I’m very pleased to announce that The Wearle is now available in the UK. It was published, in hardback, on October 1st. I was in Vienna at the time, which is why this post is happening four days after publication.
I’ve been waiting such a long time to see this book in print. Like all my stories, it started out as a series of vague ideas: What would happen if a colony of dragons (a wearle) landed on an early earth-like planet? How would an intelligent, if undeveloped, society of people react to the disruption? Would there be any possibility of mutual interaction between the two species? Would there be war?
The thing is, you never know the answers to these questions until you pitch in. So the first challenge was, where to start? For once, that was relatively easy; it had to be the dragons. Over the fifteen years of The Last Dragon Chronicles, I’ve received lots of stories from children who’ve been eager to show me their own take on dragon lore. Interestingly, ninety percent of these stories were told from the dragons’ point of view. So it seemed like a good idea to try it, to look through the dragons’ eyes and hear the thoughts that were in their heads. If it could work for rabbits (Watership Down) why not dragons?
And so The Wearle was born. You’ll know, if you’ve read the first chapter, that the story begins with the dragon colony so well-established on Erth they are engaged in a ritual to decide who will be the guardian of a female giving birth to two young. Right away, I had to stand in their midst and be part of their world. I’d always had the idea that the book might begin with an action sequence – a battle – but I didn’t expect to see two dragons fighting over the right to become a father. This highlights one of the most exciting things about writing a fantasy novel: you never quite know what’s going to happen. This can be a daunting challenge, of course. There are plenty of dark alleys and irritating cul-de-sacs waiting to beckon your fledgling storyline. But if you happen to get onto a strong narrative path, then the story potentially unwraps like a flower. A long, long time ago, before the Chronicles, I wrote a book called Fly Cherokee Fly, a short novel about pigeons (and bullying). Cherokee was one of those stories that seemed to fall out of the clouds, fully-formed. Not since that book have I experienced that feeling again. But with The Wearle, I did. I honestly don’t think I could write a better fantasy book – but I’m going to try! I’m already well into the second book of the series. It has a working title of… No, we’ll leave that for another post. (Sorry.) For now, just enjoy The Wearle and share with me the joy of seeing it in the world. Happy reading. Hrrr!