Beltane: Book One of The Spellworker Chronicles
by Alys West
published 14 December 2015
Alys’ first novel BELTANE, an urban fantasy romance set in Glastonbury, is published today and I’m delighted to welcome Alys to the blog with a guest post.
When you’re writing a novel the question people most often ask is, ‘what’s it about?’ As Beltane, my first novel, is a supernatural, romantic thriller I’ve always found that slightly tricky to answer. Will they want to know about magic, druids and strange dreams which foretell the future or will they very quickly glaze over? Over the years I’ve learned that the best approach is to keep it short and sweet. So I say, ‘it’s an urban fantasy romance set in Glastonbury.’ If they’re actually interested, and not just being polite, the next question is usually ‘why Glastonbury?’
There’s two answers to that, a long and a short one. The short version is something along the lines of ‘because if weird things are going to happen anywhere they’ll happen in Glastonbury’. Beltane has plenty of magic in it. Each of the main characters has some kind of magical gift. And, in Glastonbury that doesn’t seem so unbelievable. People are very open about their beliefs. I have chatted to a practising witch and had a cup of tea with a druid, all in the same morning. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen where I live!
The long answer involves explaining how the original spark of the idea for the book came from staying in a bed and breakfast in Glastonbury over ten years ago. It was very alternative. People had conversations about angels over the breakfast table. Daily group meditation was pretty much compulsory. Years later I started wondering what would happen if someone who ran a New Age retreat didn’t have good intentions towards their guests? And from that, I had the character of Maeve, who appears to be a warm-hearted hippy healer but actually has a very different agenda.
As a lover of fantasy and romance I wanted a hero who was strong, caring but also had magical abilities. When I started writing Beltane, five and a half years ago, the only supernatural creatures anyone was writing about were vampires. As a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, I felt vampires were a bit done and I wanted a more organic hero who belonged in the English landscape which is when I came up with the idea of Finn being a druid.
I must have been about half way through writing Beltane when I realised that this was bigger than one book; that, having created this magical world within our world, there was a lot more story to tell. I’m currently working on the second book in The Spellworker Chronicles which is called Lughnasa and is set in Orkney.
This is the blurb for Beltane:
Finn McCloud is a druid, connected by magic to the earth. He’s made a big mistake; one he expects to pay for with his life.
Maeve Blackwell has plans for a new start, free of the façade she so carefully maintains. At Beltane, the Celtic festival of fire on 1st May, all her preparations will come to fruition.
Struggling artist, Zoe Rose is in Glastonbury to work on the illustrations for a book about King Arthur. But when she arrives at Anam Cara, the healing retreat run by Maeve, it’s not the haven she hoped for.
Maeve isn’t the warm-hearted, hippy she expected and Zoe can’t help feeling there’s something very odd about the place. Is it coincidence that the other guests become ill after Maeve’s given them healing? And why did the Green Man carved on a tree in the garden, which she’d felt inexplicably drawn to, mysteriously vanish during a thunderstorm?
As if that wasn’t enough, the weird dreams she’d had all her life are getting worse. Every night she dreams of a handsome stranger. Then, the day after the thunderstorm, she meets Finn. Realising he’s the man she’s dreamt of (not that she’s going to tell him that!) she’s forced to accept that her dreams are premonitions.
With Beltane fast approaching Finn knows that Maeve must be stopped. He’s torn between wanting to protect Zoe from the supernatural world and his desire to be with her. And the more time they spend together the harder it is to keep secrets from her.
When Zoe’s dreams reveal that at Beltane both their lives will be in terrible danger, it’s clear that only by trusting each other can they have any hope of defeating Maeve.
Beltane is published today and is available as an ebook and a paperback from Amazon. If you’d like to buy a copy please click here
My steampunk romance The Dirigible King’s Daughter is available to read on Wattpad here
You can find out more about Alys West on:
Her website: www.alyswest.com
Facebook: Alys West Writer
You can also check out her steampunk board on Pinterest at Alys West Writes
Alys is part of the Write Romantics who you can find blogging about life, love and writing at www.thewriteromantics.com