Child of Saturn

Discussion in 'Teresa Edgerton' started by Mark Robson, May 30, 2006.

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    Mark Robson

    Mark Robson Dragon Writer

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    Teresa, I finally finished Child of Saturn last night - another excellent read. This was your first book, I understand? The plaudits it won from none other than Feist, Kerr and Tad Williams must have made you feel good - they were all fully deserved, I hasten to add.

    What on earth made you think of having a werewolf as a lead hero? It certainly adds an interesting twist to the storyline.

    I will confess that initially the names in the story were a big turn-off for me, though I think you'd already gathered that much. As I progressed, however, I did come to feel more sympathy for the characters. I used to live near the Prescelli hills, (I'm not sure the spelling is identical, though) which made that particular character three dimensional in a way that I guess most men would empathise with!

    I particularly liked Ceilyn and Teleri, though I imagine that was your intention. Diaspad makes a great villain, but I found Calchas and Derry a bit two dimensional. The setting almost feels like Wales, somehow. Was this the intention, or was it just the name structure you were using? I look forward to the other books when I can find a bit more reading time. Would you like me to post a review in the reviews section?
  2.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Ynys Celydonn, where the story takes place, is supposed to be a large island west of Ireland, subject in the distant past to invasions by various Celtic peoples, before becoming almost completely isolated as magic established a stronger hold on the island while simultaneously losing most of its influence elsewhere. The northern part of Celydonn was settled by tribes closely related to the Gaels in Ireland and Scotland, while the tribes of the southern part (where Child of Saturn takes place) were more closely akin to the Welsh.

    That's a simplified version, but should be enough to answer your question about the names.

    As for your question about my werewolf hero, Ceilyn and Teleri were characters in a story I used to tell myself when I couldn't get to sleep at night, long before I thought of putting them into a book. It's hard to remember now, but I believe that their basic characteristics (Teleri's sorcery and childlike innocence, Ceilyn's werewolf curse) came to me in a dream, as odd as that may sound. At least it sounds odd to me, since no other viable characters have ever come to to me that way before or since.
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    Mark Robson

    Mark Robson Dragon Writer

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    So, please excuse my ignorance, but is Ynys Celydonn a figment of your imagination, or a part of celtic folk lore? I must confess that despite writing fantasy and having lived in Wales, celtic folk lore is not a strong point.

    I've just realised that looking back at my opening post, I sounded a bit negative in my comments about this book - if I've given the wrong impression, I apologise. I really enjoyed the story and am genuinely looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. I just wish I could read more consistently and get through books a little quicker. I think I would have picked up on a lot more nuances in the minor characters had I read the book in a week instead of several months!
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    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Most of the place names are taken from old Celtic sources, including the name Celydonn itself, but the island, its geography, and its history, are products of my imagination.

    Although the physical features changed a bit every time I redrew the map, the first time I simply traced the coastline of Wales on one side and the eastern coastline of Ireland on the other.
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    enchanted_ghost2001

    enchanted_ghost2001 New Member

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    Your characters coming from dreams isn't odd or at least I don't think so. Most of my ideas do come from dreams or are inspired by them. Now I don't feel so crazy. Thanks for sharing that!
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    aarti

    aarti bibliophile

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    Hello everyone-

    Just wanted to pop in and say a quick hello. My name is Aarti, and I stumbled upon Edgerton's writing earlier this year and was quickly sucked in, much to my enjoyment :)
    Teresa, I just gobbled up the Green Lion trilogy these past few days! I was stuck in Houston airport limbo for a ridiculous amount of time, and got a lot of reading done. I had brought three books with me, thinking that was MORE than enough for 24 hours of travel. But that fast became about 60 hours, and so I was able to get fully through Child of Saturn. And then I came right home and read the next two in the series immediately afterwards, this weekend. I was tempted to move without pause onto the Castle of the Silver Wheel, but then Manda Scott's Dreaming the Hound came to me from the library, so I'm taking a pause.
    In any case, as usual- that's more information than you need to know! Just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed the trilogy just as much, though in a completely different way, as I enjoyed the Goblin Moon duology. What fascinating, flawed characters! Half the time I couldn't decide if I liked Ceilyn, and the other half of the time, I couldn't believe I could ever doubt that he was my favorite character. He was such a well-developed and thoroughly complex character.
    But I think my favorite part of the trilogy, and of your writing in general, is that you give such tantalizing bits and pieces of a HUGE world history to your readers. It is so obvious reading the books that there was a WHOLE lot that went on for quite some time before the reader ever arrived on the scene. I love that- and I think you do it so well in all your books. How do you come up with the names and the stories that you put in those little excerpts in the beginning of the chapters (if you even remember- it's been a while, I know!)? They're such yummy tastes of what I'm sure is a wonderfully lush history. And leave a reader wanting much, much more.
    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you have once again, won a big fan in me!
  7.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    I'm glad you enjoyed the trilogy so much, aarti! But to answer your question: All told, the time I spent working on those books amounted to something like ten years, so naturally that gave me a lot of time to develop the historical background. There was actually much more in my notes than I ended up using. (You can see some of that at my website, where Carolyn used it for the interactive maps.) Plus, all during that period I was voraciously reading up on alchemy, mythology (largely, but not exclusively, Celtic), magic, fairy tales, and so forth. And just before I started working on the books I had done an enormous amount of research into symbolism and the Tarot. Much of that background wove it's way into the story -- some consciously but even more of it unconsciously. I kept on stumbling across things I had written earlier and saying to myself, "Oh ... that's what that was all about!"

    Anyway, the "excerpts" are sort of a guide to the underlying symbolism. Not that I ever expected anyone to unravel the meaning of it all (which is good, because so far as I know no one has ever even tried) but for my own satisfaction, to form something complete and coherent in my own mind -- and if they add color and texture, and give readers a general idea of consistency, I'm content with that.

    The bits of alchemy and magic and legend are ... something between pastiche and imitation of period texts. I feel I became pretty good at imitating the style of these things, but as I said there is more to it than that. Besides the outward storyline, it's like an endlessly complicated riddle I spent a decade constructing.
  8.  
    aarti

    aarti bibliophile

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    Anyway, the "excerpts" are sort of a guide to the underlying symbolism. Not that I ever expected anyone to unravel the meaning of it all (which is good, because so far as I know no one has ever even tried) but for my own satisfaction, to form something complete and coherent in my own mind -- and if they add color and texture, and give readers a general idea of consistency, I'm content with that.

    Ooh, that is interesting to note! I think I got *some* of them as being symbolic- probably the more obvious ones! But do you mean that there is an underlying thread that connects all those excerpts? Very intriguing ...
  9.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    More like a web of meanings than a single thread, actually.
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    Jeremyf

    Jeremyf New Member

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    So? Give us a hint please.
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    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Hello, Jeremy!

    If you are the Jeremy I think you are (who used to take part in the discussions on the message board at my website) I rather suspect you have figured out some of it already -- however, I'm not unwilling to say more if someone is actually interested. My only fear is that if I go too far into this I'll put everyone to sleep. But I could happily discuss the matter at great length.

    The most obvious symbolism would be in the alchemical abstracts, which reference the processes of transformation that Teleri and Ceilyn must go through if they are to achieve their "alchemical marriage." She, of course, is mercurial, watery, lunar, while he is combustible, fiery, solar, etc. Transformation occurs through breaking down what already exists and reintegrating the various elements into a new and better whole. They are both of them quite set in their ways (Teleri in particular, living pretty much in social isolation, and having magically staved off adolescence for several years) but their relationship serves as the catalyst for growth and change.

    All of this ties in with the mythological symbolism, in that Ceilyn and Teleri stand in, in a ritual sense, for King Cynwas and Queen Sidonwy, who even though they love each other seem incapable of living together in anything resembling the peace and harmony necessary to their ritual role -- according to the magical/religious concept that as things go in the royal household so goes the realm -- the union of male and female, south and north, solar and lunar, sky and earth, etc. which ties in with the peace and prosperity of the land. Not incidentally, Cynwas and Sidonwy's is a barren union, which must inevitably have consequences further down the line.

    The above is a simplified explanation. It's actually more intricate than that, and involves aspects of the secret history of Celydonn, which I would have eventually explained if the series had ever extended to twelve books as I had hoped and planned.
  12.  
    aarti

    aarti bibliophile

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    Thank you very much for the fascinating explanation, Teresa. I had mused over the alchemy parts, but definitely didn't think of Ceilyn and Teleri as stand-ins for Cynwas and Sidonwy. I think I focused more on the tale of the prince and the old man, and how the prince had to go through so many trials and tribulations to win the man's daughter. I think there were others that I picked up on, but I don't always remember very well! Soon, I hope to start the Castle of the Silver Wheel. I didn't realize until recently that it's about Gwenllian and so therefore probably involves a lot of the same characters! That will be fun to see them again.

    Also, is there any chance that, if The Hidden Stars and its sequels sell well, that you might return to this Celydonn? There is a lot there that I think could be explored further. Of course, I would also adore more exploits of Francis Skelbrooke and Sera!
  13.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Well, you came close then, aarti, if you mean the story of the young man who sets out to wed the giant's daughter. It's a myth about the sovereignty of the land, and the hero who wins and marries an avatar of the tutelary goddess of Celydonn. The King and Queen, in their own marriage, represent this union.

    Also, if you were to arrange figures representing the major tests that Ceilyn faces (the falcon, the bull, the Holly King, and the griffon) in a rectangle and place Teleri (as the maiden to be won) at the center, you would have something that looks very much like The World card in the Tarot deck. The fact that it worked out that way is nothing I planned (intentionally) but when the images came together in my mind I realized that it made perfect sense.

    But as I said up above, it's all amazingly intricate, and I don't expect anyone to follow it, much less figure it out for themselves. It's just there.

    As for being able to write (and, more to the point, publish) more Celydonn books, the way things stand now, I'm afraid that the new series would have to be amazingly successful before there would be a big demand for my early books, and therefore the possibility of further sequels. So ... not much chance. (Unless Hollywood were to contact me and there was a movie deal followed by an international blockbuster film -- that would about do it.)
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    aarti

    aarti bibliophile

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    Wow- I really only scraped the top layer, didn't I? That's very interesting. I'l be sure to read the Queen's Necklace and the Silver Wheel trilogy with a closer eye :) As to a Hollywood blockbuster, well, if ever I become famous, I'll be sure to make my author preferences known.
    If it helps to give you a rosy glow, there is now a waiting list for most of your books at paperbackswap.com, which I think means that word of mouth on that site has been spreading!
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    Jeremyf

    Jeremyf New Member

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    Yes I am.

    I, at least, find it very interesting.

    I missed this aspect entirely. Is this tied to Ceilyn taking on the position as heir to Glastyn (and representative/incarnation of the Glas-Tann)?

    I would enjoy hearing anything that you would be willing to share about that. I'm particularly curious about Glastyn's life story.

    --------------

    I was looking again at the prophecy to Tryffin and Fflergant in chapter 19 of The Moon In Hiding again. This is my take on it:

    Line 1

    This refers , I think, to Cadifor's ascension to the throne. Fflergant could see it, but was not very certain about this. That would indicate that he will be involved but will not be central to this aspect of the prophecy.

    Line2

    A reference, as they say, to the Clach Grian. Fflergant had no trouble reading this, showing that he will be directly involved with this.

    Line 3
    Fflergant couldn't read this but Tryffin could. So this will involve Tryffin more closely. I suspect this refers to a quest undertaken by Tryffin and/or his child to get the Clach Grian.

    Line 4
    Neither Tryffin or Fflergant could read this, showing that this part of the prophecy deals with someone else. Perhaps, because of symmetry, this would be about a quest involving someone from Ceilyn and Teleri's family regarding the Clach Gealach. Maybe the quest is the one related in The Work Of The Sun.

    Line 5
    The Green King would be the Glas-Tann. Perhaps Glastyn will return to crown the new King?

    So, was I close?
  16.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Well you don't miss much, that's certain. Yes it is.

    As for the prophecy, you were very close at several points. To tell you more would be to give away too much, supposing something unexpected happens and I actually get a chance to write those books.

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