chance. But although there is great compassion in what they can do, there is also immense danger, for in dreams nothing is what it seems and there are hidden traps for the unwary. Inevitably, it will be dreams that will draw them together and dreams that will tear their world apart.