As I anticipate the release of my second book, Merlin’s Weft, my mind goes back to its genesis. I hadn’t conceived the first book (Merlin’s Knot) as the first of its own series. For a few years I’d been playing with the idea of writing a King Arthur saga that takes place in Britain in the fourth and fifth centuries. I’m still thinking about that one. The story idea sprawls over about a hundred years and includes twenty or more major characters spread throughout that period, I’ve restarted it several times. I just can’t find the right voice(s) to tell the epic.
Returning to the point, the contemporary Merlin book came to me as a story entire unto itself. Merlin shows up in current-day Houston looking for King Arthur, whose essence had been sent from his body and his time because he had suffered a severe head injury. The event fits into the saga I have in mind, explaining an absence of the hero that allows Mordred to take over the realm. Indeed, several flashback-type chapters of Merlin’s Knot relate events planned for the post-Roman saga.
When Merlin finds Arthur in Houston, unexpected complications arise. The point of view character, an unemployed engineer named Alfred, becomes more and more embroiled in Merlin’s attempts to return King Arthur to his destiny. The book has what I hope is an ending that readers find surprising, but upon reflection realize was inevitable.
Job done, let’s go home.
Except … I kept thinking about one of the characters in Knot, wondering what happened to her. A victim of several childhood traumas, in Weft Adele gets help from Merlin and a healer named Neve to stitch pieces of her former personalities together into one woman. The idea that appealed to me was answering the question: how do you heal a fractured soul. I needed to know what happened to her, and only by putting her story to paper could I find out.
The first decision I had to make was who the point of view character would be. I quickly realized that I had to tell the story from inside Adele’s head. That idea scared me. I’d written about her several personalities in Knot, and although none were saints, I liked and respected them. But I’d written about them from Alfred’s perspective, outside their minds. Nonetheless, going inside Adele’s head was the only way to tell the story, and I had to convert my feeling of “a scary idea” into “a worthy challenge.”
I’ll write a few more blogs over the next couple of weeks to give you an idea of how I went about solving some of the challenges. I’ll try hard to avoid revealing any spoilers for either the first or the second book. That’ll be easier to do for the second, so if you haven’t read the first, I recommend you get a copy of Merlin’s Knot and catch up.
When I hear of a series that’s already begun a question arises: Do I need to read the first book to appreciate the second? In the case of Merlin’s Weft, I’ve tried to incorporate the necessary information from the first book so a reader can appreciate the second as a stand-alone story. However, like many other series that use the same characters, it helps to read the earlier book to see how the characters evolve.
Join my mailing list to obtain a copy of the prequel, Merlin’s Shuttle.