I am so happy to share with you a special feature from talented author, Liz Fenwick. By weaving folklore throughout her stories, Liz brings alive the fairytales and myths from the past into her contemporary tales with magical effect. In this post, Liz has given us an insight into the stories and legends of Cornwall, the research involved, and how they play an important role in her novels.
Myths and Legends
I have to begin this post with the statement ‘I love research.’ In fact I love it so much that I would do nothing but research…so when I begin a book I try to do only enough to write the rough draft leaving lots of XXXXs where I need to do more. My first draft is always messy as I find my way through the story and get to know my characters. I’m not a planner, or not much of one.
Since becoming published I’ve learned to be more of a planner as I no longer have time to write myself into HUGE PLOT HOLES…just small ones. I love the excitement of discovering the story as I go. But it’s the second and third draft that the twists and turns – the really interesting stuff - happens and it’s normally through research.
By now you are wondering why this post is called myths and legends when all I’ve done is talk about research and messy first drafts. Well it tends to be in the research that I find things that make the story sing. For example I was writing A Cornish Affair when I came across the old Cornish saying… ‘save a stranger from the sea, he’ll turn your enemy.’ Bingo. One phrase pulled many stored tidbits out of my brain and A Cornish Stranger was born. While writing this book I searched for a Cornish legend that the character Max could build an opera around and found the Lovers of Porthgwarra, which resonated beautifully on so many counts with the story in A Cornish Stranger.
The book that contains the most use of myths and legends is Under A Cornish Sky. Again I have to admit I am a sucker for a good myth. When I was young my grandfather lived with us. He had a passion for poetry and being Irish a good story. So my childhood was filled with both. I think that is the reason I ‘feel’ the faeries in the woods and the land talks to me, but that’s another story all together or maybe the one for a psychiatrist’s couch.
In Under A Cornish sky we have two very different women…one exceedingly no nonsense Victoria yet she is extremely connected to the land. She’s rooted in it as her childhood was spent on an ancient Cornish estate and this allows her to be practical yet see faeries. The land in a way speaks to her through the stories she heard as a child. Despite the hard outside shell she respects the folklore…such as the connection of her beloved Boscawen (in Cornish – the house by the elder tree) and the trees around it. Discovering the rituals and beliefs about the elder provided several twists and turns for the story.
But going back to my first point, the name of the house was only chosen after the first draft…and my editor liked the name Boscawen, which twisted the book in a whole new way.
The other protagonist Demi is at a cross roads in her life and has been a bit of an over protected flower. Yet she too has been touched by the magic of Cornwall.The book opens with a child lost in a bluebell wood…singing a little ditty her grandmother taught her…bluebell, blue bell do you really true tell, bluebell, bluebell who will love me bluebell, do tell…then she hears a bluebell ring and knows someone will die. She runs and meets the Kowres (female giant in Cornish). This Cornish word was given to me on twitter by the lovely people of Falmouth University archives….and added a knew dimension to the story. Also provided me with the opportunity to create a mythical story of my own for the book.
I also relocated a standing stone with a hole in it to the woods of Boscawen and had fun playing with the myths surrounding it from curing children to ensuring fertility…
The myths and legends add layers to the story and connect it to the land. Writing about a primitive and elemental land like Cornwall I would be depriving the reader of the ‘feel’ of this place if I didn’t embrace the myths and legends in my fiction. Cornish folklore is truly connected to the land and people who created it to explain the unexplainable, the untouchable…the simply magic.
Now as I’m beginning to do the first phase of research for book six, I’m on the look out for more folklore to enrich the story and twist the plot….. I also know I want to write a story about the faeries I’m sure live in Merthen wood on the Helford River…
I want to take this opportunity to thank Liz Fenwick for providing this feature for my blog. Check out my review of Liz's novel, Under a Cornish Sky, below.
Book length - 324 pages
Available on - www.amazon.com | www.amazon.co.uk
One minute you seem to have your life sorted and the next minute, everything has fallen apart around you. Within months Demi's life has imploded around her - she lost out on her dream job to someone who stole her ideas, her boyfriend turned out to be a sleazebag who abused her trust in the worst possible way, and her beloved mum suddenly passed away. leaving her all alone in London. With no job, no money, and nowhere to live, Demi decides to visit her grandfather in Cornwall to figure out what her next step will be. But as Demi gets acquainted with her mother's hometown, she cannot help the feeling that she has been here before or the fear that overtakes her at the strangest of times. For all is not as it seems, and when Demi discovers who her real father is, life may never be the same for her again.
Victoria will do anything to rebuild the Boscawen estate again. Owned by her family through the years but sadly sold on the death of her brother, Victoria has finally managed to reinstate herself in the only place she has ever truly wanted to be. But life has made Victoria hard and bitter, and when her husband dies in an accident, she feels sorrow but also relief that finally, she can do whatever she needs to do to make Boscawen great again. Having no children, Boscawen will become her legacy. Her obsession. But life is never that straight forward and with an unknown stipulation in her husband's will, someone else has the power to destroy everything she has ever dreamed of.
With plenty of twists and turns, the magic of Cornwall is woven through this beautiful tale of love, loss, and family. Throughout the story, Demi finds her inner strength and self-belief as she learns everything she needs to know about her past. Victoria, while not always likeable, is a strong character who has always had to fight for respect and for what she wants. The imagery mixed with the folklore brings a whole other added dimension to this emotional story and I loved the mystery and romance that Sam and Seb brought to the novel. UNDER A CORNISH SKY by Liz Fenwick is just one of those books that you never want to put down - beautiful scenery and folklore, engaging characters, and a plot that really grabs a hold of you. I eagerly await the release of THE RETURNING TIDE in 2017, and Cornwall will have to be my next holiday destination!
BOOK RATING - 📖📖📖📖📖 5+
Writer, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer….
Award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger and Under A Cornish Sky. After ten international moves, I’m a bit of a global nomad. It’s no wonder my heart remains in Cornwall. I’m currently editing my next book – The Returning Tide due in January 2017. My books are available in Dutch, Germany, Portuguese, French, Estonia, Norwegian Danish, Turkish, Swedish, Latvian, Serbian and Czech.
For more information:
Website - lizfenwick.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/liz.fenwick.author?fref=ts
Twitter - twitter.com/liz_fenwick
*Book received from author in exchange for an honest review
Hi fellow bookworms. My name is Linda and I'm a reviewer & blogger from Ireland. Oh and also a wife and mother!
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