the chapter-by-chapter review of raven’s Wand continues – this week, chapter six: Wildwood’s Regal Guest
One character appears in the book thanks entirely to an earlier illustration. As previously mentioned, I began the project as an art venture. The girl lifting the huge bumble-bee into the air was meant to look appealing and cute, and nothing more, but chance seemed to have its own ideas and when Kolfinnia had to rescue something from the barghests I knew it would be that enormous bumblebee: and Lilain the hive-empress was born. As she recovers at Wildwood, Lilain’s needs are tended by a witch called Annie Barden, who’s able to communicate with animals, but the last thing I wanted was Annie and animals talking directly. I wanted animal consciousness to remain a mysterious dimension, so there’s never direct dialogue between Annie and Lilain, or Valonia and captain Jerrow (the crow) or between Kolfinnia and the trees she’s able to gather memories from. I feared that the story might become a little too fairytale if I had talking trees and creatures.
Chapter six was also my pleasure to introduce Valonia’s Wards, and I split them up by season and outfit and made sure each had a distinctive character to hold them in the reader’s mind. I also added the joke about Rooter running off with Lana’s bloomers to make the group’s entry memorable, and OK, it’s not refined but it made me laugh, so what the hell (and it’s another example of down to earth witchcraft).
I frequently don’t know for sure what I’m going to write until I get to that part of the story, and such is the case with the truth about Rowan’s special gift **SPOILERS COMING UP** Rowan can read the mind of the universal consciousness that witches refer to as The Patternmaker (and others might call ‘God’). He knows everything, therefore Rowan knows everything, only she doesn’t know that she knows everything – she’s only just six after all! I tried to avoid writing of God/god because the name has so many meanings associated with it. The Patternmaker is felt rather than seen or heard, and maybe just as well, because in sequel books we come to find that he is a stony being; difficult to understand and tormented in his omnipotence, and with little liking for witches. But why? There is an answer later down the line, I promise. . .