About the Book -
-What Genre is the Harmatia Cycle?
-What does the name ‘Harmatia’ mean?
-How do you pronounce the character/place names?
-Why is it unlucky to be left-handed in Harmatia?
-How are the books linked with the Arthurian Legends?
-What language do they speak in Harmatia?
-What time period are the books set it?
-When is Blood of the Delphi coming out?
Questions on Representation -
WHAT GENRE IS THE HARMATIA CYCLE?
The Harmatia Cycle is predominantly an epic High/Mythological Fantasy, and possess elements of Adventure, Romance, Horror and Drama within these parameters
WHAT DOES THE WORD ‘HARMATIA’ MEAN?
Harmatia is based off the Greek word ‘Hamartia’ donned by Aristotle to describe the ‘fatal flaw’ of heroes in Greek tragedies. This flaw would be unavoidable and would always lead to the heroes defeat/demise. The idea behind it is that all of the characters and the city itself have a fatal flaw which, no matter how much they try to defy, they will ultimately fall victim to. Another, somewhat tenuous, link to this is Thestian’s name, which is obviously a play on the word ‘Thespian’.
HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE THE CHARACTER/PLACE NAMES?
Please refer to this post.
WHY IS IT UNLUCKY TO BE LEFT-HANDED IN HARMATIA?
I actually did this for two reasons.
1) I was raised in the Middle East and in many of the cultures I lived, the left-hand was considered ‘unclean’. Similarly in a lot of other cultures, and even in the origin of Western culture left-handedness has traditionally been associated with negative things. There were several times in my upbringing when I would be instructed by teachers to use my right hand rather than my left, and I wondered about how difficult this must be for people who are predominantly left-handed to do this. I thus decided to explore that difficulty in the books.
2) My second reason is more symbolic. 10% of people on earth are believed to be left-handed, and in the western world this is (for the most part) accepted and not really questioned, though prejudices do exist. I liked the idea therefor of taking this common trait which we have accepted and once again applying (frankly farcical and dated) negative meaning to it based purely on superstition and societal belief. You know, a little like how society treat homosexual and transgender people in some places… -
HOW ARE THE BOOKS LINKED WITH THE ARTHURIAN LEGENDS?
A lot of the books’ content, themes and ideas are inspired by and parallel stories from the Arthurian Legends. (Eg. The Crest of the Harmatia Family is a sword in a stone, which is a symbol of the blacksmith and forger). To a certain degree, each of the main characters are based off of an archetype from the legends as well. These are as follows –
Rufus Merle – Merlin/ Sir Lancelot
Jionathan of the Delphi – King Arthur
Fae of the Neve – Morgana le Fey
Luca Rossignol – Elaine of Corbenic, Daughter of the Fisher King
Arlen Zachary – Sir Tristan
Mielane Rossingol – Queen Guinevere
Marcel Hathely – Sir Lucan
Emeric Fold – Sir Bedivere
Torin Merle – Sir Gwaine
Éliane of the Delphi – Ygraine
King Thestian – Uther Pendragon
Belphegore Odin – Ambrosius
Queen Reine – Morgause
WHAT LANGUAGE DO THEY SPEAK IN HARMATIA?
The Harmatia World Universe there are alot of languages, and each country has an equivilant language to some of our own. The Common Tongue which is spoke almost universally throughout Mag Mell is ‘English’ for the sake of simplicity.
Harmata: - The Common Tongue: English - Althion: (Dialect Spoken in the South) Cornish - Bretanish: (Dialect Spoken in the North) A mixture of Old English & Old Saxon
Bethean: - The Common Tongue: English - Betheanian: Gaelige – Althion: (Southern Harmatia dialect, almost spoken on the boarder) Cornish
Kathra: - The Common Tongue: English – Kathreki: Middle Saxon - (Dialect Spoken in Isnydea) Faenspråk: Old Norse
Réne: - The Common Tongue: English - Réneian: French - Rénia: Latin - Panaoidos: (Spoken on an Island off the south-easern coast ) Greek
WHAT TIME PERIOD ARE THE BOOKS SET IN?
Mag Mell exists within a separate universe to our own, so it doesn’t have a period that correlates exactly with ours. However in their own time-line, they are currently going through their equivalent of a Renaissance. The ability to use magic has furthered their development considerably within a much shorter space of time.
WHEN IS HARMATIA CYCLE BOOK 3 COMING OUT?
Book 3 is coming out at the end of 2018
ARE THERE ANY LGBT CHARACTERS IN HARMATIA?
Yes! There are indeed characters of varied sexualities in The Harmatia Cycle. Here is a list from the first book -
Rufus Merle: Bisexual, with a higher preference for men.
Arlen Zachary: Demisexual.
Marcel Hathely: Gay, in a long term relationship with Emeric Fold.
Emeric Fold: Gay, in a long term relationship with Marcel Hathely.
Embarr Reagon: Gay. Due to Embarr’s nature he can ‘feed’ on a woman, but does not like or choose to unless faced with necessity. His sexuality and feeding habit can be separated in this way.
Annabelle Rossingol: Bisexual. Annabelle is a child, and has not examined her sexuality yet enough to identify if she has any preference for either sex.
Rowan Rossingol: Gay. Rowan is a toddler and therefore is currently unaware of anything significant about himself other than the fact he enjoys bath-time and doesn’t like to be tickled too much.
The story also has several back-ground queer characters, including two gay women getting married in the middle of the book. Future books will also have Asexual, Pansexual and Transgender characters as well.
ISN’T IT HISTORICALLY ACCURATE TO HAVE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN BETHEAN?
Not in the least. A lot of cultures in history have had and even revered same-sex relationships as part of normal life. That it became taboo is actually vastly attributed to the rise of several religious institutes which deemed it to be ‘sinful’. (Eg. Homosexuality in Japan was considered normal until, after the Catholic influence it was made illegal.) The book is set in an alternative universe to our own which hasn’t been touched by the social conventions that shaped our history. Even if this wasn’t the case, one of my characters can transform into a giant winged cat, so having positive representation of same-sex marriage hardly seems that out of place. A lot of our current social issues are reflected in the way that countries in Mag Mell behave. For instance, there is no same-sex marriage in Kathra and ‘sodomy’ is illegal, punishable by anything up to imprisonment, castration or death. We obviously have countries like this in our own society who, despite all reason, victimise and terrorise people for choosing to live by and express their sexuality. In this way, Harmatia too is meant to be painted as guilty, because whilst it has no laws against homosexuality and doesn’t actively punish or victimise homosexuals, it remains an unsupportive bystander. Harmatia does not educate its people on different sexualities, nor will it recognise a same-sex marriage, or support its queer citizens. I felt that it was important to represent a nation like this, because it’s very easy to point the finger at countries which punish homosexuality, and forget those who completely neglect it, leaving their homosexual citizens to fend for themselves. Find out more about Betheanian laws on same-sex marriage and equality in the ‘About the World’ Tabs, under ‘Bethean’
ARE THERE ANY POC IN HARMATIA?
There are. Unfortunately there isn’t a very large scope of PoC characters within the continent of Mag Mell. This is because the continent in its initial conception was supposed to only link with European legends. The world that Mag Mell is based in however also has a number of different countries linking to other mythological beliefs from various cultures. Within the Harmatia Cycle World, there is migration and trade within these countries. (For instance, in Bethean, there are two ethnic groups who live together; people of in-land descent, and ancestors of group of settlers who originally came from Réne, and have darker skin.)
To help explain the range of skin-tones found in Harmatia, Bethean and Kathra, I created a map which shows the various found if different areas. This can be seen here.
A list of PoC characters in the books include: (BotD – Introduced in 2nd book)
- Varyn (BotD)
- Aeron (BotD)
- Daniel (BotD)
- Isolde (BotD)
- Béatrice (BotD)
- Morelle (BotD)
- Taeyeth (BotD)
- Cal (BotD)
DO YOU DEAL WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN THE BOOKS?
Yes. In the books I touch down on a number of different mental health issues which are spread over several of the characters. These include Depression, Physical and Mental Self-Harm, PTSD, Substance Abuse and Reliance, Insomnia and Anxiety. I felt it was important to express the normalcy of these conditions as mental health issues, especially depression, are more common than people think. Particulary in the case with depression, it can be deceptively invisible to outsiders who are unaware of it. I try my best in my work to represent these illnesses respectfully and not to glorify or paint them as romantic.
I FINISHED THE BOOK AND ENJOYED IT! WHAT CAN I DO NOW TO HELP OUT?
Believe it or not, this is something (in a round-about way) I often get asked by readers. They’ve finished the book and (hopefully) enjoyed it, but don’t know what they can do next to help make it more successful and show their appreciation. As a reader, here’s a list of things you can do for any book to help the author out:
1) Write a review on Amazon & Goodreads – Reviews are the back-bone to book sales, and help the author know if they’ve done a good job. Reviews don’t have to be long, but even a short positive review can make a difference, and the more places you post it (B&N, Smashwords, Book Depository, etc.) the more you help out, even if it’s the same review!
2) Blog about it. – Putting out a tweet, facebook status or tumblr post simply saying you’re reading or have read the book helps it gain attention. You can also take is a step-further and live-blog/live-tweet your thoughts of the book as you read: make comments on the characters, on the mood, on how you feel about it (Try to avoid Spoilers though!). Many people think that they don’t have enough followers/Facebook friends to make a difference, but if even one person sees that post it helps!
3) Like & Follow – Like and follow the author’s social media pages, such as their facebook page, twitter or blog! Then interact with their posts; retweet, reply, comment, share. Small things like this further the reach of the author on social media and help them gain new followers and interest.
4) Talk about the Book – As a bibliophile, talking about books comes naturally to me. (And once I start, it’s very difficult to get me to stop.). The highest recommendation for books always comes through word of mouth, so if you’d enjoyed a book, don’t keep it to yourself! Suggest it to your friends, your book group, a stranger you get talking to on the bus. You’d be surprised by the response.
5) Fan Creation – Now this is for hard-core fans and for creatives. If you enjoyed a book, make something inspired by it! For example: write some fanfiction! (I know, many authors look down on fanfiction, but I think it’s great, and as an advertising tool it is actually an excellent way to introduce people to something you like). Draw a picture! Take a photograph of a copy of your book! Create fan-theories! Get involved in the fan community, contribute and observe: not only will you meet other like-minded people, but you’ll also expose other friend in your circles to your new interest!
6) Pre-Order the Sequel - This doesn’t apply to all books, but one way to help a book rocket up in the book ranks is to pre-order a copy. If lots of people do that, than this equates to all of you ‘buying’ it in the same day when it’s released.
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do to help an author is to get involved! This is especially the case for smaller and indie authors, who I garauntee will read every review posted and every comment made. There is nothing that brightens our day more than to know something we have created has made someone else happy.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT FANFICTION?
I have alot of thoughts about fanfiction, and it’s role in the writing world. For the most part, I think that it’s great. If you’re asking because you would like to write fanfic, then go right ahead! Just as long as it’s listed as a Creative Common, noncommercial derivative. And also includes a disclaimer that shows you understand that all copyright to Harmatia Cycle remains with me, and that you are not making any profit off of the fanfiction.
Please note that I will not read your Harmatia Cycle fanfiction, so please don’t send it to me. Currently I only read fanfiction written by friends of mine, as I do wish to be influenced by any external sources in my writing of the Harmatia Cycle. Any similarities between my work, and any fanfictions you may write/read are entirely coincidental.