It's not just the werewolves who are the monsters.
Thursday, 29 April 2010
It's not just the werewolves who are the monsters.
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Sarwat: Pop quiz: You’re on a lifeboat and there’s just enough room (beside yourself and your Louis Vuitton monogrammed luggage) to save one person from the freezing sea out of: Christian Bale, Daniel Craig, or Taylor Lautner in a sort of survival of the abdominals type of thing. Who and why?
Lindsey: Oh, there are some land mines in this question. I know who you want me to say. I think we ALL know who you want me to say, Sarwat. But I'm going to have to (pardon the expression) jump ship on this one and go with... Taylor Lautner.
DON'T HATE ME. He is younger, argo his abs have longer to live. To thrive. And oh, how they thrive. Furthermore, CB likes to throw himself (ha ha) into his roles. Imagine the critical acclaim he'll achieve for a believable drowning. Will totally erase that terminator thing. (Oh snap. I just mentioned The Terminator Thing. Sarwat, are we still friends? Sarwat? You there?)
Sarwat: Given all the trouble you went through to rid yourselves of England and its royal family, any regrets, now you’re a republic?
S: While on the subject of royal families, any truth behind the rumours regarding you and Prince Harry?
Buy Princess for Hire. You''ll thank me later.
*Okay, not completely true, but very true-ish.
Monday, 19 April 2010
Flights are cancelled. We're having some very pretty sunsets. Basically that's about it.
But it could get so much worse.
A few months ago I did a school visit and talked about Dark Goddess. Now I know I'm meant to be writing horror, but it was the first time the audience were really stunned into a fearful silence.
Vampires, werewolves, ghosts and ghouls are scary, until you turn the lights on. Deep, deep down, you suspend the disbelief and enjoy the thrill of beings scared, but you know it's not for real. Those monsters stay firmly locked in the cupboard or hidden under the bed.
But, when you look about what happens out there, in the wide world, you realise how close we've come, as a species, to buying it big time.
As Billi Paxton once so wisely reported "Game over, man!"
Near extinction events.
When I started research into Dark Goddess I knew Baba Yaga would represent Mother Nature, the deadly side of Mother Nature. She would be hurricanes, earthquakes, tidal waves, all those bad things that happen and we can do nothing about. No matter what we do. Stronger buildings. Early warning systems. Deep bunkers. But there is one truth that cannot be avoided.
Nature ALWAYS wins.
ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS.
The recent eruption has caused more that significant disruption, but seriously, it's small scale. We've had bigger and far far worse. And we will again.
Baba Yaga's sickened by the pollution and destruction humanity has wrought over the planet. Species decimated and made extinct. The air and the earth we depend on, polluted and ravaged. Someone, something, must stand up for the species that have suffered under humanity's rise. And that's pretty much every species under the sun.
What have we done to make the world a better place for anything but ourselves? Or even ourselves?
If we can't fix it, maybe it's time to wipe the slate clean and start over.
That's what Baba Yaga thinks and ask yourself, is she wrong?
That's where volcanoes come in. I needed something that would be a sort of global 'ground zero' for life. Annihilation for most of life, just allowing enough to survive, more manageable numbers, to start over. But all we know would end.
And guess what?
It may well happen.
That's what froze the audience in the school. How perilous our existence is. Every single day.
Supervolcanoes, maybe you've heard of them? The last one, Toga, went a few years ago, 74,000 years ago to be exact, an eyeblink in geological timescales. It wiped out 90% of the human population. 90%. We're only here because a handful of people survived. When I mean handful, I mean not enough to fill a football stadium. So few that, given the odds, it's a miracle that we made it at all. If a few more had caught a cold, or the flu, it really would have been game over.
Now, that was the last major explosion, but we've got a very active supervolcano busy bubbling away in Yellowstone. The entire park is a volcano. So big you can only really see it from space.
It explodes every 600,000 years, give or take. the last eruption was 640,000 so you know what that means? It's overdue.
Dark Goddess is the wrath of nature. It's what can, will happen. Some of it is our - humanity's - fault, some of it isn't. Baba Yaga is the vengeful spirit of the Earth Mother, and she's got every reason to feel very pissed with humanity.
Nature always wins.
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Prior to this I'd been warned by a friend who does some tv stuff the following rules:
1. Get some powder on the bald patch. Studio lights can be bright and we don't want to blind the audience.
2. Keep your head still.
3. Ditto with the arms. No matter how small it may seem to you, the gestures are magnified and we don't want hitting the cameraman or looking like a monkey on acid.
I can safely say all the above suggestions went straight out the window the moment I sat down on the couch. Then, on reviewing what I'd considered an Oscar worthy performance, I noticed a few other things, much to my dismay:
1. The double-chin thing. I'm booking my appointment at Dr.Nip/Tuck. What exercise won't cure and diet won't mend, you always have the scalpel.
2. Wig. Is there anyway I could transplant some of that luxuriant chest hair on my head? It seems such a waste, and a cruel irony. That or I start combing the hair from my ears acrossways.
3. Black. It's slimming, but not slimming enough. What I need is Black Hole black.
4. Sunglasses. The wide-eyed 'Where am I? Who am I? What country is this?' look just isn't good for marketing. No wonder I got stopped by homeland security.
Monday, 12 April 2010
Well, here's my answer.
1. I wanted the story to have a mythic, legendary atmosphere, even if it was
set in 'today's world'. For this reason (and others) I wanted the Templars
to have unusual names, hence they're all named after the King Arthur and teh
Knights of the Round Table. What I like is the conceit, in my world you can
have someone called Arthur SanGreal (or Gwaine, or Balin) and no-one
notices. It's all part of building a slightly 'heigthened state'. SanGreal
is taken from Holy Grail which is one of the main Templar myths, so
particularly suited. You know you're in the story and the story is taking
you to a different place. For the same reason the weather in most stories
and the location are actual mood enhances. Ever wondered why it's always
raining and overcast in funerals? That's why. It's also why no-one realises
Clark Kent is Superman, the glasses is a sort of shorthand to suspension of
2. Billi's French background gives her and her father and additional 'alien'
quality. The SanGreals have been warriors for a long, long time. They fought
for Napoleon and this is something I might develop one day, the earlier
3. Plus it's cool.
Hope that makes sense.
Sunday, 11 April 2010
All my knights (with the exception of Billi) are named after the Knights of the Round Table. There is a reason for this which I may explain at some point but be warned, it's not particularly big and it's not particularly clever and certainly not going to change your life in even the smallest way.
Mordred in Dark Goddess is the new squire. He's an illegal immigrant the Templars literally picked up off the streets. He's young, Ethiopian in orgin, and has just completed his ordeal, with Billi as back up. You know I mentioned those short stories I've got lurking in the desk drawer, this is one of them.
Making Mordred Ethiopian wasn't just on a whim. There are very strong connections between Ethiopia's mythic past and King Solomon, and hence the Templars. The Queen of Sheba was said to have originated from there and her son by Solomon was king. And get this, the Queen of Sheba's name was Bilqis.
The Ethiopian connection is something I hope to explore in the future, and Mordred gives me (and the Templars) a very useful link into that civilization. I don't need to remind you that the Ark of the Covenant is said to be buried there, do I? Good, just checking.