Friday, March 16, 2012

Flow - Guest Blog by Lindsey Duncan

As the first guest-post on this blog, I'd like to welcome Lindsey Duncan, whose contemporary fantasy novel Flow has just been published by Double Dragon Publishing.  Flow follows the water-witch Chailyn, on dry land for her first mission, and Kit, a contemporary teen with mysterious powers, as they seek the man who killed Kit's mother ... a goal which catches the interest of the darkest of fairies.  They must also deal with the Borderwatch, a zealous organization that hunts fairies and has been in a cold war with the water-witches for decades.

First of all – thanks, Nyki, for hosting my ramblings on your blog.  I appreciate the hospitality.  Is there anything to drink? {Anything you like, as long as it's virtual - N.}

As a fantasy writer, I prefer secondary world fantasy – stories in a setting other than Earth, however tweaked – due in part to the possibilities of worldbuilding.  (And to the fact that I hate messing around with guns, but that’s irrelevant for this discussion.)  However, in working on my contemporary fantasy novel, Flow, I got a chance to explore creating a mystical setting that grew out of the framework already in place – our own.

Because I had started with characters, I knew that I wanted a world where fairies existed and were the focal point of the supernatural.  I also knew that I needed an underwater society and water-based magic, though I only had a few thoughts as to what that should look like.  So I started with research, looking for a myth to use as foundation.  When writing a “traditional” fantasy, I sometimes work from myth, sometimes begin wholecloth – but the element is often transformed beyond recognition, or at least shrouded from a casual glance.  Here, I wanted the influences to be direct.

The place I started was origin stories for fairy – everything from aliens to the dead.  I encountered a Biblical legend that framed fairies as lost children from the Garden of Eden.  Eve, bathing her offspring, was called upon God to present them.  Ashamed of the still-dirty portion of the brood, she told them to hide … and those children, never acknowledged by God, became fairies.  Now, I’m not particularly religious, and I would be chary of creating a setting with this as acknowledged fact – but it seemed an excellent inspiration for various aspects of my fairies.  In particular, because I already knew I was featuring water, it sparked interesting potential explanations for how fairies interacted with that element.

The second aspect I considered was the physical origins, the homeworld – and again, I discovered an aspect of mythology that fit so well, it might have been designed for the story.  I already had it in the back of my head that the Vale, the realm of the water-witches, had some similarities to Atlantis.  In exploring, I found out that the Irish fairy realm, Tir na nOg (your spelling, capitalization, and use of accent marks may vary) was sometimes equated with Atlantis.  Why not fuse the two in the distant past of the setting?  (This is a setting choice that has no direct impact on Flow, but it influenced how I constructed the Vale.)

In other cases, I had a more fully-fleshed idea and wanted to give it a direct historical connection.  With the Borderwatch, I knew had a militant, non-magical organization that took a hard line stance towards fairies – and in building their history, I decided to give them origins in the American Revolutionary War, with founding members from the minutemen and militia of that era.

So in the end, the process of creating a supernatural setting for Flow was very different than the process for creating a new world wholecloth – less a matter of invention and more of excavation.  It was almost as if I hadn’t created something new so much as uncovered what was already there – or might have been.

Thanks again for having me, Nyki.  Don’t mind the scuff marks on the carpet. {It's nothing to what the dragons leave behind - N}


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