Way back in 2001, I conceived an idea for a novel. Well, more than a novel... a whole saga. I'd always loved fantasy fiction - Tolkien, Gothic stuff, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast and the like - and all of a sudden, I came up with a plot and characters for a story of my own called The Lay of Angor. It's been bubbling along in the background of other work ever since, a piece of pure escapism I find an absolute hoot to write - a nice little holiday from the real world of heritage consultancy and more recently, historical research and publishing.
One of the fun things about it is being free to plunder medieval and classical history... using real politics and attitudes of the past dressed up in imaginary trappings to create a world of my own where all sorts of outrageous things can (and do) happen. The first volume, Gondarlan, appeared as an e-book in November 2010, and came out in paperback in May 2011. I've now self-published a revised and improved second edition, and the Kindle edition is out NOW - buy for £2.99 or borrow FREE from KDP Select library!
So I've been having lots of fun drawing maps of my imaginary world, and inventing heraldry for my characters - on the left is the cover image for Book 1, the crowned white wolf livery badge of my heroine, Princess Elinor. Elinor's actually something of an anti-heroine, at least to start with... so moody and selfish I've thoroughly enjoyed thinking up ways to give her some just desserts! At the same time I feel sorry for her, because she's stuck in a situation that really was the lot of countless royal ladies and noblewomen in the European Middle Ages - being a pawn of State politics, a thoroughbred brood-mare sought after more for her status than herself as a person, and having very little control over her own destiny. Enough to drive any intelligent woman mad - or to try and find devious ways to escape...
Elinor's home: Castle Thorsgard on the Wolfenbirg Fastness
Meanwhile the second volume, Breath of Gaia, is now complete - it should be out in e-book and paperback by early 2013. Whereas Gondarlan has quite a claustrophobic feel, being set mainly indoors/around Castle Thorsgard and Thorshaven, Book 2 is more of an adventure story - voyaging on the high seas to strange new worlds and new civilisations, with Elinor boldly going where no Gondaran Princess has split an infinitive before!