1.3 General Information

 

One of the joys of writing is that as the author one gets to choose what to put in a story - situations, names, quotations and so on. So I thought you might like a few words on these.

 

Although as a society we are a lot more secular these days, none-the-less our society has a Christian history and as Christianity absorbed the concepts of good and evil from the previous pagan religions, inevitably Christian history together with Biblical stories and ideas are going to find their way into modern tales - we can't just start with a completely clean slate after 2,000 + years of Christianity! So those who know their Bible will I hope, enjoy spotting the Biblical quotations, and noting that some of the names of people might, for example, be those of early martyrs or saints, or be those of angels or of course be those of devils or demons! And I hope it goes without saying, that these have been deliberately chosen. Also, just to tease the brain, I have included a few ancient Greek references for exactly the same reasons. Oh, no! I am not going to tell you which, what or where, as that would spoil the fun, I am just giving you hint so you have an idea what to look out for whilst reading!

 

The other big influence on our society and especially on story telling, is that of language. We won't go right back to the beginning, but let's assume a start with Old English. This was in turn influenced by the Vikings and later on by the French. So if your Norwegian or French are a tad rusty you might find a Norwegian-English or French-English dictionary helpful to enjoy the choices of names for some of the people and places. Oh yes, I expect my readers to be on their toes!

 

Perhaps I now need to make a distinction between "fantastic fantasy" and "plausible fantasy". "Fantastic fantasy" is "Game of Thrones" or "Harry Potter"; we know it is not real and it is great fun! "Plausible fantasy" is, well, plausible. Angels and demons don't really exist, do they? Do they? Does the fantastic, the supernatural if you like, actually happen in very normal people's lives and at very everyday locations? If it doesn't, how does one explain those things that seems to want for an explanation? And if it does, would we actually recognise it for what it is at the time, or try and shrug it off with some "rational" explanation? How much of such events are real and how much our imagination?

 

So what does an angel look like? We don't honestly expect it to be some limp-wristed, androgynous being with white feathery wings! If it is here on this earth, it is here for a purpose, it has got a job to do. Would you or I go and service the car dressed in a white linen suit? So why do we expect an angel to look as it might be depicted in "the family photo album"? And if devils, demons and she-devils are amongst us, we can be sure they will be up to no good and so will not be advertising their presence by coming in fancy dress, complete with red faces, horns and sporting a dragon-like tail! And finally, if these supernatural beings are here, they would be witnessed by people just like you and me, who have all the doubts and septicism about these things as we have. So inevitably their retelling of events will not be clear and precise for the very simple reason that they are not one hundred percent sure of what happened either!

 

If you think about it, in most of the stories we hear in everyday life we have minimal information. This doesn't make them less plausible. In fact it is their very lack of all the information which makes them plausible. If we read a story that goes into the nth detail in describing the all the background to every character, lists all their traits, and so on and so forth, then almost by definition the story is implausible! How could a narrator possibly know all of this about every character?  Let's put ourselves in the position of the narrator. We might know, for example, that a chap who lives at the end of our road robbed a bank last week. Yes, we may have met him once or twice, seen him walk his little dog, perhaps bumped into him at the supermarket, and that is all. Yes, that is all we know about him. There is no way that we could wax-on about his childhood, his various character traits, etc., because we know absolutely nothing of these. My narrators don't know everything and so cannot tell what they don't know. It is up to you, the reader, to guess abit if you want to, and if you don't want to, then accept the tale as it is.

 

What my narrators can do though, is muse on various philosophical and religious concepts. What constitutes evil, what is truth, what is belief, do we actually wish to live for ever, what happens when we die, throw in some historical references, etc.? These are age-old questions, but are still fun to discuss. So yes, there is a fair amount of this sort of thing in my stories. Inevitably philosophy and religion overlap and as said earlier we cannot just ignore two thousand years of Christianity - it is in our DNA whether we like it or not! So religion also comes in for a bit of discussion. I hope the mix makes for an interesting read.

 

And a final touch of "plausibility" is that many of the locations and people in the stories are real - yes, they really do exist! - but, as I say in the foreword to the Tales, “I have made some changes to the names of people and places so as to, if not entirely hide the identity of those involved and the locations of where the incidents took place, at least disguise them a bit. Let’s face it, there is a difference between telling something to a group of friends and telling the same to the whole world!”

 

Well, that's all the general hints I'm giving you! Background information, hints and tips on any specific story can be found can be found on the page for that story.

 

I hope you enjoy the reads.