Today I am delighted to welcome talented author, Barbara Spencer, to Robbie’s Inspiration for Day 3 of her The Click of a Pebble book tour hosted by WordCrafter Blog Tours.
You can find Day 1 here: https://writingtoberead.com/2021/02/22/welcome-to-wordcrafters-the-click-of-a-pebble-book-blog-tour/
The Series: Children of Zeus
‘Where Historical Fiction and Fantasy Collide’
After a decade or more writing for children and young adults, I pretty much know my way around a children’s book. A couple of years ago, deciding I need a new challenge, I turned my attention to writing magical realism for adults.
But what is magical realism and how does it differ from fantasy? I think of fantasy as being set in a mythological world in which there are rules but maybe not the rules we subscribe to in our humdrum human world. Magical realism takes place in our world and follows its rules, except occasionally those rules are skewed.
Which is so exciting.
I had already found a story, plotted it and written the introduction. And yes, I admit, I’m a plotter not a pantser, using tables and graphs, blurbs and a storyline.
The title was never in doubt: The Year the Swans Came (See my blog – why I wrote Swans) only the names of the characters.
I had called my main character: Yöst. But when I completed the first draft, I realised the name was wrong. It didn’t fit. The character stalking his way through the story and dominating its action wasn’t Yöst – it was far too gentle a name. And so Xander was born, except the spelling very soon mutated into Zande. I first submitted this novel to agents in 2013. Four in all, including Tor Macmillan. They all asked to read the full manuscript but sadly the book fell at the final hurdle. The UK agent Felicity Bryan told me I needed to write a prequel to explain the magical side of the novel. So that is what I decided to do – write the prequel. And having attended a lecture about ‘book titles’, when it was suggested that titles should come from the first page or pages of your novel – The Click of a Pebble was born.
With a storyline so very different from anything I have attempted before, I am still pinching myself that it came from my pen. It starts with a bang and ends with one too. Certainly in its hero, Yöst, I have drawn yet another memorable character. And he is so very human, it is quite a conundrum to discover he isn’t totally human.
‘You must promise never to speak out about your heritage,’ his grandmother said, her old voice fearful and faint, ‘because people fear anything different.’
‘Fear us!’ Yöst laughed in protest. ‘We are too few to fear.’
‘It makes no difference. You are carinatae, descendants of Zeus, magical creatures …’
Persecuted throughout the centuries for their ability to shape-shift into swans and heavenly beings, three children, Yöst, Zande and a little girl, Tatania, are the sole survivors of the latest purge. Unaware of their real nature, Ramon, a gypsy farmer offers shelter on his farm in return for work. Striking up a close friendship with Rico, the only son in a house full of girls, it is Rico who helps Yöst through the first difficult year. As their relationship strengthens and deepens, Yöst begins to think of staying and making his life there as a farmer … forgetting that as carinatae, his date with destiny is approaching.
Naturally … the writing of Click (as I call it) has solved nothing. 100,000 words and three characters later, maybe I had explained the magical slant that runs through The Year the Swans Came but in so doing, I had succeeded in introducing a completely new story line with a raft of new characters, each one with a story to tell. This is the first review:
Joscelyn S Reviewer on Net Gallery. A great coming of age fantasy story. I really enjoyed seeing these young characters struggle to survive in the aftermath of the massacre that leaves them only each other to depend on. Their journey drew me in and had me reading this entire book in one sitting, I’m looking forward to reading more books set in this fascinating world.
And so I began Book 2: An Ocean of White Wings, hoping to settle the matter once and for all.
Has it? No. It has taken a third book, The Drumming of Heels, which will be published at the end of February, to bring the series to an official close and explain what happens to all three characters: Yöst, Zande and Tatania.
Is that it? Really? You tell me that after The Drumming of Heels, we have to close the book on these characters who we know and love?
Hm! Wait and see!
Amazon.com: Click of a Pebble on Amazon
Amazon.co.uk: My book here on amazon
About Barbara Spencer
In 1967, considering herself to be destined for a life of mediocrity, Barbara Spencer hi-tailed it to the West Indies to watch cricket, the precursor to a highly colourful career spanning three continents, in which she was caught up in riots, wars, and choosing Miss World. No stranger to schools and book-signings at Waterstones, after twelve years writing adventure stories for children and thrillers for young adults, Barbara began writing historical fantasy for an adult audience. Her first novel The Year the Swans Came was published in 2018.