A tale of adventure, time travel and romance, my novel Dryad is now available as an e-book. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
I’m a DRYAD!
At the beginning of our tale, Solena is obsessed with the human world, enchanted with its superficial trappings and tinsel dreams.
Is she a foolish and superficial dryad? Not at all. She is simply attracted to the superficial side of our culture, having not been exposed to anything else.
However, as she journeys into the human world, Solena finds out that it’s not at all as glamorous as she thought…
What is it that makes you so fascinated with humans?
I think it’s the drama. Humans have such short lives, yet they go through them with much passion and they have so many adventures!
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Definitely! I’m quite the romantic.
You’ve always had a passion for reading, but now you’ve switched from gossip magazines to self help books, primarily by Teddy Goldman. Why is that?
Well, a fortune teller advised me to read Positive Attitude by Teddy Goldman, and I’ve never looked back. Teddy has had remarkable success as a martial artist and as an author, but he still comes across as a humble and down-to-earth person. I find his philosophy so amazingly spiritual and yet practical when applied in the real world.
What makes you happy?
Reading, masquerading as a human, having adventures.
How do you feel about other dryads?
I feel slightly bitter because they have ostracized me, and they constantly mock me. But I would really like to be their friend one day.
You are now on a mission to prevent the humans from destroying your forest. How do you feel?
I have lots of contradictory feelings. I could never pass up the opportunity to live as a human, so I gladly accepted the mission. But it’s very confusing. The prophecy says I will save the forest, but I’m not sure how or when.
Do you think your attraction to Rodney Love, heir to the Timber Corporation, could jeopardize the mission?
Um… I hope not.
In Greek mythology, they were the nymphs or spirits protecting oak trees. Eventually the term dryad came to mean any kind of tree nymph.
Eurydice is perhaps the most famous mythical dryad. She was beloved by Orpheus, a famous singer and musician. However, on the day they got married it just so happened that Eurydice accidentally stepped on a snake. The snake promptly bit her, and she died.
Orpheus then went on a quest down to Hades in an attempt to get her back. He put on quite a concert for the king and queen of the underworld, so they agreed to allow him to take back Eurydice, but under some conditions: he was to walk in front of her and never look back to see if she was following. Of course, like an idiot, he looked back and Eurydice was promptly sucked back into the underworld, while Orpheus was never allowed to go back there again or put on another concert there (maybe his concerts were attracting too many hipsters).
Eventually Orpheus encountered a savage group of Maenads (drunken women who were prone to randomly killing things and having wild orgies) and was killed by them.
In some interpretations of the myth this was the punishment decreed upon him by the gods for not simply killing himself after his true love had died but instead trying pathetically to get her back. Thus he was killed by a group of women — how embarrassing for an ancient Greek dude.
On a side note, more heroic heros than Orpheus did manage to have more successful dealings with the underworld.
Hercules once strolled into the underworld and dognapped the three-headed hound Cerberus, with permission from Hades himself.
Hercules wrestled the fearsome dog and captured it with his own brute strength and thus was allowed to borrow it. (He later returned the hound).
The New Dryads
I made some additions of my own to this mythology concerning dryads specifically for my novel.
The tribe of dryads described in my novel resides deep in the Amazon rainforest.
These dryads are wild, boisterous, and whimsical. They obey no one except for the Great Tree which has watched over their forest for millennia. Occasionally, they also obey the priest of the Great Tree.
Oh, did I mention that there are male dryads as well as female dryads?
This is not very true to the original mythology, but I would rather they reproduced sexually for it will lend much more excitement to our narrative.
Amazonian dryads can live up to several centuries, and they’re about five times as strong as humans. They are also experts in climbing, dancing, and magic. They have beautiful round green eyes and greenish skin. So on the whole, it’s pretty good to be a dryad. If only the nefarious Timber Corporations didn’t threaten their forest!..
I’ve just finished reading To Live by Yu Hua. This was an amazing epic novel that made me think of a Chinese Forrest Gump. The main character is not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but he lives on through many different historical events in 20th century Chinese history and manages to survive despite the various upheavals in governments and political systems.
Yu Hua says that his inspiration for this novel came from an american folk song. No wonder it made me think of Forrest Gump’s Alabama.
I once heard an American folk song entitled ‘Old Black Joe.’ The song was about an elderly black slave who experienced a life’s worth of hardships, including the passing of his entire family – yet he still looked upon the world with eyes of kindness, offering not the slightest complaint. After being so deeply moved by this song I decided to write my next novel – that novel was To Live.
One would think that China and the old South would have very little in common culturally, but on a basic human level, a meaningful connection can be made. I’m also fascinated by the way a song can inspire a novel, and vice versa: just think of all those Lord of the Rings-inspired Led Zeppelin songs.
Speaking about all his novels in general, Yu Hua describes the way ideas are crystallized from the simplest and smallest things:
For an author, the act of writing always begins with a smile, a gesture, a memory on the verge of being forgotten, a casual conversation or a bit of information hidden in the newspaper — it is these tiny pearl-like details that sometimes transform one’s fate and spread like waves into magnificent vistas and scenes.
Coincidentally, Janna Noelle has written on writers’ ideas recently in her blog, Rules of Engagement:
My ideas are like – to borrow from the libretto of Les Misérables – a little fall of rain: sufficient to get your attention when it speckles the side of your face, but not substantial enough to convince you that anything more will come of it.
For all you know, maybe you were standing too close to a conversation and just got spat on.
Once the idea is born, I carry it with me everywhere. Like a child, I’m trying to help it grow well-rounded by exposing it to numerous perspectives and experiences.
As for me, my ideas take ages to turn into workable novels. Usually they’re not even my ideas but something someone suggests to me. It usually takes me two to three years to realize that the idea has potential. Then I take that original idea, make it more crazy, weird, and complicated until it becomes truly my own.
So for those of you who are working on a novel of your own, where did your idea come from? And is it more like a pearl or like a child, or perhaps another thing altogether?
I’m very honoured to be nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award! This nomination comes from Kip’s Thoughts by Kip Light. Thank you so much, Kip!
So, this is the part where I nominate other bloggers and list 7 random things about me.
And the nominees are (drumroll… opens envelope)
The Rules of Engagement – musings of an adventurous historical fiction author
Threads of Aether – opinions, reviews, and a fantasy novel
powerofonebynancy – Health, love, opinions, running, ideas, musings, personal growth, humour
Perry Wilson – thriller, mystery, fantasy writer
A Warm Cup of Jo – great blog on everything from family life to politics
Paella Thoughts – informative and fun blog about Spain
Sly With Sass – everything from creative writing to fashion
ljclayton – mystery writer with interesting blogs based on real life stories
My Tangerine Days – very enjoyable poetry
retireediary – lots of cool travel photography
Congratulations to all the awesome bloggers!
7 Random Thing about Me
1. Some of my nicknames over the years have been: “Solo”, “Ham”, “the Solomonator” and more recently “the Transporter.”
2. One of the best compliments I ever got was from one of my teachers at UCD: “Who knew that behind this northern Canadian charm lies the steely determination of Margaret Thatcher and Imelda Marcos combined?..”
3. Some jobs I’ve had in the past are: sales associate at Fairweather, freelance journalist, receptionist at the Bargain Finder, business writing and creative writing instructor.
4. My favorite city is Venice because it’s gorgeous and I had an interesting adventure there.
5. I’m completely obsessed with dolphins!
6. My favorite non-alcoholic beverage is tea. (sorry, coffee)
7. I am also certified as an aquatic fitness instructor.
A new interview about moi and my historical fiction novel Count Morelli has been published by Felicia Tatum on her blog. Click on the link below to find out why it’s good to read your teenage writing, who my favorite Count Morelli character is, and what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and David Sedaris have in common.
And another great piece of news, I’ve found an illustrator for Count Morelli, so we’ll be seeing the cover soon…
The photo is of the Santa Maria Novella, which first caught Palashov’s eye when he arrived in Florence. It’s fairly small compared to other Florentine basilicas, but it’s got the most amazing black and white marble facade, and it was the first of its kind to be constructed in Florence.
I just got back from my Cuban vacation, so I will blog about that soon. Once I get over the jet lag, I’ll also be doing some final edits on Morelli. The plan is to have it out by September or October at the latest. Wish me luck!