Saturday, July 21, 2012

A New Arthurian Legend: An interview with C.M. Gray

Today, I'm talking with C.M. Gray about his Arthurian legend-based book Shadowland.

1) Tell us about your book.

Hi and thanks for the opportunity to chat about my writing, I'm thrilled to be invited onto your blog. My book Shadowland has a strong basis in the Arthurian legend, but it won't be like any Arthurian book you have read before. I've written it in the hope that it will appeal to a wide audience, from middle school right up to adult readers. I've done this by, I hope, writing an interesting and entertaining story but without complicating the story too much, leaving out any sex and making the violence a little less graphic. Saying that, the battle scenes are there and they tell of the suffering and action involved as the Britons confront the Saxon aggressors, but it is only enough to make it a great story.

2) What inspired this book?

To be honest, I set out to write a story without any idea of where it was going to head. I liked the idea of an old storyteller spinning a tale one midwinters eve. As his listeners gather around the fire after the traditional feast, he starts a story but is interrupted by a visitor that confronts him and talks him into telling a story from his own life.

There was no inspiration as such, it's the same with any of my books; they just happen. I never set out to write about a certain subject, I could never be hemmed in by the restrictions of a storyline I had to keep to.

3) The Arthurian legend has gone through countless permutations in oral form, written form, film, and television. They all have their different nuances and influences. How did you decide to approach the Arthurian legend and what influenced you?

Well, I bet you've not come across this story. For one thing the name Arthur doesn't come up until the last chapter! This is the story of his father, Uther Pendragon. There are certain things that strike a similar cord because it is from the Arthurian legends, but it is more of a prequel! Merlin is a much younger man, but he is there, not as you might expect him and for much of the book he doesn't....but that might be termed as a spoiler so I won't go there. Suffice it to say this is the story that came before the one you may think you know. There is no round table or shiny knights in this story.

4) With all these different takes, it can be hard to bring something fresh to the tale. What sets apart your take on Arthurian Legend?

As I said this is his father's tale. The story of Uther Pendragon when he was a boy of just fifteen summers. It tells of his struggle to come to terms with who he is and how his land is being fought over like scrap of meat cast aside for squabbling dogs. The land needs a leader, someone to unite the tribes and Uther needs to step forward to fill that role.

5) What primary themes does your book explore?

The dark ages was a period in the history of Britain that very little is actually known about. Very little written record has been handed down. There are writings from a few Christian Monks and a little from departing Romans, but for the most part all we are left with are a few names and legends. I have tried to take the little that has been passed to us and mix it with a healthy dose of storytelling and big lump of fantasy thrown in to add spice. One of my main protagonists is Cal, he spends a large amount of his time helping Uther, and a large part of his time switching his consciousness with a wolf. The book is called Shadowland because of the dark ages, but also it refers to the place between life and death, the Shadowland, and Cal spends time in the Shadowland.

6) Does this legend of the distant past have anything to tell us in our modern time?

I don't purposely set out to give lessons in life, but I think Shadowland shows how strong a person must be to succeed with their convictions. It also shows the need to be honest and true to oneself. To live the life you are truly meant to live. These are traits as important today as they ever were.

7) Do you have any sequels planned?

I have no sequel planned as yet, I may do, but I have a very active imagination and lots of other great ideas! My first book is also out at the moment, it's a pure fantasy YA/Adult questing adventure called The Flight of the Griffin, I'm almost finished with the sequel to that. It should be available at the end of the year and has the working title of Chaos Storm, I hope you will all look out for it after reading Shadowland and The Flight of the Griffin!

Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk with you all today, I appreciate the chance to tell you about my writing and hope you are intrigued enough to read my work.

Amazon com:

Paperback at Lulu:

Twitter: @cgray129

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