The first volume in the Tapestry of Life Series, and the first novel I wrote.

I began ElvenSword in my head long before I started writing it.  My lady and I, and our eldest son had been on a trip through South Africa to see it for the last time, because we were emigrating to the UK.   On the road back to Cape Town we passed through a town called Willowmore.  Now you would imagine that such a town had a river flowing through it, lined with willows.  Nope.  A dry desolation, the river bed just dust and sand.  A few miles on the other side of the sadly misnamed Willowmore, I noticed one or two wildflowers in the storm water drains next to the road.  A few miles further on, there were more.  Then we passed a few stumpy bushes, and a couple of pines, and then within a few miles, we were in a magnificent rain forest.

The idea for a great trek came into my head, a story about a man who comes to an inn in those great southern forests in the Southern Cape,  and takes the inn’s boy with him.  The man is heir to the throne of a great empire, and the story was to have been how they would work out their love for each other while allowing the soon-to-be emperor the chance to produce heirs.  I even wrote a bit of it.  But I was so dissatisfied with my writing I put is aside.

Still, the idea of something like that haunted me, a story about men loving men and women, and having to do what honor and duty demanded, and the price they paid.

A visit to Christchurch (South Island, New Zealand) which has a splendid extinct volcano right on its doorstep gave me the idea of Cappor.  And I wanted to set the story in the southern hemisphere, where it gets colder the further south you go.  The final catalyst was Lynn Flewelling’s Luck in the Shadows.  I used this to see how to write a story.  The first few chapters were terrible.  But gradually I got the knack of it, and started to write better.  I rewrote those first few chapters nine or ten times — and I’m still not happy with them!  I found, also, as countless writers have found since story-telling began, that my story evolved and changed in unexpected ways, that the characters themselves shifted and grew.  And so ElvenSword is very different to the story as I first conceived it, though you can see the underlying themes are common.

I wanted to write about a world where love happened despite gender.  I was sick of stories dominated by heterosexuals.  But I also thought that in a world where the gender of your partner really didn’t matter, most people would be bisexual to some degree or another, that they would have a ceremony and and institution for same-sex marriage, and that they would have very different values to those we have.   So to complete the switch, I made it a female-dominated society, where the duchesses and queens and empresses outrank their consorts.  Chapter 4

Prologue    Chapter 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4

One thought on “ElvenSword

  1. Pingback: ElvenSword | Nick Thiwerspoon

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