Today, I have a guest post from the highly successful author Hazel B. West. Hazel currently has five published novels out, and today she is discussing her latest novel Blood Ties. I have posted a description of the novel, and it is followed up by a fascinating post by Hazel on how she has managed to combine her love of history with her fantasy writing. I have also posted a link to Hazel’s website at the bottom of this post where you have a chance to win a signed copy of Blood Ties. So over to Hazel…
Thomas M D Brooke
Blood Ties by Hazel B.West
In an Ireland that mixes high kings, faeries, and modern warriors who drive fast cars, Ciran, a descendant from the famous warrior Fionn Mac Cool, bands together with a company of young warriors from the legendary order of Na Fianna to go on a quest to recover their missing family members who were captured by the Goblins in a shaky peace between the two kingdoms. Ciran and his companions must figure out not only how they are going to rescue the prisoners, but how they are going to complete their mission without killing each other. Through trial and error, running battles, unexpected friendships, and daring escapes, Ciran and his company come face to face with the Goblin King himself in a final battle that will decide the fate of all involved and of Ireland itself.
The first book in a new series, Blood Ties takes the traditional Irish legends and puts a modern spin on them with a heavy helping of friendship and the love of family.
Buy a copy of this novel here!
Mixing Modern With Old
Writing Urban/Historical Fantasy
There’s a lot of really interesting fantasy worlds out there in the literary world from Middle Earth to more modern ones like the world of Game of Thrones. Then you have the ones from the urban fantasy genre like Harry Potter or the Dresden Files, mixing the modern world you know with an element of magic and the fantastical.
The world of Blood Ties is a cross between the times we live in now (post 2000) and what Ireland would have been like in the pre-medieval days of the High Kings of Ireland—the time period that the original tales of Na Fianna came about and were set in. Thus, it is sort of a cross between urban fantasy, and almost historical fantasy. I wanted to take modern technology and comforts and introduce to them the society of ancient Ireland—one of great warriors, noble kings, and of course, a small dose of magic and the Fae. Even with just the historical texts, the Celtic peoples have always seemed slightly fantastical to me, and it’s mostly their folklore that does it. A world of Faeries and mythology that has always fascinated me, and I’ve wanted to write about it for a long time, but thought it would be interesting to take a modern spin on things.
The hardest part of this one was figuring out where world history came in. Obviously, because my Ireland is still functioning as it did in the ancient times, and is obviously not a democracy, things are already different right off the bat. So it’s essentially a modern Ireland with a High Kingship. I also mentioned things like the Napoleonic War and the World Wars, so yes, things did still mostly happen, just maybe not the same way people expect. Plus, my Ireland has had its own wars to deal with, namely the Goblin Wars that have been going on for centuries between the human kingdoms and the Goblin Court. Other historical people are mentioned as well, like Brian Boru who was a High King of Ireland back in the Dark Ages.
The landscape was also something that needed to be figured out, because while I was using a real place, I had to make it work for the story and the type of setting I needed. I had to have the five different kingdoms, but I also needed a place for the Faery kingdoms as well so the northern part got turned into the Faelands and the southern part is the Commonlands with the kingdoms of men.
Creating a fantasy world around our normal one is in a lot of ways harder than making one from scratch. You have to decide what to keep and what to get rid of to make the story whole and yet different. For one I knew I didn’t want to have firearms used as weapons, so they go with the more traditional swords and bows and arrows. I wanted to keep that classic fantasy feel with the sword fighting, but most of the other modern technology I kept. I liked the idea of having modern warriors driving sports cars so they do! It might be a lot of work writing historical or urban fantasy but it’s a very fun a rewarding genre too, and I for one enjoy both reading and writing it.