Tuesday, 24 April 2007

12: NEWS! The Australian launch of the series!

The first book of the Thomas Trew series, Thomas Trew and the Hidden People, is just about to come out in Australia(official release date into bookshops is April 26). To celebrate, we're having a bit of a launch party. It's going to be held in my home town of Armidale, in northern NSW, and here are the details:
Date: Thursday May 10
Time: 5.30 pm
Place: Dymocks Bookshop, Armidale.
John Heffernan, the well-known children's author, who also lives locally, will be launching the book.
Anyone who' s in the area and would like to come, is most cordially invited!
You can contact Dymocks Armidale at armidale@dymocks.com.au or on 02 67714558.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

11:The Hidden People, Part B: The Uncouthers

I'm going to talk about the Uncouthers now because Thomas meets them, in all their awfulness, in the very first book!

The Uncouthers live underground. Their realm is called the Land of Nightmare, and it's mostly taken up by the dark, crowded city of Pandemonium. At present they are ruled by their Queen, Lilith, with her second-in-command being her son, General Legion Morningstar (there he is, sitting on his throne, with his court around him).
In fact, the General has taken over much of the government in recent times. Uncouther government is very strict. In fact it's cruel and hard. The Uncouthers keep slaves, who toil without rest in the nightmare factories. But even those who aren't slaves don't have many rights. There are informers, secret police, torture and execution for anyone who dares to protest. Fear reigns in Pandemonium and Nightmare generally.

The Uncouthers produce nightmares. That is their main export, along with nasty spells that they sell to wicked magicians. They are the sworn enemies of the rest of the Hidden World's people, though they occasionally make alliances with villainous or ambitious types amongst the rest of the Hidden People. Long ago, they fought a terrible war with the rest of the Hidden World, and when they were defeated(with the help of the first Rymer, True Thomas), they had to sign a strict treaty which allows them to continue trading in their goods but forbids them from leaving their land, except for special occasions, such as the big Convention of Magicians and Enchanters. Even then, they have to abide by special rules. Queen Lilith abides by the treaty, but her son the General has other plans..

If the Uncouthers ever managed to break right through and send their armies to take over the rest of the Hidden World, it would be a disaster not only for the Hidden World. For they'd then send plagues of nightmares and evil spells to infect our world, and people would go crazy with fear.

You'd think no-one would want to form alliances with such people, but as Thomas discovers in the course of his adventures, that's not the case at all!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

10: The Hidden People, part A--the Middlers

There's several different races of people in the Hidden World, and they live in all kinds of different environments. I just thought you might like to know a bit about each of them, the things they're famous for, and so on.

I'll start with the Middlers, as they're the first sort Thomas meets when he goes into the Hidden World. Both Owlchurch and Aspire are Middler villages, for instance.

Middlers live on the surface of the earth, usually in villages or small towns. There aren't any big towns in Middler country. But there are also some Middlers who live on their own, especially in forests or by streams and so on. Those kinds of Middlers are called 'solitaries'. Some solitaries are good, like Old Gal. Others, like Peg Powler, the dangerous solitary with sharp teeth who haunts one of the pools near Owlchurch, are bad. (In fact, all Middlers can either be good, bad, or in-between)

Middlers can be of all shapes and sizes and appearances, though usually they're not as tall as Ariels or as small as Montaynards. They are well-organised with village councils and Mayors and so on. Villages can often be very different from each other, like Owlchurch, which is cosy, comfortable and old-fashioned, and Aspire, which is glamorous and modern.
Every couple of years, the Middlers run the huge Magicians' and Enchanters' Convention, which allows human witches, wizards, enchanters and so on to mingle with people from all over the Hidden World and buy their pishogue.

The pishogue of Middlers is of all sorts, but generally it's recognised that they have the best Dream-makers and the best Tricksters of all the Hidden World. They also have great bookshops, and the best healers and ointment-makers. One of the oldest of the Middler realms, the realm of King Pan, deep in the forest, is recognised to have the best pishogue of all, and its award of the Horns of Pan is highly sought-after by everyone.
Middler country is usually very green, with nice streams and rivers, rolling hills and woods, and lovely little villages. The photo above (which is actually of the Wye River valley) gives you a bit of an idea of what a Middler landscape might look like.