Some friends on Facebook are doing a blog tour and I’ve joined in on the fun.
Today I have a guest post from author Morgan Smith.
Morgan Smith has been a goatherd, a landscaper, a weaver, a bookstore owner, a travel writer, and an archaeologist, and she will drop everything to travel anywhere, on the flimsiest of pretexts. Writing is something she has been doing all her life, though, one way or another, and now she thinks she might actually have something to say.
Morgan, tell us how you choose the theme of your book?
“A Spell in the Country” was the first book I wrote – and I wrote it on a dare – so I was trying for the simplest, most linear plot arc I could find. I wasn’t writing for publication. I was writing so a book rep would buy me an expensive lunch and admit he was wrong about something.
But I also wanted to stay away from the things that annoyed me in so many fantasy novels: the “young man” and “the Chosen One” central character that was literally everywhere at that point (it was at the Robert Jordan/Wheel of Time peak of the cycle) and I didn’t want to “do” Tolkien, so I needed to find a way to have a plot that didn’t have a “quest” or a “McGuffin” to chase.
I created Keridwen as a kind of accidental heroine. I imagined what it would be like to be a conscientious person, a person with a sense of responsibility towards others, but not especially “gifted” or unique, who randomly gets tangled up in these great events because she doesn’t just walk on by.
(I will say this, though. The people who inspired me the most in my life were my parents. And so, when it came time to write the model of a happy family, I knew the characters of Keridwen’s parents were going to be key.)
So I gave her my own.
Anyway, Keridwen’s character really made the book, in the end. She was funny and awkward and ignorant about things, but with a lot of “common sense” – enough to get her into trouble, at least.
The prequel (“Casting in Stone”) was based, in fact, on one throwaway line in “A Spell in the Country”. It’s a bit of a challenge to write that way: to try and get a completely different story to not mess with a timeline that has already been established, and to see some traditions or historical facts from a different perspective. “Casting in Stone” is a smaller story, in a lot of ways, but it explains or illuminates a lot of things that I made up on the fly for the first book.
If I have a theme, for any of my books, it is that you don’t need to be a “Chosen One” to have a huge effect on the world around you.
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