Sunday, February 28, 2016

"The Bells of Paradise" is here!

It's here! You lovely people who already bought The Bells of Paradise on preorder can go off and devour it now on your Kindle devices, and you lovely people who were waiting for release date to purchase it can now do that too!


Although I do recommend splashing out and buying this shiny, lovely new novella before March 5th. Why? Because if you do, you'll get a lovely digital bonus from my friend Christina Baehr--a link to a free mp3 download of Down in Yon Forest, the Derbyshire carol that inspired many aspects of this story!

Speaking of which, I thought you might enjoy hearing a bit about the other inspirations for this novella.

Jorinda and Joringel - this has always been a favourite fairytale of mine, brief and obscure as it is, on account of its vivid imagery and triumphantly happy ending. I'm so thrilled to get this chance to retell it!
Down in Yon Forest / Corpus Christi Carol - two very similar carols, again with very vivid and distinctive imagery. Down in Yon Forest is a variant of the song that emerged in Derbyshire in the 1500s...and so I have set my story in 1500s Derbyshire.
The Faerie Queene - Of course you know that this is one of my favourite books ever, starring valiant fay knights smiting monsters and ridding the land of evil. However, in most English folk-lore the Queen of Faerie and her court are much more morally ambiguous, if not evil. So... The Bells of Paradise is basically Faerie Queene fan-fiction trying to show how Faerie becomes the place we read about in Spenser. If you're familiar with The Faerie Queene, you'll hopefully recognise a bunch of characters that...don't (yet) depict the virtues they do in Spenser. If you're not familiar with The Faerie Queene, not to worry! You can still enjoy the story!
Tam Lin - In this traditional Border ballad, the human knight Tam Lin has been kidnapped by the Queen of Faerie and faces being tithed to Hell if his true love can't rescue him beforehand. This is probably the best-known example of the "morally ambiguous Faerie" trope, so that went into the mix too.

Other references, allusions, and inspirations include all the English folklore ever, including but not limited to The Rime of True Thomas, Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, Robert Browning's Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter, Neil Gaiman's Stardust, Susannah Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Shakespeare, and the late-medieval Unicorn genre of tapestries.

And now you know!

THE BELLS OF PARADISE

Only a madman would go into Faerie of his own accord.

The one thing John the blacksmith loves more than his peaceful, hardworking life in Middleton Dale is the tailor's free-spirited daughter Janet. But unlike John, Janet dreams of adventure beyond the Dale. And when her dreams lead her into Faerie to be captured by a dangerous witch, John realises he must dare the perilous realm of the Lordly Folk to free his bride.

A poignant and profound retelling of the Grimms' fairytale Jorinda and Joringel, set in the fantastical realms of Elizabethan folklore. Novella, approximately 25,000 words.

"The Bells of Paradise gave me an evening of wonder and adventure. It's about the price of a cup of coffee, and gives you soul food that lasts much longer."
- My Lady Bibliophile


"It's hard to believe the original fairytale was not meant for this setting."
- Elisabeth Grace Foley, author

Now available on Kindle!

6 comments:

Allison Ruvidich said...

Ooh, love these! I still haven't read Faerie Queene (I know! It's on my list!), but I do love to sing pretty much every border ballad ever, and Tam Lin's a favorite. Just started Bells of Paradise, and so far it's fabulous. : D

Suzannah said...

:D So glad you're enjoying it, Allison! You're going to love THE FAERIE QUEENE, I'm positive.

Jamie W. said...

I love The Faerie Queene and the ballad tradition and I can't think of anything more worthy to follow them. I will try to leave an Amazon review, but what I love about The Bells of Paradise--I'm not sure I can put it into words. It's that kind of beauty that's simply itself; if you define it you find that you have missed it after all.

The recording of "Down in Yon Forest" was lovely as well. Do you have a favorite/recommended recording of "Tam Lin"?

Suzannah said...

Yay! It always feels like a little tiny victory every time someone enjoys something I've written, Jamie. I'm so glad you liked it!

Little secret--reviews, of any nature, are beyond worth their weight in gold to an indie author like me. Also, I can't think of anything better that you could say about the novella than what you just said about not being able to put it into words. Feel free just to leave that as a review. :)

Glad you enjoyed Christina's "Down in Yon Forest"! It's a favourite :D. There are lots of versions of "Tam Lin". Steeleye Span does an epic rendition. "Child Ballads" by Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer retains some of the grittier details of the legend while cutting out the Faerie Queene altogether, but the music is pretty.

Jamie W. said...

Thanks! Wow, I thought I didn't like Steeleye Span very much, but that's amazing. (I've always wanted to like them, though, because their album titles are so epic. Glad to have heard their Tam Lin.)

Suzannah said...

I'm not a huge fan of Steeleye Span either, but that "Tam Lin" is truly epic!

Thank you, by the way, for the Amazon review :).

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