A Writer’s First Fantasy Novel
The journey to writing my first fantasy novel started much like many writer’s do, with a dream. I dreamt of a red-haired Selkie maid holding onto the furry and scaly neck of a Sea Dragon as they plunged through the cold ocean. Arriving at her destination she walked down a long hall very proud of who she was. Long draperies billowed around her as the breeze traveled through the windows. Entering a room she took a seat at a long table and respectfully put her head down. At the other end were several Asian men who began questioning her about being a Selkie. A comment was made about her being half human and therefore having to hide her true Selkie nature if the Emperor chose her as his Empress. Angered she stood up to defy them saying she would not hide from anyone and if the Emperor did not like her as she was then she was not the right wife for him.
Selkie Fantasy, Myth and Legend
It was then I woke up and began the routine of my work day, but the red-haired Selkie in my dream had captivated me. She was strong, yet vulnerable. All day long as I looked out the window from my desk, which by the way overlooks the San Juan Islands and Guemes Channel, questions kept circling around in my mind. Why was she there? Who was she? Who was this Emperor? Why did she travel so far to meet him? Why did a human want to marry a Selkie?
Selkies and Shapeshifting
Over the next several days I researched Selkie myths and began noticing a repetition of certain numbers. An example being if a human woman shed seven tears into the ocean a Selkie man would appear to comfort her. Often their meeting would beget children. Variations of the number seven, either in days, months or years, determined when a Selkie could shapeshift into their seal or human form. The rules about their shapeshifting intrigued me. I kept wondering why their existence was tied to such rules. Did they always have these rules or were they created after some unfortunate event? Did the rules somehow stop the same event from reoccurring? It was from these questions that the “what if’ seeds” of my story about Emperor Wei Shu and Aine the Selkie began sprouting in my mind. Their story which would start off as a happy one would end in death and destruction causing certain rules to become part of everyday life for a Selkie.