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Introducing Heidi Garrett’s “The Queen of the Realm of Faerie” series

I first ‘met’ Heidi Garrett through the SF, Fantasy and Horror Online Writing Workshop (OWW) and saw her story – a re-telling of the tale of Melusine – develop into the first two short novels in the series. This is one of the pleasures of OWW: seeing a story idea transform through to successful publication.

Here, I introduce Heidi’s story to provide some context for the interview I recently conducted with her (which will be published here next), and that focuses on her experiences choosing to follow the ‘indie’ publication route.

I must confess that, as I was a beta-reader, I cannot give a completely neutral review of her series, “The Queen of the Realm of Faerie”. I can say that her take on the story of Melusine and her dysfunctional family caught my attention when she posted chapters of it on OWW. Her writing style and ideas kept me engaged during the story development; which is a strong recommendation for her work as I am not an avid fan of the “retold fairy tale” genre – nor part of her target market! Her characters are engaging and she provides an interesting twist in a contemporary version of a traditional tale.

NM2Cover Flower of Isbeline Cover Small

The original “Melusine” is a very old fairy story. Wikipedia’s entry about Melusine notes versions from the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Wikipedia’s outline of the original tale is:

Elynas, the King of Albany… went hunting one day and came across a beautiful lady in the forest. She was Pressyne, mother of Melusine. He persuaded her to marry him but she agreed, only on the promise — for there is often a hard and fatal condition attached to any pairing of fay and mortal — that he must not enter her chamber when she birthed or bathed her children. She gave birth to triplets. When he violated this taboo, Pressyne left the kingdom, together with her three daughters, and traveled to the lost Isle of Avalon.

The three girls — Melusine, Melior, and Palatyne — grew up in Avalon. On their fifteenth birthday, Melusine, the eldest, asked why they had been taken to Avalon. Upon hearing of their father’s broken promise, Melusine sought revenge. She and her sisters captured Elynas and locked him, with his riches, in a mountain. Pressyne became enraged when she learned what the girls had done, and punished them for their disrespect to their father. Melusine was condemned to take the form of a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. In other stories, she takes on the form of a mermaid.

While following this basic structure, Heidi’s retelling has major changes, notably that the story is told not from the point of view of Melusine but primarily through that of the middle sister (named Melia in her story).

The sisters, “half-faeries”, neither fully Fae nor human, straddle both worlds uncomfortably, discovering as time passes, secrets about their family that do not sit well with their preconceptions. As the story unfolds, each must face up to the impact of their mother’s curse, their role in the death of their father and the evil being unleashed on both the mortal and Faerie worlds.

Heidi’s tale is full of magical enchantments and transformations, wild chases ranging far and wide across the land of Faerie, and unlikely love. As one would expect in a story like this, the central characters discover that both the situations and people, human and fae, they encounter are not always as they first appear. Also, bargains made have an unpleasant way of developing unintended consequences.

An adventure quest, with romance, the stories are also very much about discovering the secrets concealed within the dysfunctional family Melia is part of, coming to terms with this yet being true to who she is.

The first two books in the series are available now for download in all the main formats, including Apple for i-devices.

While I would normally go to Amazon for the Kindle MOBI versions, Heidi informs me “Nandana’s Mark” should be free. However, while she has checked this in USA when I access both the US and UK sites (from France!) they show as having a small charge. Therefore, if you can’t access the free download, I recommend you check out Smashwords. I verified (12 Feb) that it is available in MOBI format as a free download, as well as in all the other major formats.
The direct Smashwords links to Heidi’s stories are:
Nandana’s Mark
Flower of Isbelline

The Amazon links:
Amazon UK: Nandana’s Mark; The Flower of Isbelline
Amazon USA: Nandana’s Mark; The Flower of Isbelline

Heidi is currently working on the third story in the series: The Dragon Carnivale

3 Comments so far

  1. Heidi Garrett February 12th, 2013 6:03 pm

    Phillip,

    Thank you for doing such a great write up! I really appreciate your taking the time to delve into how the novels spinoff of from the original fairy tale.

    For those of you who know and follow Phillip–as well as those who are just now meeting him–his insights as the story has developed have been invaluable.

    Phillip, thank you again!
    Heidi

  2. Nightspore » Interview with Heidi Garrett February 13th, 2013 10:55 am

    […] my previous post, I introduced indie author Heidi Garrett’s novel series, “The Queen of the Realm of […]

  3. Heidi Garrett February 27th, 2013 11:12 pm

    Just wanted to let your readers know, it looks like Nandana’s Mark is now FREE at Amazon in the UK!

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