Today, I want to extend a warm welcome to Ailsa Abraham, author of fantasy romance novels, Alchemy and Shaman's Drum. A white witch and shaman herself, the characters in her books share her knowledge.
Welcome to My Place, Ailsa!
A Capital Idea!
Many thanks to Cathie for inviting me over to talk about the settings and inspirations for my books Alchemy and Shaman's Drum.
Those of you who have already read them will notice that the main Temple and the Guild
of Black Shaman are situated in a city only known as “the capital”. This was quite deliberate. I wanted the world in which the characters are living to be as real to the reader as their nearest metropolis. I mention the underground but those exist in many cities. Having been a student for three years in London, I will finally hold my hand up and admit that I did take inspiration from my time there. Happily, readers anywhere from Paris to Moscow can imagine the action taking place in their capital. The essential idea was that every reader feel that they could be there, it could happen and they were accompanying Iamo and Riga on their adventures.
It was also very convenient to find that, existing religions having been banned, there would be very large buildings up for grabs. Already we see de-consecrated churches used for other religions, carpet warehouses or night-clubs. What would be more natural than that the old faith and their council would snap up the cathedrals for their own use? Instant spiritual centres with atmosphere and easily-imagined by the reader.
Where I had to go into great detail for the background, obviously I dredged up my family history. It is no coincidence that Iamo's aristocratic family have a grand place in the Highlands plus a pied-à-terre in town as that is how things were in my grandmother's day. Similarly, for a very spiritual place for the show-down at the end of Alchemy I had to use ancient stones around which I played as a child in Cornwall. Even the drive from Long Rock to Penzance I was still able to see vividly. Again, I wanted the reader to be there so I had to have been there myself.
As an author I love reading settings where it is obvious that the writer has been in person. Yes, we have any amount of information on the internet and one can Google anything, it jars with me when someone “guesses” that two minutes out of Lyon station on a French train they will be able to see wide open countryside. I wished to avoid that kind of boo-boo.
In total, I wanted the world I wrote to be instantly-recognisable so that the changes which take place are believable. I hope I succeeded.
About the author:
She has lived in France for twenty-five years, enjoys knitting, village life and crochet. Until recently the oldest Hell's Angel in town, she is recovering from a serious bike accident and starting again from scratch (no, she won't stop). Her interests include campaigning for animal rights, experimenting with different genres of writing and trips back to the UK to visit friends and family. She runs an orphanage for homeless teddy bears and contributes a lot of work to Knit for Africa. Unable to decide if she is a hippy or punk/goth when getting dressed she claims to be too old to care.
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