Getting side-tracked


This is all too easy to do. I’m trying to concentrate on the follow-up novel to Voice in the Forest and In Search of the Best of All Worlds, but get side-tracked into the story of Nadja and Michael Raven; and then I get side-tracked further into developing the history of Orestol. I enjoy doing this, but it is not something that is ever likely to be published at any length, even on my own website. Being inclined to become somewhat plodding, with large numbers of names and dates.

The hidden valley of Orestol was my first fantasy creation. Originally it existed in a number of poems, now destroyed, which I wrote while in my mid-teens. They were not good. My concept of the valley then developed and expanded over the years, till when – in my early twenties – I was commuting weekly to Worcester and staying in a bed-and-breakfast during the week I started to write prose concerning an interloper into the valley. This developed over the next few years into a novel with variously titles, including Ancestral Walls and I’m Glad I Cracked the Rainbow. With it came the characters now called Alentir, Melior and Michael Raven. I worked on the history and geography and natural history of the valley, but also found my imagination spilling out into the surrounding lands.

I’m aware that many of these lands are based quite closely on my knowledge of various cultures on our world. Most of these should be fairly self-evident, for instance Orestol is an underlying Celtic culture, but a few may be less so – for instance: the names in Parasalaya are of Sanskrit origin; Usksumer is my foray into chinoiserie; and Seouleato is very loosely based on traditional Finnish culture.

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