I’m thrilled to announce that “How Billy the Conqueror Took Back the Greenwood” is now available to read online at Grendelsong magazine.
This is the first of the Billy stories, which were originally being written as a short story sequence, but now may be morphing into a book or more. What kind of book/s, I don’t know, although at the moment I’m investigating the possibility they may be chapter books, which opens up a whole new world of this writing gig and one I have never explored.
I have been thinking about how sometimes the stories we tell are products of our environment. I live on the edge of a very tiny village, surrounded by small fields and forests. Aside from seeing the very occasional car or motorized tractor, if it weren’t for the fact there is electricity and internet, my life would be positvely medieval. At this time of year I’m collecting deadwood in the forest, for kindling for my fire, which serves to keep me warm during these chilly autumn nights and is also what I use to cook my meals. The neighbor’s chickens and turkeys roam the hamlet, and sometimes a farmer’s cow strolls through. At night, wild boar root through the overgrown field down the dirt road, and an owl calls from his perch in the trees. In this region of France we are no strangers to mythical creatures roaming the land either. Here we have the red wolf, who frightens farmers at harvest time. Night, when it comes, is dark, and when the skies are clear, the Milky Way sprawls overhead. This is a place in which fairies thrive, so it’s no surprise I’m writing about one of them.
I have also been thinking about how some works of art or writing are entirely a product of circumstance. I call Billy my imaginary friend and in every way, she is. This character and her stories evolved as an antidote to the loneliness that can creep in when you live a very isolated life. Had I gone to England at the end of August, as planned, Billy never would have happened. A Billy might have happened, but it wouldn’t be this Billy, the child who has stolen my heart, and has given me an outlet for everything I know about fairies and fairy lore. I certainly wouldn’t have had story after story flowing out of me, because there wouldn’t have been a need. As it is, the floodgates have opened, and now I will take Billy to England with me.
I hope you enjoy Billy as much as I do. For all of my musings on important matters of the heart, these stories are meant to be fun, and we all need some of that in our lives, don’t we?
[Header image credit: Copper pots and lids in the kitchen of the castle of Beaumesnil (Eure, France) by Stanzilla. Found on Wikimedia.]