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Wednesday, 31 January 2018
Author’s Inspiration ~ Kieran Higgins #Arthurian #HistFic @kieran__higgins
It is with the greatest of pleasure that I welcome fellow Arthurian author, Kieran Higgins on to the blog today. Kieran is going to share with us his inspirations behind his latest book…
The Forgotten Sister
The Romans have retreated from Britain, and left only chaos in their wake. One man is prophesied to put an end to the warring kingdoms, the invading Saxons and the injustice wreaked on the common peoples. He is Arthur Pendragon.
On the eve of her arranged marriage, the Princess Elaine promises the dying Uther Pendragon and her treacherous mother Igraine that she will support the ascension of her half-brother Arthur to the throne. Determined to support her brother and his vision for a glorious Britain, Elaine is soon swept up in the intrigues of Camelot and caught firmly between her warring siblings - the High King Arthur, the vengeful Morgan LeFay and the devious, lustful Morgause.
She is a queen, a warrior and a witch. Yet none of these things may save her brother from those who plot against him, or the poison at the very heart of his kingdom. He became myth, but she was forgotten. This is her tale.
I have always loved the Arthurian myths, and the thing I love most about them is that they can only be enhanced by the multiple retellings and reimaginings in novels, films and TV shows. As we discover more history, or a new version of the legend, it only adds to the magic of the original story, giving us new angles and new perspectives from which to explore a key cultural cornerstone.
The women in the Arthurian myths play extremely important roles, and are often catalysts to the action, if not taking a direct part in it themselves. But somehow take up so little of the narrative, and are often portrayed in an unnecessarily negative light. Apparently, this was because of our two biggest sources. Thomas Malory was a massive misogynist, and Chretien De Troyes’ had a female patron who was mostly concerned with the courtly love aspect and action scenes, not exactly the women themselves.
I decided to give them their turn in the spotlight. I picked the most important woman of all, and seemingly the most fun – the villain. I wanted to write about Morgan LeFay, and round her out. Explain why she did what she did. Give her a bit of understanding and sympathy.
But…Morgan LeFay is hard to write.
The way I wanted to portray her, she is very unlikeable. A woman like Morgan, being so intelligent, should realise all the horrible things she does might not get her what she wants. The beliefs she holds, a woman like Morgan should realise they’re fundamentally flawed. She was a nightmare to write. She wasn’t even enjoyable in a love-to-hate sort of way.
Then I thought, what about Morgause? And then I thought: NO. If you know me at all, you know that I am fundamentally uncomfortable writing sex scenes. Morgause has a lot of sex, and it would be a very boring novel for the main character to do something, and then announce at random intervals that she had sex. It might have been mind-blowing, but you didn’t get to read about it.
Plus, I wanted to stay as true to the original myths as I could, and Morgause has an arguably limited role.
Then I discovered Arthur had another sister.
And she is rarely written about. And boom – it was like an explosion had gone off in my mind. And the only way to put it out the fires it started was to write this novel. Elaine was a perfect character. She is a sister to all the big players, and as the Queen of Garlot and husband of one of Arthur’s most trusted generals, she had ringside seats to all the action. Because there is so little about her in the original myths, I could create her from the ground up. There were certain events that were non-negotiable, but all the rest I could create. She could be the perfect window into Camelot.
Whether or not Elaine was a historical person is up for debate, more so than the debate of whether King Arthur was real or not. But in case she was, I want to thank her. I want to acknowledge the fundamental role she had in helping me achieve something I have wanted for all of my short lifetime, even though history, and its bastard cousin legend, seem to have largely forgotten her.
The Forgotten Sister. See what I did there?
Links for Purchase
About the author
Kieran is a Belfast-born author. He wrote his first novel at age 5 - he also received his first rejection letter at this age. He has been writing ever since and has produced his debut novel The Forgotten Sister, an Arthurian retelling, in 2016. This was quickly followed by Mists Over Newbroke, a chilling gothic horror novella.
Inspired by JK Rowling, Garth Nix and Mary Stewart, Kieran writes the type of stories he wants to read - exciting tales full of compelling characters with believable motivations, captivating locations, strong females and, most importantly, magic.
A devoted book lover, Kieran can also be found on Instagram and YouTube, talking about the stories you need to read.