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Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle ❤️ Book Blitz & Gift Card Giveaway ❤️ (Fantasy Romance)



Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister Livy is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Then Kit starts dating Livy, and Skye draws Kit’s cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods. Skye and Grady are doomed to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever, unless Livy, the only one untainted by enchantment, can unravel the spell by walking a dangerous magical path of her own.


How closely did you follow Chris:na Rosse’s poem “Goblin Market” as a basis for the story?

I call this a book “inspired by” Rosse6’s poem rather than saying it’s “based upon” it, because I did veer from the poem a significant amount. I first read the poem a few years ago, and it intrigued me deeply. It’s evocaAve and strange, and, like a fairy tale, has many symbols and events that could be interpreted as having several different meanings. My assignment to myself was to use it as a jumping-off point for a modern paranormal novel, which would then go its own way as the plot required. What I kept from the poem was the basic surface framework: we have a pair of sisters, grown but on the young side, one of whom becomes enchanted by eaAng goblin fruit in the forest and begins wasAng away as a result, alarming the other sister into seeking a way to save her. Since Rosse6’s poem ends with a fast-forward to the women being “wives” and telling their children about their adventures, and since I wanted to write a paranormal romance anyway, I gave my modern sister characters a pair of men to get involved with, in a double love story with eerie angles that I think match the eeriness of the original poem. Mind you, another interpretaAon of the poem is that the two women aren’t really sisters but lovers, which would be a different route to take and which I think would be lovely to see too!

For those of us who haven’t been there, what is Puget Sound like and why did you choose it as a seing for a retold fairy tale?

Puget Sound is a vast area of Pacific seawater, meandering into countless inlets and coves in skinny, deep Lords leM behind by glaciers. SeaNle and Tacoma and Olympia lie on its shores, on some of its largest bays, but it also has many wilder and more rural shores, especially on the western side where it backs up against a huge naAonal forest on the Olympic Peninsula. That’s the region where my grandparents bought a vacaAon cabin decades ago, and where my family has been going for many vacaAons ever since. I can safely say it’s one of my favorite places on Earth. In order to agree, you have to enjoy a cool, rainy climate and all the thick moss and ferns and mushrooms and huge evergreens such a climate produces, and I happen to love those things. Fairy tales, at least those from Northern Europe, almost all involve a deep dark forest. That’s where the faeries, witches, werewolves, vampires, elves, and all the other interesAng beings live. Everyone knows that. I haven’t spent much Ame in the forests of Europe (alas! I will someday), but I reckoned our Pacific Northwest deep dark forests were more than adequate for housing supernatural creatures. My grandmother used to tell us that the mossy ruins of big tree trunks in the Puget Sound forests were the homes of Teeny-Anies, whom I always took to be faeries. So I set the story there, at the edge of the Sound, where saltwater meets woods and where the Teeny-Anies live.

What is the significance of the four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) in this story?

The four elements are common fixtures in many ancient cultures, and have remained popular into the modern day. One of my favorite TV shows is Avatar: the Last Airbender, which uses the four-element framework brilliantly in its world-building. In reading up on faery lore for this book, I found that scholars oMen classify types of fae under the four elements, and since that appealed to me, I did the same. As one of the characters in The Goblins of Bellwater muses, there’s something human and emoAonally real about looking at nature that way, even if we technically know, thanks to science, that nature contains far more than four elements. And in my novel, the only way to break the goblin spells involves respecAng and trusAng each of the four elements, even when they’re at their most daunAng.



Why do you think fairy tale and other myth and legend retellings are so popular right now?

I think they’ve always been popular! Maybe it’s a case of selecAon bias, because I personally have always been into ghost stories, fairy tales, and other supernatural lore, but it seems to me that human culture has never stopped telling such stories. As scholars of fairy tales will tell you, reading and wriAng about fantasy and the paranormal may look like escapism from reality, and someAmes I tell myself that’s what I’m doing, but in truth these stories end up giving us all the useful lessons about real life that any good stories do: empathy, courage, love, respect for nature and community, and the importance of thinking fancifully and creaAvely.

What are the goblins like in this book?

In keeping with both the “Goblin Market” poem and the bulk of faery lore, they are mischievous and villainous. They laugh a lot, but they are decidedly laughing at you, not with you. They steal, and in parAcular they lust aMer gold. Like other fae, they enjoy making deals with humans, but humans would be wise not to enter into such deals, as the obligaAon tends to be heavier than it sounds at the outset. These goblins go further than merely theM, too; they assault and someAmes steal away humans and turn them into fellow goblins, and at other Ames enchant them into wandering unhappily in the woods unAl they waste away and die. Although the goblins are someAmes amusing in their level of wiNy rudeness, they are nearly all amoral and highly dangerous to get involved with. Only a scant few of them, who were once humans, manage to retain any human empathy. However, not all of the fae in my book are this cruel—the goblins are the worst of the lot! Others are willing to be quite helpful to humans as long as they are respected in return.

What kind of magic system does this book involve?

In this book, my main characters are ordinary humans who can’t do any magic, but they become involved in the dealings of the fae realm, which is a bit like another dimension. It can be entered or glimpsed by summoning the fae (which includes goblins), who might or might not answer you. But you’re luckier on the whole if they don’t, because many of them are treacherous, and the realm itself is a wilderness containing many uncanny dangers. From the point of view of the human characters, the magical rules and the cultural norms of the fae are nonsensical, almost inexplicable, but since some of these people have fallen under curses, they have to step in among those dangers and work with the rules as best as they can anyway.

What do you find most challenging in wri:ng a novel?

At first, it’s usually ge6ng to know the characters. I tend to start with a general idea of who they are, but then when I begin wriAng, I realize there’s too much I sAll don’t know about these people and therefore they aren’t coming across as real yet. It slows me down in the early stages while I take breaks to write notes in which I interview them and figure them out. I also have a perennial problem with wriAng antagonists. They have to do fairly awful things (being antagonists and all), but I sAll want them to feel like real people (or other beings), and therefore I have to get into their heads and figure out why they would feel jusAfied in doing such a thing. It’s not a comfortable place for my mind to go. I suppose that’s why I gravitate more toward romance and lightheartedness: I much prefer spending Ame with those who love and laugh.

What are the easiest parts of wri:ng a novel for you?



No part of the process is exactly easy. But someAmes lines will occur to me seemingly out of nowhere when I’m wriAng, and they’re perfect for the moment; or I’ll find my characters talking to each other in my head when I’m not wriAng. And I love those moments, because for them to have come to life in my imaginaAon like that, it means I must have done sufficient groundwork in figuring out the world and the characters. So although the groundwork is the hard part, it pays off and leads to easier parts later!

How did the wri:ng of this novel, a fairly short stand-alone paranormal, compare to the wri:ng of the Persephone trilogy?

It was far simpler! The Persephone’s Orchard trilogy had dual Amelines, for one thing: the ancient world in Greece, and the reincarnaAons of those people in the modern day. For another thing, it had far more characters, both in original and reincarnated versions. And for any series, you need to have plot arcs that stretch over the whole series as well as smaller ones that get wrapped up within each volume; and you have to keep the whole thing internally consistent in terms of mood and themes and character personaliAes. It turned out exhausAng enough that I didn’t want to write another series again anyAme soon. So I picked The Goblins of Bellwater as my follow-up project: small cast, straighaorward plot, and simple Ameline. Most of the acAon takes place within about six weeks, in this small town, which is indeed a contrast to the millennia of world-spanning events covered in the trilogy!

Would you want to live in any of the fic:onal magical worlds you’ve created?

Strange though it might sound, I’d love to visit the Underworld as I wrote it in Persephone’s Orchard and its sequels. I made it much less scary, for the most part, than it is in tradiAonal Greek mythology; and besides that, I love caves and glowing things, and definitely would be interested in a ride on a ghost horse as long as an immortal was keeping me safe during it. As for the fae realm we see in The Goblins of Bellwater, I’d like to catch glimpses of it, and of the fae themselves, but I wouldn’t want to actually enter the realm. Too perilous!

What are you wri:ng next?

One of the genres I love, and haven’t wriNen enough of myself, is male/male love stories, so I’ve been working on a couple of those. One is contemporary, no magic or supernatural stuff, and it’s undergoing the feedback-and-revision stage right now. Another will involve a fae realm like that of The Goblins of Bellwater, only in a new locaAon in the world, a ficAonal se6ng I’m creaAng. I sAll have to figure out how this place works and what its magic system is like, in addiAon to ge6ng to know the characters, but I’m excited about the idea and it has definitely taken root in my brain.

What are the most magical places you’ve been to in real life?

Puget Sound and its surrounding forests and mountains—which is why I chose the area for the enchanted lands in The Goblins of Bellwater. Also some of the forests and meadows in the WillameNe Valley in Oregon, where I grew up. Oregon and Washington are both overflowing with natural beauty and I’m spoiled to have spent most of my life here. In addiAon, some places in Great Britain have felt quite magical to me, such as Tomnahurich (Hill of the Fairies) in Inverness, Scotland; or Old Town Edinburgh with its many close alleys and dark medieval buildings and brick-paved streets; or Westminster Abbey, not only because of its beauty and its many graves of astoundingly famous historical figures, but because when I first visited it as a 19-year-old, I’d never been in any building anywhere near that old before (having grown up in the Pacific Northwest), and it blew my mind.


They had carried Skye up, up, up the trunks into a fantastically weird bunch of cobbled-together houses and bridges and mismatched dim electric lights that they had built all around a huge swath of evergreens. A treetop village, but its surfaces slimier and its inhabitants more disgusting than any of the fantasy fairylands Skye used to envision. Somehow she understood she could only see the place because she had taken their path and eaten the blackberry tart. She also understood that although she had only been carried a few hundred yards off the road, she was now almost totally out of reach of regular humans.

“You love these trees, yes?” their leader had said. Skye gathered her name was Redring.

“Yes.” Skye couldn’t lie, her tongue answering as if under some honesty potion. She still lay in the arms of half a dozen goblins, their prickly hands clamped all over her body.

“And you wanted to see us. You accepted our invitation. We are so flattered, darling one.” Redring leaned closer, her foul breath spilling across Skye’s face. “Some we would simply steal from, and leave to fall apart, but not you. You we would like to keep.”

“Me. I want her,” another goblin said, bulling his way in against Redring’s shoulder. Or at least, Skye assumed it was a he. His voice was deeper and his gaze upon Skye more lustful—it made her shudder, but all she could do was avert her eyes.

Redring shoved him. “Be patient, Slide!” She grinned at Skye again and softened her voice. “You see, there is a procedure for this. You will go home again, but eventually you will come to us.”

Someone shoved another sticky bite of food into Skye’s mouth: orange marmalade. She grimaced, but her obedient enchanted mouth chewed and swallowed it.

“You will want to,” Redring continued.

A different goblin crammed what tasted like musty mince pie into her mouth. She swallowed that too.

“You will lose your way in the human world.”

Another stuffed her mouth with stale cake with raspberry filling, gelatinous and with too many seeds. Tears of despair ran down her temples, yet she ate it.

“You will come to the woods and choose your mate.”

“Me!” the gruff goblin shouted, while someone smashed a handful of candied cherries into Skye’s mouth.

“Shut up!” Redring told him, and the others cackled. “She called to us, so she gets to choose. Besides, it’s more fun, watching to see who she picks.” She turned to Skye again. “And when you have withered enough among the humans, you will join us here. You will become goblin.”

   




Molly Ringle grew up fascinated with folklore, fairy tales, and all things paranormal, and has always loved the wet green forests of the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her family near Puget Sound, and is inordinately fond of pretty gardens and ‘80s new wave music.


   


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9 comments :

  1. I absolutely love this cover! Sounds like a great read!

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  2. I love the cover, sounds like a great book :)

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  3. The Goblins Of Bellwater is a good read. I liked it! Thank you

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  4. I love the cover!
    Where should we post the picture with the book?
    Thanks for the opportunity.

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  5. I simply can't wait to read this book.

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  6. Thanks for the giveaway!

    mia2009(at)comcast(dot)net

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  7. I would like to give thanks for all your really great writings, including The Goblins of Bellwater. I wish the best in keeping up the good work in the future.

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