During my time in New Zealand last year, I began writing a novel. It was such an awe-inspiring country to be living in, I found inspiration very easy to come by. My idea started out small - a boy, setting out into the world with his canine companion. What will he find? Who will he meet? What will he become? These were the sort of questions I asked myself at the start, and since I happened to be on my own adventure at the time, I found the answers came rather easily.
I’ve always been a sucker for ‘journey’ stories. Lord of the Rings are my absolute favourite films of all time, and I love epic fantasy worlds in general. And a good journey story must always come with a map… So, I drew my map. I started in the bottom left corner, my little hero’s home town, and worked my way out from there. Adding landmarks and points of interest proved very fun, and since I was making a fantasy map, I could put whatever I liked in there… How about a row of towns along the southern border, where the weather is warmer? Sounds good. How about connecting them up via a huge train track… yeeeah. So, my world has some technology? Okay. I want it to be fairly rustic, but why not have a scientist who invents crazy contraptions…that would be fun. My world will have 2 moons! How will this affect the tides? And the evolution of life…? How about a prison…ohhh, I was onto something. My first big idea.
I had the world, I had the characters. Now, I just had to write it.
So, I did.
For ten months of my travels, whenever I found myself with a spare moment, I would sit down and work on my story. I had everything outlined, I knew where the story would go, I knew what was going to happen - all that was left was to fill in the blanks. And that proved to be the best part. Knowing how I wanted a scene to go didn’t necessarily mean my characters would let me do things that way… Quite often, they would surprise me: think of some cool line to say, or some ridiculous action to do which would take us down a curious road… wasn’t this my story? Yes, it was, but my characters were making it so much more. They had personalities of their own all of a sudden, and I had to let them go where they would.
After ten months, and perhaps 1’000 hours worth of work, I finished my first-draft. And now, precisely 1 year after I wrote the very first line (in the Kiwi Bunkhouse, in Blenheim, New Zealand, working as a vineyard labourer…) I have a finished book. It’s quite an awesome feeling.
It’s a light-hearted fantasy romp, full of action and adventure, mishaps, danger, detestable villains, one slightly insane mother and a mischevous almost-talking dog. Whether you’re a child or an adult, there’s something to enjoy. And that’s not me saying so, my readers tell me so. I joined a writing community and had so much useful feedback from the people I met there, I can honestly say that without them, I wouldn’t have stuck it out.
I love my story, but I am under no illusions - I’m a first time novelist and I won’t become a millionaire after this. But I didn’t do it for the money. Travelling for a year, away from home, away from mundane life, away from everything I ever knew, gave me more freedom than I could have ever hoped for. And with all that free time, I was able to let my creativity take over, and make something that was…forgive the soppiness…from my heart, and something I could be proud of.
If you are a traveler, you may like it. It’s not overly long, so it doesn’t outstay its welcome. It’s a celebration of ‘the journey’, albeit a surreal and somewhat exaggerated one. If you can relate to visiting strange faraway places, meeting weird locals, and discovering something new about yourself, then you may find something to relate to.
I had an absolute tonne of fun writing it, and all I can hope for now is to share some of that fun with you, my potential reader.
Lunaria is available in paperback and Kindle eBook from Amazon. It costs less than a beer, and will last a lot longer.
If you’re from the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lunaria-M-Clarke-ebook/dp/B00KVP9WE4/
If you’re from the USA: http://www.amazon.com/Lunaria-M-Clarke-ebook/dp/B00KVP9WE4/
It’s also available in all the European versions of Amazon, just goto your local site and search for ‘Lunaria’.