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In lands misled,

Where skies have fled,

And shadowed fog comes creeping,

A holy prize,

Though small in size,

Lies wrapped in darkness sleeping.

One final hope,

The guardian folk,

Unleash the noisy throng,

And trees of old,

The host will hold,

To weep in golden song.

...Ancient prophecy

Hopskotch and the Golden Cicada - cicada nymphs
Beginnings

The Waking World trilogy was in the planning as far back as 2005, conceived first as a personal challenge based on a long-held philosophy of the author  that all people are inherently creative. This simple idea seeded an important question: like the cicada nymph buried dormant below ground, what if our creative potential awaits only the correct alignment of time and circumstance to emerge into light of day?

 

Working around the concept of awakening, the author laid the foundation for the story as it evolved into Book I: Hopskotch and the Golden Cicada, the first draft of which was finalised in 2010.

 

A children’s story?

The story is about children, but not exclusively for children. Indeed, it has been crafted to appeal to both those in childhood, and adults inclined to reminisce about their own. Within the pages of The Waking World trilogy, one will discover intrigue and mystery aplenty, but it never compromises the pace of the story, or mires the reader in political machinations or a specific “whodunnit?” plot hook. The author committed to painting a fantasy world through the imaginative eyes of a child, and the plot is unapologetic in its focus on exploration and adventure.

 

Spoiler alert! It’s all about character.

The reader will be introduced to a charismatic cast of heroes and villains (as well as a few in shades of grey that will keep you guessing), each layered with depth and complex backstories that define their personalities. Every scene is written from the point of view of its most pivotal character, giving the reader the most intimate insight into their fears, secrets, dreams and motivations. Detailed profiles on all characters – major and minor – have been recorded in the author’s notes, so please keep an eye on the blog page for more on Hopskotch and Co.

 

Hoskotch and the Rising Sons - Primus Brendonne Whitecrow's dagger
History

The first clue that this is more than just a tale about a cicada hunt, Book I begins with an ancient prophecy referencing the blight scarring the continent of Celestia Gar, and finishing with a cryptic promise of salvation. Of course, this is only a teaser to the epic backstory that defines the history of the Syltian folk, the Absent God Aethelron and his adversary, elemental and earth magic, and the calamity that ended the Delgardian Age.

Interwoven into The Waking World trilogy are historical excerpts of a rare history book – The Secrets of the Ancients by Tulloch Greighspan – that appear every two-three chapters, and in bite-sized pieces reveal the backstory in step with the main thread. More than just a convenient accessory, the ancient book actually appears in the story, in the possession of a pivotal character.

 

As well as revealing the apocalyptic events that reduced a continent-spanning civilisation to a collection of dying rural settlements, within The Secrets of the Ancients appear heroes and villains with direct blood connections to our contemporary characters.

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