I’ve just published my novel, A Faerie Fated Forever. It’s up now and available at Mobipocket and partner e-tailers but is still “in the formatting loop” at Kindle. It should be up on Amazon and available for the Kindle shortly. The setting is partly the Highland Isle of Skye in Scotland and partly Regency(ish) England. It tells the story of Nial Maclee, a laird whose family labors under a faerie curse and of Heather MacIver, the local lass whose adoration of the laird is legendary and whose disguises to hide her unusual looks earned her the nickname, “Heather the hag.”
Faerie, and the two sequels that I’ve written already, were born from my perversion of a very famous legend. I love Scottish tales and wanted to write one but wasn’t sure where to start. For inspiration, I searched the Internet for interesting historical tidbits about clans and found the one on Skye, the Clan MacLeod. The MacLeods famously have the blood of faeries in their family line thanks to a long ago handfast or temporary (sort of) marriage between a laird and a faerie.
In the MacLeod legend, after a year and a day, the faerie princess returned home, leaving behind the laird and their baby, Ian. She made her hubby promise that he’d never let the baby cry. For a long time, thanks to constant nursing care, the little one never cried. But one night, Ian’s nurses were lured away by a party and the baby cried. His Mother came down from the land of faerie and crooned to him to soothe him. She wrapped him in a cloth and told him the cloth was a faerie flag that could be used 3 times to call for help from the faeries. The clan has the famed faerie flag at their castle. It has reportedly been used twice and one use remains.
The tale goes that the third use would have been during “D-Day” of WWII, had the landing occurred in a different location. They say that the laird had been approached and agreed to wave the flag from a cliff over the landing troops. Legend also says that during WWII every soldier from Skye carried a picture of the flag in his breast pocket and that every soldier from Skye came home from the war. It’s a fascinating piece of history and a number of romance novelists have written tales framed around the legend. I read it and stepped away from my computer to let it ferment in my perverse imagination and (only slightly) deranged brain.
My muse took me back to the point of the story where the faerie returned home and the laird let her go. As the late, great Paul Harvey would have asked, what’s the rest of the story? To me, that’s the quintessential writer’s question. Whether it’s a movie, a great work of literature, a real life story, or a TV script (my muse’s choice is Grey’s Anatomy), my mental choo-choo train will stop at a pivotal point in the story and re-write it. In my alternate, made for MAG versions, the characters make different choices that set in motion different events. I think re-directing reality is a great plotting device.
With the MacLeod legend, I had to work out why and how the laird just let his faerie love boogle back to the land of faerie with no reports of a battle or a clash of wills to keep her with him. And once she’s boogled off, there’s a braw laird who has a castle without a lady wife. When the laird weds a new bride, how will the faerie feel about that? If it makes her miserable and she’s the princess, how will her Da, the King of the Faeries, feel about this brash upstart who let his bonnie daughter walk away without a fare thee well and replaces her with a mortal? Questions are golden and answering them makes a novel.
The MacLeod Faerie Flag legend is, of course, fascinating in and of itself. And what fodder for a fertile imagination it is! There are many, many other jumping points where the story could leap off in a different direction. Because I used artistic license to craft a new legend, I changed the clan’s name in my tale and the Clan Maclee was born. I enjoyed the characters I met along the way so much that (so far) I’ve written two sequels – A Golden Forever tells Viv’s story of what she found when she ventured to the gold rush in California to try to fund an independent future. A Sixth Sense Of Forever tells Boz’s story – how he’s related to the Clan is another jumping off point in the original legend.
To everyone who’s ever written a book or wanted to, I recommend the exercise. Take a famous event, legend or story and trace it back to one of the pivotal points and ask the Paul Harvey question. The rest of the story may be where your tale starts.