WRITING: Ten Thousand Ways to Experience Love

Good afternoon,

I’ve been thinking about the second trilogy of The Ferryman series. I don’t have it listed in my works-in-progress because I don’t need an agent seeing that and thinking that I’m nuts if I think a newcomer can sell a six book series in this market. Most sell three books at best and if they pick up then they sell more. That’s how it works. I thought for the purposes of my blog I should focus on the first three books.

That got me thinking about relationships in Young Adult fiction. I’ve read enough to see various different types of relationships. There’s the triangles, the disgust, the soulmates, the hate then love, the fakers, the discoverers, the forbidden, and even the tragic. If you don’t know what I mean let me do this another way.

The Wolves of Mercy Falls – tragic
The Hunger Games – fake
Twilight – triangles
Delirium – Dsicoverers
Deivergent – Forbidden
The Caster Chronicles – Tragic
The Mortal Instruments – Disgust / Soulmates
Hush Hush – Hate then Love
Nightshade – Triangles

And the list goes on and on. Every book has it’s version of a love story, and since love has so many sides to it, it’s an easy subject to write about. We’ve all experienced love in different ways.

The Ferryman has always been a story about tragic soulmate love. The best and the worst kind. Neither of the main characters have eyes for anyone else, but they do have a lot of pain because there’s always something tearing them apart. This was the basis of the story, a love that couldn’t last, a love doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again, a love that never goes away, that always hurts whether together or apart. A love that transcends time, the elements, the complications, everything.

And I have two main characters that have some of the most complicated of complications. If we look first at the myth of The Ferryman he’s not a lover or a fighter. He’s a macabre servant that takes souls to the other side. He doesn’t have a life of his own. He’s bound like a genie is bound to his lamp. He’s not free to love.

In addition to the traditional mythology there’s another school of thought that believes that just because we can’t actively see the Ferryman doing their work doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They’re thought to exist on the astral realm, possessing a body before death and experiencing the death with the host. They then provide the safe passage to the host soul and move onto the next host.

Krishani, my Ferryman, is a successor to a Ferryman that’s already working in the Lands of Men. In the first book, FLAME OF SURRENDER, he doesn’t have the job yet, but he is segregated and taught to be hard and strong. Girls aren’t a regular part of his lifestyle. He’s meant to marry the land and perform his duty. That is until he meets The Flame and falls in love with her.

The Flame is a lesser known character from Eastern Mythology. Known as “the violet flame” she’s been known to transmute energy, turning negative to positive, erasing karma, and healing the wounded. She’s always depicted as a thing. The older stories of her traveling with Saint Germaine say she was “carried” by him. Similarly she was “carried” with Archangel Zadkiel and Kwan Yin. The Violet Flame has always been interpreted as an inanimate object like a crystal or an amulet. Similar to The Ferryman, she’s the pawn to her master. She has to obey the will of he who “carries” her. She’s never been free either.

In addition to this school of thought, The Violet Flame is thought of as a walk in spirit. This is apparent more in ghost stories or possession stories where the host is possessed by another spirit. In this school of thought The Flame works like a symbiote, influencing the host and instilling them with additional personality traits. In the event the host soul dies and leaves the body, The Flame entity would then have the ability to take over the body completely.

Kaliel is my violet flame. She’s hidden in the body of a seemingly harmless girl and set on a paradise. She’s different because of her heritage as a flame. I expanded on the idea of one flame and added more, not just violet/amethyst but emerald, ruby, carnelian. There is a faint trace of mythology that speaks about seven rays, one of which is the violet flame, the others of which were the colors of the rainbow. I came up with nine flames, all of them powerful weapons, all of them hand crafted individual works of art. No one flame is the same as another flame. That might be too much of a teaser, but the flames don’t work together, neither do the Ferrymen.

I knew from the beginning that my characters were going to face a lot of hardships, but I wanted them to know what they were fighting for. It’s hard to fight for love and peace when you don’t know what it is. This is why my characters grew up in Avristar, a high fantasy realm that is hidden from the Lands of Men. Avristar exists on Earth / Terra, but it’s shrouded by mists, and hidden. It’s very similar to the Island of Avalon, but could also be related to the Voyage of Maelduin, an old Druid tale.

Their love is something that becomes the driving force of the book. Everything they do is for the other, despite their inherit nature to become slaves to what they are. They try not to let their complications get in the way of their love, but that’s the thing about reality and fiction, complications make it what it is.

Originally I wanted to make the books an Urban Fantasy, but then shoving that much information down a reader’s throat didn’t seem fair. Not with all the conflicting theories and other mythologies converging into one big cosmological soup in the modern world. I decided to start from the time the characters were living on Avristar instead of doing the flashback thing. The first three books take place at around 7000BCE on Earth, on lands that would later become Scotland, Ireland, England, Norway, Sweden and Finland. I thought if I wrote three books about where they began, then what they become would be more intense for the readers. They wouldn’t be inclined to think it’s cool and they wouldn’t expect an action book where the characters always win. There’s really nothing funny about characters that live with the constant reminder of death being right around the corner.

And that’s what makes THE FERRYMAN series a tragic love story. It’s also what makes Ferrymen sexy and how I ended up writing a Paranormal Romance / High Fantasy with Urban Fantasy elements.

If that was a mouthful just think about it like this. The boy who follows death meets the girl who destroys the world.


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