[Before Sons of Avalon: Merlin's Prophecy was published]
At dinner parties, when the question of "what do you do?" inevitably comes up, a small crowd always gathers when I arrogantly answer that I am a writer. The group grows larger and the room hushes when I add, that I am currently working on an Arthurian novel (after all, everyone grew up on tales of Camelot). Yet, how quickly the masses dwindle, returning to previous merry conversation, franticly remembering things they had forgotten to do, when I add that I have been working on the book for over ten years.
Why has it taken so long to write a simple retelling of a story, retold hundreds of times over thousands of years? In the beginning, I too thought the process would be an easy endeavor. After all, I was merely a vessel for Merlin to channel his stories; transcribing events straight from the source. I soon discovered Merlin works in mysterious (and frustrating) ways.
A prime example: while riding from a particularly gruesome battle, a young knight became extremely ill. His companion demanded that Merlin concoct a potion to ease his friend’s nausea. Before I could stop him, Merlin leaned in his saddle and grinned [I have grown to hate it when Merlin grins, it always means trouble], telling the knight not to worry, all would be well when they reached their destination.
"On the chalky hillside, above the rugged shores, grows an ancient herb that holds the properties to cure stomach ailments," even in his youth, Merlin’s words flowed with authority.
"No!" I groaned, wishing to reach in, grab Merlin off his pony and shake the smugness from his face.
"Excuse me?" Blinking Merlin looked up, feigning confusion.
"I can’t take it any longer, I give up," I shouted. Accustomed as I had become to Merlin's game of clue-and-quest, several of my deadlines had come and gone. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with his lackadaisical attitude toward my need to get on with my life.
Not unlike a movie director yelling, "Cut," Merlin froze the action as he trotted his pony off the story set to have a private conversation with me.
"Merlin," I pleaded, "you have yet to disclose your final destination. I have just now found out that the knight is ill. And, no disrespect, but I wanted to reach through the computer screen, and put my hand over your mouth when you boasted that you would cure the knight of a specific illness, with an ancient herb, that only grew on a specific hill, in a specific coastal town."
"Is it lack of faith, or lack of time, that is annoying you the most?" Without waiting for my reply, Merlin slowly rejoined his men for the long trek to the chalky shores of Dubris [Dover]. There, he gathered the samphire plant; an ancient cure for indigestion.
Without question, my faith in Merlin has been, is, and shall always be unconditional. Unlike Merlin, I am not ageless ... and research takes time from writing. Even so, I am forever grateful that my muse continues to have faith in me!