Inspiration and Creativity
I’m thrilled to be back on the Tule blog today to talk a little about, Summer’s Celestial Plea, book four in my Maidens of the Mystical Stones series. I truly love every cover in this series, but this one’s my favorite. The colors are beautiful, the night sky over Stonehenge looks absolutely magical, and the owl is an enchanting part of this story. I’m extremely thankful to Tule for so many things–– including always finding the most talented cover designers.
I’m often asked what inspires my writing or one particular book or series. Sometimes there’s no clear answer. However, for this series, I can definitely say how the creative idea began. Firstly, when checking into my genealogy a few years ago, I discovered the ancestors in the Edwards branch of my family tree were from a small village not far from Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. That made my imagination soar. I thought a story could definitely grow from that tiny seed of information.
In the Maidens series, I created the fictional town of Hengebury and King Thaddeus’s kingdom. There was never a king by that name. However, during medieval times there were several kingdoms throughout what is now the British Isles.
As with every series I’ve written that’s set in the past, I’ve learned a lot of history through the required research. It was interesting to read about medieval Wessex––prior to the many kingdoms uniting to form England. I learned more about Stonehenge, too. There are several standing stone circles throughout the UK and Ireland, but Stonehenge is undoubtedly the most recognizable. During the medieval period the formation was referred to as the sunstones.
As far as the concept of the four women switching places–– that came from a few different sources. I really enjoyed the book, The Prince and the Pauper, where two very different boys trade lives. I also liked Freaky Friday, the film where a mother and daughter switch bodies only to discover the other doesn’t have it nearly as easy as they originally believed.
People often compare themselves to their friends or peers and sometimes envy them. The grass might seem greener, but they don’t always know what’s actually happening in other people’s lives––until they take a turn in those lives.
In this series, four markedly different young women––a healer (Rhianwyn), a harlot (Selena), a castle servant (Elspeth), and a princess (Lilliana), become unlikely friends. As the years pass they envy each other and dread their own futures–– all wishing they could trade places. While inside the stone circle, a mystical old crone suddenly appears offering them the chance to magically spend a season in each of the four women’s lives. As you might expect there are varied reactions to the unbelievable opportunity. The other three women are willing and eager, while Rhianwyn is more skeptical.
This far into a continued series it’s difficult to elaborate about the story without creating spoilers. Therefore, I won’t go into too much detail except to say in Summer’s Celestial Plea, the women will experience their third transformation. Although they all thought they knew their friends quite well, they’ve already learned many secrets about each other. They’re beginning to deeply regret entering into the magical pact.
Broccan, the hero in the story, has become more confused but is determined to discover what might be causing his wife, Rhianwyn, and the other women to behave so uncharacteristically.
This was one of the most interesting but also the most thought-provoking and challenging series for me to write. I needed to make sure readers were clear who each of the women were when they inhabited the other bodies. I relied on body language, sayings, and habits. I had to ensure the women were different enough that they’d be distinguishable. My editors, Roxanne, Helena, and Marlene were amazingly helpful with this and caught more than a few errors.
As with any series where the individual books aren’t stand alone, the story gains momentum with each installment. I’m excited for readers to learn more and I hope they enjoy the plot twists and character arcs. Thus far people are loving the story and reviews have been great. I’ve had several readers reach out to let me know they’re invested in Rhianwyn and Broccan’s heartwarming albeit very complicated love story.
I haven’t traveled anywhere since before Covid, but this July I’ll be attending the upcoming author retreat celebrating Tule’s 10th anniversary. I can’t wait to meet the Tule team in person, some of the people I’ve been working with for several years. It will be great to get together with other Tule authors, too.
I’ll also be looking forward to being on this blog again in September for the final installment in the Maidens of the Mystical Stones series, Fate’s Final Season. Until then, magical wishes for a wonderful, safe, happy, and memorable summer.
Leigh Ann Edwards’ fascination with history, romance, magic, fantasy, time-travel and Ireland sparked her interest in creating the Irish Witch Series and her growing collection of published novels. Growing up in a very small Manitoban village on the Canadian prairies left a lot of time to create stories and let her imagination soar.
An author for nearly thirty years, Leigh Ann has almost completed writing her fourth series with Tule Publishing and will soon begin a fifth. Besides writing, Leigh Ann loves spending time with her four grandchildren, reading, traveling, doing intuitive readings and reiki. Leigh Ann and her husband, their two cats, one large dog and their Boston Terrier puppy, live near Edmonton Alberta, Canada.