Truth be told, I’m a bit of a dreamer. Great forests of giant oaks, mountains shrouded in cloud, magical gemstones and journeys into the unknown have captured my imagination since I was a girl. I grew up on a dairy farm in Wharehine, north of Auckland in New Zealand – which to my young mind was full of magical places. A stand of native bush beneath our house was transformed one summer into the Kauri Kingdom, fairy tooth-brushes were collected from the purple-flowered creepers on the old pa site, and an old dinghy on the water-lily-logged dam at the bottom of the hill opened up a slow moving world of water nymphs and daydreams.
I was five the first time my Nana read me the Hobbit. Whenever I’d stay overnight with her, I’d get up early in the morning and climb into her bed for a story. Before she started to read, we’d pore over the map to get our bearings. My eyes were always drawn to the mountain with its little entrance and the dragon drawn above it – promises of both danger and treasure. I remember she’d wait until I was very still before she’d start to read. And I loved it all. The rhyming names of the dwarves, Balin and Dwalin; Oin and Gloin: Dori, Ori and Nori??? There were so many of them and even then I remember they just seemed to keep coming. I was almost as overwhelmed by their number as Bilbo. But snuggled in with my Nana, I was captivated by Tolkien’s world opening up before me. I wanted to see the Misty Mountains and travel by barrel down the River Running. To believe that if faced with the same circumstances, I too could be a hero.
For years all I did was dream, and lose myself in other people’s stories. I visited Middle Earth, Narnia, Camelot and Prince Edward Island (okay it’s not a fantasy realm but it might as well have been in the hands of Lucy Maud Montgomery), where good fought evil and eventually emerged triumphant. I travelled to other worlds with Anne McCaffrey, back in history with Diana Galbaldon and fell in love with Richard Cypher in the early Terry Goodkind novels. But somewhere along the way, I realised I wanted to tell my own stories too. And one in particular is ready to be told.
So this is the scary part – the part that makes me feel like a female Bilbo standing on the edge of the great adventure – the beginning. It’s one thing to dream of other realms. But to share them with you too? We’ll have to see.
This blog is about my journey. There and hopefully back again. To write the novel or die trying.
What will you discover if you come with me? I don’t really know. This blog might be about writing, or fantasy or other people’s great books that make me want to weep at my own baby-steps (Patrick Rothfuss). Or something else entirely. But I’m willing to find out.
I’ve shut the door behind me and stepped out of my comfort zone.