As a newcomer to the magnificent Game of Thrones, I was wryly amused to discover how many of its motifs and themes crop up in my own opus, Lay of Angor: messenger ravens, cold northern and warm southern kingdoms, graphic sex, torture and battle violence, consensual brother-sister incest, jolly prostitutes, same-sex romps, creatures not too far removed from living species and plotlines drawn directly from real-world history. I was a bit dismayed too, lest I be thought derivative, because this is purely accidental; the Lay is mine own, begun long before I’d ever heard of George R.R. Martin – but I suppose it’s inevitable that in the realm of fantasy writing, imaginations will sometimes collide.
And that’s where the similarities end. My world of Urth, a planet not unlike our own, is a smaller, cosier place than Westeros and the story revolves around one principal heroine and hero (Elinor, Princess of Gondarlan, and her suitor Jehan Sol-Lios, Elect of the Republic of Angor). It’s a tongue-in-cheek homage to the ‘high fantasy’ style I’ve always loved; a coming-of-age story in which Elinor finds herself (and finds out what a prissy, spoiled idiot she’s been all her life!), leavened with a thread of farcical humour; and unlike Game of Thrones, it’s now finished!
Yes, after more than 12 years of endeavour, false starts and re-writes, the trilogy is at last complete and all three volumes available in electronic and paperback form. It’s been a very strange and occasionally rough ride; friends from back in the manic ‘virgin author’ days will probably remember my glazed expression and abstracted presence as I split between Urth and the here-and-now, the former often more insistently real to me than the latter as the story constantly played out behind my eyes and the characters nattered in my ears. I could see and hear it all so clearly that I felt like an inept secretary trying to minute a meeting and simultaneously describe the surroundings while the participants wandered through the rooms of a palace – a most curious sensation, and sometimes deeply frustrating as it took hours and pages to capture on keyboard scenes and conversations which flashed through my mind in a matter of seconds. (I wouldn’t be surprised if this is quite a common experience for authors).
But gosh, it was fun – and it became even greater fun as the story progressed, all the characters were introduced and plot threads laid down, and I simply had to develop them. Gondarlan, the first book, took by far the longest to write and required the most revision; if it hadn’t been radically cut it would have ended up the length of War and Peace and I doubt if I’d ever have finished! But Breath of Gaia rolled along much faster, and Wolfsbane came out at breakneck speed as I sensed the end in sight, together with the chance to finally write some climactic scenes I’d envisaged almost from the start of the project.
Now it’s done, I’d like to thank everyone who read and commented on the work in progress, and put up with me while I was so consumed by it (especially my long-suffering husband); and I hope other people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you happen to be in the North Yorkshire area on Saturday 2nd August, you could drop in at The Crooked Billet on the B1217 Wakefield Road between Garforth and Towton from noon – 5 pm; I’m launching Wolfsbane at the Towton Battlefield Society Yorkshire Day event, and you can snag copies of the full trilogy, signed by my fiction alter ego Rae Andrew, for a mere £9.99 (saving over £13 on the RRP). Otherwise, you can get the same deal (plus P+P) from YPD-books.com by quoting ‘Trilogy Offer’ – or pick them up at £2.99 apiece on Amazon Kindle or e-pub from Kobo books. Happy reading!