Please welcome Viv Sang who joins us for today’s blog tour post. She cut her teeth on many of the classic fantasy stories many of us are familiar with. She’s now an author with several titles to her name and more to come.
I can remember writing a story about a dog when I was quite small. I know I was small because I spelled ‘of’ as ‘ov’ all the way through. I can’t actually remember how old I was though.
Later, at school, I enjoyed writing stories. If we were given an essay that was mainly descriptive, I did not enjoy it nearly as much. I remember that I once wrote a story of 20 pages in my exercise book. I enjoyed doing it. I have no idea how my teacher enjoyed marking it, though! I remember that I got a good mark for it.
Later, in my teens. I wrote a ‘book’. It was a romantic story about a group of girls going on holiday to Italy and meeting a group of Italian boys and some English boys. It all ended tragically though, as the main Italian boy was killed in a car crash when visiting his English girlfriend.
Reading has always been a passion of mine. My mother used to say that you could forget about talking to me if I had my head in a book. Story telling seemed to follow this quite naturally. I told myself stories all the time, but only myself. I think this changed when I started playing Dungeons and Dragons, but here I am getting ahead of myself.
I trained as a teacher in Manchester, and while on my second teaching practice, which was in a junior school in Irlam, just outside Manchester, I was teaching a class of 9 year olds. At the end of one lesson, a boy, with the wonderful name of Fred Spittal, came up to me with a book in his hand.
‘Have you ever read this, Miss?’ he asked.
I replied that I hadn’t. The book in question was one of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
‘Well.’ said Fred, ‘you should. It’s very good, but you ought to read The Hobbit first as it sets the scene for these books.’
A few weeks later I was in the college library and I saw The Hobbit on the shelf. Of course. I got it out and was immediately hooked. I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, then the C.S.Lewis books. There was little else in fantasy at that time though.
Many years later, I was teaching at a secondary school in Croydon, London, when a couple of my colleagues started talking about Dungeons and Dragons. I said I’d always wanted to play and so they suggested I join them in a game with several other members of staff. We played each lunchtime until they both left the school and then I became the DM and started a club for the pupils. It was during this time that I created a scenario that I called The Hunt for Sauvern’s Sword. During this time I also discovered the Dragonlance Chronicles, which I also enjoyed tremendously. I would also recommend Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistwraith books. There are so many fantasy writers who have influenced me. Robin Hobb, Marian Zimmer Bradley, Terry Pratchett, Terry Brooks, Susan Cooper, Stephen Donaldson, David Eddings to mention just a few.
During the summer one year I decided to turn this scenario into a book. There was no thought of putting it into print at this time, though. I wrote during the holidays between exam marking and lesson planning. When I retired I found t he time to finish it.
I don’t think that many of my players would recognise it now, though. When writing it, it took on a life of its own, and the characters had quite a lot to say in its development. I am sure that any authors reading this will understand what I mean. Perhaps non-authors will wonder about it. Characters can suddenly say or do something that you had not planned. This certainly happened a number of times, especially a revelation made by my young thief! I believe that Tolkien had no intention of putting Boromir’s brother in The Lord of the Rings, but he ‘came wandering out of the forest of Illian.’
What was intended to be a single book has now morphed into several under the title of The Wolves of Vimar. As yet I don’t know exactly how many books there will be. The first two are available from Amazon, (The Wolf Pack and The Never-Dying Man.) The third will be published, I hope, early next year. I am also working on a novel based in Roman Britain and I have a recipe book in print too.
About The Wolf Pack
An ancient, mysterious prophecy turns up in an old book. This leads apprentice mage, Carthinal, to a search for a long, lost artefact. He and his seven companions all meet, seemingly by chance, but there are hints that maybe the gods themselves are taking a hand in the quest.
All the characters have had to make life-changing decisions to bring them to where they are now, and during the quest they need to face their innermost fears and overcome them. There are dangers and surprises awaiting them before they attain their objective and return home, and an implacable foe searches for them.
They will find love and tragedy in equal measure, and none of them returns home unchanged
The Most High of Kalhera looked at his visitor.
‘This is most irregular. What you propose is possible, but forbidden.’
The magister replied, ‘I realise that, Your Holiness. That’s why I’ve come to see you. I need your permission to perform the rite, and to provide a cleric who can do it.’
‘You would deny Kalhera some souls. She doesn’t like that, you know. If you deny her these, she will demand some others in recompense. That is the way.’
The magister looked the Most High in the eye. He held the gaze of the other as he told him, ‘It will not be for all time.’
He held up his hand as the Most High opened his mouth to speak. ‘I cannot say for how long these souls will be denied to Kalhera.’ he went on, ‘It may be a few years, or it may be millennia. Your Holiness, I have had a dream. Sometime in the future these souls will be returned to Kalhera. Please grant me permission to perform the rite.’
The Most High looked at the magister and then he rose. ‘I will go and commune with Kalhera. If she permits it, I will grant you both your requests, permission to perform the rite and a cleric to perform it. I believe it requires both a Cleric of Death and a mage?’
With that, the Most High of Kalhera, Goddess of Death and the Underworld left the room through a door obscured by a black curtain.
‘Symbolic, I suppose,’ thought the magister.
They carried the body of their king across the land and over the mountains until they reached the place he had asked to be his final resting-place. It was a beauteous place. A deep, forested valley surrounded by high mountains and with a steaming lake in the bottom. The lake was fed by water from deep within the volcanic mountains and was a warm and pleasant temperature. It had been the king’s favourite place in the entire world, albeit not in his own lands. It was here that he had met his true love. She was not mortal, but his love had been reciprocated and he wished to be near her in death.
The king was buried in a burial mound that they prepared, and then they prepared two others, one on each side. They interred their king with due ceremony for all there were only fourteen of them there. The magister had half expected a fifteenth, but then she may have been watching from hiding, as she was shy of people. He looked at the others.
‘Are you all ready?’ the elven magister asked the assembled young warriors.
‘Yes!’ they chorused.
He looked round the group of twelve. They were so young. He had asked for volunteers, and they were all more than eager. At the beginning, that was. Now one or two of them seemed more than a little afraid. Not that he could blame them. It was a very frightening thing he was asking of them. He noticed the youngest of them was visibly trembling. He was a lad of only sixteen turns of the sun, and yet he had volunteered readily enough when asked. The old elf sighed. Better give them one last chance to change their minds. He hoped that not too many did or maybe there would not be sufficient for the task. Certainly twelve was the recommended number, but maybe less would suffice.
‘There is no censure to any who wish to change their minds. It is a fearsome thing you are volunteering to do.’
One member of the group looked at the youngest. ‘Are you all right, Bry?’ he said. ‘No one will think you a coward if you withdraw.’
‘Maybe not, but I would,’ replied the young man. ‘I said I’d do it, and do it I will.’
‘So be it,’ the mage said. ‘Form the circle.’
The twelve young men formed a circle around the mage and the cleric of Kalhera, who had also accompanied them on their journey. They drew their swords and knelt, sword tips on the ground and hands clasped over the hilts. They bowed their heads.
The young man known as Bry closed his eyes. He did not know what was to happen, only the outcome. His fear was almost palpable. The others felt it too, but they were all warriors, and none of them, not even Bry, allowed it to affect their determination to go through with it. Bry heard the cleric begin his chant in the centre of the circle, and then the mage joined with a chant of his own. The two chants seemed to weave around each other, in and out until the two men seemed to be chanting one chant.
‘A bit like a choir singing in harmony,’ Bry thought.
He felt a little strange, light headed almost, and then there was a sudden wrenching pain, which seemed to be accompanied by a crack. It was gone almost as soon as he felt it and he wondered if the spell had failed. He dared to open his eyes. Yes, something had gone wrong for there were his companions still kneeling in place. He glanced down at himself. Yes, there were his hands grasping his sword. But just a moment! What was that lying in front of him? With horror, he realised it was his own body. The spell had worked after all. He was dead, but his soul was tied to Vimar. He would remain here to guard the body of his King until the prophesied time came.
The group of twelve warriors looked at their bodies. A little sadly, thought Bry. He himself was thinking of all the things he had not done in his sixteen years. He would never now marry and have the love and companionship of a woman, never hear his children and grandchildren laughing and playing. Never again eat a good meal or get drunk with his companions. For centuries to come he would patrol this lake and the hidden tomb in the caves below, protecting them from harm until the eight came. The Wolves.