Happy 1 September! (Edit:This was meant to post yesterday and didn’t for some reason)
When I took an unofficial poll on my blog a few months ago, almost everyone was interested in me doing more Australian themed posts, so I decided to do a Wattle Day post.
For all of you who aren’t in the know, Wattle Day isn’t really anything important. Its not a national holiday where we all show our pride, or even get a day off work. Its just 1 September, when we wax poetic about the pretty yellow flower we call the wattle.
So in honour of Wattle Day, I’m going to talk a bit about my WIP Wattle Fires and the cultures that inspired it, as well as doing the Language of Worlds Link up! So let’s get into it 😀
A Small List of the Australian influences in Wattle Fires:
-The setting is obviously based on Australia, particularly places near where I live or have been, such as Wollongong, Alice Springs, Canberra and Cape York.
-The wattles blooming is always one of my favourite parts of late winter and early spring. In this novel, Yilla marks the time by the blooming of the wattles.
-The thylacine is an Australian marsupial which became extinct about eighty years ago and its honestly the coolest thing. I love them and I still hold out hope that they live somewhere in the wilds of Australia. They are not wolves, or any sort of dogs, and (allegedly) could hop on their back legs. That last fact is contested by scientists though and mostly based on anecdotal evidence. There are a few of these beasties in my novel.
-The Great Dividing Range, a mountain range that runs 3,500km from Queensland to Victoria, also makes an appearance in my novel.
-There are dragons in Wattle Fires! But they aren’t fire-breathing, winged creatures. Instead, they are four-legged, with big frills around their necks and they stand up and run on their back legs when they’re provoked. They look a bit like this cute little fella, but 20m long.
Now that I’ve given you a few facts, here’s the Language of Worlds link up!
- How long have you been writing this story?
I have been writing this story since November last year but I’ve been planning it for pretty much a year now.
- Who’s your favourite character? Why?
I hate questions like this because I love all my characters so much. Even the villain I think is very well done so I like him a lot. However, if I have to choose one, I’ll choose Tahitoa, also known as Courageous. He is my favourite boy—so sweet and sad. But I also love Yilla a lot. She’s awesome and just…fantastic. Also probably the character most like me that I’ve ever written.
- Which character do you consider the “goodest of the good”?
Wirra, I think. Wirra’s an interesting character, because she’s the only deaf character in this novel (I have a lot of other deaf characters in other novels though), and she’s very sweet and soft. However, when I was writing her, I was really aware of the (insanely annoying and harmful) trope of the “angelic disabled girl” so I made sure to give her flaws (quick temper, very passionate) and I think that really helped her to become a person rather than just a trope that’s very easy to fall into, mostly because its so perpetuated, even in modern literature. But she’s still a sweet and loving girl and definitely the “goodest of the good”.
- Which character is the “baddest of the bad”?
The villain, obviously, but since he’s a surprise villain and I don’t like giving out spoilers, I’ll have to choose another character. I’m not sure if Rahiti is really “bad”, but he’s definitely morally grey. He is an examination of the evil uncle trope and I took a lot of inspiration for him from Prince Caspian’s uncle Miraz, and from Scar from The Lion King.
- If you were to have tea (or coffee!) with one character, which one would you pick? Why?
I would want to have tea with Puatea so that I could talk her out of all her bad life decisions. That would be good.
- Describe your storyworld.
It’s based heavily off Australia. In particular, the coastal area where the Seafarers settled is based off Wollongong. Essentially, in the distant past it used to be Mordor with a lot of volcanoes and stuff, but the volcanoes have all gone extinct and the ash has caused the soil to be very fertile. This is the reason why the Seafarers stopped their conquest there. They were used to the fertile, tropical islands they originally came from and couldn’t cope with the arid inland, so stayed firmly in the ex-volcanic areas.
A massive mountain range covered in harsh rainforest with all sorts of weird creatures in it separates the fertile volcanic areas from the dry and arid plains beyond it. This is where two of my favourite (real-life) animals live as well, I.e. the New Guinea Singing Dog and the thylacine. The thylacine is extinct and the New Guinea Singing Dog only lives in New Guinea, but this is fantasy so I can do whatever I want.
The dry, arid plains are where Yilla lives. It rarely rains and the grass is always brown. It’s scattered with gum trees and grass trees and black soil and red soil. There are gibber plains and gigantic lizard-dragons and kangaroos and stuff. It’s very cool.
- You’ve fallen into your book! Which place would you be happiest at?
I would be happy anywhere! I really would. But I think Yilla’s camp would be the best place for me. I would be very happy there.
- Which place would you like to avoid at all costs? (Or, explore to know its secrets a little bit better?)
I would like to explore the coastal areas, where the Seafarers live. It’s the setting I have the most trouble with because it contains a lot of assassins and complex politics, neither of which are my strong points. So if I dropped in there, I might get murdered, but I also might work out what makes it tick.
- Share an aesthetic!
Or a few…
- Share a snippet!
“I accept your apologies,” Yilla murmured. “Thank you. But there is no need to keep apologising. What is forgiven once is forgiven for always.”
High-Praise looked up at her, pressing her hands against the massive bulge of her stomach. “But how can I do this, Yilla? I’m so small, and this baby is large. I feel as if he will tear me apart. I can’t think of a worse way to die than in agony with an unborn child inside me. I will have failed—as a queen, as a mother, and most humiliating of all, as a woman.”
Yilla sat down again, shaking her head. “High-Praise, women were gifted with the miraculous ability to bring new life into this world. I can hardly think of a better gift than that. But it is not a woman’s only purpose. And you will not have failed. A woman such as you, who has made mistakes, and yet learnt from them. Who has let her people down and done her best to raise them up again. Who has travelled half a world to marry a man who would die before your wedding and to dedicate herself to another man, a man who needs love as much as she does. That is not failure.”
High-Praise closed her eyes, still shaking with sobs, though they were growing less violent now. “Are you sure? We aren’t here just to give our kings an heir?”
Yilla gave her head a decisive nod. “We are here to be supports, and yet to stand on our own two feet. To love, to help, to guide, to give life. Not any one of those things is the sole value of a woman, but together, they make her what she is.”
How have you guys been in my (unplanned) absence? What are you currently writing? What’s your storyworld like? Who is your favourite character?