Photo credits: Marcela Bolívar (pixabay), Yuri B (pixabay)
Edited by Vaishali
Title: Druid's Moon
Author: Deniz Bevan
Genre/Themes: Fantasy Romance, Fairy Tales,
Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Paranormal,
Fantasy Fiction, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
Expected Publication Date: September 20, 2022
To retell a story already told, over and over again, has produced a pooled collaborative of creators drawn to the craft of taking the marrow of an established tale and cooking an inspired story born from the broth. 'The retelling' has become a sweeping subset that has both stolen the hearts of readers and sown curiosity in the minds of writers, because stories recited dressed in the skin of something new has become something of a contemporary phenomenon. As affectionately timeworn as this stylistic practice is, as popular as it has become, storytellers love to dip into the familiar ink and readers dub them an instant draw. Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Pride and Prejudice, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, The Little Mermaid, tales of older Greek Myth and foreign lore...the list ends not there. It's all been read. It's all been channelled through genre aplenty. And it's all been loved repeatedly.
Prepared with a friendly reminder that this sub-genre shows no signs of tapering off into the distanced past, Deniz Bevan has caught the common retelling cold with her September release Druid's Moon. Tuning into the heart of Beauty and Beast, Bevan has fashioned a story of an archaeologist heroine who pursues an archaeological dig that has her unsuspectingly facing the role of a brave spellbreaker to a beast trapped within the claws of an ancient curse. As a larger purpose calls Bevan's heroine, Lyne Vanlith, to look within her heart and without of the scholarly smarts she's thus lived her life by to passage true bravery, her curiosity can either be the thing that thrives or the thing that damns a beast to the language of legend. A Fantasy Paranormal mystery/romance with a Celtic curse, sea creatures, some legend and lore, set in Modern England, Druid's Moon is another retelling to file into your retelling reading inventory.
This bookish guest post has been in the works since 2021, and I'm so excited to share Character Friends and Writers' Houseparties with you! If by any means your reader's compass is beeping with must-have intrigue, catalogue September 20th because that's Druid's Moon's release date! And whether you do that before or after reading the author's guest contribution, make sure you shift your time around to hear about all things Druid's Moon. As you'll find out first-hand just below, Deniz inspires a wonderfully, incredibly creative way for authors to love their craft, let the juices fizz, become a creator unleashed and let the creature comforts of character play be a portal for fun, curiosity and writing joy.
Character friends and writers’ houseparties
During the launch party for her latest book, author Diana Gabaldon was asked “which character of yours would you be friends with?” and she answered with, not one of her main characters, not one of her long-time characters, but Denzell Hunter, a relatively new character to the series. As soon as she said it, though, it made perfect sense!
Of course, I started wondering right away which of my own characters I would be likely to be friends with. I have three groups of stories; the three set in countries along the Mediterranean (plus London!) in the 15th Century; the three set in Canada, France, and Switzerland during World War I and World War II; and the modern series, which has grown to a seven-book series, all set in modern times. Weaving in and out of all of them, even if only a cameo here and there, I have Austin and Kedi the Cat, my time travellers.
Here they all are! https://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2020/01/character-faces-for-every-story.html
Then there’s Druid’s Moon, a standalone in many ways: the only non-YA paranormal, the only one from the turn of the millennium, the only one set in modern England. Austin doesn’t appear, but Kedi the cat does!
I love all my characters, or can understand them, as they’re all part of me (I’m sure every writer feels that way!), but if they were outside myself and hanging out, in my neighbourhood, at my workplace, among my friends, would I be close to them?
I went through them one by one, thinking of their habits, their likes and dislikes, the way they understand the worlds they live in (such a wide variance between, say, Constantinople in 1492 and Geneva in 2018!). I figured that I’m not patient enough for some of them, or cool enough for others! Some of them have jobs and lives (whether full of kids or adventure or both) that would make it more difficult for us to find points of connection. Here are images and inspiration for all of them: https://www.pinterest.ca/denizb33/story-inspirations/
Of all of them, I think Lyne from Druid’s Moon is the one I’d be most likely to be friends with! Here are some photos of both her and Frederick: https://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2017/06/hodge-podge-no-3-all-about-druids-moon.html.
This is one of the screenshots:
Lyne and I are both Canadian, and we’ve both studied at McGill University. I think we might have met there, perhaps in an English Literature class or a Middle English seminar. Lyne is sensible, clear-thinking, interested in discovering the truth of things. I think we’d get along if we had to work on a project together. She’s also braver than me!
Spoiler! About a year after the end of Druid’s Moon, Frederick hosts a big family reunion at his ancestral manor, to which all of my characters that are related to his family and to Lyne’s are invited. If I ever wrote snippets of what went on at the reunion, it would be just like a writers’ houseparty...
Sending your characters off to a houseparty is one of my favourite bits of writing advice!
A shiny new idea grabs you. The characters and situation get a hold of you and you start drafting. Dialogue, action, intrigue all come together. At some point, though, you may get bogged down in the swamp of the middle. Fear and self-doubt creep in, and the writing slows to a trickle.
Insecurity hit me hardest some years ago, not just with one novel but with all of my in-progress stories at the time. Excitement was few and far between, left behind a year or so before when I'd started the first drafts. Researching grew more exciting than editing and it was easy to lose my characters' voices and slip into long stretches of expository omniscient telling. And then something happened...
I sent my characters off to a houseparty.
Writers' houseparties take place on thelitforum (https://thelitforum.com/). There have been over ten such parties to date and I –- or should I say, my characters –- were present at the very first one in June 2007. Each party after that has grown in size and complexity, as more writers have brought their characters in on the fun.
Partygoers have included an FBI agent, a rock star, soldiers from wars throughout history, ghosts from various eras, King Charles II, a talking cat, a married threesome, a selkie, Ottoman citizens, modern yet ancient Egyptian travellers, werewolves, a retired teacher and her adopted daughter, and even a family of bombs with a wee baby bomb!
The parties last anywhere from a long weekend to a week or more. We've attended a ceilidh in Scotland, a barbecue in Australia, a mall at the end of time, and more. Houseparties have it all, from magic to skipping between time periods, to anachronistic events and language, to romantic interludes and endless food and drink. There’s always a cheese table!
Each writer chooses which characters they’d like to bring, and then away we go! No one worries about typos or writing mechanics, and there's no need to worry about timing either; if you'd like your character to be involved in something you may have missed you can always tack on an "[earlier]" or "[later]" to the start of your post. Time trousers – where a characters ends up in two places at once at the same time – can be quite fun!
The word count for one party came out to 198,000; the length of two long novels -- or one Diana Gabaldon novel! I put together some statistics, just to give an idea of the excitement:
# of participating authors : 17 # of official characters: 44 (including Kedi the non-cat cat and Siri the non-dove dove)
# of unofficial characters: 2 (including Cthulhu)
# of explosions/crashes: 2 (plus 1 volcano and 1 flood)
# of casualties: 1 kick by a kangaroo, 1 koala fed to a dinosaur, and 1 leg stolen from a Paralympian
# of M and Ms fed to Cthulhu: unknown
Value of character revelations: priceless
That's the best part of a writers’ houseparty: they're a great way to thrust your characters out of their familiar worlds and learn things about them that you may not have known before. You can always go in with a goal, whether it's characters you're trying to develop, a specific voice you'd like to hone, even a motive you're trying to figure out. It's amazing what you can uncover when your characters -- and their author -- are plunked into a chaotic new setting. Writing for a houseparty is just like writing your first draft –- fast paced and fluid, with no second guessing.
When I was feeling insecure, that anything-goes mayhem brought back the rush and the fun I'd thought I'd lost. I've churned out more words at a houseparty and in my own stories in the weeks after a party than I usually manage to squeeze out all year -- words that don't have me feeling insecure about my writing or the story itself.
If you can't wait for the next official litforum houseparty, and you have a trusted group of writing friends -- and you're feeling a little insecure -- why not host one of your own?
THE BACK OF THE BOOK...
- B Y D E N I Z B E V A N
A big thank you to Deniz for participating in this guest post!
W H E R E Y O U C A N F I N D D E N I Z A N D H E R W O R K
● Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09HRDWJZ8
● Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HRDWJZ8
● Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59360035...
● Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/druids-moon/id1588920227
● Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/druid-s-moon
● Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/druid...
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