WINNER: Lori Meehan’s name was pulled out of the cyber hat by our Pick Giveaway Winner plugin. Congratulations, Lori, we have emailed you to get your address so that Shona can send you your ARC of Lord of the Hunt!
Michelle says: Welcome back to Magical Musings, Shona! Since you last joined us, your new paranormal series, Court of Annwyn, has launched, starting with The Outcast Prince. Like the Shadowlands series, you weave folklore into every day life in this new series. How much research do you do for the folklore side?
Shona says: Quite a bit actually. Writing paranormal romance isn’t an excuse to avoid research. I look up lore from various sources and see what are the common elements. Sometimes lore contradicts itself between regions, so I have to decide which bits I’m going to remain true to and which bits I’m going to either ignore or exploit to suit my world. There is a lot more fairy lore than goblin lore.
For the fairies I took the approach that the myths we know are true, but they are also old news (as we forgot about fairies being real). The fairies and Annwyn have moved on so I kind of did a where are they now. The Hunter from the myths went mad and has been replaced, Gwyn ap Nudd is now dying and having a bitter feud with his wife, which set my stage for me and also gave me the freedom to imagine beyond the myths and make it my world.
I was able to place a lot of the darker fairies (trolls, imps etc) in our world as banished fairies who can never return to Annwyn. I even found a place for the nature fairies as wild fae, which are talked about in Lord of the Hunt.
Michelle says: I really loved the goblin myths in the Shadowlands series. How much was made up, how much was actual myth?
The entire cursed Celtic King/Goblin King fable I created. I have been asked a few times if it is an obscure myth and I’m very flattered that people think it is as it means I did my job of making it seem real 🙂 There is some goblin lore around, but it varies so much that the only pieces I kept were their hideous looks, their love of gold and battle and that their laugh can sour milk (because I thought that would be a lovely touch). The Shadowlands was my creation, the winter solstice ride however was inspired by the old fairy lore about the wild hunt that would sweep up humans.
I think when using any myth, or creature, you have to build your own world around that and create reasons for it to exist that way. For me I needed to know why goblins love gold and that was tied into how are goblins made… they are greedy people who gave up humanity for gold and this is their punishment (except for the heroes because they were wrongly cursed).
Michelle says: In The Outcast Prince, your hero is part fae and living in the human world, although he still has magical abilities. What fun things did you weave into the story to show he was most definitely not your ordinary man?
Shona says: While I wanted to show he wasn’t 100% human, I also had to be aware that he knows this and that it’s not new and surprising for him (that would have been a different story if Caspian was just discovering his fairy heritage). So he sees fairies that other people don’t but he’s learned to ignore them, he’s psychometric which he tries to hide as he is aware it makes him odd. He is trying to live a normal life, but he has a fairy guardian watching over him. So there’s all these little things that are surprising for us, but not for him, for Caspian it is just part of his daily battle to be seen as normal.
Michelle says: Lord of the Hunt is your next release in January 2014 (and a lucky commenter can win an advance reading copy of it on this blog, yay!). How is it connected to The Outcast Prince?
Shona says: Verden, Lord of the Hunt, has a small role in The Outcast Prince when he has to take Caspian to Annwyn. In Lord of the Hunt we get to spend more time in Annwyn, see some more of the fairy politics as well as a rather fancy summer solstice party. It was a lot of fun to write as both the hero and heroine are fairies but where Verden considers himself a Court fairy and can’t dream of leaving Annwyn, Taryn was raised in our world and wants to spend as little time in Annwyn as possible. During the story they have to wake up and realise there is more at stake than just their lives and love. Loyalties are tested and not everyone comes through unscathed.
We also get to see a little more Felan who is the hero of book three, To Love a King (October 2014).
Michelle says: Can you give us the setting for the Court of Annwyn? What is the world you’ve built like?
Shona says: While Annwyn is usually in eternal summer, with the King dying it is starting to go into winter. One of the fun parts of imagining Annwyn was deciding how the castle would look and also how I would show the change of season effecting the fairies. I made the castle out of living trees, with branches forming staircases and the leaves forming the roof…of course as the magic starts failing the trees start to drop their leaves. The castle and Court are the centre of life in Annwyn.
The Court of Annwyn is very beautiful and full of beautiful fairies, however it is also quite dangerous, and not just for humans. Fairies love their deals and games and they are always vying for status. It can be quite a cutthroat place, but you’d have a fun time dying and probably thank the fairies with your last breath 🙂
The idea that fairies are dangerous and ruthless comes from the old tales. Fairies were once feared and treated with caution but over the years we have turned them into delicate little things. I wanted to capture that darker edge that exists behind the beauty.
Thank you so much for joining, Shona! I can’t wait to read Lord of the Hunt! Everyone who comments gets an entry to the draw for an advance reading copy of Lord of the Hunt. You get an extra entry for a tweet, or for mentioning this post on facebook, just let us know by adding another comment (or two, if you’ve done both) with Tweeted or FBed, as our Pick a giveaway winner plugin allows for multiple entries if we ask it to.
Possible tweet (to save you time): Join @ShonaHusk as she talks about her fantasy worlds http://bit.ly/1eSDh2N There’s an advance reading copy of Lord of the Hunt to be won.
Blurb for Lord of the Hunt:
Their love could destroy a powerful reign and change the mortal world forever . . .
Raised in the mortal world, the fairy Taryn never planned on going back to Annwyn, much less to court. But with the power shift imminent, she is her parents’ only hope of securing a pardon from exile and avoiding certain death. Verden, Lord of the Hunt, swore to serve the King. But as the magic of Annwyn fails and the Prince makes ready to take the throne, Verden knows his days as Hunter are numbered. When Taryn and Verden meet, their attraction is instant and devastating. Their love could bring down a Queen and change the mortal world forever.
Available for pre-order from Amazon