Imagine you are Aidan, a five-year old orphan boy living on the streets of the northern town of Miskim. You are merrily stealing a pie from a baker’s stall in the local market when you are caught by an old man. The man, Lord Tragan, is an old wizard so you are very suspicious. All your short life you have been told never to trust wizards. Their arcane, mysterious powers usually result in the detriment of ordinary people. However, you have never been able to understand the reasoning for this, for you are employing magic to feed yourself, although you have no idea how you are doing it!
Lord Tragan invites you to become his apprentice and live with him in the castle of his liege lord. Again you are wary, you’ve heard of old men picking up young boys though you do not know the reason to be afraid. But you agree, after all you can always run away, nevertheless the offer of decent food regularly eaten and a soft bed persuades you.
Over the years a father-son relationship develops and you always seek Tragan’s company when you feel lonely or scared. But what neither of you realize is that you may very well be responsible for leading Lord Tragan’s soul into Hell and maybe leaving him there.
For you have one overriding ability that no wizard will ever understand – you can speak with the dead! And then you gift your abilities to your friends and all Hell really does break out.
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Click this link to take you straight to my page on Headliner The Gateway Book One of The Search
This is the intro to the first chapter
And his God Spoke.
‘Find the key, Zorzecai, and you will have your life returned to you, vastly more powerful than you have ever enjoyed in the past.
I will have my revenge!
To gain our aims you must follow the plan and kill the boy for he has means to kill me.
Kill the boy and all who follow him.
One is near and is no threat, the others draw close.
To kill them you must let my minions free in the world.
To free my minions you must open the gates.
Any gate is the path for the key.’
People have read this and asked me “who is Zorzecai?’. I answer by asking them if they’d like the end of the book before the beginning.
It took me five years to write this and I enjoyed every minute of it. As I work 12-hour shifts I could not devote all the time I wanted, but I persevered.
What surprised me more than anything, when writing, was the learning curve. I assumed that all stories were written once and amended maybe once or perhaps twice. Little did I realize that story writing of this length involves an entirely different mindset.
I had to learn to compose scene by scene, set it down in draft form and then amend it at a later date sometimes ten or dozen times. And after that scrub around it and start again, as I’d thought of something else I need my hero to know well in advance of him actually declaring it. At the same time I had to be very careful not to plagiarise. I didn’t even want to use the same names as another author had used.
I did slip up on one occasion, though, with a very minor character in The Gateway. I used the name Ariana. I was devastated when I discovered that J K Rowling had used the same. I take this opportunity to apologize most profusely.
Nevertheless, across the media of fantasy tales we will always have characters that are similar. Elves and wizards, demons and a master devil, all are intrinsic to fantasy. For instance I have a “Great North Road“, so does Robert Jordan in his “Wheel of Time” epic. Which, incidentally, I discovered the first of his books six months ago and have only now reached book 10.
What makes them different in each tale is the way they are portrayed.
My settings were all important, of course. If I couldn’t visualize the scene in my head then how on earth could I expect anyone else to. So I researched many books and delved the internet for natural situations and also to learn how those settings were written. I used actual true-life scenarios where I could e.g. forest wildlife and trees intrinsic to a particular climate.
In my research I discovered many books, both non-fiction and fiction, that were absolutely fascinating, among them:
A Dictionary of British Ships and Seamen by Grant Uden & Richard Cooper
The Wooden World by N A M Rodger
Expert Guide to Bugs by Paula Hammond
Encyclopedia of Fungi by Gerrit J Keizer
DK’s The Natural History Book editor David Burnie
These and many more I browsed through over long, enjoyable hours to bring forth the world of Drakka, Mantovar and the Griffin Isles. Some have criticized me for using nautical terminology but what was the alternative?
The first half of The Gateway is set aboard a large, five-masted sailing ship. Imagine this with five masts if you can. I had to use the words forward and aft, larboard and starboard, I couldn’t very well say left or right, the directions depend on which way you happen to be looking.
The first time we read of magic being used, it concerns the hazardous condition of a two-wheel helm. For those of you who cannot visualize such a thing here is a picture of another.I will concede, though, that the second edition requires a schematic drawing of the Grim and a short glossary of nautical terms. I will add some to this page as I build it. When I have a competent drawing I will add that.
From the many photos of castles I’ve studied, I endeavoured to find one that depicts the Castle of Mantovar and the slope below it where Aidan and Anders first meet. What do you think?
|After Jigger||The aftermost mast on a 5-masted ship, sometimes called the “Driver”|
|Belaying pin||Strong wooden pin round which a rope can be secured. Also a very formidable weapon.|
|Bilges||The broadest part of a ship’s bottom.|
|Bilge-water||The water that collects in the bottom of the boat.|
|Bowsprit||The spar pointing forward from the prow, can carry its own sail|
|Brow||The gangplank from the ship down onto the wharf, for access.|
|Bulkhead||The walls on a ship, often movable partitions.|
|Bulwark||The sides of a ship above the deck.|
|Companionway||The steps leading below to cabins.|
|Deck||The various floors on a ship.|
|Deckhead||The ceiling between decks.|
|Fo’c’sle||Forecastle, The upper structure built above the forward end of the ship.|
|Foremast||The first mast from the pointy end of the ship|
|Gangway||Any free passageway on a ship.|
|Helm||The handle or wheels operating the rudder.|
|Jigger||The fourth mast from the pointy end|
|Mainmast||The second mast from the pointy end|
|Mizzen||The third mast from the pointy end|
|Poop||The raised deck at the stern, above the quarterdeck.|
|Prow or Bow||The forepart of the ship, the pointy end.|
|Quarterdeck||On the sterncastle, the officers’ deck forward of the poop. Here the helm is placed.|
|Rudder||A flat plate fitted below the waterline at the stern of the ship, used for steering.|
|Sheets||The ropes secured to the clews of the sails to enable adjusting of the sails.|
|Sterncastle||The upper structure built above the stern of the ship.|
|Stormsill||A board fitted across the bottom of a doorway to act as protection from floods.|
|Tiller||The horizontal bar fitted between the helm and the rudder.|
|Waist or welldeck||The part of the upper deck between the quarterdeck and the forecastle (the middle bit of the ship).|