• Jason Eldred

The beginning

Updated: May 19, 2018

October 2006: Walking with my wife around Lady Ann Lake (Silravéil Lake), enjoying crisp air and autumn leaves, I described to her a car I had seen in a daydream that day. It was not a car, not really, but a strange, organic contraption, beak-like in shape with a latticed, glass canopy. It was made of a wood-like substance, not metal, and it had no wheels, but glided just above the ground and parked upon three struts. It was the sort of thing a modern elf would drive, I said. This was not a particularly unusual sort of conversation for us—if you knew us, you'd understand. However, the idea stuck in my head.

I had studied the Sídhe (pronounced Shee) of Irish legend, ancient people who mythologically sailed to Ireland through the clouds some four thousand years ago. We are told that the Sídhe came from another world, perhaps another dimension. Thousands of years ago, they were described as an advanced people, and I wondered how much further their world and their technology might have advanced by now.

The Sídhe were one of many inspirations for the elves of Tolkien's writings. What if a world of elves had progressed from its cliché medieval setting into the modern era? Would their technology have surpassed ours by now? Would their world seem like science fiction to us, or, being a land of mythological creatures, would it still be fantasy? Surely their technology would be different than ours, organic perhaps, elves being the one-with-nature type. I could not escape the feeling that a modern, elvish world deserved to exist, but I could find no other realization of this vision that matched the one in my head. There remained but one solution. I needed to document the modern Sídhe world myself.

If some prophet had pronounced to me that the first book alone would be more than eleven years in the making, I might have left my poor wife standing at the lakeside and run away in despair (much like a character of mine actually does). Wisdom is a terrible hardship with which I, at the time, was not burdened. I was blissfully free to plunge into my first novel with all the naivety of a young dreamer, for which I am truly thankful.

It started with the world, yes, but then came the characters. Eriana and Brennan are the real reasons Book 1 was actually finished. A year into the writing, I tossed my very rough and incomplete draft into a backup folder on my hard drive and tore the hair from my scalp (you can see in my pictures, it's gone). I had such grand visions; why were the words leering out at me from my screen so ugly? Why had no one told me that writing was hard? I could have stopped there. It was enough that I knew about the modern Sídhe world. Telling the rest of the world was not worth this pain. I stepped away.

But then I missed Brennan and Eriana. The days I spent apart from them were days away from my friends. Eventually I had to return to see them again. What I had first written was not worthy of such good friends; so I began anew. A year or two later I started over yet again. And then again, at least seven times. Brennan and Eriana helped me. They had become so real that they directed the story. I could not make them do what they would not realistically do. I am glad that I let them have their way. The book is much better for it.

Now comes the nerve-wracking time when I must bring Eriana and Brennan and their beautiful world out from the security of my computer and expose them to the public. It terrifies me—and brave though they are, it might terrify them too, if they only knew—but I know they are up to the challenge.

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