My guest today will need no introduction to fans of rockstar based novels, but Melanie’s latest release is a little different. Goblins comprises two stories set in a fantasy world where magic is a reality and the creatures of mythology roam the world having a good time – or not as the case may be.
Here’s Melanie to tell you a little more about her world.
The seventeenth century was the age of witchcraft.
Witchcraft, as it was then, was taken a lot more seriously than it is today by the general public. White witches, or practitioners of good magic, were sought out by everyday folk for lots of things; from charms and good luck spells, to medicinal help.
But, there’s always some who have to spoil it for everyone else. In an age where medicine was in its infancy, and illnesses were seen as ‘magic’, it didn’t take much for normal folk to fear thise who took their practises further. Such was the staunch willingness to believe, that people grew more and more scared of those practising black magic, the dark arts, thus a fear of witches was born.
Witchcraft was not made a capital offence in Britain until 1563. (That’s a long way into history, and witchcraft had been used up until then, for sure.) So why now? Well, it’s tied into what was happening religion-wise in the country.
In England and Scotland, popular fear of witchcraft mingled with the rise of the reformed church.
People believed in witches before the reformation, but catholic church with its bells, candles and holy water provided a means to keep ‘sorcery’ at bay. The protestants, however, denounced all that as Popish superstitions. So, what was to keep folk safe now?
With the civil unrest in England, and people already choosing sides with religion, and later on between King and Parliament, suspicion rose. Ordinary folk, often the poorest of the poor, were accused of being witches, or practising witchcraft, and were taken to trial.
Essex, in England, hung the most witches overall.
It is a truly sad, and remarkable, piece of history. My first experience of sympathy for these so-called witches was probably when I visited The London Dungeon as a child, and saw one of the exhibits of a witch, which was often an old woman, home alone with a cat. (An animal like this, or even a bird, was looked upon as the witch’s familiar.) I’m a cat person; always loved cats.
I watched documentaries on this period, too, sad that even cats were persecuted just for being alive. It is thought that if all those cats hadn’t been killed during this period, that there’d have been less rats in London, and therefore less fleas spreading germs to humans which resulted in The Great Plague of London (1665-1666).
There’s a lesson, there! Cats are good!
I’ve always been of the opinion that society kinda sucked anyway; since school, in fact. I could easily see how one would want to say ‘bugger off, the lot of you’ and go live alone, perhaps with a pile of cats. Brew a few herbs, swear at the wrong person, and suddenly you’re accused of being a witch. It’s incredibly unfair, and always reasonated with me.
With all this in mind, I knew I wanted to write my first Goblins story about a witch. Not just a witch, but a warlock.
Below is an exchange between two of my goblins:
“You have to call the male ones warlocks now.”
“What? By whose law?”
“Mm, the elves said.”
I wanted even the goblins and elves to be wary of witches. In my fictional world, magic is as real as the trees, and everyone is wary of each other. But I wondered, instead of an old and gnarly sorcerer, what if my warlock looked more like this?
(Yes, I know this pic looks a bit ‘elfy’… It was the closest resemblance I could find!)
I wanted a young and pretty warlock, someone who was tempting enough to turn my goblin’s head and stalk him at his cabin.
A cabin in the woods? Ooh, yes, please! I was lucky enough to be invited to stay in a yurt, two years ago. My friend called it ‘glamping’, but it was very much my cup of tea! (Tea: only herbal tea in 1647! Ahem.)
Yurts are Asian in origin, but nowadays they come in many variations and designs. Staying inside one gave me a splendid idea of what a medieval cabin could be like, in my world. (In real medieval times, there would’ve been no windows, no light coming in through the thick walls. Only one door, and only one small, thin chimney for smoke to escape. So I have bent the historical accuracy a little there, because sitting around in the dark isn’t much fun. I also included a bath tub… Because I wanted to. Anyway…)
Yurts, and little wooden cabins, were the basis for my idea of a dwelling in the woods. Wherein lived a cute young warlock. As you do! I thought that approaching the dwelling, one would see something like this…
Just to give you an idea.
In the 17th Century, the ancient sprawl of Epping forest is bursting with magic and those who go unseen by human eyes: the elves who rule the summer court, and the goblins who rule the winter court. It is said that if a human catches the eye of one of the fey, they are either doomed or blessed.
Wulfren & the Warlock
When Wulfren wakes from a strange dream of a human captor with long silver hair, and grey eyes, his brothers tell him they rescued him from a warlock, and take Wulfren back home to the goblin king’s palace. But Wulfren isn’t so sure the matter is that simple. Why was he missing so long? What are the strange dreams of the beautiful man with the silver hair? Dalliances with humans are severely frowned upon, especially by Wulfren’s father, but Wulfren is willing to risk the scorn of his family to find the human who haunts his dreams.
Quiller & the Runaway Prince
After a hard winter, Quiller is sent deep into the forest on a family errand, and is surprised when a human stumbles into his path. Quiller swoops in to pester him, perhaps even eat him, but there is something special about the human: his scent is royal, though he protests that he is not, and soon Quiller finds himself agreeing to help the human with his troubles—in exchange for a kiss.
Melanie website: http://www.melanietushmore.co.uk
Melanie Twitter: @melanietushmore
Melanie is also appearing on Cole Riann’s Armchair Reader blog with more info about her book and a giveaway!