Author Spotlight - Terri Nixon
Twisting the Myth
When it came to finding a setting for my first novel, back in the mid-90s, there was no question; I grew up on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, an area rich in history and steeped in folklore. I spent my childhood weekends and holidays in woods and by rivers (and vice versa!) and climbing hills, paths and trees. The land was embedded in my imagination and, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was always going to draw on that experience.
BUT – the characters were something else again. Who, or what, would they be? Regular you-and-me types, or wild fantastical creatures of myth and magic? I was drawn to the latter, but here is so much conflicting ‘information’ out there… Then I remembered; this is my book! I can people it exactly as I wish, and the end result couldn’t be sniffed at by those who profess themselves experts in the field of folklore because what they’re actually expert in is reading and analysing other people’s stories. This is just one more.
This opened up an absolutely dizzying range of possibilities; why should I be constrained by anything that’s gone before? If any one of these characters wanted to adopt traits usually considered to be exhibited by another, why shouldn’t they? So I have ended up populating my version of Bodmin Moor with three main factions of elemental spirits: The Moorlanders (royals) the Coastals, and the Foresters. Serving them are the spriggans, who are traditionally guardians of treasure. (In this case the treasure they guard is not something that can be stolen and spent… when it is stolen – albeit accidentally – the thief has cause for bitter regret.) These elemental spirits are entirely my own invention, which gave me license to allow them to mingle with humans, and to put limits on their abilities, but even if they hadn’t been – who would have had the right to argue? This is a very liberating realisation for a writer of fiction!
As fun as it was to really let loose, and be led by these vibrant and unpredictable beings, it gradually became clear that this book was going to be extremely hard to place. To begin with, what ‘label’ to hang on it? Fantasy of all kinds is usually hard to define clearly, to put in neat little boxes and categorise on Amazon, and so we all too often find ourselves calling it something it isn’t. The Lynher Mill Chronicles twists together creatures of myth and imagination with contemporary characters, but it’s not Urban Fantasy. The subject is so broad, and so varied, and can include anything from vampires, to shape-shifters, werewolves, magic, sword and sorcery… Mine have none of these, and I have still found it impossible to place, and have self-published the series. I look forward to the time when more publishers and agents are open to the idea of accepting works of fantasy; despite the proven interest in the genre.
In the meantime I’m having the most fun ever writing this series, and wouldn’t change it for the world/s!
The Lynher Mill Chronicles currently comprises three novels, with a prequel due out this year.
The Dust of Ancients
The Lightning and the Blade
The Battle of Lynher Mill.
Prequel: The Unquiet Dawn.
Terri at Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Terri-Nixon/e/B00DI8R8K6