At the height of winter, I travel to Finland for work and to see friends. Because I'm out there for so long, I always catch the Northern Lights once or twice. They're just as magical as they are said to be, and every time I see them, it may as well be the first time. I don't think I'll ever get used to watching them dance through the sky.
Of course, I couldn't help but dig into some of the legends surrounding the aurora borealis, so for the next few weeks, I'm going to be bringing you a new series of posts collecting stories from around the Arctic. It seems the best place to start is Finland itself, so let's take a look at the Fire Fox.
Visiting the Arctic is something I'm lucky enough to do every single winter. But the first time I went, I didn't have a clue what to take with me. I'd been on a plane on many occasions, but usually to places that called for swimming costume and sandals! So here's my guide for what you'll need to throw in your suitcase if you're travelling into the far north.
Ah, those pesky emotions. We rely on them every single day, yet they can be so hard to understand... and for a writer, they can be even harder! How can you translate such a diverse range of psychological processes onto the page?
The answer is relatively simple, when you simplify things.
My gut reaction is “no”, but maybe that’s simply because I’ve come to really enjoy the process. I can't begin work on any novel without doing some degree of research. I think it’s partially because I love learning anyway, but I also want to make sure that I can get each story as ‘real’ as possible.
But, saying that, I think that research can have its limits in regards to the story it’s helping to tell. You need to know when enough is enough.
As part of Virtual FantasyCon 2017, I'm so happy to be interviewing my good friend and fellow author Serene Conneeley! Serene is a writer from Sydney, Australia, who melds myth and magic with the real world, and finds enchantment in the everyday.
She is the author of the non-fiction books Seven Sacred Sites, A Magical Journey, The Book of Faery Magic, Mermaid Magic, Witchy Magic and Into the Mists: A Journal, and creator of the meditation CD Sacred Journey. The Into the Mists Trilogy was her first adventure into fiction, and she is currently finishing three Into the Mists Chronicles.
Find out more at www.SereneConneeley.com.
Young Adult (or YA, as it's commonly abbreviated to) is my favourite age-related genre of book out there. It's what I love to read and what I love to write. But I know it can be pretty tough to figure out some of the aspects of what makes a YA story.
First of all, what exactly is YA? It's a grey area that sits between children's and adult fiction - so you could argue that anything between the ages of 11-19 is technically YA. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that is a huge spread of ages.
You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn't heard of Snow White. Even if people aren't familiar with the original recorded by the Brothers Grimm, they probably know the 1939 Disney classic. Poisoned apple, seven dwarfs, and Evil Queen.
Well, yes and no.
The whole idea of science vs imagination is something I’ve thought about since I was in my early teens; how the two have often contradicted each other. How is it possible to make sense of one or the other, or even both together?
Even though I studied science for seven years at university, it doesn’t always come naturally to me. When I was younger, I often wondered, where was the room for daydreaming and magic in a path of logic and facts? When I saw a tree, my first thought wasn’t on photosynthesis and nutrient uptake – it was imagining I could see gnomes using the bark markings as camouflage!