Where The Ideas Come From: About “Thornspell”
So although I’ve talked a reasonable amount, both here and through the GATHERING blog tour, about where some of the ideas and influences for The Wall of Night series came from, today I thought I’d focus on Thornspell.
Ursula Le Guin says (in Steering the Craft, something like) that the ideas are “just there” and we pull them “out of the air.” And sometimes it does feel like that! It’s certainly pretty much how it happened with Thornspell…
Thornspell, you see, is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story — only in this case it’s all about the prince.
Where the story started for me was that I was at the ballet of Sleeping Beauty (yes, the one with the wonderful Tchaikovsky score) and when the prince came leaping onto the stage I sat up in my seat and thought: “What about the prince? What’s his story?”
Other questions quickly followed: What sort of person would he be? Why would he even be bothered about some sleeping chick and an hundred year old spell?
Almost immediately, I had a vision of a boy, around age eleven, growing up in a small castle next to a mysterious and dangerous forest, as well as his name, which was Sigismund and instantly linked me—and I hope the reader—into a world that was very ‘Holy Roman Empire’ in feel.
Very soon after “what about the prince?”, a second set of questions arose: What about the evil fairy? Would she have just been sitting around happily accepting that her death spell had been converted into the one hundred year sleep? (I didn’t think so, not if she were really wicked.) And what was her real agenda—somehow I didn’t think it was a simple as not being invited to a naming ceremony.
Those two sets of questions, plucked for the air during that moment at the ballet, were the beginning of Thornspell. The rest evolved from there and like The Wall of Night series is very much in the style of the Fantasy fiction I like reading, which involves plenty of adventure, mystery, and magic, with a dash of romance thrown in. There is that magical kiss, after all…
Also, if you click on each of the images on the webpage, you’ll find a relevant quote from the story.
And for those of you who are hanging out for Daughter of Blood after having read The Heir of Night and The Gathering of the Lost, but haven’t yet read Thornspell—you never know, it may help fill the gap.