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Hedge Witch

Friday, 5 September 2008

Hedge Witch will feature a lot in this blog for a bit. It's my first novel, which I'm currently in the process of trying to find a publisher and/or an agent for. Aren't we all?

Here's the blurb I'm currently using for the book, which gives an idea of what it is about:

For a thousand years the lands of Andar and Angere have been kept apart by the river An. But the peace is now coming to an end as the An starts to freeze over. All of Andar is threatened by the undead horrors of Angere.

A witch of Andar, Hellen Meggenwar, sets in motion her long plans. A book of necromancy holds the key to the power of Angere, half of which she has obtained and hidden in our own world. It is time for the book to be retrieved and either used or, if necessary, destroyed. But the creatures of Angere are already in our world, searching desperately for the book.

Meanwhile, in Manchester, a schoolgirl called Cait goes to visit her gran, unaware of the role that she is about to play in the unfolding events ...

I suppose if you had to categorize the book - and it seems you do have to categorize it - it would be called a fantasy novel. It has magic in it, and other worlds, and even the odd dragon (one very odd dragon in fact). On the other hand, it could also be called SF, as it certainly has SF elements. But it also has strong elements of realist fiction, and even social/political analysis. When one of the central characters, Cait, goes to see her gran, who works at Manchester Central Library, she finds her sorting out the books situated "somewhere between Social Realism and Fantasy". I suppose that's about what I'm aiming at with Hedge Witch too. Mainly, I don't worry about what pigeon-holes it is put into. I've merely tried to make it a good read.

Personally, I take great delight in trying to subvert genre boundaries. The notion that a book can't be "literary" if it isn't set in the mundane world is less widely-held these days, but still pretty common. As if every work of ficition ever written isn't a fantasy. When I had to categorize the book on YouWriteOn for example, I had to decide whether it was "Science Fiction", "Fantasy" or "Literary Fiction", as if these things were mutually exclusive! Pah. I chose all three.

Hedge Witch is 100, 000 words long and conceived as the first part of a trilogy. The second and third parts are tentatively titled Fetch Light and Lich King. But these two volumes are still at the planning stage. Hedge Witch, on the other hand, is finished, polished, redrafted, polished again, edited, polished yet again and is now definitely all ready to make its way in the world. Although I am currently working on yet another draft as a result of feedback I've had from various places, including You Write On and Authonomy. A work of art is never completed; it is merely left ...


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