It is a real pleasure to welcome Fi Phillips as a guest on my blog today. Her debut novel, ‘Haven Wakes’, the first book in The Haven Chronicles series, is being published as an eBook and in paperback on the 1st October 2019 by Burning Chair Publishing.
Fi has written a post about how her book came to be. Before you read it though lets find out what ‘Haven Wakes’ is about.
The year is 2110.
Everyone has their own robot, and magical worlds are just behind the next door…
Steve Haven always thought he was just another ordinary twelve-year-old boy. Well, as ordinary as you can be when you’re the nephew of Rex Haven, founder of the Haven Robotics Corporation.
But when Rex dies in mysterious circumstances and Steve is given a strange artefact known only as the Reactor, he finds out that the world he thought he knew is a lot stranger and more threatening than he ever imagined.
On the run from a group of dangerous villains, Steve finds himself plunged into a hidden and curious magical world. With his parents missing and no one in the normal world he can trust, Steve must join with his new-found magical friends to discover the truth about the Reactor and his uncle’s death.
Haven Wakes – how it came to be and inspiration
Inspiration is a weird beastie. It can creep up on you in such a way that you can’t actually remember when it joined you on your journey, or it can jump out of the bushes with a bark of ‘Eureka!’.
When I think back to what inspired me to write Haven Wakes, both kinds of inspirational beasties have played a large part in the novel’s journey.
The seed that grew into Haven Wakes started out as a full-on, Tolkien-esque, fantasy novel with wizards and evil rulers and living clouds. I can honestly say that I didn’t think about the age of my readers when I began to write my story. I wrote it for myself, and in the form that seemed the best suited to writing about magic.
I finished the novel, polished it, sent it off for critique, polished it some more and came to a conclusion. It didn’t work, no matter how much I polished or re-jigged chapters or re-wrote characters.
At that time, I had moved on from reading similar full-on fantasy novels to ones that not only took place in magical, fantasy kingdoms but kept a firm foothold in the here and now as well, by writers like Terry Brooks and Stephen Donaldson.
And yes, that inspirational beastie did jump out of the bushes at that point and say, “Gadzooks!” or something similar in beastie language. The reason my novel didn’t work was because it wasn’t sufficiently grounded in reality. It needed grit and real family relationships. The danger needed to be recognisable, as did the villains.
I worked out a plan for moving the novel into a modern setting, but that seemed too normal and close to home. So in the end, I set Haven Wakes in a future version of our own world.
Even though I decided to re-write my novel in a futuristic setting, two characters from the original version continued to shape Haven Wakes.
Hartley was a character who worked in whatever situation I threw him into. Whether a travelling salesmen in a medieval fantasy setting or a shopkeeper in the here and now, Hartley always found a way to adapt to his surroundings.
The darkling, by contrast, needed to change but her heart – disciplined, fierce, loyal – remained the same.
I can’t say that any of the characters in the novel are based on people I know in my day-to-day life, but the magical community in Haven Wakes has a definite link to the kind of folk I grew up around, with their eccentricities, enjoyment of life and colourful ways.
What is futuristic?
The inspiration for the future-technological world Haven Wakes is set in came from all kinds of places.
I looked at our current technology and challenges such as climate change, and then considered where we might be in a hundred or more years’ time.
I scoured the news for stories on developing technology, such as advances in robotics and fabrics that can be programmed to change colour.
Favourite films tweaked my imagination too:
· Minority Report
and many more too.
I wanted my future world to be grounded in the reality and science of now before I added the magic.
Magic or superpowers?
I didn’t want to copy other fictional takes on what a witch/wizard is and does, so I started to develop my own representation of magic. What I came out with in the end is a mixture of magic and superpowers. Think Dr Strange with less money to spend on clothes.
Inspiration for this? I’ve always loved the witchcraft books of Titania Hardie, but I also read up on folklore and mythology, and a childhood love of mine – fairytales.
One film helped too – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice starring Nicolas Cage with its linking of magic with science.
A book is born
With Haven Wakes written and due to be published on 1st October, the inspiration isn’t over. My novel is inspiration itself for the next book in the series, currently titled Haven Journeys.
Who knows what new inspiration I’ll find?
About Fi Phillips
For many years Fi Phillips worked in an office environment until the arrival of her two children robbed her of her short term memory and sent her hurtling down a new, bumpy, creative path. She finds that getting the words down on paper is the best way to keep the creative muse out of her shower. Writing about magical possibilities is her passion.
Fi lives in the wilds of North Wales with her family, earning a living as a copywriter, playwright and fantasy novelist.
Her debut novel, Haven Wakes, will be published by Burning Chair Publishing on 1st October 2019, the first book in the Haven Chronicles series.
‘Haven Wakes’ can be pre-ordered from:-
Website – http://fiphillipswriter.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FiPhillipsWriter
Twitter – https://twitter.com/FisWritingHaven
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