Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Midwinterblood Blog Tour

Today we are part of Marcus Sedgwick's Midwinterblood Tour and although I've enjoyed all the other stops...I think that MFB's blogpost is slightly more special than the others because all three of us working on MFB love fairy tales, folklore and symbolism and this blogpost covers it all! 

Symbols, mythology and folklore

If it was up to me, I would write folk and fairy tales. Really. But I can’t, because it’s not up to me. Or rather, I could do if I wanted to, but no one would buy them. Rather like the short story, folk and fairy tales are generally considered hard to publish these days, and to sell, with a few notable exceptions such as Angela Carter’s reworkings. But they are almost my favourite kind of story, and so, ever since I became a writer, I have always tried to find ways of working elements of folklore into my books.

How? By using iconic images, words with deep resonance, patterns of storytelling and certain motifs which remind us, subconsciously at least, of those dark stories we all heard at a tender age. 
Midwinterblood is full of these things, my favourite two being the hare, and the moon. Each of the seven parts of the book takes place under the influence of a full moon, but unlike today, our ancestors had names for each of the twelve full moons of the year. More in touch with the weather, the landscape and the turning of the seasons than we are, most ancient cultures had names such as the Snow Moon, the Grain Moon, the Fruit Moon.

© Claire Barker c/o Elizabeth Roy Literary Agency
I took the ones I liked best from English and Norse calendars, recast them slightly, and it is these moons that shone down upon the protagonists of Midwinterblood. And the hare? Such a mysterious creature, little was known about it until relatively recently in our history, allowing all sorts of myths to be created around it. So when I was looking for a totemic creature for Merl to have in the book, the hare seemed perfect - fast, lithe, unknowable - and so a hare appears, as a child’s toy, as a carving, as the real creature, as a grieving lover transformed by a witch.

And if I can’t get away with writing new fairy tales, at least I can enjoy plundering our literary heritage to populate my books.

- Marcus Sedgwick – 11 October 2011

1 comment:

Michelle Fluttering Butterflies said...

I absolutely loved the hare in this book, so it was fun hearing you talk a bit more about it!