Today I am so excited to host Elizabeth May for the 2013 Debut Authors Bash!
Elizabeth May was born in California, where she lived during her formative years before moving to Scotland. She is currently working on her PhD at the University of St Andrews. When she isn’t writing or doing academics, she can be found with a camera in hand; her photography has been published on an array of book covers and in magazines.
She currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband. THE FALCONER is her début novel. For more information, follow her on Twitter @_ElizabethMay or visit her website www.elizabethmaywrites.com
By: Elizabeth May
A lot of stories have been told about the fae. About what they are, about where they come from. It’s interesting to see how faery stories have been adopted into mainstream culture, and what aspects of the folklore have endured.
In literature, the fae are overwhelmingly forest-dwelling creatures, or spirits of nature, or are bonded to the earth; they live in hills, in faery glens – places outside human villages or cities. I suppose to the people who believed in the fae, that made cities or villages safer. It was the forests and the distant glens that were unsafe.
One of my favourite Scottish stories is about the Faery Boy of Leith (Leith being an area outside of the city of Edinburgh). It tells the tale of a boy who lived in Leith, gifted (or cursed, depending on the story) with the Sight, the ability to see faeries. He was famously known as a drummer for the fae. He would disappear into the hills surrounding Edinburgh and join the fae in their dwellings. The entrance to their world was at Calton Hill, now a prominent part of the city of Edinburgh, though back then would have been a looming hill on the outskirts.
The part of the story that struck me, as I’ve heard it recounted, is this: for centuries later it was believed that if you went to Calton Hill and laid on the ground, pressing your ear to the bare earth, you could hear the Faery Boy of Leith still drumming for his fae audience. And he will drum there for eternity.
It was that last part of the story that inspired me to make Edinburgh – which was a bustling metropolis in the Victorian era, as it is now – a place rife with faeries in my novel The Falconer. I always thought of faery stories being chalk full of juxtaposition: humans versus monsters, superstition versus enlightenment, the city/village versus the “outside”. Faeries represented the unknown, the unexpected – the horror of a child disappearing from her bed, crops suddenly dying without any reason at all, or people walking into the forest and never coming back out again.
The story of the Faery Boy of Leith made faeries a part of urban myth. They became creatures living under the city, enticing people wandering alone at night to Calton Hill. It wasn’t just the forests people had to worry about, or the glens, or the hills. The fae were right there, under the buildings and the roads. Sometimes, they were disguised as residents, too. As it turns out, the city wasn’t safe, either.
Elizabeth May is offering a copy of The Falconer, open to UK, US, Canada, and Australia.
Contest will run from September 21st, 2013 to September 28th, 2013