Hello and Tada!
And welcome to my blog tour for HERE BE DRAGONS, Book One in my new trilogy: THE
And huge thanks to Jazmen of This Girl Reads A Lot for hosting my OPENING POST!!
Right now you are at Base camp – Stage One of the tour!
Over the next posts you will leave the comfort of the foot of the mountain and set off with me on an adventure which will take us all the way up to the summit of my story, up to the very climax of the narrative of HERE BE DRAGONS and down the other side to a gentle denouement! (I am going to compare writing to climbing a mountain!)
If you were climbing Everest you start here:
5400 m / 17700 ft.
“Base Camp is like a Formula One car racing depot. Satellite phones buzz in international tents as the worlds languages mix in thrilling accounts of the latest. Journalists, families and climbers exchange news and emotions between the mountain and the world. For no alpine peak fires imagination like Mount Everest.”
Starting out on a journey is always like that, buzzy and exciting, and it was the same for me when I first decided to write HERE BE DRAGONS.
But wait, I think I'd better introduce myself: (Hi, I’m Sarah) and the reasons
a) Why I decided to write a trilogy in this first place.
b) Where I got the inspiration from.
c) What I did in the way of research, and
d) How I actually wrote the book
e) Or something like that.
Then as we go up the mountain, through each stage of drafting HERE BE DRAGONS I will
set up a post to explore each leg of the journey. So today I am going to look at The Hook, the background, the set up, the buzz, the first stage of my story and why you may want to go on this journey with me. Here’s a pic of a story mountain :)
And I'm going to try to interview myself! Here goes:
Hello Sarah, so can you really tell me exactly why you decided to write HERE BE DRAGONS and how that came about? What was it that got you in the whole idea of a love affair set on mount Snowdon involving dragons?
Well first of all, I've always had a love affair with mountains. This is probably because I grew
up on my own – well, not exactly a mountain - but when I was very little, it did seem that way to me. In truth it is a very big hill, Leckhampton Hill, part of the Cotswolds overlooking Cheltenham. I grew up in a little tiny cottage, way up on a lonely lane that leads over the hill. My playground was the whole of that extensive escarpment.
As a child, I found that playing with the elves and fairies and creatures that like to live in the limestone caves of that hill was far more exciting than going to school and doing spelling.
Great Sarah, but this does not tell us how you came to be hooked into writing HERE BE DRAGONS, could you be a little clearer?
Ah yes, I forgot to mention that I grew up on a big hill AND I used to go on holiday to the mountains of North Wales with my family. We would hire a tiny caravan somewhere in Snowdonia and explore areas of the mountains. And I would find out all about the myths and legends of the place. Great giants that lie asleep, dragons buried deep in caves, fairies that give you a wish if you throw a coin into their well and the Grey King who haunts the mountains.
So as a child, did you decide to write a story about a dragon?
No – not really I was more interested in drawing, so I do a lot of pictures with a very red and really funny looking Dragon jumping off the hill - that was a lot of fun (bit like this one).
But then I grew up and a large number of years past, and I developed lots of other interests and one of those was going on train journeys. And so of course, because I love mountains I decided to go on train journeys up the Himalaya as you do! I went on the Darjeeling Himalaya Railway up to Darjeeling and on tiny trains up to Shimla and to Ooty and to Matheran.
Oh yes very interesting Sarah, mountains and trains, but I'm not quite sure how this relates to dragons?
Well, part of my love about trains was going on small trains, and so I decided to look for any narrow gauge tracks that went up mountains in the UK and have a day out remembering longer train journeys and exciting times past. I discovered that a train goes all the way up to the summit of Mount Snowdon. It was a no-brainer (lol, almost wrote no-trainer!).
Ah yes, now I am beginning to understand what hooked you into writing HERE BE
Yes, I went on the train all the way from Llanberis up to the summit of Mount Snowdon, and, just as if I was still that small girl in that caravan holidaying in Snowdonia, I fell in love with the mountain all over again: I fell in love with the train line; I fell in love with Llanberis and I fell in love with all things Welsh - especially Merlin and the dragons. Recognise this?
And it was in the café, sitting at the top of Snowdon having a cup of tea, that I decided to write a book, which would pull together all of the things that I love most in the world: mountains, myths, train journeys and wild Welsh mountain landscapes. Here’s a pic of the cafe.
Ah, now I see where HERE BE DRAGONS came from and how you got hooked into your story mountain!
Yes, and so to show you how I started writing my story, I shall now put in an excerpt from near the start of HERE BE DRAGONS and you can decide for yourself whether or not, I caught the atmosphere of the mountains, the secrecy, the danger and the excitement of being a teenager and falling in love for the first time with something very unknown and mysterious!
“IT WAS AS WE BROKE OUT of the cloud bank above the valleys, that I first saw him. I think. I couldn’t be sure. Everywhere was thick with driving snow. But through the dawn, I’m sure I saw a figure. There he stood in front of Garnedd Ugain on the very rim of the great knife edgeway above Llanberis Pass. A dangerous place that Mum and I call the Devil’s Bridge. I rubbed my eyes, but by the time I’d looked again, new banks of mist had swirled down.‘Did you see that?’ I shouted. ‘Up there… on Devil’s Bridge.’ Mum turned to make her way in that direction. She pulled out a high beam torch and shone it into the blizzard towards the Devil’s Bridge. Light bounced back from cloud and dazzled ‘A boy!’ I shouted.Mum shook her head. ‘You must be seeing things!’ she yelled. ‘…remember we’re not looking for a boy,’ She retraced her steps. ‘Keep your eyes peeled for a girl!’ She yelled across the storm. ‘Remember … description…alone... 17 … didn’t make it to the top... no information since ... around here maybe… her phone battery’s probably dead… if she had equipment, she may still be alive… maybe.’ I dragged the binoculars out and scanned everywhere. It was tough. The clouds had closed in again behind us and covered everything except the very peak of Snowdon. Sometimes when they rolled back for a split second I could see the café on the summit, but of course that was no help. It’s always closed during winter. Only people who don’t know the mountain think up stupid stuff like: ‘Meet you at the café, on the summit, for a mince pie, on Christmas morning.’”
So who is the boy in the mist?
More on this on my next blog post.
Thank you so much for having me – ta ta for now
To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Sarah’s book, answer this question: who is Ellie’s best friend? The answer can be found by following this link: https://www.vpublishing.co.uk/books/categories/fiction/here-be-dragons.html
Email your answer to email@example.com and we will pick one winner at random each week of Sarah’s blog tour.