Frequently Asked Questions

July 10th, 2007 by aranrhod

What Gave You The Idea ?

I’ve really thought about this seriously, because it began to worry me that I actually couldn’t remember a moment when this story came to me. And I’ve realised that the question ‘What gave you the idea?’ begs another question: which idea?

For a novel is a coming together of all kinds of ideas – for location, characters, style, pace, timing, as well as subplots and diversions. And all these affect the Idea which I know people mean, which is the idea for the story. What I’m saying is that the story is all those other things as well as the plot.

The truth is therefore not that the story’s idea came into my head whole and perfectly formed, but rather that a story gradually formed itself around some of those aspects.

The first idea I had was definitely a girl heroine, because Harry had been a boy. The world was pining for a girl protagonist. And Welsh was the new black, especially with the Doctor Who anagram Torchwood being such a hit with a Welsh heroine. So my heroine would be Welsh.

Next, she had to have a name. Early in the list of names was Aranrhod. The Welsh goddess of the moon. I certainly had no intention of calling her that, but my curiosity was piqued and I went off on a tangent of research, as one does on the Web, and I was amazed to find the Mabinogion, a whole cycle of legends which involved this Aranrhod and my amazement grew when I found she was linked with Merlin and Arthur legends! Here was a whole world I hadn’t known about.

I went back to the list of names and soon found the right one – Carys, derived from ‘love’ in Welsh. But that moon goddess lingered in my mind and all that stuff about her links with Merlin. Names were always important in magic.

Then I realised why Aranrhod was lingering. I love words and the sound they make. Aranrhod reminded me of Aaron’s Rod in the Bible. The story now had some exciting ingredients – a goddess, Merlin, and a biblical artefact of immense power. And a young Welsh girl … yes, what if she lived in Merlin’s old neck of the woods, in North Pembrokeshire? On a farm … Merlin’s Farm?

 And so a story grows and elements like names and places begin to suggest other elements, and you sees links or you make deliberate connections because you can do anything – you are the storyteller, after all.


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