Firstly thanks for having me over y’all. My favourite apoc-oc-o-liptical movie and boxset of all time might sound familiar. It featured at the top of the list of Shey and the Dudes last post. The visionary Twelve Monkeys. No matter how hard you try, you cannot escape a future already written in your past. Time will always correct itself. Throw in a plague, time paradoxes and Terry Gilliam at the helm (Time Bandits, Brazil and The Fisher King), what’s not to like?
No. I believe in owning any sensitive intelligent creature is tantamount to slavery.
Yes. Absolutely. In fact, they perform a pivotal role holding the whole thing together. But as one would expect from such highly evolved beings they work secretly behind the scenes to sprinkle their magic. And so are not mentioned once. I fully understand you doubt me, and I don’t blame you.. As I’ve yet to say my new books is about fairies …and don’t you have your very own fairy godmother……….
You see??? As for your next question, ‘What drew you to Thomas the Rhymer?’ even though you haven’t asked it yet, as a kid I got a big book of Celtic folk stories for Christmas. I have been mining it ever since. My first novel, where I cut my teeth, was a sprawling sci-fi Irish mythological saga about Finn Mac Cool and that came from reading those childhood stories. Finn is due to be published by Black Wolf Books, once the Jack Hughes trilogy is safely out. The Scottish tale of Thomas the Rhymer and the Queen of Elphame was also in the book. It tells how handsome Thomas follows the queen of Elfland to her home. When he leaves three days later, the lady gives him the gift of poetry and prophecy. He arrives home to find a score of years have passed.
Thomas the Rhymer is based on a real person, the 13th century prophet Sir Thomas of Ercildoune, named in contemporary legal documents as Thomas Rymour de Ercildoun. Thomas allegedly predicted the Scottish King James VI would rule from the English throne after Elizabeth’s I death. The second thing that led to the book is personal. I was living in Turkey after my brother was diagnosed with a brain tumour. We were close when I lived in England. It was a bad time to be separated by thousands of miles. We skyped, but it wasn’t the same. Conversations often turned to reminiscing. One incident always made us laugh.
David went missing at the age of 7. I was about the same age as Jack, funnily enough. Unlike Jack’s brother, David was not stolen by the fairies.
After a visit from the police and a sleepless night. David arrived home with my Gran the next day. Taking umbrage at something Mum said, he decided to run away. The only place he knew was Gran’s, twenty miles across town. David sneaked on a train, avoided the ticket collector, and walked two miles to Gran’s house. By the time he got there it was too late to bring him back. In those days we didn’t have a phone or a car. Few people did. And gran couldn’t afford the taxi fare.
The story got me thinking about what happens to a family when a child is missing. Something clicked. I would like to say the novel flowed seamlessly from that point. It didn’t. It took years to hone the ideas. My biggest regret is David never lived to see it published.
You ask such interesting questions.
This is a whole philosophical argument. How do you define living? A question scientists are asking about viruses, which are nothing more than scraps of DNA. Technically they are not alive, but that doesn’t seem to stop them, does it? Or, do you mean intelligent, or conscious? Alan Turning, a computer scientist, said such concepts are hard to define. How will we ever know if a machine is thinking? Psychic researchers claim some hauntings are simply memories recorded in in houses by a sudden burst of psychic energy such as violent emotion. Given all that why shouldn’t a fairy queen weave a living tapestry to record memories as they do in Jack Hughes and Thomas the Rhymer?
It made perfect sense to me that a culture as ancient & global as the fairy race, largely ruled by women, would choose to pass on information through the ancient skill of weaving. The first evidence of weaving is a 70,000-year-old fabric impression.
As an aspiring writer, who am I to give advice? Instead of turning out the same old pony, everyone is sick of hearing, including me, let me pass on sage snippets from a successful published writer, with years of experience. When I started writing I joined a peer review group. The advice mainly consisted of … I would not write what you wrote the way you wrote it. I would write it this way. Of course you would, I thought. We are different people.
An established author confirmed my cynicism in an article. “Beware of taking advice from other aspiring authors. They are in the same boat as you and just a clueless. Take advice from someone who knows the business.”
When an established professional was kind enough to offer advice, I bit her hand off. Don’t panic, it wasn’t her writing hand. It was the other one. I was writing a blog to publicise myself. She said, “Decide if you want to be a blogger or an author.” It took a while to see I was down a rabbit hole, spending all my time writing quality blog and guest blog articles with nothing left to write anything else. When I realised, I knew I had found a gold mine.
Here is some of her advice.
“This is a hard business. You are up against a lot of talent and competition. Take your work seriously, work hard. Have self-belief, coz you’ll need it. Know your market and write for it.” I have seen aspiring writers unwilling to brutally examine their work. Instead they give excuses; clever explanations about why they wrote it that way and who they wrote it for.
How do I know?
I was one of them.
She read some of my draft and said, “Your point of view is all over the place.”
I protested. “I wrote it like a movie where you seamlessly move from character to character.”
“It’s called head hopping,” she replied, “and it’s amateur.”
I knew I needed to listen. But, Goddamnit, it meant rewriting the whole bloody novel! Muttering like Dick Dastardly’s Muttley in Wacky Races, I set to work. Guess what? She was right absolutely totally and utterly right. It put the book in a different class.
My advice for aspiring authors?
Listen to people who know what they are talking about.
Work, work, work. Thank God. I need to publicise the book release. So if any of you have a blog and want a good quality barely used post in exchange for publicity, THINK OF ME.The 2nd and 3rd books of the trilogy are edited and having a final reread prior to publication.
I have a 100-page novella ready to go. A comic noir murder mystery set in the golden age of Hollywood. I need to Edit Finn Mac Cool and pass it over to Black Wolf for input.Finish the second novella in the series. Porcelain, set during the Glam years. Sort out the short stories for publication with Black WolfFinally, and this will be news for Black Wolf Books, I have a two back to back novels half drafted that are sequels to the Jack Hughes Trilogy.
If you enjoyed this don’t to visit http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/
Explore the story of Thomas the Rhymer. http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/story-of-the-book.php
Download the posters http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/art-gallery.php
Read some pre-release reviews http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/thomas-the-rhymer.php
And listen to some music courtesy of classical composer Patrick Hartnett, who loved the book so much he wrote music for it. http://www.jackhughesbooks.com/music.php
Fairies took his brother…
When Jack sees a sinister woman kidnap his bother Dan, he knows his parents will never believe him. Nor will the police. Not when he says Dan vanished into thin air. If Jack wants to see Dan again, he has to save him. And not just him …
If he ever wants to find Dan, first he must save Thomas the Rhymer from a wicked enemy.
Bravely embarking on a rollercoaster adventure into the dark fairy realm, Jack and friends face monstrous griffins and brooding tapestries with a life of their own, learn to use magic mirrors and travel on ley lines that whip them off faster than sound
Even if he returns Thomas the Rhymer to his selfish fairy queen, she might make Jack her prisoner. With the odds stacked against him, can Jack succeed in finding and freeing Dan?
Or will he lose his brother forever?
EXTRACT. The first meeting with Thomas
A moment later Jack turned to Catherine. “Run while I keep him busy.”
“No Jack,” she muttered, horror-struck.
“Jack,” echoed the tramp as if he heard her. “Master Jack, Cracker Jack … Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick.”
“Is he mental?”
“No, he’s fairy,” Jack reminded her.
Ken nodded in agreement.
“Here I am,” Jack said, bravely stepping out from behind the skip.
“No,” Catherine wailed.
At the sight of Jack, the tramp started crying.
“Master Jack, Tom’s a lost. Master Jack, Tom’s a cold. Master Jack, don’t be cross. Master Jack, take Tom home. For I did dilly and did dally, dally and did dilly, lost my way and don’t know where to roam. Now you can’t trust a story like old Jack-a-Nory, when you can’t find your way home.”
Jack stared stupidly at the tramp.
“It’s all right, he won’t hurt you,” Ken shouted.
“You’ve changed your tune,” Jack shouted back.
“I was wrong. He’s not trying to scare us. He’s scared. The noise, the people, he’s not used to it. It’s driving him mad.”
Coming from behind the skip, Ken walked to the tramp with hands held in front of him as if feeling the air around the man.
“He’s living rough. I don’t think he’s had a good night’s sleep for weeks, or a proper meal, been eating out of bins. Oh dear, he could do with a bath.”
“I know he pongs,” Jack agreed.
Putting his head to one side, the tramp smiled.
“There’s something else, he might look older than us, but inside he’s about our age.”
The tramp smiled again, saying proudly, “For a year and a day I grew away, and I grew straight and I grew tall, and I was the fairest of them all, and she did love me, love me do, but now I’m lost. It’s sad but true.”
“Hello,” said Catherine, from behind Ken.
“Good day to you mistress mine, Thomas am I, Thomas of Rhyme.” The tramp gallantly bowed.
“Thomas? That’s what she called Dan. She was looking for you, wasn’t she?” Jack said.
“Aye, that she were,” Thomas wailed. “Though she loved me most, kissed my cheek and stoked my hair, a new Sir Thomas does she boast and on him lavish all her care. And I am gone, like those before, belovéd once, beloved no more.”
“Why?” asked Catherine.
“Though I both complain and moan, ‘tis no one’s fault but my own. She warned me true when she did say not to dally on the way. Off went the court with my good queen too. Tom followed on but what did Tom do?” he shrieked, slapping his own face and shaking his head wretchedly.
“Tom did dilly and did dally, did dally and did dilly, lost his way and don’t know where to roam. Now Tom’s afraid and all alone, and can’t find his way home.”
With outburst over, Thomas blew his nose noisily on his sleeve and smiled a brave little smile.
Available now in ebook and paperback Amazon. Worldwide.