I am an impatient writer, and one that tends to let the story go where it wants to go. I do have a plan, a rough outline, but by and large, when I drafted Children of Annwn which was based on a dream, I let the story tell itself. Many details about the story have changed since I first put pen to paper, including the name. However, the story was always going to be centered around a journey of self-discovery.
Having teenagers, I particularly wanted to focus on this age range, because it's the time when there are so many experiences and issues that they face. Challenges if you like, such as, fitting-in and making friends, girlfriends/ boyfriends, school-work, sports, drugs, alcohol, sex, love, bullying, working, driving, smoking, pregnancy, suicides, deaths, moving towns, moving schools, divorce... Argh the list goes on.
Rather than tackle them all, I wanted to look at confidence and self-doubt. Mia the main character really is quite shy and awkward. She doesn't like herself very much at all, and hides a big secret that she shares with no-one. She can see the future, and it usually involves dead people. Believing herself a freak, she's not a people person. This makes having a relationship with anyone, extremely difficult. Mia's parents are divorced, and her life has been littered with betrayal and heartache. However, when her visions and dreams start colliding, her real world and imaginary one seem to blur into one. Especially, when the main character in her dreams appears in school, and then she truly believes she's going insane.
Although, the story centers largely around Mia and her voyage of discovery, it also gives a voice to the male character Ryder. In this first book Mia is the main character, she is the one that discovers she's from the hidden and magical world of Annwn. A world, cloaked and hidden to human eyes by magic. A kingdom that one can only enter through secret portals, and only by using magic. Annwn lies hidden along the Welsh coast line. An enchanted land, that has existed since time began. The path of humans and non-humans have crossed many times, and always ended badly for both sides.
Mia entered the human world through a portal to fulfill an ancient custom. In her world, the Elders created a law that required a promised couple to undergo a challenge to test the power of their love for one another before they were married. This was because the Elders wanted to keep magic strong in their world, and they only believed this would happen if couples passed a challenge designed to test their powers and love. In the past Annwn lost many of its people after helping the humans, and this led to a dilution in magic when human were introduced to their world. It caused a huge shift in magical powers and unrest. Many wars followed. This challenge was a way to unite people, and ensure the magic in Annwn continued and grew. So the Elders believed.
However, entering the human world, all Mia's memories and powers are repressed as part of the challenge. She forgets about her life in Annwn, the fact she is a guardian, keeper of her people, and protector of the humans, that she is gifted with foresight and that she is madly in love with Ryder.Mia doesn't accept that she could be anything other than human, until Ryder show's her the depth of her power, and takes her to Annwn. Living as a human, Mia is reserved, cool, and terrified of the world.
She doesn't know who she is anymore, or where she belongs. The Human world or Annwn? Her human parents betrayed her, and her parents in Annwn abandoned her. Mia also discovers that she is a descendant of an evil witch and when she uses dark magic, she believes inside she too is evil and undeserving of Ryder's love.
To add to the confusion a Darkshadow Greyson has been sent into the human world to convince Mia by any means to come back with him to Annwn. He tries seduction, but when that fails, he threatens all those she loves with death unless she agrees. Mia eventually discovers that Greyson isn't working alone, that behind him is the evil witch Rhiannon, her great grandmother. Greyson may have been sent into the human world to carry out a task for the evil witch, one that promises him power in his world in Annwn, but he starts to feel something for Mia.
He is a Darkshadow, named so because his people use dark magic and in the human world appear as shadows. Greyson is a Prince to his people, who are outsiders in Anwnn, used for their cold and calculating natures and powers of memory to observe the humans, but for centuries they have boiled with frustration and seek power. They believe with Rhiannon's help they will destroy the Elders and gain control with her to rule Annwn for themselves. Greyson is a warrior, fearless, cold, manipulative, and he'll use every trick in the book to get what he wants, which is revenge. His parents were outcast from the world of Annwn when their joining was discovered. They had failed the test and the Elders decided they should be sent into the human world as outcasts. Once there with their memories intact, they went insane, and were locked away in an psychiatric hospital. When Greyson grew up and learned of their story, he spent years searching to discover what had happened to them.
At the end of the book, there is a battle, and Mia pushes herself to the limit to save those she loves. She realizes that belief is power and when she believes, she can do anything.
I am working to fill in all the gaps in the world of Annwn, answering all the questions that one may ask, and will continue to work until its done. xxxx
Happy Thanksgiving everyone :) A snippet...
The Prologue: Leaving Annwn
Mist rolled off the grassy slopes on the hillside, and the purple and pink slashes in the sky stained the sandstone on the castle that abutted the cliff, a beautiful rose color. Mia stared at the majestic fortress as it stood guard over the sea, a foreboding sight should anyone dare to enter Annwn from the water, and she shivered. The milky white sun peeped from behind the curtains of clouds that rolled passed, and she turned towards the sea. Her heart beat slowly, and Mia took a deep breath in, capturing all that lay before her, soaking in the very essence and smells of her home Annwn, should it all be forgotten. It was dawn and the start of a new day.
A new beginning.
Annwn was a realm on earth, hidden from human eyes by magic. Its exact location a highly guarded secret, but legend suggests that it lies by the coast in Wales; a land that was steeped in mysteries and folklore. Mia smiled recalling the tales of Arthur, and then sighed because that was the time when everything changed in Annwn. She stared out across the endless glossy water, and her hair danced wildly as the wind picked up speed.
“Are you ready?” Mia turned at the sound of his voice, and gazed at Ryder. She accepted his outstretched hand and smiled. He was her heart, and the reason they both stood on the shores of their home ready to cast everything they knew aside. Her toes curled into the silky grains of white sand like an anchor, but she must let go and set sail.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” A rough, calloused hand smoothed across her cheek and her eyes closed. In Annwn it was law that once a couple became promised to one another they must complete a challenge that would test the power of their love, and magic. This law was created when humans entered the world of Annwn, diluting the magic as the Elders said. Only strong matches were allowed, strong in love and magic to ensure that magic always continued, at least that what the Elders preached.
What greater challenge than to enter the human world where promises were broken every day and to live a life as a mortal with no knowledge of their magic or life in Annwn. A coldness rose inside Mia and locked inside her throat rendering her speechless. Her visions predicting the end of mankind further underlined the reason for them to venture into the unknown because the two realms were linked by a history, by blood and what was predicted for the humans was eerily repeated in the visions of the future for their enchanted world of Annwn. The roar of the ocean blasted in her ears. The fierce wind whipped around them and Emrys appeared his face sober. The waves parted and staring out into the distance, a land heralded and lights could be seen.
“It’s not too late to change your mind. We can look at another way to complete your challenge, but once you enter their world, there is no turning back. The spell will be cast from the moment we leave, and I cannot say how old you will be. The magic in this area is unpredictable. You may wake to find that you’re seven or thirteen years old. I will put in place whatever is needed, and lay a trail so that at the designated time having lived a life as a mortal, your memories will return. However, until such a time you will not remember any of this. Time in the human world was measured differently than in Annwn. Although several human years may pass, in Annwn it would be mere days, but would it change them forever?