If you have reached the caves, you will need to leave your pony and continue on foot.
Guided by Tamarith, Vidarh stopped before the first and largest cave. He would need some form of illumination. From his pack he drew a torch, which he lit and wedged
into a crack in the rock. Unsaddling the pony, he turned it loose. The animal, descended from stock genetically engineered to withstand the harsh conditions, and brought with the first settlers to Niflheim, was fit and hardy. It would have no problem
foraging for itself until his return.
With a resolute set to his shoulders, Vidarh retrieved his torch and made his way into the cave. Just inside the mouth, he found a hollow behind a rock in which to hide the saddle and bridle. At least it would be safe and dry there, so long as no hungry rodent decided to nibble at it. He strapped on his pack, containing a change of clothing and a few personal items, and set off along a narrow passageway at the back of the cavern.
Tamarith directed him along the various twists and turns of the labyrinth. At first, the going was easy. The walls of rock gave off a soft, diffuse luminescence, augmenting the light from his torch. After walking for so long he began to think the tunnel he followed led nowhere, the luminosity grew stronger, and the passage opened out into a large amphitheatre. The light reflected back from the walls revealed seats, formed out of pale green stone, arranged in tiers forming a semi-circle. At one end was a pool, shimmering in the soft light. Multi-colored stalactites glistened like jewelled candelabra from the roof of the cave. At the far end was a high dais flanked on each side by another passage.
Vidarh paused for only a moment to take in the beauty around him. He was familiar
with the Conference Chamber of the community of Gladsheim. His mind had been there
many times but this was the first time he had physically entered the place. Instructed
to take the left fork, he progressed along the labyrinths, noting the downward slope
of the passage. Occasionally, when he came to a branch in the tunnel, he would stop
and listen to Tamarith's voice in his mind as it guided him along the right path.
You don't have far to go. I will keep sending you the directions. You should be near
the river now.
Yes. I hear it up ahead.
Be careful. We had heavier than usual snowstorms last winter. With the coming of
spring, the melting snow and ice has swelled the volume of water.
Vidarh made his way along the tunnel, partly guided by his telepathic link with Tamarith,
and partly by his own senses. Eventually it widened out into a large cave, through
which the underground river roared as it cut its way through the mountain.
On the shingle of the boulder-strewn shore, several small boats bobbed against their
moorings. After ensuring his pack was securely fastened around his waist, he climbed
into one, and lashed the torch to the prow. He cast off, and took up the paddle.
The river bore the craft along at a tremendous rate and it needed all his skill and
attention to save the craft from dashing against the rocks. He'd heard about the
fabled river of Mimir, but this was not the tranquil stream of his imagination.
The walls still reflected a phosphorescent glow. Vidarh noticed several gigantic,
human-like statues on the banks as he passed, but had no time to contemplate or admire
them. Rounding a bend, he came upon a wall of water ahead, cascading from the roof
in a fury of white froth. The torrent boiled and raced. He gritted his teeth as he
headed into the maelstrom. There was no way he could control the boat's
frantic motions as it heaved and bucked like an unbroken colt. He threw down the
paddle, gripped the sides of the vessel, and sent a desperate message through the
Tamarith, I'm in trouble. Please—send me images of your location, quickly. I need
to know what it looks like where you are. The raging current tossed the boat around
with relentless fury. All Vidarh's attention focussed on maintaining contact with
Tamarith, and even his finely-tuned powers could not prevent the craft from capsizing.
Gasping as he hit the icy flood, he struck out with his arms in desperation, and
tried to keep the watery demons from pulling him under. Tamarith!
Sharon: Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Today’s special guest is my friend and fellow Wild Rose Hywela Lyn. Lyn is here to tell us all about her new book Children of the Mist. And here she comes now!
Lyn arrives on cyber stage on Vidarh’s pony, waving wildly to her fans. Leaping off with style and grace, Lyn and Sharon exchange cyber hugs.
Sharon: Welcome, Lyn! Have a seat and make yourself comfortable. And after that long pony ride from the UK, I’m sure you’d appreciate a nice cup of steaming Earl Grey to warm your bones. Allow me to pour you a cup. And just for you, Lyn, we have a huge selection of chocolate treats. Dig in.
Lyn: Thank you so much for inviting me. Sharon, ooh chocolate! You know just how to make your guests feel at home don’t you. *grin* and we do like our Earl Grey! Let me just turn Vidarh’s pony loose over here so he can graze - it’s OK he won’t go near the flowers, Vidarh instructed him on what he could and couldn’t eat before we left!
Sharon: Okay, now that we’re both all settled with our tea, let’s talk a bit about your latest release from The Wild Rose Press. Children of the Mist is the sequel to Starquest and I must say I loved it every bit as much as the first book in the series. As I’ve told you so many times, your imagination never ceases to amaze me. You have such a unique way with words. Let’s talk about that, Lyn. Do these colorful descriptions just pop into your head—or do you have some type of telepathic powers I’m unaware of? Because given the way you describe things, it’s as if you are really seeing them. I’ll give you an example:
“The light reflected back from the walls revealed seats, formed out of pale green stone, arranged in tiers forming a semi-circle. At one end was a pool, shimmering in the soft light. Multi-colored stalactites glistened like jewelled candelabra from the roof of the cave.”
Those are the words of a poet. Girl, I’m telling you. I stand in awe. How do you think of such mesmerizing descriptions?
Lyn: (Feels herself blushing furiously) Aw Sharon, thank you, I’ve expect I’ve gone all pink now! I see each scene in a story like a movie, so really I’m just describing what I see in my mind. Very often I take memories and embellish them. For instance, many years ago I visited a network of underground caves at Dan-yr-Ogof, near Swansea, Wales. It was very dark and cold, and the only light came from our guides’ torches and the occasional spotlight, but the stalactites and stalactites were amazing and I think subconsciously I used the memories of that day to create some of the atmosphere in the scene above, although of course most of it is pure imagination .
Sharon: And now let’s talk about your characters, Tamarith and Vidarh. Do the names have any significance? And could you tell us a little background about them and why you chose them as the heroine and hero of your story?
Lyn: Vidarh like most of the characters and places in ‘Children Of The Mist’ is named after
A Norse god – Vidar the Valient, a brother of Thor. I’ve altered the spelling a wee bit as words have a way of changing through successive generations. Tamarith just ‘came’ to me ready named, just as Jess did in ‘Starquest’. I did try altering her name to a more ‘Nordic’ sounding one, but it didn’t work, she just wasn’t the same character, so I changed it back again. There are one or two other characters in the book who also don’t have Scandinavian names, because the planet Niflheim is peopled by Earth settlers and I figured not all of them would name their babies after Norse gods!
Tamarith features quite a lot in ‘Starquest’ but I really left her with an unresolved future in that book. At the back of my mind I had an idea for a sequel, because I became rather fond of her, especially when she pleaded with me to give her a ‘happy ever after too.’ When I started writing ‘Children Of The Mist’ I wasn’t too sure who the hero was going to be, but then Vidarh appeared on the scene and began to tell me the story and it quickly became obvious that he had the determination and courage to see the story through, while his kind nature was just what was needed to heal Tamarith’s broken heart.
Sharon: I can’t even imagine the creativity process of writing both Starquest and Children of the Mist. How long did it take you to write Children of the Mist and did you run into any major stumbling blocks you’d like to share with readers?
Lyn: It took me about a year to do the necessary research and get the basic story down. Then I took a couple of months to revise and polish it before submitting it to The Wild Rose Press. I did find one scene toward the end particularly difficult to write, but I wrote around it and then went back to it, and once I’d started it wasn’t as hard to develop as I’d expected. It involved an ‘action’ scene but one in which Vidarh is trying to reconcile his feelings for Tamarith while trying to save her, and it almost happens in slow motion. It was harder to think about than to actually write!
Sharon: Now I know as writers, we sometimes feel as if we spend far too much time promoting and far too little time writing. How do you reach a happy medium between these two battling forces, Lyn. Because I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel as if I’m literally being pulled in half, trying to do both and wondering how I’ll fit it all in without pulling my hair out. Any secrets to share?
Lyn: I wish I had Sharon, like you I feel I’m being pulled in several directions at once. The internet is at once a blessing and a curse. Being published by a US publisher, but living in the UK, means my readers are inevitably going to be mainly from the States, and my only way of reaching them, since I can’t afford to travel across the pond and attend conventions, much as I would like to, is to spread myself across as many loops and social networks as I can, just to ‘get my name out there.’ It’s addictive though, and between this, and keeping up my Blog and website, the time just flies, and especially if the muse is being elusive, it’s all too easy to spend all my time promoting and not leave enough time for writing. The only answer for me is to be really strict and switch off the internet to avoid being tempted by emails, or something I feel I just have to ‘post’. On a fine day I take my laptop out into the garden, and since it’s very basic, without internet access it’s a great way to encourage the muse to come out and play.
Sharon: I’d like to talk a bit about your love of animals. It’s so obvious from your books and from our many chats what an important role animals play in your life. What do you suppose it is about our furry friends that pulls at your heart strings?
Lyn: I think (apart from the ‘cuteness’) it’s their innocence and vulnerability – and their honesty. You know where you are with an animal. They don’t steal from you, tell lies or pretend to be your friend and then run you down when you’re not around. I don’t mean that to sound like I don’t like people. I do, but there are some unpleasant, even evil people in the world, who will deceive you to get what they want, or attack and injure a weaker person for greed. Even a so-called ‘mean’ horse will warn you by laying its ears back and giving out other subtle body language, before it kicks, A dog will snarl before it bites. Nearly all instances of an animal attacking a person are instinctive self defence reactions. I don’t think any animal is born mean. They will defend themselves or their young, and you can’t blame them for that, and usually a ‘dangerous’ horse or dog has been made or bred that way by man. A dog will give you complete loyalty, a horse has subtle ways of showing its affection and cats can also be very affectionate, and although they have an air of independence they make wonderful companions. It’s well known that stroking a domestic cat or dog has therapeutic qualities, and a dog instinctively knows when its owner is sad, or not feeling well. Animals are beautiful, majestic, or just plain cuddly. Our world would be a very much poorer place without them. In the words of Chief Seattle:
“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.”
Thunderous applause explodes from the audience. Sharon stands and the audience joins in, giving Lyn a standing ovation.
Sharon: Here here, Lyn. Well said to all our adoring animal friends. Now, we’ve talked so many times about riding horseback. There is nothing like it, is there? Don’t you feel being close to nature while having the wind whip in your face wild and free is inspiring? Makes you a better writer?
Lyn: Oh absolutely. Horses feature in nearly every story I’ve ever written, and I care about them as much as the human characters. I’ve frequently worked out a difficult piece of plot when out on a long ride, and very often if the character is riding a horse, imagined myself as him or her. There really is nothing quite like being out in the open countryside, with only your horse for company, to make one realize what a beautiful and inspiring world we inhabit.
Sharon: And let’s talk about sweet Bouncer. Can you share with readers how he came to live with you?
Lyn: I’ve had dogs ever since I was a child. When our last little dog, a Shiba bitch called Blaze, sadly had to be put to sleep, I said the next dog we had would be a ‘rescue’. There is a shelter near where I used to live in Wales, called ‘Ty Agored’, which translates as ‘Open House. They take in any needy animal and keep them until they find a home. They will never euthanaze a healthy animal. I got on the internet and emailed them to ask if they had an adult dog that might be suitable for us.
I asked for an adult, because puppies are so cute and find homes comparatively easily and I wanted a dog that might have trouble being re-homed. I was given the choice of three, but Bouncer struck a chord with me immediately, and when I saw his photo, I knew he was ‘the one.’ He was brought in as a half starved stray, and had obviously been ill treated in the past. He’d had a broken hip and pelvis which had been allowed to heal without veterinary assistance. He’d been there for six months and was now a healthy weight and in good health again. He will be on medication for the rest of his life, because of his previous injuries, which meant he would have a hard time finding someone to adopt him. The cost of his medication was manageable, and I asked them to reserve him for us.
He is the sweetest, most lovable little dog you could imagine. Despite his bandy little back legs, which make him walk a bit like a penguin, he is very lively and full of fun, and you wouldn’t believe there was anything wrong with him, or that he’d had such a tough past, if you didn’t know. He lives up to his name, by bouncing up and down with his front legs when he wants something, and brings so much joy into our lives. I would urge anyone thinking of getting a pet to consider a rescue, they repay you a thousand fold.
Sharon: Lyn, you are a gift and make this world a better place. Now when you’re not writing, I know reading is one of your many hobbies. Can you tell us some of your other creative talents?
Lyn: Well, like you Sharon, I used to love to paint – in oils and acrylics. My favorite things to paint were horses and landscapes – often alien landscapes. As you know though, it’s very time consuming and I just don’t have the time any more, although I still sometimes sketch in pencil. I still love to draw horses and sometimes I’ll sketch a character or a landscape from a story I’m working on, just to fix it in my mind. I also enjoy painting on horseshoes – in the style of canalboat artists. I live near The Grand Union Canal and love to look at the colorful barges, with their plump roses and the other designs that make them unique.
Sharon: And don’t look now, but here comes dessert!
Oliver the butler rolls out the sterling silver caddy with another pot of steaming hot tea. Then he unveils his culinary talents with a sweeping bow Huge red ripe strawberries doused with cream in three beautiful cut crystal dessert plates. After pouring more tea, he squeezes himself between Lyn and Sharon, batting his eyes madly at Lyn.
Sharon: Ah…Oliver. She clears her throat and moves over a bit as the mint green sofa on claw legs sags. Oliver, what’s gotten into you? You never behave this way? Oliver goes to speak but nothing comes out but a squeak. He whispers in Sharon’s ear. Oh, all right, I’ll ask her. Lyn, Oliver seems to have a school boy crush on you and would like your autograph. If you don’t mind? Then maybe he’ll…ah…give us some breathing room.
Lyn: Of course, its a pleasure. There you go, Oliver, "To Oliver, the greatest butler of them all." Um yes, I have put several kisses on it - and please, take the pen as well. it's a special 'Starquest' one, and there aren't many of those around.
Sharon: Mmmmmm. Aren’t these delicious, Lyn? We simply must stop chatting long enough to devour this treat. How about it?
Lyn: Mmmm *smacks lips” I just adore strawberries and cream – who cares about the figure! Ooh yes I will have a bit more cream, thank you.
Sharon: Oh, that was a treat. I just love berries. Now that we’ve had our treat, let’s chat about my favorite thing. And you know what it is, right, Lyn? You got it, girl, superstitions. And with your Welsh blood, I know you have one or two. Can you share one or two of your favorites and why they intrigue you so?
Lyn: *Grin* how long have we got? There are so many Welsh superstitions, some of them date from ancient customs and some of them have been passed down from generation to generation. They’re a wonderful source of inspiration and can often add a touch of authenticity to a story. Ok then, here are a few:
If you find a white hair on a black cat, you will have good luck.
A funeral on a Saturday was considered good for the dead person's soul. In Wales they say, "Blessed are the dead that the rain rains on.
There are lots of superstitions revolving around the New Year celebrations as well.
Many people give gifts on New Years morning, with children having skewered apples stuck with raisins and fruit. In some parts of Wales people must visit all their relatives by midday to collect their calennig. Celebrations and traditions vary from area to area. In the south-east of Wales and in the Forest of Dean area, the skewered apple itself was known as the calennig If you make a calennig for New Year's Day, don't throw it away afterwards. Put it to stand on your window sill and it will bring you good luck for as long as it stands there.
On New Year's Day it's considered bad luck if the first visitor at your house has red hair. Best luck comes from a knock at the door by man you don't know with black hair.
Try to repay all debts and push the bank-balance into the black before the New Year. Tradition states that ending a year in debt means a whole new year of debt. The same goes for cleaning the house – any untidiness or dust will mean the house is like that for the rest of the year.
Sharon clasps her hands in fascination. I love it and am always so thrilled to learn new legends, traditions and superstitions! Thanks for sharing. : Now on a more serious note, could you tell readers how you would like to be remembered after you leave this earth and why?
Lyn: I think I’d like to be remembered as someone who loved to share her dreams and her fantasies, through her writing and who, although she may not always have succeeded, tried her best, and loved her family, her animals and her friends.
Sharon: Good answer, my friend. And what’s next for Hywela Lyn in the wonderful world of fiction writing? Any new story you are hard at work on?
Lyn: I’m currently working on the final story that started with ‘Starquest’ (see I find those characters very hard to let go of.) I also have a Western on the back burner, although it’s trying hard to come to the fore.
Sharon: Well, Lyn. Parting is such sweet sorrow. I’m afraid that brings us to the end of our interview. But before you go, I must ask you my three questions. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction which would it be and why? And last but not least, if you could be the leading lady in any book, who would you choose and who would be your ideal romantic hero?
Lyn: Well the first one’s easy – the mountains of my native Wales. Much as I’d love to travel to the Western States of the US, and to see the fjords of Norway, for me there is no place like rural Wales where I grew up and lived most of my life. It has everything, wild countryside, rugged mountains and beautiful lakes and waterfalls.
If I could star in a work of literary fiction, please can I be Elizabeth Bennett in ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Seems she had practically everything – looks, charm, wit – and most importantly, Darcy! LOL
If I could be the leading lady in any book I think it would be Lessa, in Anne MacCaffrey’s ‘Dragonflight’. You know how much I love horses, but what must it be like to ride a thirty foot long telepathic Queen Dragon? Can you imagine it? Not to mention being mated to a hunky hero like F’lar! And my ideal romantic hero? Do you mean to play F’lar? I think that would be Richard Armitage, he has the dark good looks and determined air that I imagine Flar has, but he also looks capable of tenderness and affection, For me the ideal fictional hero is just that, Good looking but more than that, intelligent, strong, capable and affectionate. Preferably with a gentle sense of humour.
Sharon: Well thank you so much for dropping in to Wednesday Spotlight. It’s been a pleasure and I hope you’ll come back again. You know I love you and all your books and readers, take it from me. You do not want to miss reading Children of the Mist. Hywela Lyn has such a gift with words that will definitely pull at your emotions. Best of luck, Lyn!
Lyn: Thank you very much for having me here, Sharon, it’s been wonderful to talk with you and spend time with you. Oh, and thank Oliver for the strawberries and cream, please, not to mention all the chocolate treats! I’m going to have to get a butler like him when I’m rich and famous!
Sharon: And finally, can you tell readers where they can purchase Children of the Mist and where they can get in touch with you? And can we take a peek at your trailer?
Lyn: Of course. All my books are available at my author page at the Wild Rose Press:
My Website is http://www.hywelalyn.co.uk/
And all my trailers can be viewed here:
I love hearing from fellow authors, as well as readers, of course, and can be reached at
Thank you again for having me Sharon, it’s been such fun. I just hope I haven’t put on too much weight for Vidarh’s pony to carry me back! LOL