This week I am running off copious amounts of coffee. I’m starting to get my writing mojo back and I’m getting back into the swing of things. This time has been emotionally challenging but I’m hoping I’m coming out the other side now. Editing is coming along nicely on Samhain Sorcery and launch date is getting closer. Words cannot describe how stressed and excited I am.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve been reading Evensong by Krista Walsh. I received it as a freebie somewhere along the line (it might have been for joining a mailing list or a suggestion from readfreely? I’m not sure. I’ve been reading a lot of free books lately as all my spare funds are going into producing Samhain Sorcery in time for October).
I have to say I really enjoyed it. DISCLAIMER: I’m not getting paid to review this. I genuinely liked the book and thought it worthy of discussion.
I thought I posted the following review on Amazon:
I really enjoyed this book. Some parts were a little drawn out, but it was well written
and clever. The premise was fascinating: a writer drawn into their own book, both as a concept and an allegory. The question of whether writers create their art or whether they can tune into parallel universes to record other realities interested me, as it’s something drunk me has wondered many times.
But looking at both Amazon.com and Amazon.com.au I don’t see it. It’s live on Goodreads though. I thought posting a review through the Kindle app automatically posts it to Amazon and Goodreads. I guess I was wrong, or it takes some time to upload.
But I’m getting off topic now so let’s circle back. I wasn’t lying when I said the premise was fascinating. Without giving too much away, the main plot of the novel is that Jeff, a novelist, is trying to work through his writer’s block and finish his current manuscript. He takes a nap and wakes up in a foreign place which turns out to be the world he has been writing.
There are so many things I could write about, about this book. I could write about the kick ass women who don’t let themselves get pushed around, who can take care of themselves in a medieval setting. I could write about how as a writer, Jeff was an easily relatable character. I could write about the fascinating sister witches who seem to work in seamless unity. I could write about the author’s talent. But I’m not.
Throughout the novel the characters wonder whether Jeff is their “creator” in a godlike way, or if he merely sees into their world and can influence events in Andvell. Or, to put it another way: Do things happen because he writes them that way, or does he write them that way because that’s what happened?
It’s something I’ve wondered before. As a writer I’d like to think I’m fantastically creative, making characters and situations from nothing more than the dust bunnies and tumbleweed rolling around in my mind. But also, as a writer, I sometimes have no control over what I’m writing. I’ll want a story to go one way and it diverts the other. I’ll chuck a character in, expecting them to be minor, a means to an end, and then the character turns out later to be a major catalyst and plot point. Something that I had never planned on in brainstorming or outlining. At times I have no idea what to write next and other times the words come tumbling out in a tsunami of text, crashing onto the paper surprising me as they fall.
So, do writers create or do we have some kind of psychic connection to other times and other places?
I don’t think the question posed by the book is answerable, but it certainly is thought provoking. Some books (or movies even) become such phenomenons it’s hard to believe it’s not real. The Harry Potter books are so vivid, with back story and world building, that it could be easy to think that J.K. Rowling was a Dian Fossey to a hidden magical community. Some tales become bigger than their teller. How many times has Dracula been reworked? Dracula in part helped birth the entire Vampire Lit genre. I’m sure that Bram Stoker would not have imagined his work inspiring books like Twilight or The Mortal Instruments. I think all writers secretly want to have at least one book that is bigger than them. But for an author it’s also a scary thought, to lose control of your own creation. It could become Frankenstein or a Sherlock Holmes. Once you release a book into the world you lose a degree of control over them. Maybe no one reads them, maybe they become a bestseller, bigger than you could ever have imagined. Its journey is no longer in your hands.
Evensong is the first book in the Meratis Trilogy, and I’m intrigued as to where Walsh would take the story next. Things were ended in such a way I can’t imagine where the author is going to pick up the threads for a sequel.