I write, therefore I art

“Transcendent Ripples”

I’ve been creating art recently, and writing. I have been sharing the art, but not so much the fiction – other than the odd short thing last week – because I’m actually back to writing on the novel again. Which novel? Good Question!

The East Witch will be the fourth of the Underhill novels. Although both Lom and Bella are mentioned, the novel takes place in a slight overlap with the very end of Dragon Noir… and I’m not going to offer a spoiler here for the end of my own trilogy, so if you have read it, you may understand what I’m referring to when I say that neither Lom nor Bella are Underhill when Anna arrives there. Also, Anna’s arrival is into the equivalent of Siberia, and into the fringe lands of Underhill, ruled by no court. Law and order are alien concepts in a land still mostly feudal in outlook. A land where only the Wild Hunt ride with impunity, and even they respect the old ones, the spirits that were there before they arrived.

As a character, Anna is somewhat of a challenge to write. She’s learned to keep all her emotions tucked away, so writing her is like guiding a blunt object – it’s not easy for me to reveal enough of her to convey her motivations and feelings, without betraying her as a character. She is a tough cookie, and even though it’s for good reason, I can’t just tell the readers that, I have to show them why she is this way. Originally, like Lom, I was writing her in first person. She was telling me the tale of what happened. But I realized quickly this wasn’t going to work for the whole book. I needed an external perspective to reveal her in a way other than through her own eyes. We have tunnel vision, you know? Most of us are looking out and forward all the time, and we aren’t constantly gazing in a mirror – and even if we were, we wouldn’t see ourselves the way others would.

Enter Ivan, the Wood Elf. If you’ve read Pixie Noir and it’s following books, you may remember Ash. Wood elves in my stories are nothing like Tolkein’s elves. They’re short, sturdy, very connected to their trees (they will die if their clan grove is cut down), and very, very loyal. Insanely loyal, some might say. When they make an oath, they mean it, for better or for worse. Ivan gives me a narrator outside Anna who I can use to tell her story and his, at the same time, since they become entwined from the opening lines of the novel, where she literally trips over him in the Alaskan wilderness.

Aside from the characters, I’ve been enjoying the necessary research for this story immensely. I’ve been drawn to Russian Fairy Tales since I was very small. My first book, given to me when I was only a few months old, is a gorgeously illustrated picture book of them. But here, I wanted to dig below the surface into the Siberia that was razed by the Russians and remade into their own image. Playing on themes I created for Pixie Noir, I wanted to connect the peoples who once lived and loved all around that wild Northern region – the Athabaskan, the Aleut, the Ainu, the Chukchi and Yukaghir. Finding their stories and folklore, however, has been a challenge indeed. Unlike other areas, the Russians were not at all interested in ethnology, it seems. I’ve found some stories, and have been pulling threads from them to weave into my tale. And from my own memories of growing up in the boreal forest of inland Alaska, I have some experience of the short, intense summers of the sub-Arctic regions. Hopefully it’s enough to set the story in a place I’ve never been.

For the hardcore fans among you, you’ll note the progress bar in the sidebar? The East Witch one will be changing a little bit each day. I bumped it up a couple of percent just yesterday! Life might be challenging me to stay on top of all that must be done, but I am making writing a bit higher priority now that we’re settling into the house.


6 responses to “I write, therefore I art”

  1. Lovely! I’ve been looking forward to reading the rest of Anna’s story!

    1. Chapter 32 is mostly written at this point.
      When you have time – I know this week is goodly busy!

  2. Clever title here. “I write, therefore I art.” I like that!

    1. thank you! I’d originally forgotten to title it at all, but then this seemed right from my topics today.

  3. Pat Patterson Avatar
    Pat Patterson

    The art is beautiful, and it sounds like the story has some bodacious themes. I could EASILY see this as sprouting up an entire new series!
    I recently watched a short documentary on Youtube about a family that had been living in isolation in Siberia for decades. They were discovered accidentally by geologists, who had a HARD time making contact with them.
    Seems like exactly the sort of place where fairy tales happen. Not the Disney type, either…

    1. I’ve read about that family, too. Weird stuff. And exactly – not-Disney fairytales is what I’m drawing from for this story. Hopefully doing them some justice!