Monday, December 19, 2011

Behind the scenes with Feyland: The Dark Realm

On the blog today, we have Anthea Sharp! Anthea is the author of one of my favorite new books, Feyland: The Dark Realm. Truth be told, I'm in love with this book. A mixture of fantasy and technology, it's an amazing and fresh new take on the genre. It's definitely something I recommmend you pick up!
In the meantime though, here's a behind the scenes look at the inspiration Anthea used for her book. Enjoy, and make sure to check back tomorrow for my review!

Thanks, Jessica, for having me here at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile! To celebrate the release of my new YA fantasy novel Feyland: The Dark Realm, I’d like to share a bit about one of the biggest inspirations I had for the book. 

Feyland is set in the near-distant future, but parts of the story are ancient. The center of the novel is based on an old Scottish ballad that was first written down in 1549. Tam Lin tells the story of an ‘earthly knight’ who is taken by the Queen of the Faeries to dwell with her in her magical realm. All goes well for seven years, but at the end of that time, he learns he is going to become a human sacrifice.

Tam Lin meets a young woman, Janet Carter, as she is picking roses, and they become lovers. He tells her of his fate, and she asks if there is anything she can do to rescue him. Yes, he says¸ on Halloween she must intercept the faeries when they go riding. She must pull him down from his horse and hold him fast while the faeries work their magic upon him.

I first heard this ballad on an album my parents had, performed by the folk-rock band Steeleye Span. From the first listen, I was captivated by the story, and loved that the girl is the one doing the rescuing.

Other authors have found inspiration in the ballad of Tam Lin as well. I was delighted to discover The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, which is an Elizabethan-set retelling of the story. Later on, I read Fire and Hemlock, a modern version by Diana Wynne Jones. Pamela Dean also used a modern college campus for her retelling, called, appropriately enough, Tam Lin. I’m sure there are other versions out there, as well.

Nearly 500 years later, this story is still powerful, and I’m excited to re-tell it in yet another version for readers today to enjoy. I’m not going to spoil the ending, for those of you who don’t know the ballad. You’ll have to read it for yourself.

Feyland: The Dark Realm is available in paperback and e-book from most online retailers, and can be ordered from any bookstore. To find out more about Anthea, visit her website at or her facebook page


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