Sunday, 7 September 2014

Meet my Character: blog tour

               Meet my character: blog tour

Lesley Hayes’ book A Field Beyond Time is one of the wisest books I have ever read.  Since I read and reviewed it, she and I have become friends with a deep sense of connection, even though we have never and may never ‘meet’ in the normal sense of that word.  I strongly recommend that you follow this link to read what Lesley has to say about her own journey: it is a fascinating one that took her from early success as a writer through finding love in motherhood, finding herself in her forties and subsequently training as a psychotherapist.  Now in retirement - though perhaps psychotherapists, like teachers, never truly retire – she is writing astonishing books like A Field Beyond Time and The Drowned Phoenician Sailor.  She is a warm and deeply insightful person, and I recommend her books without reservation.

She invited me to participate in this blog-tour, and made it easy for me by setting a superb example with her own blog about her chosen character.  If you have not done so already, follow this link to learn about Fynn, the narrator of The Drowned Phoenician Sailor.   She says about Fynn that it was typical of her somehow to be able to push herself to the front of the queue of characters under consideration. Of all Lesley’s characters she certainly is the one with the gift of the gab!

To follow the format of this particular blog-tour, here are the questions and my attempts to answer them:

What is the name of your character? Are they a fictional or historic person?

When my young hero - Gordon Bennett – was first taken to Avalon by the Tara Torque (leaving his imaginary friend cum guardian angel Zack in charge of his body) he saw an old man standing silently at the end of a jetty.  From that distance he bore a marked resemblance to Gandalf the Grey; or was he more like Albus Dumbledore?  He had the kindest face Gordon had ever seen.
The old man inclined his head in solemn greeting, and said:  “You are most welcome, Torque Wearer and Bearer of the Ring of Light.  My name, perhaps, is Myrddin.  You may have heard of me...”
Gordon told him politely that he had never heard that name, though he seemed to know him (he didn’t know from where); and Myrddin replied: “There are many names by which men know me.  Too often they have just got in the way.”
Myrddin is the Welsh form of Merlin, the wizard who is linked in legend to two kings: Vortigern and Arthur.  He is a character that has appeared in a thousand stories, and has had many different names: Yahweh, Allah, Moses, Myrddin, Merlin, Prospero, Obi-Wan, Gandalf, Albus…: the wise old wizard with the long white beard and the magic staff and the mission to right wrongs.

When and where is the story set?

The story is set in the ancient walled city of Chester on the River Dee in the North-West of England.  The name ‘Chester’ derives from the Latin castra meaning camp – in this case the camp of the 2nd Legion, called Adiutrix (Reserve Force), raised by Vespasian.  Chester has very solid Roman foundations, and has been building on top of itself for 2,000 years.  That partly explains why it is reputed to be the most haunted city in the British Isles. The boundary with Wales runs through CH4, where I live with my wife Amy, 50 metres into Wales…
My child hero – Gordon Bennett – was born on 7th August 1999.  The opening chapters of Book 1 – A Wizard of Dreams – chart the development through early childhood of his extraordinary powers.  However, the story moves quite rapidly to the twelfth month of Gordon’s eleventh year (July 2010), when the Bennett family holidays in Cornwall, near St Austell and The Eden Project.
There Gordon’s SGGM (sixteen greats grandmother) makes herself known to him.  She directs him to Mabon’s Cairn, where the Tara Torque has lain hidden for countless centuries, waiting for the coming of the next in line.
The torque links The Wearer to The One.  On his eleventh birthday, Gordon is transported to Avalon for his first meeting with the greatest wizard our world has ever known.  His names are legion, but the power is one.  Gordon is his heir…

What should we know about him?
This abiding character has been around since at least the dawn of the great monotheistic religions.  There is the rod and the robe and the beard. "Ego sum alpha et omega; primus et novissimus..."
In the Book of Exodus, his name was Moses.  Those were the days of miracle and wonder; God's was a long distance call. Moses' rod turned into a serpent and back again into a rod (these days magicians normally use flags or flowers). He turned water into blood, parted a sea conveniently red, laid claim to plagues of frogs and locusts,  and  brought  commandments carved  in  stone alone  down  from  a mountain.    His  was  the  voice  of God on Earth, he said, in that grim place.   Popes had not yet been invented...

I recommend that you read the story: "Merlin the Magician Rescues King Vortigern and Why the Red Dragon Is the Emblem of Wales", by W. Jenkyn Thomas You'll find interesting and obvious parallels to another story you know well.


Here is an artist’s impression of the character Prospero, from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

For the duration of the play, Prospero lived on an island that was certainly an outpost of Avalon. He had control over the weather. He had a magic spirit - Ariel - who did his bidding. He had books of spells, and was a powerful magician...

So of course he had the long hair, and the beard, and the rod…


It was no surprise to find him as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

 …and as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and…, though the rod had shrunk to the modern wizard’s wand.

I had found him some years ago as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, where his rod had turned into a light sabre. It was still a rod, of course, but with the inside power out and visible...

But I had no need to think of yet another name for him, even though Myrddin himself suggested that in extreme age he had finally turned into Father Christmas (Book 3, chapter 60)...

...because "Myrddin" was the name he used when he first introduced himself to Gordon (Book 1, chapter 57). I know, because I was there.  So "Myrddin" was good enough for me.

What is the main conflict?

Behind all evil lies the lust for power and the willingness to be corrupted by it.  Millions have died in battle throughout the centuries, often in one of the many names of God.  The main conflict is against such ignorance, and prejudice and abuse of power for personal gain.

What is the personal goal of the character?

After so many manifestations, Myrddin is wearing out.  His personal goal is to train Gordon to be his heir: in the hope that together they might make the world a better place before he finally dies.

What is the title, and where can we read more about it?

The series title is Myrddin’s Heir.  You can find out more about it, and what people think of it, by visiting any or all of the following sites: author page: kindle store page:
Goodreads profile page:
Self-Publisher's Showcase:
Irene’s Book Oasis:  
A Wizard of Dreams reviews:
My Facebook Myrddinsheir page:

And now it is my great pleasure to nominate two talented authors whose work has excited, fascinated and delighted me in different ways – they will in turn carry the baton forward and tell you more about the main character of their choice.

Tim Knox

In previous lives Tim has worked as a stand-up comedian, a radio morning show host, an underground newspaper editor, an award-winning columnist, and an almost-syndicated cartoonist.  He lives in Huntsville, Alabama with "one wife, two kids, and nine dogs," and as he says: "Who could ask for anything more?"
As a serial entrepreneur, Tim is the founder and president of four successful technology companies and serves as an investor, mentor and advisor to many companies in his home town of Huntsville, Alabama.  He is also one of the Internet's top marketers, having sold millions of dollars in products online in the last three years.

But on top of that, he has written a private investigator story to rival Raymond Chandler’s!  I read and reviewed his excellent book Angel Of Mercy, which is how I first got to know him, and how I came to be interviewed by him on his radio station.
I’m looking forward to some insights on the character of his choice.

Lucy Hay
Lucy is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. One of the organisers of London Screenwriters' Festival, Lucy is the associate producer of the Brit Thrillers DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2014); she is also the author of The Decision Book Series of YA novels and WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books' "Creative Essentials" range. Lucy's a cancer survivor and former teen Mum of 3 who lives in Devon, UK with her husband, 5 cats and a bunch of Great African Land Snails.

I have read and reviewed both Lizzie’s Story and Jasmine’s Story in The Decision series.  The structure of these stories is unusual and fascinating: a seamless blend of ‘alternative scenarios’, brilliantly written, with incidental detail so closely observed that I was often convinced there was a strong autobiographical element to them.  Do read them both, if you haven’t done so already.  There are bound to be some terrific insights into the character of her choice, whoever it turns out to be.