Hello, World. I’m back. Sorry about the absence but I’ve been swamped. I’m spotlighting Liz Strange today while I ease my brain back into writing. www.lizstrange.com
Fair Folk in Knob’s End is about a 16-year-old girl who moves in with her grandma after the death of her mom. At her new school she makes friends with a girl who turns out to be one of three magical sisters from the world of Annwn. She’s in hiding while the people of her land try to find the solution to a terrible curse that’s been placed upon them. Sophie (a human girl) gets swept up in the adventure after it’s discovered she has Tylwyth Teg blood in her ancestry, and in Annwn she has some magical affinity.
It’s a quest-adventure-mythology story, not bogged down by too much romanticism. It’s a fun story with a spunky heroine, and it’s not too preachy, with a unique take on the genre by using Welsh mythology as the foundation for the tale.
I’m often asked where the inspiration for my novels come from, and for the most part I don’t have a clear-cut answer. I’m a voracious reader, a pop culture junkie and a self-confessed nerd. I also have a deep love of horror/sci-fi/action movies and am fascinated with ancient history and world mythology, and I tend to absorb and store away juicy tidbits, images, and phrases from all these sources to drive and influence future writing. I will also freely admit that I tend to be drawn to the dark side—I love my vampires, ghosts, demons and even the occasional hit man.
So how did a fun, quirky tale about a teenage girl and her involvement with the Tylwyth Teg come about? Like most things it came from a variety of influences and interest; my (admittedly) fanatic devotion to Torchwood (British sci-fi cult fave TV show), my desires to travel through historic Great Britain, and the draw of the unique history/culture/folklore of the often disparaged and overlooked Wales.
In this pursuit to find my own story with a Welsh mythological background I dove headfirst into reading about the Druids, the folk traditions of pre-Christain/pre- Roman Britain, the enduring Arthurian tales, Tristan and Isolde, and the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, historical accounts, archeological studies, you name it. In the process my curiosity became a passion. I fell in love with the stories, the language, the physical beauty of the land, and the gumption of the Welsh people in hanging on to their distinct identity.
Thus Fair Folk in Knob’s End (the Daughters of Annwn) was born. The first novel in this planned series was released in March by Featherweight Press, and I’d love for you to take the journey with me to this magical land.
I asked Liz a few questions about writing and her life: When you were a child what drew your attention? Was it trucks and dolls? Were you quirky or just a regular kid?
I did love my Barbies, I will admit, but I did not play with babies or with the beautiful doll house my mother had made for me. I loved to read, draw, write, listen to music and spending time with the hoard of animals we had.
I was definitely quirky. Quiet and introverted—a lot more went in than I shared. I had a huge imagination and my comprehension and reading level was always way above my peers. Even back then I was fascinated with learning about the past, other cultures, and “ghost stories.”
How did you view the world and what were you reading?
I viewed the world as an endless source of information and things to make me wonder, I still do. I read pretty much anything. Started with things like the Three Investigators series, Choose Your Own Adventure, Sweet Valley High and very quickly moved on to authors like Stephen King. Once I found horror and fantasy I was hooked.
When did you take that step from being a reader to wanting to write?
I started writing as a very young child. Even before I could physically write, I dictated stories to my mother. She still has this series about a bird family that I thought up at about three-four years old.
What was your first publication?
My Love Eternal, the first novel in my Dark Kiss Series.
Where do you live and do you find your surroundings influence your writing?
I live in Kingston, Ontario. In some ways I am very influenced by where I live, and in others ways not at all. My mind is often chewing on many different images-places, people, art- at once and I find that transports me beyond my physical place and time. There’s that crazy imagination again.