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Blurry Forest

The Origins of 'Archwilde'

Updated: May 8, 2022

It's late February 2018, and the weather is cool and breezy here in sunny SoCal. I was thinking this morning about Februarys back home in Western New York, and how it would be well into April before this type of weather would descend on the small rural valley in which I grew up. It is in that same seasonal transition that the story in 'Archwilde' begins – the spring awakening, a time for new beginnings and growth. I find it appropriate that I'm starting this blog at this time as well.

The first draft of 'Archwilde,' from eons ago!

I am feeling nostalgic about the journey this book has taken to come to fruition. I wrote the first draft of it while I was in high school, in spiral-bound notebooks and purple pen ink. It has been through many versions and rewrites since those days, but the spirit of the story has stayed the same. I set out to write a story that I wanted to read.

At the time (in the early '90s, before the internet as we know it) and growing up in a rural and rather out-of-touch area, I did not know of any fantasy books that had female heroines or female antagonists, and I didn't have any friends or teachers who read fantasy or could suggest such books for me. We read 'The Hobbit' in school, and though it was a rich world of magic, it was so very male. I had grown up with some female heroes in other mediums - Princess Leia and She-Ra were my favorites. But nothing quite gave me the story I was looking for.

I wanted magic, intrigue, romance, and adventure, but I wanted to read it from the point of view of a character I could pretend to be, as a teenage girl. I loved the movie 'Willow', but I wanted to see Elora Daanan battle Bavmorda for herself. (Though Willow was actually rather groundbreaking fantasy film for having its heroes and baddies breaking trope molds, and it is still one of my all-time favorite films.) I loved Disney's 'Sleeping Beauty,' but I wanted to see Aurora and Phillip actually have the time to get to know each other and fall in love before battling Maleficent. There were books out there at the time with female heroines, many written by female fantasy authors as well, but I did not have any knowledge of them, or anyone to tell me of them. I was on my own little imagination island, and my world grew as I did, as did Julia's.

Now, with a whole new approach to the story in my current rewrites, it's finally shaping up to be the book I've always wanted to read. And I'm beginning to outline a sequel - one which should not take another twenty-five years to write! Seeing this book come to life has been a lifelong dream of mine for many reasons, but one very important one in particular: I have always wanted to read this book. And I'm excited that – in not too much longer – I can!

The preceding is a blog post from the archives, written in 2018, but relevant to my writing and creative process of bringing Archwilde to fruition.

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