Although I set out to create a fantasy novel, I decided early on that I would use my knowledge of the natural world, and in particular the English countryside, as the backdrop for my story.
There were a number of reasons for this, two of which I will detail here; one, my love of the English countryside makes it easy to build a believable world – one that is vivid and breathes life, rather than try to create one from scratch that might end up like those fake buildings in Mel Brooks’ classic film, “Blazing Saddles”:
– all front and no depth!
Two, I wanted very much to have the insect world of the Jraconi nudge up alongside the human world, although I wanted the connections to be fleeting and ambiguous; what do we know of the routine of the ant that we see crossing our patio? Likewise, what does the ant know of our patio or our house, or our family, or our jobs/school/pastimes? And yet the life of the ant and ours are interlinked in many ways; we clean our patio and destroy the ant’s home, we drop an apple core and inadvertently feed the ant colony for a week.
I could have built my own fantasy world, creating a multitude of new creatures, new plants, strange natural phenomena, but I particularly liked the idea of this fantastical world of councils, military forces, theological concepts, weaponry, artisanal craftsmanship to be intermingled with elemental magic which tied it all to our natural world.
The geography of the lands Dax and Yslana journey over is fictional, but the types of habitats and ecosystems they travel through are real enough, and all exist within the British Isles. Not being tied to a particular patch of England allowed me to put what obstacles I wanted in the protagonists’ way, drawing a map to fit the story, not the other way around.
The juxtaposition of the Jraconi world and the human world was fun to write, although I found it a challenge to maintain the right balance of descriptive power and ambiguity when describing how the Jracons perceived the human world (farm animals, vehicles etc.). Too vague and the reader is left wondering what I have inhaled recently, too clear and I run the risk of failing to describe to the reader just how alien and incomprehensible the human world is to the Jracons!
Take a look at “The Jracon’s Burden“, available now on Amazon, and let me know what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts on whether I managed what I set out to achieve, so feel free to drop a comment below (and a review on Amazon, please! Those reviews are so important to us new authors!)