“I have a secret I wish I could tell someone, anyone. Even one person who could ease the burden of it from me, but I can’t. I can’t tell anyone because I can’t speak, not a word, not a sound, not even a whisper or whistle. I can’t write either. I never learned to read or write. There’s only you, the friend in my head. My name is Greylin and I am searching for a sword.”In the northern continent of Allanda, a girl is hidden away as a babe, her true identity a mystery. Is she the missing princess? Or an imposter? A warrior paladin and a brilliant mage stumble across her outside of the Kingdom, and they believe that she may be the true heir to the throne. After a narrow escape and rescue, Greylin finds herself catapulted into a series of quests and battles that will eventually determine her fate. However, she is restless. Something is calling her towards the three hidden arcanum, and though the journey to find them is dangerous, they may be the only way she can uncover her past life and find her destiny.
Q&A with the author
What inspired you to write this book?
A few decades ago I wondered what the Bible would be like if it was actually written for me as a woman. It was clearly written by men for men, so I changed all the pronouns to female ones and wrote out a few paragraphs. Reading it that way felt completely different. It was as though I had been invisible and suddenly I was seen.
Women were not expected to have any spiritual life so it wasn’t necessary to teach them anything other than to submit to their husbands who supposedly knew it all. Obviously they didn’t and don’t. Think about just this one changed commandment: Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s husband. Oh, you think, that means me. Suddenly it comes right home and isn’t some abstract thought.
Fast forward a few years and I have seen this male dominance again and again as I read many “Hero’s Journey” books and watched many a movie: Harry Potter, The Dark is Rising, The Wizard of Earthsea and so forth. Rarely do we ever see the story of a girl and how she becomes the returning monarch or chosen one to save the world. What would that story be like? What would she be like? We do have Wonder Woman, and now Captain Marvel, and you can almost feel the difficulty the writers have in creating those characters’ interactions. The message we have received in most of the world for centuries is that women aren’t supposed to fill that role, and yet women have been very good rulers. They are often wise and compassionate. In many other cultures, women have the final say.
Continuing along that line of thought, there’s also the issue of spiritual revelation. All the world’s revelations have come from men: Confucious, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Buddha–but what if the original enlightenment experience and teachings came from a woman? In The Eversilver Sword, St. Rauna is the originator of a covenant to guide the people, but once again, over time men take over the roles.
In order to make the story relatable to girls and women of today, the women had to be subjugated once again to form a basis for Greylin’s struggle for self-realization. I placed the society on another planet, settled centuries ago, and created a history where the inhabitants have been nearly wiped out three times. Their technology is forgotten, and they have devolved socially to a medieval culture.
What did you learn when writing the book?
I learned that male dominance in this society is so pervasive in my own life that I had a very difficult time envisioning how that would change in a society. Confidence–real confidence born of recognition, support, and approval–is almost non-existent for women. Bravado and rebellion is usually substituted for it by strong women who can not and will not accept the demeaning secondary societal roles they are expected to live. As I go forward with the series I have to bring balance to the world I created and that is very challenging.
Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
The main character, Greylin, of course. If she was a Mary Sue type, perfect in every way, ready to take over the world, she would be incredibly boring. She is just the opposite, a real mess. She needs help which she is lucky enough to get from two very talented men. Yes, men have to help women achieve their goals. What is the message? Don’t hate men. That leads nowhere. Find those who support you.
A few magic items help to balance things out for her. The “sword” is about gaining strength and agililty. An equalizer. I think every woman should be trained in self-defense–that is your sword. Decades ago women tended to avoid athletics in general. Now that has changed a lot, but girls still need to be encouraged by role models to have strength, martial arts and/or boxing training to achieve the level of confidence they need to have in order to be complete. Men have physical strength and need to learn wisdom; women have wisdom and need physical strength. The goal is to achieve balance, and I realize that’s not true for all men and all women, but whatever one is lacking, that’s where the work needs to be done.
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
The idea for it came to me twenty years ago when I was getting acupuncture treatments. I had to lie on my stomach for an hour with needles in my back (for several unsuccessful migraine treatments), and I was so bored I made up long stories to entertain myself. My mind would never let it go after that. One night when I was half asleep the title “The Chalice Rose” came to me, and I broke out in goosebumps! The characters and the concept wouldn’t let me alone until I wrote it. It has been an incredible joy to see it finally in print! Book II The Crown of the Crescent Moon has already been sent to the publisher and I’m working on final edits for Book III The Chalice Rose.
What are your thoughts on the book?
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