I’ve heard this weekend that a publisher wants my historical fantasy novel, ‘The Doe and the Dragon’. It’s set in 5th century north Wales, and uses local and wider legends to tell a semi-historical story of the generation before Arthur. As usual, in case anything goes wrong I’ll wait until contracts are signed before revealing the publisher.
It’s a time and place that has always fascinated me – I even studied Dark Age Wales at university. I find the half century before Arthur is more fascinating than the period of the great man himself, with the break-up of Roman Britain and the Celtic re-emergence. It was a time of change, with civil wars and the establishment of Saxon and Irish kingdoms on the British mainland, and the beginnings of Christianity’s triumph over the old beliefs. And, of course, there are semi-magical names such as Vortigern, Ambrosius and Cunedda.
The countryside itself lends itself to fantasy writing, with hidden glens, cloud-covered peaks and stunningly-located hillforts. It seems that every stream and hill has a story associated with it.
I’ve tried to capture all this in ‘The Doe and the Dragon’.
While my name will be the one on the cover, as usual thanks are due to others whose help has been invaluable. Phil ploughed his way through my first draft and told me what did and didn’t work. Gianna and Cathy read a later version and in particular helped with the characterisation.
Finally, an acknowledgement to Emma and Peter, who walked countless miles – willingly, I think, particularly when we could find an ice-cream shop - through hidden valleys and over dramatic hillforts while I researched locations on our north Wales family holidays.
More to follow, including an outline of the main characters.