When I first wrote ‘the Ancient Future’, I could never have imagined all the amazing places that story and its characters were going to take me. We’ve been to the dark ages in ancient Britain, the golden age of Atlantis, into the otherworld, outer space, into the future, the next galaxy, and most recently into a whole other universe and back again!
It became clear in the Triad of Being that this latest trilogy had links back to the first two trilogies. Nine epic books and the Chosen are still finding new frontiers to explore!
So to commemorate the release of “the Light-field’ – the ninth chronicle in the adventures of the Chosen Ones, I thought I’d give you all on a little trip into the past and a peek at where it all began.
In 1994, when I first sat down to write the tale about a female martial artist, brought back to ancient Gwynedd by a time-hopping Merlin, I really expected that it would be a short story. By the time I got to the end of that short story, I realised that what I’d written was only Part 1 of a very long book! My close friends were very pleased to hear this, as they had been following the story chapter by chapter, and coming around regularly for readings. I do believe I read my first book out loud at least five times! This was a very good exercise for me, as I could see how the suspense effected people, if the jokes made them laugh and the romance made them swoon. Their positive feedback made me eager to see how other people would take to my story. So, I decided to print up my tale, in a big three part story book, complete with maps and castle layouts – which were later used in the book.
For Christmas 1994 I gave every member of my family, and a couple of close friends, a copy of the Ancient Future – the Dark Age.
My lovely mother passed her copy onto her actress friend, Lynne Rainbow, who knew TV series writer and novelist, David Sale, who kindly recommended my manuscript to author agent, Selwa Anthony. Selwa called me after reading Part 1, to tell me I had myself an agent, and as my big fairytale style presentation had worked a charm with everyone else, I decided to send it to the publishers as it was. This is the first time I have ever shared the images included in this blog with my readers, and I hope you enjoy the little glimpse inside the manuscript that secured me a publishing deal and spawned so many other books.
Degannwy, Gwynedd – 519 AD
The Castle layouts and Maps were exactly as they were shown in the book, nothing much new to see. However, to my delight, one of my readers sketched Degannwy and the Aberffraw, from the floor plans in the book, and these sketches I really do have to share. Credit for these wonderful etchings go to Andrew Vasey and I use these images with his permission. You can see more of Andrews fantastic work at my Trazling site : http://www.trazling.net/cgi-bin/Blah.pl?m-1302577254/s-0/
Upon being accepted for publication with HarperCollins Publishers, everything was going swimmingly well with my MS, until I received the draft of the cover (or jacket) for the book (image 1) which really wasn’t at all what I had in mind. This was the era when 3D graphics were on the rise and as my husband at the time, David Harding, was dabbling in 3D graphics, fellow author, Caiseal Mor suggested we try creating something more dynamic. So we sat down with KBT Bryce and created a draft (image 2). This concept, after a very steep learning curve for Dave became the eventual jacket (image 3). I believe much of the success of this first novel came from people being attracted to the cover graphics, and then spreading the word about the story. The Ancient Future went into its first reprint within a month, and has been reprinted in Australia over 35 times. ‘Eye Candy’ we call it, and I have learned to never underestimate the power of it, as with both the covers for my books, and that first manuscript, it has certainly worked for me.
I wrote the Ancient Future with no intention of ever writing a sequel, and had began researching ‘the Alchemist’s Key’ which at that time was set to be a very different book to the one I did eventually write. Still, my muses had already began to formulate a tale about Atlantis, and when my publishers offered me a contract to turn ‘the Ancient Future’ into a trilogy and publish the stand alone I was working on, how could I refuse? The story for ‘an Echo in Time’ was already there, along with a desire to revisit my characters who had such ambition to explore history – past and future – other dimensions, galaxies and altered states of consciousness. Anywhere I wanted to explore, any mystery, these characters were more than keen to go there and where prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to do it.
Even after nine books, the possibilities are still endless, as long as their is another incarnation, another planet, another timeline, another universe, the Chosen will continue to strive to comprehend the greater mysteries of creation.