Anybody who knows me knows I've always loved fairytales. Whether it's from Disney or the Brothers Grimm I'll eat them up. Maybe because I've got a little bit of a twisted side to me, and let's face it, few things can capture the same kind of twisted as fairytales. Toes being chopped off, children eaten by wolves, and princes blinded by thorns, all wrapped up in magic and true love? Count me in.
So I guess it's no wonder I write the kind of fantasy I do, and no wonder I ended up with Arcatraissa on my hands. For those of you who followed my writing before I started this blog, you'll know Arcatraissa will be my third published novel, and if you haven't followed my writing before now, there ya go. Arcatraissa is a standalone fantasy novel inspired by some of my favorite childhood stories. It's a story about imagination, adventure, friendship, magic--and yes, fairies, witches, and war. It's a little different from my other books in that I wanted to capture the essence of those stories, that pure magic they seem to have. But I thought I should give credit where credit is due, and give you guys some insight into my inspiration.
I mentioned in my previous post that I was lucky enough to be raised surrounded by fantasy. Whether books, movies, or shows, it was everywhere, and it goes without saying that it had an impact on me. I'll admit there's no small amount of Peter Pan that went into the creation of Arcatraissa's leading man Tae (can I help that I'm a sucker for a fearless, curly-haired boy with a sword?). The 2003 movie remains one of my favorites to this day, though no pirates feature in Tae's adventures. You won't find any luck dragons in Arcatraissa, either, but The Neverending Story will always be a source of wonder for me, and the way it handles the themes of childhood and imagination definitely played into what I wanted for Arcatraissa. At its core Tae and Cassie's story is about growing up without losing what makes them who they are: their love of adventure and their desire to see all the magic and beauty in what others might call ordinary. But since fairytales are what initially bring the pair together, I can't leave them out.
I can't sit down and list off the fairytales that influenced Arcatraissa. I'm sure there are plenty of elements that could be picked out and tied back in some way to some specific tale, but that's just not as fun, and not the purpose of this post. From Red Riding Hood to Beauty and the Beast to Snow White, fairytales have enchanted me all my life, but it's not any one or two that I picked up and brought into Arcatraissa. Fairytales, to me, have a sense of...well, I hate to say magic again but it's really what it is. They bring people together, they delight and inspire--they truly are the most timeless of stories, and no fairy-filled adventure would be complete without them. Which is why Arcatraissa not only is meant to evoke that feeling, but is full of a good dose of its own in-story fairytales. After all, what fantasy kingdom doesn't have its share of kid's stories?
To give you guys a peek into what's in store, here's the Arcatraissan classic (and Tae's personal favorite), Fira of the Night:
Once, in kingdom of fae buried below the earth, there lived a girl. She was beautiful, with hair of fire and eyes of gold and skin as pale as poppymilk, and her wings held every color of imagining. There was but one thing that marred her, and it was that her beautiful wings would not lift her from the ground. But, though scorned by others, she grew strong and beautiful and she was called as such—Fira, flaming beauty.
For many years Fira lived happily, growing into not only her beauty but her fire, until the time came that the race of men found knowledge of the fae’s kingdom. They found their way to the underground and they fought until they had sent countless fae to the gods. The people of the kingdom hid in fear and watched the guard fight and slowly lose. Desperate, the guard took any man who would fight alongside them, and Fira watched as her father, brothers, and friends fell to the humans’ hands. Soon she could watch no longer.
She stole away in the night to the guard. She had watched her father and brothers for many years and knew how to handle a sword, but the guard only laughed at her offer of loyalty and sent her away, for a flightless woman could not fight alongside them. Once home Fira tried to fight on her own, but without wings she could not stand against the larger, stronger humans, and the guard locked her away in her stone house to protect her. As the days passed she could not bear to watch her people suffer any longer.
The men had brought with them a witch, and she had soon been captured by the guard. When night fell Fira found her way in the dark to where she was held and they spoke in hushed voices through iron bars. Fira asked only one thing of her.
“Do you fear death, girl?” the witch asked of her.
“No,” said the fae.
“Do you fear life, girl?” the witch asked of her.
“No,” said the fae. “I fear only watching my people die.”
“Then you shall protect them,” said the witch. “And you shall protect them until this kingdom turns to dust, and you will not be given the mercy or honor of dying in their name.”
Fira took the witch’s hand and their deal was struck in stone, and by her next waking her broken wings were strong and alive, and in the dark of that night she flew at the head of the guard to drive the humans away. And ever after, until her kingdom truly fell to dust, she was known as Fira of the Night, for in the dark her flames gave light to the fae of her kingdom, and no foe could stand to her sword.
All in all, a lot of love, nostalgia, and hope went into the making of Arcatraissa, and I hope it comes through in the final product. I'm immensely proud of this story and can't wait for it to release. It's a story that's close to my heart for a lot of reasons, and what I've talked about in this post is just one of them. I hope this post gets that across and gives you all a new way to look at my story and others--and maybe inspires you to go back and have another read or watch of your childhood favorites. You never know where they might take you.
Arcatraissa will be available for sale September 14, 2018