Talking Creatures – How Far Do You Take it?

I grew up with fabulous stories like The Animals of Farthing Wood, Redwall and The Deptford Mice. Seriously, these stories stirred my imagination and, I’m sure, put me on my own writing path. The thought that beneath our feet, all these little animals were chatting away and forming their own societies just

McGonagall might be an animagus, but her cat never talks.
McGonagall might be an animagus, but her cat never talks.

resonated with me so much. But, alas, we have to grow up (at least physically, if not mentally), and having started writing my own series, I’ve realised I’m not really a fan of the talking creature.

There are many books where language skills come seamlessly to the creatures living in our world. The protagonist happily chats to a cat or passing squirrel. I never think it too awful if it’s animals of the same species – it’s not too far reaching to presume they could have their own language. Alternatively, If my human character’s dreaming, or just glugged a pot of ‘special‘ mushroom soup down, then it’s quite allowable in their hallucinogenic state. But even in a magical world such as Harry Potter, the animals don’t actually talk – crookshanks never hopped on Hermione’s lap and gave away Scabber’s secret. Even those skilled in transfiguration to the point where they’re an animagus aren’t able to speak when in animal form.

There's plenty of creatures in Inside Evil...but they won't utter a word
There’s plenty of creatures in Inside Evil…but they won’t utter a word

Don’t get me wrong; my stories are FILLED with creatures; I can’t help it, I’m an animal lover. There are cats, spiders, wolves and all sorts in my books. They never talk though; they’re just cute – well, most of them depending on your feelings towards bugs. The only exception is in To Kill A Curse, but you’ll discover exactly how and why it’s able to happen.

I suppose, looking at it logically, I’m a hypocrite. If I don’t like humans and cats talking, then I shouldn’t like fox and badgers fleeing Farthing Wood together, or the mice and squirrels of Deptford drawing up battle plans. As it goes, I shouldn’t think I’ll be writing talking animals any time soon. The unrealistic factor is too much: despite that I’m writing fantasy fiction!

But when it comes to fictional animals, do you prefer realism, or are you not bothered when the family hamster starts singing Happy Birthday? Is it okay for animals to talk to one another, as long as they don’t start conversing with humans too?

Woodland walks and writing progress

Hello, and sorry I’ve been gone for so long. I’ve been in a little bubble of writing and TV addiction.

The fourth Inside Evil instalment is coming along nicely. I’m about four fifths done, and am aiming to complete the novel in the next couple of weeks. There will then be about a month of read-through’s, edits and proofreading, so I’m hoping to have it published towards the end of September. As yet it’s still without a name, though I’m ruminating on a couple of possibilities.

It’s been a great book to write, especially as we’re back in Gathin to explore this parallel world. Martha’s back on form too and recovering well from her venture into the Middlelands, so my favourite double act of Susan and Martha are getting up to all kinds of mischief. You’d never think these two were grown women. Meanwhile, Sam’s taking a lead role again so I’m enjoying getting inside his head..and there’s plenty of us in there, I can tell you. *hint hint*

Also, if you haven’t realised, Inside Evil is free on Amazon, so you pick up this fantasy novel without having to spend a penny. 🙂

Anyone who’s read my work will know only too well of the creatures and scenery I describe. Despite both CRYO and Inside Evil being set in urban locations, I still find a way to get my characters out into the wilderness, and the wood’s close to home never fail to inspire me. I’m asked where to find inspiration, how to find that muse? Well, look outside, explore the wilds, walk the streets, and it’ll find you!

I took some gorgeous pictures today whilst walking and it really got my brain ticking over. From the dark and ominous storm drain which any number of strange monsters could be lurking beneath, to a small mossy covered root bank, there was inspiration at every turn. Even my dog leaping through the forests reminded me of the great hunks of wolves that I’ve written about throughout the Inside Evil series.

Beetle leaps through the forest
Beetle leaps through the forest
A storm drain could be the home of many monsters
A storm drain could be the home of many monsters
Moss covered roots; a little carpet of colour
Moss covered roots; a little carpet of colour
The summer moon - who's up there? Who's visiting?
The summer moon – who’s up there? Who’s visiting?

My mind seems to find stories in every place I look, and I came home filled with words ready to jot down upon a page. For now, my work with Inside Evil continues and soon, I hope, I’ll be ready to reveal the latest title.

Happy Reading 🙂

 

 

The Tower of Souls is here

The Tower of Souls has landed! After six months in the making – less actually, because I didn’t actually start writing it until about May, 2012 – the sequel to Inside Evil is now available at Amazon and Smashwords, and will soon be available at iBooks, Sony, Kobo, B&N etc via the Smashwords distribution network. I’m really happy with this sequel and feel that it’s a great new story for the series, adding to the world that was already created in the first book, and throwing in some new elements which I hope readers will be eager to sink their teeth into. Whilst Inside Evil was very much a mystery paranormal, The Tower of Souls opens up the new fantasy realm of Gathin and is probably best considered a contemporary fantasy novel. OK, so switching genres may not be the best idea, but as I mentioned in my previous post, indie authors can pretty do as we please – we just might not make all our readers happy!

You may have also noticed a new page appearing in the top bar –  “Exclusive Content“. Whilst still in the works, those who have signed up to the newsletter will soon be able to access exclusive character biographies, encyclopaedic entries for Inside Evil lore, objects, creatures and places, in addition to information as to how I developed certain aspects of the books. Newsletter subscribers will be able to access this content with a password and will be updated as new items become available. More coming soon.

In the meantime, pick up your copy of The Tower of Souls now if you want to continue Roberta and her friend’s stories. And, if you haven’t yet read Inside Evil, there’s a nice little price drop and you can now pick up the first in the series for just $2.99