I’ve wanted to write books for a long time. It was always a case of never having enough time, what with work and bringing up a young family, by the time the younglings were in bed I was normally too exhausted to do anything but stare at Netflix…
But eventually I gathered enough momentum, fighting the gravitational pull of the sofa in the TV room, until I achieved lift off and started to pen my first novel.
I knew I wanted to start with a straight-forward fantasy – clear cut boundaries between good and evil, right and wrong, that sort of thing – but I also knew it needed to stand out in such an over-populated genre. So I decided to add a few twists, a few peculiarities that might make it shine a little brighter than the Lord of The Rings and Shannara Chronicles ‘knock-offs’ that abound out there.
First, I crafted the protagonists, knowing I wanted them to be something a little special, not carbon copies of elves and orcs, so I turned to the insect world. A few authors have created storylines that involve animal protagonists; William Horwood’s moles of Duncton Wood, C.S.Lewis’s talking animal characters in the Chronicles of Narnia, Brian Jacques’ mice of Redwall, but these are almost entirely mammalian, and I felt that insects add an aura of exoticism with alien tones. So it was a quick hop and a skip from that concept to my choice for the main characters to be dragonflies, for there are few insects that can match their beauty, their speed, or their grace. That then gave me an opportunity to play with their name, thus creating “Jracon”, as a derivative of “Dragon”, to mean an individual, as in “human”.
So from there I started crafting the different classes within the Odonata society (Odonata being the scientific Order that contains dragonflies and their relatives, the damselflies). I wanted there to be echoes of human civilisation and class division, with a ruling class of nobles, a puritanical holy warrior class (who could fall from grace; a classic writing trope), and then various lowly classes; the labourers, artisans, scribes and farmers.
Then I started to consider the language I would use. Tolkien was a master at adding words from another language to add flavour to his story-telling – Think words like Uruk-hai instead of orc, and his use of Finnish and Welsh influences to create his detailed elvish languages – For me, married to a Brazilian, Portuguese was the natural “go-to” language, and you will find a number of Portuguese words appearing in this story; Terra, Mestre Bicho, Agua, Viajante to name but a few.
Progressing this influence and wanting to maintain connections with human existence here as well I then chose latin-sounding names for most of the dragonfly characters, although I wanted something catchy (and easy to type!) for the main characters, thus Dax, Yslana, Ithios and Sylk appeared in my brain, leaving the more mellifluous sounding (but more difficult to type a hundred times!) Dephronyis, Japhryis, Ludovicus, Septimia, for the secondary tier of characters, thus giving a little more ‘gravitas’ to the world I was building.
And that brings me neatly to the world in which this tale is set. Have you ever watched a dragonfly buzzing past you as you sit by a lake on a warm summer’s evening, and wondered where it was off to? Well imagine that dragonfly was actually on a quest to restore peace to civilisation? And when another ‘fly buzzes in to chase it off, that second protagonist is actually the arch villain Vibidia, engaging in mortal combat with our plucky hero…
So I wanted the world of the Jraconi, and our own human civilisation, to be inextricably linked, overlaid, intertwined, yet the two worlds to be existing alongside each other without being aware of the comings and goings of the other. Just like we have no idea where that dragonfly is zooming off to while we are enjoying our lakeside picnic, so the dragonfly has no awareness of our own existence. Maybe we are just an enormous, smelly, noisy shape on the sidelines of the world of motion and terror that it occupies.
I won’t spoil the plot by detailing the twists that I have peppered the story with and that I plan to add to the forthcoming books in the series, but I’ve always preferred a story that is effortless to read, that flows off the page and grabs my attention, like just about anything by James Patterson. So I have tried to emulate this style, Patterson’s in particular, with his short chapters, more like scenes from a movie than a traditional chapter. I hope you like it!
My new fantasy novel, “The Jracon’s Burden” is available to download on Amazon now…click here to get it from Amazon!